Twenty-one international students participate in the 2011 IRF Road Scholar Program

IRFgroupThe 2011 IRF Road Scholar Program welcomed 21 students from 16 countries. The annual 10-day IRF Road Scholar Program gathers international graduate students who have demonstrated significant educational accomplishments as well as a desire to use their education to improve their home countries.

Road Scholars

Throughout the course of the 10-day Program, Fellows met with transportation industry leaders such as AASHTO Executive Director John C. Horsley and TRB Executive Director Bob Skinner, visited advanced research facilities, listened to high-level corporate presentations, attended leadership training activities, and participated in active-learning events.

A particular highlight for the Fellows was the visit to the US FHWA Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, where the Fellows were introduced to some of the state-of-the-art research being conducted at the facility.

An intense two days of meetings and executive leadership training provided the Fellows with knowledge, skills, insights, and advice on how to create the kind of career they want, how to be successful, and even how to enjoy life as a busy transportation professional.

Gilson Lomboy, a graduate student in civil, construction, and environmental engineering at Iowa State University, said the program is hectic but worth all the time and effort.

“The program is an excellent opportunity for students to learn and meet people that they may never have had the opportunity to,” Lomboy says.

Alejandra Gallegos and teammates proudly savor their “2011 Dreznes Cup” win!

Alejandra Gallegos and teammates proudly savor their “2011 Dreznes Cup” win!

The Dreznes Cup

While the Fellows did keep a demanding schedule, IRF did provide time in the schedule for some activities that allowed for the Fellows to get to know each other as well as take advantage of some of the tourist offerings of Washington, D.C.

Throughout the course of the Program, the Fellows were divided into four teams and competed for the first ever Dreznes Cup. The cup is named after IREF Chairman Mike Dreznes for his devotion to the fellowship program.

“I’m proud to have the cup named after me,” said Dreznes. “I thoroughly enjoy spending time with these bright young professionals because not only do I learn so much from them but I am always amazed by their passion and knowledge. And I always come away with a great feeling that the future of our industry is in very capable hands.”

The Dreznes Cup competition consisted the bridge building competition, where each team must construct a bridge out of edible materials, and IRFardy, a game created by Mike Dreznes in the style of the popular game show Jeopardy! In this round, each team was asked a series of questions about their fellow Fellows, facts and information they learned from IRF members, and about the IRF itself.

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