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Reform school: PSU will host a free ‘Summer Transportation Institute’ for girls

Posted by on May 25th, 2016 at 3:29 pm

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It’ll be an introduction to transportation careers.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

If you’re a female high schooler with a yen for understanding how cities work and how to help them evolve, Portland State Unviersity has a deal for you.

PSU’s Transportation Research and Education Center is offering its first-ever Summer Transportation Institute, a two-week course designed to introduce young women (rising into grades 9-12) to the possibilities of a career in shaping streets. It’ll be divided between (a) guest lectures from prominent women in Portland’s transportation world and (b) “field tours of Portland’s transportation infrastructure and public spaces.”

Here’s how the course description puts it:

The transportation work force needs all types of personalities: analytical thinkers, social movers, and creative dreamers. …

The majority of the program will be taught by women working in transportation in the academic, public and private sectors. The objective is not only to expose high school girls to academic and career opportunities in transportation but also to provide them with a narrative of the road to success from each of the professional women.

Portland provides a living laboratory for the students to experience and study multiple modes of transportation in the field. Portland is unique in the United States for its breadth of high quality transportation facilities such as the light rail, streetcar and bicycle and pedestrian network.

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The course runs from Monday, July 11 to Friday, July 21. If you’d like to see whether it might be a good fit for you, PSU has prepared a transportation quiz to help test your “transportation aptitude.” (Note: after a couple trial runs, I strongly suspect that it is not actually possible to fail this quiz.)

If that’s not enough, the program is literally administered by a rock star.

Sarah Dougher (also a singer and rock musician whose day job happens to be at PSU) said in an interview Wednesday that the school hopes to make this the first of an annual tradition.

“There are these camps all over the country,” she said. “Depending on where it takes place, it looks very different in different communities. Ours is going to have a lot on biking and walking, though not exclusively that. Also, we’re interested in thinking about social justice in relation to transportation.”

Though the official deadline for the course is May 27, Dougher said they’re being processed on a rolling basis. So it may be OK to keep applying past the deadline, but the longer you wait the more competition you’ll be facing.

“As girls become interested and apply, then we’ll get back to them once their application is complete,” Dougher said.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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Concerned PSU Student37DennisAlex ReedinEric Leifsdadlonggone Recent comment authors
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todd boulanger
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todd boulanger

…and what do the “boys” get?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Equity looks unfair to those who traditionally have had the power.

.
Guest
.

Yes, traditionally high school aged boys have had the power

todd boulanger
Guest
todd boulanger

You can read my comment that way …or the way I was thinking…that there might be training targeted to the boys that may fill a similar need.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

Let’s make things equal by segregating the genders!

37Dennis
Guest
37Dennis

…no Sleater-Kinney, and a big dose of Bone Deth!! https://www.facebook.com/BoneDethBMX/
Shred on my brothers !

Bontrager
Guest
Bontrager

tb,
The boys get a grin and a handshake.

Sarah Dougher
Guest
Sarah Dougher

Other versions of this program in different locations work with different kinds of kids — some are boys, some are co-ed. Because Portland has a particularly rich network of women in transportation fields, it made sense to focus our work around the resources that we have, to strengthen these networks and provide opportunities for young women to meet and learn from women mentors.

Sigma
Guest
Sigma

My first thought when I saw this was “how long until a middle class white man cries sexism?” I had the over/under at 15 minutes and I bet over…Todd won.

Adam
Subscriber

There’s always at least one… *eyeroll*

meh
Guest
meh

Not sexism if the same opportunity doesn’t exist for boys. Were boys getting this education and girls not? Seems like a non-gender specific offering would have been a good start, instead of looking at it from a place of gender bias to begin with.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Does the same opportunity for boys need to exist?

meh
Guest
meh

If they don’t have the same options available to them yes. Aren’t we all trying to be gender neutral? Provide the same quality of education to all.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

I don’t know about you, but I’m trying to be gender equal, not gender neutral.

Adam
Subscriber

It’s partly cultural though. If girls want to get into traditionally “boy jobs”, they are often discouraged, looked down upon, or treated like they are always a junior engineer, etc. Yes, they can technically work the same careers, but they often have additional barriers or are not given the same tools to succeed.

To use a bike analogy, it’s as if the boys and girls are given the same bike, but the boys get to ride on SW Moody, whereas the girls are only allowed to ride on Powell Boulevard. Sure, they can technically both ride the same bike, but it’s a lot harder for the girl. Think of this program as building a protected bike lane on Powell.

Bontrager
Guest
Bontrager

Nothing you stated is true in the engineering profession. Women can go to engineering school just as easily as men, but many women don’t want to do engineering – in fact, the number of men who go into engineering is a very small fraction of all men in college. There are many successful women engineers working in all types of engineering careers. There is no resistance to women in the field.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

As a male engineer, I think you are completely wrong. You didn’t experience what female engineers experienced in college, or experienced in the workplace, because you are male. I don’t see how you can say that they have the same chances as their male counterparts.

Do you know what it feels like to be outnumbered 9 to 1 in your classes, every day, all year, for four years? I certainly don’t. We only get a taste of it if we happen to take a Psychology elective. How do you think this might affect the wash out rate for students in an engineering program? I know that I wouldn’t have made it through without a strong support group to study with. I had a feeling of community, collective effort.

