Outstanding Participation

Outstanding Participation of UPRM Students in the Annual Congress of Transportation in Washington, D. C

A delegation of nine students and four professors of the Department of Civil Engineer and Surveying in the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez (UPRM) participated in the 89th Annual Conference Transportation Research Board (TRB) performed in January 10-14, 2010 in the city of Washington, D. C. The presence of the students was sponsored by the Dwight Eisenhower Program for Scholarships in transportation from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

The UPRM delegation was composed by two bachelor students, four students in master’s degree and three doctor’s degree in Civil Engineering. The UPRM students who received the Eisenhower Scholarship where: Carlos Calero, Jeanette Feliciano, Ivelisse Gorbea, Alvin Nieves, Máximo Polanco, Zaida Rico, Lisa Ríos, Reinaldo Silvestry and Victor Uribe. The UPRM Professors, Benjamín Colucci (Interim Dean in Engineering), Ivette Cruzado, Alberto Figueroa (Eisenhower Scholarship Coordinator) and Miguel Pando participated in the conference.

The Eisenhower Scholarship in Transportation beneficiaries of the UPRM.  In the photo starting from the left: Henry Murdaugh (Eisenhower Scholarship Program FHWA Administrator), Victor Uribe, Jaime Rivera (UPR- Río Piedras), Máximo Polanco, Carlos Calero, Alvin Nieves, Reinaldo Silvestry, Zaida Rico, Jeanette Feliciano, Lisa Ríos, Ivelisse Gorbea and Prof. Benjamín Colucci (Interim Dean in Engineering).

The TRB Conference Gathers more the 10,000 transportation professionals annually and there is access to more than 3,000 presentations close to 600 sessions attending various topics, investigations and new developments in the transportation around the world. In addition from the technical program, the conference participants gain access to the hall of exhibitions where around 175 companies, consulters, federal agencies and state agencies demonstrated their innovated products and services related in transportation.

Two UPRM students presented in this conference their investigation project findings and conclusions. Zaida Rico presented her project Organizational Factors in Transit Service incorporated to the session Innovative Doctoral Transportation Research where they exposed investigation and innovation related to the transportation field done by students in their doctor’s degree. Jeannette Feliciano presented her poster Driver Eye Movement During Merging Maneuvers into Incoming Highway Traffic showing the results of the investigation taken place during her Exchange Summer Program between the university of Rhode Island and the UPRM. Both sessions where very busy and the UPRM students obtain their chance to talk to assistants and answer their questions about their findings and conclusions in the work; being both examples of the quality of our collage students.

Zaida Rico during the presentation of her investigation project Organizational Factors in Transit Services through the TRB session dedicated to innovated works of doctor’s degree students in the transportation field.

Jeannette Feliciano in front of her Poster showing the results and conclusions of her investigation project: Driver Eye Movement during Merging Maneuvers into Incoming Highway Traffic.


Jeannette Feliciano answering questions about her project and talking to professionals and other students in the transportation field during the poster session of the students who receive the Eisenhower Scholarship.



Within the activities of the TRB conference, the UPRM students participated in the reception of the Institute of Transportation Engineer (ITE) headquarters. This activity included the participation of officers and members of the ITE and, also, of students from various universities. Where member of the ITE got their chance to share professional experience and show available opportunities for future engineer in the transportation field. The ITE is a professional association that counts with more than 17,000 members in 90 countries and is dedicated to advance solutions to the challenges nowadays in the transportation around the world. The UPRM counts with a ITE students chapter, composed by sub graduated and graduated students of the Department of Civil Engineering and Surveying.

Students and professors of the UPRM in the ITE Headquarter sharing with ITE officers and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). In the photo starting from the left: Ivelisse Gorbea, Héctor Santiago (FHWA), Liza Ríos, Reinaldo Silvestry, Paul Eng-Wong (president of the ITE international), Jeanette Feliciano, Zaida Rico, Ray Davis (ITE) and the professors Benjamín Colucci and Alberto Figueroa.

Similarly,  the group of students from the UPRM got their chance to visit the facilities and laboratories of the Center of Research of Turner Fairbank Roads in the FHWA located in the city of McLean, Virginia. The Director of the office of Research and Infrastructure Development, Eng. Jorge Págan Ortiz, accompanied the collage delegation in the visit to the four laboratories and the research of Turner Fairbank. This federal center of investigation is one of the most important in the American nation, counting with 24 laboratories were it develops advance researches in the road infrastructure of the United States. The research laboratories for the Turner Fairbank cover the specialties of safety road, pavements, structures, operations and intelligent systems of transportation, engineering materials and human factors. The UPRM group got their opportunity of knowing Investigators and Scientifics who are working in the Turner Fairbank and get acquainted with recent researches done in the center, with opportunities and challenges in the transportation investigation.

UPRM students visiting the road drive simulator in the Human Centered System laboratory of Turner Fairbanks. The laboratory Director, Paul Tremont, explained to the students the use of an instrumented vehicle and the simulator. Also, he talked about recent safety experiments to evaluate the operation, interactions and behavior of drivers in new road designs under different situations.

In the Structure laboratory, the UPRM students got know about new materials experiments for the construction of bridges and about new forensic researches done in the structural elements of a bridge to identify and prevent future fails, like the one occurred in Minneapolis that caused the collapse of the Mississippi bridge in the road 1-35 in August 2007.

The visit to Hydraulic laboratory let the students talk to the Director, Kornel Kerenyi, about the researchers developed in the center, particularly those associated with bridge scour and Problems with structural elements of drainage in the highway.



The UPRM students had their opportunity to visit the Federal Outdoor Impact Laboratory where they perform experiments to see impacts between vehicles and highway safety products. The students observed during their visit the results of a frontal impact done in the laboratory between a truck and a building protective barrier against terrorist.

The Participation of students in the TRB conference lets them share with professionals and experts in transportation in an international level and be updated with researches, development and new challenges in transportation. This opportunity is obtained thanks to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Scholarship Program for the transportation of FHWA.

The UPRM participates in the scholarship program since 1994 having until now a total 76 students with scholarships. Approximately 150 of 200 students are chosen annually to receive the Eisenhower Scholarship in different universities in the United States. The FHWA Eisenhower Scholarship Program seeks to attract outstanding students to the field of transportation and promote to them the interest for the transportation as a professional career and in the same way continue graduated studies that will help them identify solutions to transportation problems. The students who receive the scholarship gain the benefit of payment of expenses to assist the annual TRB conference and they also can receive stipends to develop investigation project in transportation during the academic year. Another initiative of the Eisenhower Scholarship in the UPRM in the summer research internship where the students can transfer for 8 weeks summer to any university in the United States to work with other students and professors in investigations projects related to transportation. While other students from that university visit the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez to develop investigation project joined by UPRM students and professors.

Transportation is one of the most important and dynamics field in the development of the economy in a city, region or country. If you are interested in transportation as a future professional career and you want to be part of a new generation of leaders and transportation experts that will provide solutions to the structure and transportation challenge at a local and global level, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Program of FHWA is your chance. The Scholarship program is not only orienting engineers, but is also orienting other disciplines related to transportation, like economy, management, administration, planning, social science, psychology, mathematics, computer science and others.