RISS Scholar Tessa Guengerich’s Evolution into the Transportation Sector

August 31, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

August 25, 2022

In just a few years, a lot has changed for Tessa Guengerich.  She graduated from college, got her first job, and landed a role in the automated vehicle industry.

In both June 2018 & 2019, Mobility21 welcomed Tessa Guengerich to the CMU Robotics Institute Summer Scholars (RISS) program. At the time, Tessa was an undergraduate student at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.  She arrived in Pittsburgh hoping to learn more about machine learning and programming and learn more about the implementation of robots outside of academia. Tessa said she was excited to learn about things she wasn’t exposed to before (computational statistics and machine learning) and was also excited to be surrounded by other students from around the world.

The program provided exposure to hearing Poster Showing Work Tessa Did While at RISSand seeing a lot of presentations from different faculty members at CMU about their research. As a Chemical Engineering student, most of the talks were outside of Tessa’s traditional curriculum, but that’s exactly what she enjoyed most about RISS — learning about research she wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise, and trying her hand at tasks that initially intimidated her.

Poster Showing Work Tessa Did While at RISSIn August 2019, Tessa was offered a job as a Robotics Engineer and began working for Carnegie Mellon University at the National Robotics Engineering Center.  The job was a continuation and expansion of the project she assisted with while part of RISS.

Looking to stretch and gain new skills, she joined ARGO AI, working as part of the Hardware Special Projects team.  The job allows her to stay in Pittsburgh and continue to connect with her RISS mentor, Rachel Burcin.  Tessa has also been able to give back, serving as a mentor to other RISS students.

Rachel Burcin, Robotics Institute Global Programs Manager of Carnegie Mellon University and Co-Director of the RISS program added:  “Working together with Mobility21, we have been able to walk alongside students to open doors and chart new pathways.  Tessa is applying her background, research experience, and passion for education to innovate and promote inclusion in the self-driving industry.  Our partnership with Mobility21 brings together research, industry, and education to re-envision who driving transportation.”

Photo of Rachel and Tessa
Rachel and Tessa

Where does Tessa think she will be in 10 years?  Tessa wants to continue to work in transportation, she says she feels proud to be working in the industry and sees how self-driving cars will help people with disabilities, and increase accessibility.  She says ARGO has locations all over the world, and perhaps she will be able to travel to one of their other locations.

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Carnegie Mellon’s RISS Program is an eleven-week summer (June 1 to mid-August) undergraduate research program that immerses a diverse cohort of scholars in cutting-edge robotics projects that drive innovation and have real-world impact. Launched in 2006, RISS is among the best and most comprehensive robotics research programs for undergraduates in the world.

The CMU Mobility21 University Transportation Center has sponsored RISS students since 2017.  The UTC views research and education as two sides of the same coin. We cannot educate for future generations without exposing them to research, development and deployment. We have and will continue to focus on education and workforce development in equal and complementary measure to research, development and deployment.  In addition, the Mobility21 sponsored RISS students have unlocked over $1,000,000 in scholarship support to continue their STEM education.

Robolaunch 2022 Reaches Over 13,000 Worldwide

August 22, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

August 22, 2022

Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute hosts undergraduate student researchers from around the world annually through the Robotics Institute Summer Scholars (RISS) program.  With its committed community of mentors and partners, the Robotics Institute helps launch these scholars into robotics graduate programs and industry with nearly 25 RISS alums receiving offers of admissions to the CMU SCS graduate programs. 

This summer, the schoRISS Presentationlars joined with the RISS community of alumni and friends of the program to design and create RoboLaunch, an outreach and broadening participation initiative.

RoboLaunch offered a series of talks and conversations from diverse pioneers & RISS alumni exploring how robotics research/education can be fun. RISS

Thirteen sessions were held.  Sessions included Intro to Robotics and the AI Driving Olympics, Robotics for Stress Reduction in Children, and Snakes in Space

The result:  RoboLaunch engaged over 13,000 individuals across the US and around the world.