Something I’ve noticed in my office, and in others, is that the few women who do strongly state opinions, or behave in a typically “alpha-male” way, get labeled negatively (B-word, etc). The men who behave the same way during meetings receive no such scrutiny, because male engineers are expected to strongly state their opinions.

Sarah Dougher
Guest
Sarah Dougher

You might refer to the research. It may not FEEL like women have barriers, especially if you are not one, but in fact, there are very real barriers:

http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2015/nsf15311/
National Science Foundation report: “Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering”

longgone
Guest
longgone

Neither is there in my field. The façade of wage gap and job inequality will eventually bore most intelligent people. I worked under the first female CEC in an international hotel over 1000 rooms. She was awesome. The year was 1986.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Yes, and if girls are underrepresented in the field it may be an indicator that they need some different opportunities such as this. It’s the same reason we have options high schools with a focus on Tech/Engineering that look to attract females and Latinos, those who are underrepresented in the field.

meh
Guest
meh

Except we only do this for the high end positions, are we trying to get more women into positions like long haul trucker, dry wallers, landscaping. The traditionally male dominate jobs. Nope, doesn’t happen. There is a large bias when it comes to offering “equal” opportunity in job fields. The military was a prime example, women fought hard to become fighter pilots in the Air Force and helicopter pilots in the Army, not so much push to fill rolls in the artillery or armor crew, or gunners on ship board. It’s all about the high visibility cool jobs.

Sarah Dougher
Guest
Sarah Dougher

There are many women advocating for girls and women in the trades:
http://www.tradeswomen.net/, particularly their “Building Girls” program.

longgone
Guest
longgone

I know 3 women who drive over the road trucks. One old friend drove a cement truck, and another a city bus. That’s 5. I’ve known numerous women in motorcycle racing as mechanics, and competitors. Women will do what men do, and succeed, if they chose to do so individually.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

Ooh! Let’s play the “pretend that anecdotes prove something about the whole population” game! Once I saw a tree growing out of a rock in the middle of an alpine lake, therefore desolate rocks are really great tree habitat! I know a dude who bikes 20 miles from the suburbs to work every day on a terrifying high-speed highway on a road bike, therefore changes to land-use, infrastructure, or culture to encourage biking are pointless because no one’s commute is too far or too scary to bike! I know a pet rat that can do the Macarena, therefore all rats could do the Macarena if they so chose!

37Dennis
Guest
37Dennis

No Alex… try being honest. Look around you. Do you truly think that patriarchy is holding women at bay in any field in the U.S. ? really? I have no time to comment on this with you, as I try to type this living in a van with no internet service . Please, get real.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

Does that in any way make him incorrect?

Even those ‘in power” can be treated unfairly. If you want equality, you can’t pick and choose what you’ll look away from.

Bob K
Guest
Bob K

Sounds like a fantastic program. Kudos to PSU for offering it.

Kat
Guest
Kat

Someone please teach that red-haired girl how to properly wear a helmet!

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Or at least get rid of our silly helmet law. Are they about to do some jumps, not just ride down a street at 12mph?

Jessica Roberts
Guest
Jessica Roberts

In response to Todd, meh, and Brian: According to 2015 data from the Bureau of Labor Services, women only make up 15.1% of all people employed in the architecture and engineering professions (and 12.6% of civil engineers). Source: http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.pdf. So yeah, I’d say whatever our current training opportunities are, they’re working just fine for boys. I’ve been invited to present to this group and I really look forward to learning more about their interests and aspirations.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

Yeah – boys and men have very real needs to address the issues we face disproportionately, but help getting into a male-dominated industry is not one of them. Brainstorming things that would be helpful (of course in addition to way more female-specific programs than presently exist)… training and encouragement to value and prioritize non-romantic social and family connections, ask for help when we need it, resist negative male peer pressure, how to cope and succeed in school environments that are failing our young men; infant, child, and elder care skills, etc. Such gender-focused training could also include ways to not be a part of and even to actively combat patriarchy’s negative effects on women. Just dreaming here based on my own experience of patriarchy….

Brian
Guest
Brian

Exactly, I teach in an Engineering/Bio-Med focused high school that is focused on getting more female and Latino students into college and those career paths.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

Jessica,

what is an optimal outcome? 50% representation by both genders “just because” that is the only way to measure things?

One can provide equal opportunities to people and have a variety of outcomes that are based upon individual choice…which is influenced by many, many things.

In other words…while there may be a disproportionate distribution, that does not mean there is an inherent unfairness at play.

Sarah Dougher
Guest
Sarah Dougher

Jessica,
I’m so glad you were able to offer those revealing statistics about gender and engineering/architecture fields. I might also offer the perspective that design of transportation systems is not a neutral undertaking, it exists within culture, freighted as it is with the baggage of systems of power/oppression. If women and girls have an opportunity to contribute to the design of transportation systems, they might look different than they have historically.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

they might not, also. What then?

dudeluna
Subscriber

oh man, i totally want my daughter to take this class!

Concerned PSU Student
Guest
Concerned PSU Student

Hello,
I’m currently a PSU student and frequently study in the Engineering Building where this “class” was being taught. Having listened to them for a couple of days, I can say with confidence, this was straight-up liberal propaganda. This class taught nothing of value and instead tried to turn these impressionable young girls into future social justice warriors.
PSU Senior MME