2015 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, Polytechnic  University of Puerto Rico, and University of Arkansas for a 10-week summer intern program beginning June through beginning of August, 2015. 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.


Garrett Photo - Cropped

Garrett Ackner
Biomedical Engineering Major
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Mentor: Dr. Chiara Silvestri-Dobrovolny (TTI Associate Research Scientist)


Garrett Ackner is from Lake Orion, Michigan and will begin this fall his senior year in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The combination of traditional engineering subjects combined with the opportunities to be working more with people or living systems is what drew Garrett to Biomedical Engineering. After graduation, he would like to enter industry and gain work experience before potentially attending graduate school.

Garrett is most excited about living in College Station for the summer and experiencing a different culture from that of Ann Arbor, and to learn from Dr. Silvestri-Dobrovolny on how to use engineering principles to make the world a little more safer.


BP Pic

George Gillette
Civil Engineering
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Mentor: Dr. Kay Fitzpatrick (TTI Senior Research Engineer)


Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, George Gillette is a rising junior in the Civil Engineering program at Texas A&M University. Currently, he is leading a project with Engineers Serving the Community (ESC) which seeks a solution to the blind corner of Pickard Passageway. However, his research interests extend beyond the realm of transportation, including but not limited to environmental preservation. He participated in the BP Ultimate Field Trip Competition in which his team created a device to replace waterflooding in oil fields and conducted a case study to evaluate its effectiveness; judged by vice-president level executives within BP, his team earned 3rd place nationally. In order to combine these interests between the realms of transportation and environmental studies, George is particularly interested in sustainable transportation development. This can take a variety of forms, such as preventing collisions or smarter designs for roads and signals. After graduation, he is interested in pursuing a master’s program to further specialize and develop his skills.

As a current student worker at TTI, he knows the high quality of work that they conduct as a premier transportation engineering firm. However, with the ATLAS REU opportunity, he will have a greater role in the intricacies and nuances of an individual research project. This experience will prove invaluable in his future studies in a master’s program and with his pedestrian safety project with ESC.


Lolivone de la Rosa-Leon

Lolivone L. de la Rosa-León
Environmental Engineering Major
Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico

Mentor: Jerry Ullman (TTI Senior Research Engineer/Program Manager)


Lolivone de la Rosa-León was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She is currently an undergraduate majoring in Environmental Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. Lolivone is currently working as a program participant at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico and Alternate Concepts, Inc. Professional Development Program in Transportation Infrastructure Inspection. Her interests reside in transportation engineering and ocean engineering as well.

She is looking forward to being an ATLAS intern, and applying the concepts learned in the PDPTII. Lolivone is honored and humbled to have been selected to participate in this prestigious internship.


Marci Early Photo

Marci Early
Civil Engineering Major
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Mentor: Dr. Karen Dixon (TTI Program Manager/Research Engineer)


Marci Early is currently a 2nd year Civil Engineering major at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR. She is a dual degree Cooperative Developmental Energy Program Scholar and has obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics from Fort Valley State University. Upon graduation from the University of Arkansas, Marci plans to pursue both her Masters and PhD in areas of Civil Engineering. She has previously held internships in the fields of energy efficiency and water resources; however, she is eager to gain research experience in the field of transportation safety and roadway design.

Marci is thankful to have obtained the ATLAS research internship. She is excited about the opportunity to gain research experience and hopes to get the chance to experience what College Station has to offer.


Marielle Saunders
History Major; Minor in Sustainability
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Mentors: Dr. Chanam Lee (TAMU Associate Professor) and Dr. Joan Hudson (TTI Associate Research Engineer)


Marielle Saunders is a senior majoring in History with a minor in Sustainability at the University of Michigan. She is originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan and is interested in pursuing a career in urban planning. Following graduation, she hopes to work for at least a year before attending graduate school.

Marielle has a strong interest in sustainable transportation and is especially interested in bike and pedestrian systems. She is excited to be heading down to Texas for the first time and honored to be a part of this year’s internship program. She looks forward to developing new research skills and working with established transportation safety researchers.



zachary Snyder

Zachary Snyder
Mechanical Engineering Major
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Mentors: Dr. Michael Manser (TTI Program Manager/Senior Research Scientist)


Zachary Snyder is a native of Nashville, Tennessee; in the fall he will begin his senior year studying mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan. This summer through the ATLAS internship program, Zach plans to research the human factors of driving a vehicle, including how drivers respond to different vehicle configurations, road conditions, and varied situations.

Following graduation, Zach hopes to enter industry as a full-time mechanical engineer in the energy, aerospace, or automotive fields, and will apply skills learned in and out of the classroom in a work environment. He enjoys designing solutions to real-world problems, and he plans on using his creativity to develop ideas in his future field.

In his free time, Zach enjoys playing and watching sports, being active outdoors, reading, and cooking. He loves attending every Michigan football and basketball game, even through the frigid winters.

Zach is excited to begin working with experienced professionals at TTI and is very much looking forward to spending his summer in Texas. Getting to participate in transportation safety research up-close will provide valuable learning opportunities in his career advancement and great experiences every day.

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