Education - Page 6 - Technology, from page 1

Education
- Page 6
Technology, from page 1
Technology, from page 1

...become a Hill-Lopes Scholar, a program designed to launch them into scientific careers.

Through a generous gift by Barbara Hill and Ancelmo Lopes, Towson University’s Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics is accepting applications into the Hill-Lopes Scholars Program from the areas of mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry and environmental science.

Students selected as Hill-Lopes Scholars will develop and sharpen their academic and professional skills through a combination of coursework, research experiences, seminars and one-to-one mentorship.

Scholars receive a $500 stipend each semester, as well as financial support to attend professional scientific meetings and to participate in career-building conferences, workshops and field trips.

The cohort will learn about career options and get solid professional advice that will help them be successful in the career of their choice during the multi-year program.

“We can train students really well in science and we have a pretty good track record here at Towson,” says Cindy Ghent, associate professor in biological sciences. “But the layers added by this program allow us to do more things like getting Technology, from page 1 our cohort members to learn things like the power of networking, how you present yourself, meeting different people, going to conferences and having conversations at a professional level. A lot of these soft skills that we don’t necessarily have time to cover, we get to add with this program. The donors specifically want this program to help put more women into STEM careers and be practicing scientists.”

“Part of the whole thing is also to retain women in science,” adds Peko Tsuji, associate professor in biological sciences. “What we’ve seen is that if we just throw the scientific content at them, we get them interested in science and they may be interested for a while, but in order to stay and be successful as a scientist beyond the entry level is when they need these skills we’re hoping to give them.”

Researchers at Morgan State can get a behind-the-wheel look at driver behavior while in the Safety and Behavioral Analysis Center on campus.

The SABA Center includes two driving simulators that allow researchers to examine drivers’ reactions, perceptions and choices. The hardware has a cockpit, three surrounding monitors, an ignition key, seat belt, automatic transmission, acceleration and brake pedals, flash lights, and a steering wheel. The software, developed by Forum 8 Co., can create a real road network of about 120 square miles that is very realistic.

The software includes different traffic conditions drivers often face like rain, ice and snow and then records driver speed, acceleration and lane changes so researchers can analyze what is going on.

Students are hired as research assistants to work on grants in the SABA center and many masters and doctoral candidates use the center for their thesis.

Mansoureh Jeihani, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Transportation and Urban Infrastructure Studies at Morgan, is the driving force behind the lab.

“We record people from all over Baltimore area as they come to our center for different aspects that we are looking to learn about,” says Jeihani. “They come and drive. We record their driving performance based on different things we give to them and then analyze it.”

For example, the center studied dynamic messaging signs and distracted driving by giving test drivers variables like texting, talking on the phone, eating and even changing clothes.

“We wanted to see what kind of messages were more effective or more distracting and which ones caused people to reduce their speed to read it,” Jeihani says. “There’s eye-tracking software that tracks where the eye is looking, and we can see if they’re looking at the road and the signs or if they’re distracted and looking at something else. The simulators allow us a safe way to study driver behavior, as it’s not something we can test otherwise.” •