On the Road to Transportation Leadership in Blacksburg, VA

Earlier this semester, a group of seven UNC Transportation Planning students made the trek up to Blacksburg, Virginia for the 2022 Southern District Institute of Transportation Engineers (SDITE) Student Leadership Summit. Jointly hosted by Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia, the conference brought together students from 24 universities for a weekend of presentations and networking.

Under the theme “Invent the Future: Developing the Next Generation of Transportation Leaders,” the goal of the conference was to promote leadership and professional development for transportation students across the Southern U.S. Though the event largely catered to transportation engineers, our DCRP students still came away with some new knowledge and professional connections.  

The bulk of the conference occurred on Saturday, February 26th with a jam-packed day of speakers and interactive sessions. Highlights included “Big Data in Transportation” led by Mena Lockwood of the Virginia Department of Transportation, and “Soft Skills in a Technical World” by Chris Tiesler of Kittelson & Associates Inc. The day’s activities concluded with dinner, social, and networking at Eastern Divide Brewing in Blacksburg.

Check out the images below for a peek into life at the SDITE Student Leadership Summit.

Our home for the weekend – UNC’s track and field team also happened to be staying here!
The conference kicked off Friday with dinner and speeches
Culture shock for this Californian – Chick-fil-a for breakfast
Attending sessions with other young transportation professionals
Had to stop and admire Blacksburg’s bicycle infrastructure, of course
The best way to wind down after a long day – darts!

Featured image: 2022 SDITE SLS Attendees, courtesy of conference organizers

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