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Corporate Partners Program funds support student project

Aerial photograph of the intersection used for Professor Carlos Sun’s transportation safety class. (Photo from Google Maps 2011)

Since its inception in 2008, the College of Engineering’s Corporate Partners Program has provided financial support for a wide variety of student endeavors. Recently, funding from program participant Norfolk Southern was allocated to the Civil Engineering Department, assistance that directly benefited Professor Carlos Sun’s transportation safety class.

A final project in the civil engineering professor’s transportation safety class required student groups to perform safety and operational analyses of an at-grade (at the same level) highway-railroad intersection. The Federal Highway Administration required such assessments and the project gave students the opportunity to tackle tasks similar to those they may encounter in their careers.

Norfolk Southern’s support allowed Sun to purchase video surveillance equipment to record rush-hour video footage at the Columbia intersection. In addition to pointing students toward federal and state resources to make their safety evaluations, Sun’s hour-long recording provided his students with visual traffic-demand data to use in their reports.

“Because it aligns with their corporate goals, Norfolk Southern has been with the Corporate Partners Program from the start,” said program director Greg Cecil, an MU engineering development director, of the company’s involvement. “They’re interested in interacting with students, and getting the company’s name out there as a good place to work.

“They’ve chosen to sponsor a broad array of activities including senior design projects, E-week activities, an etiquette dinner and the annual freshman barbecue,” he added.

Sun said his department also has used the video equipment for an undergraduate research project to investigate the possible use of “temporary ramp meters,” and that it will aid in additional student research projects and classes.

To find out more about the Corporate Partners Program, visit the engineering’s career and professional development website at engineering.missouri.edu/careers, or contact Cecil at 573-884-5549.