U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg visits Texas Southern University
By: Texas Southern University
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee visited Texas Southern University today to learn how the University is transforming lives as they prepare students for careers in the transportation industry.
This visit to TSU, which included real-life, student-run simulations, was part of a tour of Houston transportation providers and experts that included a visit with students studying transportation technology at North Forest High School, and George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
“The purpose was to come look at the various areas that the nation can benefit from what we learn about transportation here in Houston,” said Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. “We are here because the Secretary has had an enormous impact on moving the aviation industry and dealing with the lack of pilots. We’re here at Texas Southern, a place that can be the heartbeat of more pilots in America. The secretary is looking at ways this area can be part of problem solving.”
This semester TSU’s Aviation Science Management program is experiencing record enrollment.
“This is by far the biggest day in the TSU aviation history,” said Dr. Terrence Fontaine, Executive Director of Aviation at TSU. “I can’t tell you how elated we are to have a secretary of transportation visit the school and come take a look at our aviation department. It is our hope that through this visit, Secretary Buttigieg understands the dynamics that take place in our environment and some of the things we need with regard to federal support. We want him to see what we do here every day, and the opportunities that more support could create for our outstanding students.”
During the visit, TSU aviation students took Secretary Buttigieg and Rep. Jackson Lee through a simulation of a real-life takeoff scenario at an airport, as well as a Redbird flight simulation.
“Texas Southern University wants to ensure the provision of an environment for our students to become outstanding pilots and aviation professionals,” said TSU President Dr. Lesia L. Crumpton-Young. “We want them to have state-of-the-art equipment. We also want them to engage in research, and we are thankful for the partnership as well as the opportunity for our students to learn, first-hand, how to be outstanding pilots in our simulation laboratories. We know these future aviation professionals are part of the solution to a nationwide pilot shortage.”
“Texas Southern University has a partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation that’s connected with our University Transportation Center program,” said Sec. Buttigieg. “So, a research partnership on that side and on the teaching side helping to address the fact that America needs pilots and that these students have good paying jobs waiting for them, it’s fantastic to see connections being made especially at a great HBCU like Texas Southern.”
The Secretary and Congresswoman also received a tour and demonstration in the TranStar lab. The lab allows TSU to access all real-time closed circuit television traffic videos and speed data currently available in Houston Traffic Management Center, TranStar, which provides hands-on training and research opportunities for students in the Department of Transportation Studies.