First publishedin World Highways
IRF is continuing its proven programme of developing the skills and knowledge of young highway professionals
Asked what his career goals are, Leslie Mills
, an aspiring civil engineer from Ghana indicates he hopes, "...to be part of the next generation of African engineers that will help solve some of the fundamental ills affecting transportation infrastructure in Africa." The 63rd class of IRF
fellows attended a 10 day IRF road scholar programme from January 18 to 27, 2012. "The potential of building a professional relationship with other students in the programme in the field is appealing and one I look forward to," Mills said.
Held every year, the programme gathers international graduate students who have demonstrated significant educational accomplishments as well as a desire to use their education to improve their home countries.
With the addition of four new IRF member universities in the United States, including George Mason University
, University of Delaware
, University of Southern California
, and University of Massachusetts
- Amherst, this was the greatest number of participants hosted by the IRF for the programme.
Throughout the programme, scholars met with transportation industry leaders, visited advanced research facilities, listened to high-level corporate presentations, attended leadership training activities, and heard advice on how becoming a successful transportation professional.
Of particular interest to the Fellows were visits to the US FHWA Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Centre, where the fellows were introduced to some of the state-of-the-art research being conducted at the facility, and the World Bank
, where fellows were presented with information about the global mission and transportation-related activities. In both cases, IRF fellow alumni Taylor Lochrane (IRF fellow 2009) and Jen Oh (IRF fellow 2008) were onhand to share their personal experiences and their transition into the workforce.
The programme also offered IRF member organisations an opportunity to meet and interact with promising international students.
Stuart Hudson, President of AgileAssets, a provider of enterprise asset management and maintenance software solutions, had this to say about his company's involvement with the IRF and the fellowship programme. "IRF provides an excellent forum for the growth and development of transportation professionals. They help build strong relationships with the membership and their agencies and continue to build a network of high calibre fellows and programmes that are admired throughout the world.
AgileAssets is built on the strength, intelligence and character of our employees, and we look to the IRF fellows programme to identify and sponsor educational opportunities to the same high standards that we set. IRF invests their resources into the communities and future leaders across the global transportation industry and we are proud to be members, participants and sponsors of their organisation." The highlight of the 10-day programme was the annual bridge building competition and IRF fellow alumni dinner held on January 24.
More than 40 IRF fellow alumni and members of the IRF and IREF board of directors gathered to witness the competition which involves the construction of a bridge using items mandated in the competition rules. Following the competition, the group exchanged lessons learned from their experience and the impact the IRF has had on professional careers and personal lives.
And Mills? Elected class captain, he and his fellows had this to say about the programme. "We will always remember the opportunity you provided us to meet some of the best international students within the country and to network with leaders within the transportation industry. The life lessons we learned, the leadership training we undertook and the valuable pieces of advice on business and professional etiquette we received will forever be a part of our lives.
You have instilled in the next generation of engineers the drive to achieve better roads for a better world."
IRF and IREF wish to thank everyone that played a role in making the 2012 IRF Road Scholar Program a tremendous success and for the on-going support of the IRF Fellowship Program.