Hajra Shahab – Traffic21 Women In Transportation 2020 – 2022 Fellow, Graduates

August 16, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

August 16, 2022

Hajra joined Carnegie Mellon University’s MSPPM-DA program in 2020 as a transportation fellow for Traffic21 Institute. Reflecting on her time as a student of Heinz College, she feels honored to have had the opportunity to become a part of the CMU community and be surrounded by some of the best minds under one roof. For someone who deeply cares about how their work impacts society, Hajra says Heinz College turned out to be a perfect fit where she was constantly reflecting and exploring impact of different technological breakthroughs on society at large and how to maximize their social benefits. Her coursework, projects and research mostly centered around transportation and mobility that constantly opened up multiple pathways, especially within the autonomous mobility space which landed her an internship at Aurora, a self-driving vehicle technology company. Since then, she has started to critically understand autonomous driving technology and was able to further expand her research to multi-modal transportation systems including autonomous delivery robots through her research assistantship in the Civil Engineering Department at CMU.

Joining CMU as a Traffic21 fellow truly set the foundation of every milestone that I achieved in graduate school. With the help of this fellowship, I was not only able to explore opportunities on-campus within the space of transportation and mobility, but also assume leadership roles on multiple occasions and carry out multiple community-led initiatives for Pittsburgh community at large.”

Upon graduation, Hajra joined EBP-US as a Data Analyst- Transportation Economics focus and currently working with multiple DOTs, state agencies and other stakeholders to conduct mileage-based user fee socio-economic equity analysis, benefit-cost studies and cost optimization projects.

She hopes her work continues to improve the state of transportation and mobility by making it sustainable, equitable and accessible for communities across the globe.

CMU CEE Students Experience a 3D Experience of the Future Through Mega City 2070

August 1, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

August 1, 2022

Mobility21 UTC researcher and CMU College of Civil and Environmental Engineering Associate Professor Pingbo Tang will allow CMU graduate students an opportunity to use his pilot program of software, Mega City 2070, to experience a 3D model of a futuristic and interconnected built environment in the year 2070.  Read more here.

What’s New with Mobility21 Women in Transportation Fellow Maggie Harger

July 15, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

July 15, 2022

Carnegie Mellon University incoming second year Master’s student and Traffic21 Women in Transportation Fellow Maggie Harger recently started her summer internship with the US Department of Transportation Volpe Center

Prior to starting her Master’s degree, Maggie worked in the greater Seattle area to implement accessible and equitable public transportation projects as a mobility coordinator for the North King County region. She is interested in public transportation due to its ability to provide access to economicPhoto of Maggie Hargeropportunities for people, as well as its positive impact on carbon emission reduction.

This summer, Maggie will be assisting with a variety of projects for partners across the DOT. For example, she is working to support the Federal Transit Administration’s RAISE Discretionary Grant Program through the compilation of resources and data for decision makers, as well as researching material for the Federal Highway Administration’s Complete Streets program

She looks forward to continuing her work this summer, as well as learning more skills related to policy implementation at a federal level.

CMU Student Interns with SEPTA, Thanks to a Transportation Club Visit Earlier this Year

June 6, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

June 6, 2022

Carnegie Mellon University rising Junior, Ken Huang, started his summer internship at SEPTA on June 6.  Growing up in San Francisco, Ken rode transit and liked that he could get to where he wanted to go without worrying about parking or being stuck in the city’s traffic congestion.

In 2020, Ken came to CMU to learn more about the technical side of transportation, enrolling in the school’s civil engineering program.  He quickly found the Transportation Club and joined.  This past year, Ken joined the leadership team.

During the 2022 spring semester, he participated in a club visit to Philadelphia, where the students visited the University of Pennsylvania (a Mobility21 UTC academic partner) and SEPTA.

During the SEPTA tour, Ken asked lots of questions.  The SEPTA staff person suggested Ken apply to work at SEPTA.  The other club leadership encouraged him to follow-up, which he did.

And now he is working for SEPTA as a summer intern, assisting with engineering work for various infrastructure projects including bus loops/turn arounds.  He is also interested in transit planning and hopes to get some exposure to that as well.

Heinz College Students Present Final Capstone and Thesis Presentations

May 15, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

May 15, 2022

Students in the Heinz College MISM and MSISPM programs presented their final capstone projects and thesis presentations over the course of two days, two of which were advised by Traffic21 Executive Director Stan Caldwell and Mobility21 Program Manager Lisa Kay Schweyer, and included clients from the US Department of Transportation, PennDOT, and Honda.

Women in Transportation Fellow Hajra Shahab Graduates and Awarded the Barbara Jenkins Service Award

May 15, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

May 15, 2022

Traffic21 Women in Transportation Fellow 2020-2022 Hajra Shahab was the 2022 recipient of the Barbara Jenkins Service Award at the Heinz College graduation ceremony for the class of 2022.  The award is given annually to a graduating student who has demonstrated service to the Heinz College community and made significant contributions to the quality of life for residents in the Pittsburgh region.

