SRU, PennDOT co-hosting virtual panel with PA transportation leaders, Oct. 21


Event graphic

Slippery Rock University will host three transportation leaders for a virtual panel, “Moving Forward with STEM,” Oct. 21 via Zoom.

Oct. 15, 2021

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Yassmin Gramian, Pennsylvania's secretary of transportation, will be among the guests on a virtual panel co-hosted by Slippery Rock University's School of Engineering and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 1:15-2 p.m., Oct. 21, via Zoom. The panel, titled "Moving Forward with STEM," will address the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and the impact of transportation on people's lives.

The panel is open for public viewing via Zoom, and SRU students, faculty and staff can register and submit questions through CORE, SRU's online platform for student organizations and activities.

"The COVID-19 pandemic caused a paradigm shift for the world and it requires a new leadership approach to reimagine how we connect and work," Gramian said. "Engaging the next generation of STEM leaders will be critical as we reimagine a transportation future that is safer, more sustainable and more equitable than the system we have today."

Provost Zink


The Moving Forward with STEM panel is the first in a series of events hosted by PennDOT, where Gramian and other transportation leaders will meet with college and high school students across Pennsylvania to engage the next generation of STEM leaders in discussions about reimagining transportation, safety innovations, and increasing diversity and equity in transportation, government and STEM fields. As part of this discussion series, Gramian is sharing her career story to encourage more women and people of color to pursue careers in STEM.

Joining Gramian on the Oct. 21 panel will be transportation leaders Brenda Sandberg, executive director of the Erie Western Pennsylvania Port Authority, and Alice Hammond, assistant district executive design for PennDOT, District 10. In addition to sharing their experiences with the public panel, the panelists will meet virtually prior to the event with SRU students who have interned with PennDOT.

Emily Watts, PennDOT executive policy specialist, will serve as moderator, and Madison Cox, a senior civil engineering major from Wheeling, West Virginia, and president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, SRU chapter, will introduce the moderator and panelists.

"We are excited to welcome Secretary Gramian and our other distinguished panelists to campus as we look forward to discussing the importance of STEM education," said Abbey Zink, SRU provost and vice president for academic affairs, who will provide opening remarks. "As a public institution serving the public good, we see the need to develop our students in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These disciplines not only prepare students for current and future jobs in Pennsylvania, but through these programs our students are learning the skills needed to enhance infrastructures, solve problems and improve the quality of life for all people in our region." 

Xinchao "Steven" Wei, SRU professor of physics and engineering and director of the School of Engineering, will also provide a brief description of SRU's engineering programs.

"Technology and innovation are key to the future of Pennsylvania," Wei said. "Because of the many outstanding STEM programs that we offer at SRU, we are well positioned to train the next generation of our workforce who will contribute to the region's economic growth, the development of infrastructures and the use of green energy to combat climate change. We are excited to have representatives from PennDOT join us on campus to discuss these topics and how educating students for careers of tomorrow starts today." 

More information about SRU's School of Engineering is available on the SRU website.

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