Tour guide talking to group of students at autonomous vehicle test facility

University of Michigan hosts students from MDOT Transportation Diversity Recruitment Program

Michigan Department of Transportation interns visit the University of Michigan to learn about graduate school programs.

On Wednesday July 14, 2021, the University of Michigan hosted over 50 student interns from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Transportation Diversity Recruitment Program (TDRP) for an event centered around U-M’s graduate programs in the field of transportation. 

The event was co-hosted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), the College of Engineering Office of Student Affairs (OSA), and the Michigan Department of Transportation. The University most recently hosted this event in July 2018, with 20 student interns in attendance.

Two people talking at a networking event
Current CEE PhD student Connor Ligeikis talks to TDRP intern KeAnna Dakwa during the networking portion of the event.

The TDRP is a partnership between MDOT and Michigan colleges and universities that offers on-the-job training to undergraduate students pursuing degrees in engineering. The program employs college students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to learn more about civil engineering and careers in the transportation workforce at MDOT while exploring educational institutions in the state of Michigan for dual degree and graduate school programs.

The program began with presentations from MDOT Transportation Diversity Recruitment Strategy Coordinator James Jackson and CEE professor and department chair Jerome Lynch. The TDRP interns learned about the journey to graduate school and funding graduate education from OSA representatives Shira Washington and Debby Covington before heading out on a campus tour. 

The TDRP interns also enjoyed tours of UMTRI facilities and Mcity, the University’s one-of-a-kind proving ground for testing connected and autonomous vehicles. UMTRI Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Lead and Associate Research Scientist Kathleen Klinich provided an overview of the history and expertise of the Institute. 

The Mcity tour was one of the highlights of the event for intern KeAnna Dakwa. “I loved seeing those self-driving cars. I didn’t know U-M actually had its own AV test facility, and that it looks just like it’s a real city,” she said.

The event concluded with a networking session with U-M alumni, faculty and current students.

“It was a pleasure hosting the TDRP interns,” said CEE DEI Coordinator Katie Crawford. “Their energy and passion for this field of study is clear, and we’re looking forward to seeing how they make their mark on the profession in the future.”

Interested in graduate programs?

Learn more about what the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has to offer.


Portrait of Mason Hinawi
Mason Hinawi

Marketing Communications Specialist
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering