2014 Summer Intern Program

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The interns have arrived in Texas and are working diligently on their research.  A welcome event, brown bag luncheons, and touring the area are keeping them all busy as they establish relationships with their mentors and with each other.

Program Description

ATLAS Center accepted applications and awarded six undergraduate students from the University of Michigan, Texas A&M, and Brigham Young for a 10-week summer intern program beginning June through August 8, 2014. The internship includes active involvement on safety-related research projects with a mentor at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

The program will coincide and coordinate with other summer intern programs at Texas A&M University funded by the National Science Foundation, providing interns an opportunity to interact with students in other disciplines and participate in university-wide seminars, tours, poster sessions and other events for interns. Students will be tracked after the internship and encouraged to pursue other opportunities for career development within TTI, TAMUS and other networks as appropriate.


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Zachary Gala
Biomedical Engineering Major
University of Michigan Ann Arbor

Mentors: Dr. Eva Shipp (TAMU School of Public Health researcher) and Dr. Justin Yates (faculty, TAMU Industrial Engineering)


Zack is originally from New Jersey, and will begin his senior year in the Fall studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan. He is very interested in biomedical research with a direct application to modern medicine. Currently, he works for the University of Michigan Health System and the International Center for Automotive Medicine. In a joint research effort, he studies morphomics, which is basically a whole body analysis that can be used to create predictive models for surgeries and/or medical treatments. Much of the data comes from victims of automotive accidents, and many companies work with the Morphomics division to create safer vehicles and roads. Zack enjoys researching projects that apply to real world problems that are used to assist a variety of people allowing him to be a part of something much greater than himself.

After graduation, Zack will be making a decision between continuing in the field of biomedical engineering or pursuing a career in surgery. Both of these options would allow him to continue his education and work in an area that directly impacts healthcare. Working as a BME, or as a surgeon, would enable him to improve the lives of others.

Zack looks forward to applying his existing knowledge of engineering to his assigned project in the ATLAS REU internship program. He is excited to work with high quality mentors and peers at TTI that can give him the skills, experience, and tools necessary to make a positive difference in the world.

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Ryan Stone
Earth and Environmental Sciences Major/Geology Minor
University of Michigan Ann Arbor

Mentors: Dr. Beverly Kuhn (TAMU researcher) and Dr. Justin Yates (faculty, TAMU Industrial Engineering)


Ryan Stone is originally from Muskegon, Michigan.  He will be entering his fourth year at the University of Michigan this fall as an Earth and Environmental Sciences major with a minor in Geology.  Following graduation, he would ideally like to get a job, gain work experience and ultimately be interested in attending graduate school.  He currently has a particular interest in concepts that involve improving energy efficiency and would like to pursue this in the future.

He is looking forward to spending most of his summer living and working in Texas.  Although he has never been to College Station he thinks it will be great to get to know the city and have a new campus experience.  He feels honored to have been selected to participate in this program and is very excited to work at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.  As an Earth and Environmental Sciences major, transportation safety will be a different kind of research experience, but it is one that he is eager to begin.

Meg Mulhall Photo

Meg Mulhall
Political Science Major/Urban Planning Minor
University of Michigan Ann Arbor

Mentors: Dr. Chanam Lee (Researcher and faculty, TAMU Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning)


Meg Mulhall is a fourth year political science concentrator at the University of Michigan. Interested in the field of urban planning, Meg is also pursuing a minor in urban studies and hopes to go on to earn a graduate degree in this area. Because of these aspirations, her research interests for the ATLAS Center internship center around ways to safely integrate alternative modes of transportation into the urban built environment.

Meg is looking forward to the opportunity to work with experts in urban planning and transportation safety and hopes this internship with further pique her interest in pursuing education and employment in transportation planning in the future.

REU Jessica Pic

Jessica Buhlig
Texas A&M University

Mentors: Dr. Karen Dixon (TTI researcher) and Dr. Justin Yates (faculty, TAMU Industrial Engineering)


Jessica Buhlig is completing her senior year at Texas A&M University as a civil and structural engineering student. Her passion for calculus and physics led her into civil engineering, where she then developed a goal to work with structural designs for her profession. She enjoys working with project teams, and is looking for career opportunities in Texas.

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Mahmoud El-Sherif
Texas A&M University

Mentors: Dr. Michael Manser (TTI Researcher) and Dr. Tom Ferris (faculty, TAMU Industrial Engineering)


Mahmoud El-Sherif is a Senior Industrial and Systems Engineering student at Texas A&M University. He has been a student researcher in the Human Factors & Cognitive Systems Lab with Dr. Ferris for two years where his main research interests have been supporting human operators in high stress situations. He has been involved in every phase of research, from idea formulation and literature review to data analysis and write up for submission to peer-reviewed publications. One of the recent research projects he has worked on was centered around distracted driving and evaluating the safety and viability of a voice activated driver assistance system developed by a private car manufacturer. Working on this project has sparked his interest in the field of transportation safety research and led him to pursue the ATLAS REU internship program.

He is honored to have been chosen for the program and is excited to work with the great mentors at the program who will help him learn and make a positive contribution to the field of transportation safety research. The prestige of being selected for this program will help him as he prepares to apply for graduate programs over the coming year.



Cathryn Cecil
Brigham Young University

Mentors: Dr. Michael Manser (TTI Researcher) and Dr. Tom Ferris (faculty, TAMU Industrial Engineering)


Catie Cecil is a senior studying civil and environmental engineering at Brigham Young University. She’s been interested in transportation safety since her freshman year where she attended a lecture on cross walk and roadway design. She would like to continue in transportation engineering either in research or in the work field.

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