CMU Engineering & Public Policy Course Focuses on Transit in the City of Pittsburgh

April 26, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

April 26, 2022

CMU’s Spring 2022 Engineering and Public Policy Senior Project Course was focused on transit in the City of Pittsburgh and culminated with a poster session highlighting five  group projects.  Mobility21 researcher Destenie Nock was co-instructor of the course and UTC researchers Corey Harper and Stan Caldwell served as advisors and provided feedback throughout the course and at the poster session.  In the photo is Professor Nock and Pittsburgh Department of Mobility and Infrastructure Acting Director Kim Lucas along with some of the students.

Carnegie Mellon University’s Transportation Club Hosts Bike Ride

April 23, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

April 23, 2022

Students affiliated with the Carnegie Mellon University Transportation Club recently participated in a bike ride around downtown Pittsburgh. The event allowed students to network with one another, as well as learn about the active transportation network within the city. The group biked for a total of seven miles, beginning at Hamburg Hall at the CMU Campus, then along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail towards the Strip District. The trail follows parts of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio River, and allowed the students to see a unique side of downtown Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Robotics Network Hosts The State of Our Autonomous Vehicle Industry

April 22, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

April 22, 2022

Traffic21 Women in Transportation Fellow Hajra Shahab and Executive Director Stan Caldwell participated in the “The State of Our Autonomous Vehicle Industry” event hosted by Pittsburgh Robotics Network.

Seeing industry leaders in the AV space coming together to discuss the future of this technology and the industry at large was an enriching experience. Hearing from leaders from Aurora, Argo AI, Motional, Waymo, and Locomation about the humble beginnings of this technology to full-scale commercialization and IPO listings speaks to how much the industry has grown in a couple of years. It was also quite interesting to see how each industry leader was or has been very closely affiliated with Carnegie Mellon University, particularly the Robotics Institute and University Professor William (Red) L. Whittaker who happens to have mentored almost everyone on the panel during their time at CMU. Professor Red also received the Pittsburgh Robotics Impact Award for his Leadership and Excellence in Robotics at the event.” – Hajra Shahab

Professor Katherine Flanigan Introduces Sensing in CEE Project Course

April 14, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

April 14, 2022

Mobility21 UTC researcher and CMU College of Civil & Environmental Engineering Professor Katherine Flanigan is providing students with hands-on experience to solve complex problems in engineering by introducing the topic of sensing in her course, “CEE Challenges: Design in a Changing World.”

Freight Mobility Research Institute Hosts 7th Annual UTC Conference for the Southeastern Region

March 25, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

March 25, 2022

Mobility21 UTC researcher Pingbo Tang‘s UTC research project, “Towards Data-Driven and Continuous Safety Inspection of Commercial Trucks and Trailers” was presented by his student, Chenyu Yuan, at the 7th Annual UTC Conference for the Southeastern Region in Boca Raton, FL.  The goal of the conference was to disseminate information about UTC research and encourage collaboration on future projects.

Mobility21 Participated in Fifth Annual WTS Pittsburgh Chapter Scholarship Gala

March 24, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

March 24, 2022

CMU students Hajra Shahab, Maggie Harger, and Sreya Vangala, joined by Mobility21 Program Manager Lisa Kay Schweyer, participated in the Fifth Annual Women in Transportation Pittsburgh Scholarship event.  Attendees enjoyed an evening of networking with current and future transportation industry professionals and leaders and celebrated their achievements.

Can Pittsburgh Have Mobility and Justice for All?

March 23, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

March 23, 2022

Mobility21 Women in Transportation Fellow 2018-2020 Bonnie Fan, along with Paul O’Hanlon from the advocacy group Pittsburghers for Public Transit talked about what it would be like to create a more equitable transit system for everybody with City Cast Pittsburgh‘s Senior producer Megan Harris and newsletter editor Francesca Dabecco.  Read the report here or listen to the interview on Apple Podcasts here.

 

Teachers Bring Robotics to Special Education Classrooms Celebrating Champions for Access

March 22, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

March 22, 2022

Hundreds more students across the region are now experiencing robotics thanks to innovative teachers and a partnership with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU). Through a two-part pilot series designed by the AIU & Carnegie Mellon, educators developed and piloted a series of robotic activities & lesson plans for special education and life skills classrooms.

