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Transportation Internship Program Propels Students into the Workforce
Wilson H. Parran (center), deputy secretary of Administration and Operations for the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), with graduates of the MDOT-MSU transportation internship program

Transportation Internship Program Propels Students into the Workforce

Eight graduate students specializing in transportation at Morgan State University recently completed a yearlong internship program designed to prepare them for successful careers as analysts or planners in their field. The program, a joint initiative of Morgan and the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), has been a model of workforce development for more than 30 years.

Students in the MDOT-MSU Graduate School Internship Program spend a year in a paid internship, working part time during the school year and full time in the summer with various organizations within the MDOT.

“They have solid academic preparation, and this is the opportunity to get the hands-on experience we all know is so important,” said Eugene M. DeLoatch, dean of the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. School of Engineering.

Wilson H. Parran, deputy secretary of Administration and Operations for MDOT, spoke at the program’s graduation ceremony, after a tour of the transportation and engineering research labs in Morgan’s new Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies.

“There are two reasons why this program is so successful: the exceptional caliber of the students from Morgan and the dedication and commitment from the many mentors that we have,” he said.

Parran noted that two of the students already have accepted positions with MDOT, and a third will be employed by a consulting firm that does work with the department.

International student Shiva Narooienezhad, who served her internship with the Maryland Transit Administration, said the program not only helped develop her technical expertise in how transit systems connect but also enhanced her communication skills.

“I learned how they conduct meetings, how to get involved in different issues,” she said. “It was a really good experience.”

Joseph Moges, a graduate student in civil engineering, interned in the Office of Traffic and Safety, where he was able to see the software used for real-time traffic modeling.

“I was exposed to a lot of traffic engineering expertise,” he said. “It was an excellent learning experience, so much so that I got a full-time job within three months.”

Michael J. Walk, director of Service Development for the Maryland Transit Administration, mentors interns in the program.

“They are quick learners,” Walk said. “They already understand concepts and theory, so it doesn’t take long to get them up to speed. They can fill critical gaps and holes. They are a force multiplier.”

Sixteen interns are slated for the next cycle of the program.

Morgan State University is home of the National Transportation Center (NTC), an outgrowth of the federally funded University Transportation Centers program. The NTC advances U.S. technology and expertise in transportation, research and technology transfer on the university level. Morgan offers more than 184 transportation-related courses and several transportation degree programs.

To learn more, visit www.morgan.edu/soe/ntc.