2017 Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Program Support

The ATLAS Center at TTI incorporated transportation safety elements into existing TTI interactions with the AVID program in College Station Independent School District schools. Creating this relationship at the middle school level creates opportunity to continue to work with students in the program through high school to foster and sustain students’ interest in transportation careers.


In January 2017, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) hosted two field trips to its facilities at the Texas A&M University campus in College Station, Texas. Activities conducted during these field trips promoted science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and careers in transportation engineering and other transportation fields.

Description and Conduct of Event

On January 20th, 2017, 26 sixth grade Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) students and 3 teachers from Cypress Grove Intermediate School in College Station, Texas, visited TTI. On January 25th, 2017, 51 sixth grade AVID students and 6 teachers from Oakwood Intermediate School, in College Station, Texas, visited TTI. AVID is an in-school academic support program for grades 4–12 that prepares underserved students (predominantly minority and economically disadvantaged) in the academic middle for college eligibility and success.



Each field trip began with Melisa Finley making a 15-minute presentation to the entire group about the transportation industry and careers in engineering. Melisa designed the presentation to promote interaction between the researcher and students. Chiara Dobrovolny then showed the students a 30-minute video presentation of past TTI crash tests. During the video she discussed the science behind crash tests and answered questions. The students were then divided into five breakout groups. The following break-out activities were conducted simultaneously, with students rotating to a different activity every 25 minutes.

  • Up close with traffic control devices.
  • Transportation and the environment.
  • Bikes are vehicles too! Safe and smart biking skills.
  • Distracted driving.
  • How do traffic signals work?



The ATLAS Center funded the materials needed for activities and Melisa Finley’s efforts to develop the agenda, coordinate activities, and host the event. 

For further information, please contact Melisa Finley.

Melisa Finley1

Melisa Finley
Research Engineer, TTI

The ATLAS Center is a collaboration between the University of Michigan (U-M) Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) and Texas A&M Transportation Institute