Lead schools participating in the pilot included: Baldwin High School, Carlynton High School, Friendship Academy, Hampton Township High School, Northgate High School, Norwin High School, Quaker Valley High School, and Steel Valley High School.

The Allegheny Intermediate Unit project lead, Dr. Heather Moschetta, who also volunteers as a Special Olympics coach, described the importance and excitement of bringing this content to a broader range of students: “It is unfortunate that some of our learners lack access to STEM fields such as robotics. The goal of this project is to make robotics content accessible to students who otherwise may not have had the opportunity. The teachers who participated created amazing activities and lessons that can expand access for many, many students in the future.”

The activities and lesson plans build upon the Emmy-nominated PBS Learning Robot Doctor television series created in 2020 by WQED Media, Robowits, LLC. (a Mobility21 UTC Deployment partner), Carnegie Mellon University faculty and staff, and PA Rural Robotics with support by the  Pennsylvania Department of Education. Neurodiversity Week is March 21 -27 and World Autism Day is April 2.

Transportation Club Hosts Annual Career Panel

February 25, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

February 25, 2022

The Transportation Club hosted its annual “Careers in Transportation” panel discussion, moderated by Jocelyn Malik of Heinz College, with panelists joining from the public and private sector including:

Students from different different colleges within CMU attended to learn how each panelist paved their career path, projects that keep them engaged, and potential opportunities for young professionals in the transportation sector.

Several key themes within transportation caught the audience’s attention and were the subject of the question and answer session, including the on-time public transit performance, bus scheduling, sustainable transportation, growing autonomous vehicles industry and environmental frameworks for transportation infrastructure.

Traffic21 Women in Transportation Fellow Helps Presents ‘Mobility for Who?’

February 17, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

February 17, 2022

Traffic21 Women in Transportation Fellow 2018-2020 Bonnie Fan, along with other members of Pittsburgher’s for Public Transit, presented “Mobility for Who? Rebuilding Bridges to Transportation Justice” to discuss ways to make transit accessibility equitable for all.

SAFE Welcomes Allante’ Whitmore as Director of Autonomous Vehicle Initiative

January 25, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

January 25, 2022

SAFE has announced that former Mobility21 Diversity Fellow Allanté Whitmore has been named Director of their Autonomous Vehicle Initiative, leading efforts to advocate for well-thought out and safe policy solutions to advance critical AV technology. Read more here.

UTC Students Attend Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting

January 14, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

January 14, 2022

Students from 3 of the academic partners of Mobility21, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pennsylvania and The Ohio State University  attended the Transportation Research Board’s 101st Annual Conference in Washington, DC.  The conference offers an opportunity to learn about the latest developments in transportation research, policy, and innovative practices from across the world. Highlights of the event included remarks from keynote speaker, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on the state of transportation policy in America, emerging challenges, poster presentations on a variety of topics including transportation demand modeling, automated vehicles, emerging technologies and lectern sessions on maintaining equity across transportation systems. The students also met for a networking dinner where they shared experiences working and learning about the field of transportation.

Students Share Their Experiences at the TRB Annual Meeting

January 14, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

January 14, 2022

Carnegie Mellon University students & transportation club members, Donner Kahl and Ibraheem Ameer attended the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

“I had the opportunity to listen to and engage with policy experts and industry professionals. For me, one of the sessions that stood out was about mobility in the developing world. The discussion varied from models that have worked previously, introduction of new micro mobility options, to the sustainability of these practices to improve mobility for more people in these countries …I not only got to connect with industry experts but also got this amazing opportunity to become associated with a committee at the conference.” – Ibraheem Ameer

“I met industry leaders in measuring the economic impact of infrastructure developments. Sessions included collaborations between professionals to develop practical community engagement plans for urban transportation improvements. Speakers addressed a range of topics, including discussing the importance of public outreach for automated vehicle adoption. The influence of Traffic21 and CMU was apparent during my conversations with researchers and businesses. Mentions of the institute, university, or professors received nods of recognition and engaging inquiries….The annual meeting acted as a station where I learned about the exciting opportunities and relationships within transportation and from which I can take the line that best suits my interests and abilities…” – Donner Kahl

Mobility21 UTC Honors “Student of the Year” Rick Grahn at 31st Annual Awards Ceremony

January 8, 2022
Posted in What's Happening

January 8, 2022

Carnegie Mellon University student Rick Grahn was honored tonight as Mobility21 University Transportation Center’s “Student of the Year” at the Council of University Transportation Center’s annual awards event.

