Imagining the Future of Transportation Program (IFTP)

The Imagining the Future of Transportation Program (IFTP) is a two-week, project based engineering experience for rising 9th and 10th grade students. Previously offered in summer 2016 and 2017, this program will be returning in summer 2020! The program will run from June 22 to July 2.

The program introduces students to real-world transportation-focused research and facilitates students’ understanding and application of STEM subjects.

  • Students review current transportation systems and proposed expansion plans
  • Students review plans in other cities both domestic and foreign
  • Teams, through presentations and supporting workshops, are introduced to a variety of transportation challenges facing engineers, including, but not limited to:
    • aging infrastructure
    • traffic management
    • bike and pedestrian safety
    • public transportation
  • Teams propose one aspect of our local transportation system they seek to improve and/or modify and present their plan at the final presentation at the close of the program
  • Throughout the experience, participants will engage in a variety of engineering workshops to further enhance their understanding of engineering and the design process

The program is held on the campus of Northeastern University located at 360 Huntington Avenue in Boston, MA 02115.

Core Principles:
  • Encourage education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
  • Encourage and motivate youth to pursue STEM careers
  • Foster teamwork, leadership, and citizenship
  • To establish a summer engineering experience, utilizing transportation as the guiding theme for project based engineering and design experiences
  • To introduce 9-10th grade students to college life and facilitate interaction with university students, staff, and faculty
  • To educate and support 9-10th grade students in the areas of STEM through engagement in practical applications and real-world experiences
  • To inspire 9-10th grade students to pursue careers in STEM fields
  • To train and engage university students in the design and delivery of this program to deepen their content knowledge and refine their presentation skills
  • To provide mentoring and support for participants and their families beyond the summer experience and ensure equitable access to programs and opportunities
  • Leverage the university community to provide opportunities for participants to interact with engineers, scientists, researchers, other professionals, and current university students
  • Teach “hands-on, minds-on” STEM activities on relevant and applicable topics, with dynamic input and feedback from students to adapt and expand investigations
  • Incorporate activities that nurture and develop 21st century skills, including written and oral communication, teamwork, problem solving, systems thinking, and more
  • Integrate field excursions to expose students to real-world STEM application*
  • Students must be MA residents and live within a 30 mile radius of Northeastern University.
  • Final program cost is dependent on grant funding. If available, program will be free, otherwise program cost is $600.
  • Upon entrance into the program there will be a $50 commitment fee (will be subtracted from program cost)
  • A limited number of full scholarships will be offered to students eligible for free or reduced lunch (indicated in your program application). No additional scholarship application/documentation is required.
    • Our program goals are aligned with national efforts to create and foster diversity in the pursuit of academic and career opportunities related to STEM. Preference will be given to students who are eligible for free/reduced lunch. Click Here for Federal Guidelines.
  • Students Entering 9-10th grades the Fall following the program are eligible to apply. Students from any schools (public, private, home schooled, etc) are eligible.
  • An even number of males and females will be selected, in addition to an even split between 9th and 10th grade students from a diverse range of demographic backgrounds.
  • Students must NOT have completed the program before. In other words, you cannot participate in this program twice.
Application Process:

Applications are now open! To simplify the application process, the only required application document is this online student application. Please be aware that the application must be done all at once – you cannot save and finish it later. The application is primarily to be completed by the student, although page 3 (Q13-Q18) should be completed by the parent/guardian of the applying student. There are two open response questions (250 words each). Since the application must be completed in one sitting, we suggest you write your responses ahead of time. The two writing prompts are:

  1. This program will expand your knowledge of engineering and how engineers approach transportation issues. In approximately 250 words, please tell the selection committee your thoughts on the most significant transportation challenges in the city of Boston and beyond.
  2. In approximately 250 words, please tell the selection committee why you are interested in attending the 2020 Imagining the Future of Transportation Program. Include in your essay what you hope to gain from this experience, how you think it will help you in the future and why you think you should be selected to attend this program.

If you have questions or need additional information, email the Center for STEM Education at

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