Annually, the United States Department of Transportation honors the most outstanding student from each participating University Transportation Center for his/her achievements and promise for future contributions to the transportation field. Students of the year are selected based on their accomplishments in such areas as technical merit and research, academic performance, professionalism, and leadership.

Carnegie Mellon University’s Traffic21 Institute houses Mobility21, the National University Transportation Center for Improving Mobility. Students from CMU, University of Pennsylvania, The Ohio State University, or Community College of Allegheny County were eligible for the Mobility21 UTC nomination.

Meet our winner:

Rick Grahn, the Mobility21 National University Transportation Center for Improving Mobility Student of the Year.

Rick Grahn

Rick Grahn is a research assistant working under Dr. Sean Qian and Dr. Chris Hendrickson in the Mobility Data Analytics Center. His research interests include shared modes and public transit, with a focus on how to best integrate new technologies to improve their efficiency, accessibility, and reliability in both urban and rural settings. Rick is looking forward to a career in research addressing sustainability and equity issues within the transportation system. He is also a registered professional engineer in California.

In 2021, Rick published a paper in Transportation Research Part C and a paper in ASCE: Journal of Infrastructure Systems.

Educating, recruiting and training new workers is critical to managing our country’s infrastructure safely and efficiently.  Mobility21 strives to help develop a transportation workforce capable of designing and maintaining the complex transportation systems of tomorrow. Help us congratulate our 2022 UTC Student of the Year!

To learn more about the University Transportation Centers’ Student of the Year awards please click here.

Heinz College Masters Students Present Capstone

December 9, 2021
Posted in What's Happening

December 9, 2021

CMU Heinz College Masters of Information Systems Management Capstone students Shiyi Liu,  Yanwen Peng. Jiaoying Mu, Kehan Li,  Yilin Hua and Zhenyuan He made a final presentation of their capstone project developing an automated truck departure user interface.  The client was Klara Oberhollenzer, Manager of Development Autonomous Truck Mission Control Product & Partnerships at Daimler Truck North America and the course advisor was Stan Caldwell, Executive Director, Mobility21 UTC.

CMU Students Share Final Capstone Projects

December 2, 2021
Posted in What's Happening

December 1-2, 2021

Students of the CMU Heinz College engage in semester long “Capstone Projects” to apply coursework to real-world scenarios.  Today, students shared the results of their semester long research projects during a poster fair.  The projects featured today included the following transportation related projects:

    • Team US Ignite, advised by Mobility21 Program Manager, Lisa Kay Schweyer
    • Team Daimler Trucks North America, advised by Mobility21 Executive Director, Stan Caldwell

Traffic21/Mobility21 University Transportation Center Deployment Partner Consortium Symposium Held

November 4, 2021
Posted in What's Happening

November 4, 2021

The Traffic21/Mobility21 University Transportation Center Deployment Partner Consortium Symposium kicked off earlier today with the Mobility21 UTC Director, Raj Rajkumar, providing a welcome and an overview of updates on activities and plans at the Mobility21 National University Transportation Center.

Yassmin Gramian Keynote Speaker

The keynote speaker for 2021 Symposium was Yassmin Gramian, Secretary of Transportation, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The Symposium’s first panel focused on Equity/Justice and Mobility.  The panel was moderated by Stan Caldwell and featured:

  • Ben Bear, CEO, Spin
  • Carol Lewis, Chair, Transportation Research Board, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  • Irene Marion, Director, Department of Civil Rights, DOT
  • Beth Osborne, Director, Transportation for AmericaEnvironment/Climate Change Panel

The second panel focused on Environment/Climate Change and Mobility.  The panel was moderated by Chris Hendrickson and featured:

  • Rachael Nealer, Deputy Director for Transportation Technology and Policy at White House Council on Environmental Quality
  • Rohan Patel, Senior Global Director, Public Policy and Business Development, Tesla
  • Kelsey Owens, Environmental Protection Specialist, US Department of Transportation

UTC Research Showcase

The Symposium also featured 7 research and academic project presentations, comprising the UTC Academic and Research Showcase.  The projects allowed for a brief Q&A with the researchers upon the conclusion of their video presentation.

Over 130 people from academia, government, community and industry registered to attend the symposium.  View the full list of presenters and videos of the sessions here.