Promoting Interest in Transportation Careers Among Young Women

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Promoting Interest in Transportation Careers Among Young Women


Transportation remains the largest source of U.S.-based carbon emissions, and reducing emissions from this source continues to challenge experts. Addressing challenging problems requires diverse modes of thinking—and at present the transportation workforce is not diverse in terms of gender, with women occupying only about 14% of the transportation workforce. This research developed and tested a school-based intervention that uses pro-environmental framing and exposure to women transportation role models to help attract more women to transportation careers. To investigate the efficacy of the intervention, the research team studied control and treatment groups of university students using pre- and post-surveys to measure changes in student understanding and interest in transportation fields and careers. Students in both groups were enrolled in a climate change course, and students in the treatment group completed an additional transportation learning module designed to stimulate interest in transportation careers. The results showed that by the end of the semester, student awareness that the transportation industry can provide green and sustainable careers increased by 39.7% in the treatment group compared to no change in the control group. In addition, student openness to working in a transportation-related career increased by 17.5% for females in the treatment group compared to no change in the male treatment group and no change in the control group. Given the success of this intervention, similar educational modules at various educational levels could increase the number of women working in transportation. Should such approaches be successful, society will be better prepared to respond to environmental challenges like climate change. 



Professor Eugene Cordero has been in the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science at SJSU for 19 years. Eugene’s earlier research focused on the atmospheric variations associated with global climate change both in models and observations. More recently, Eugene shifted his focus towards solutions to climate change and this has yielded education research and collections of educational materials (i.e., curriculum, videos, games) that promote pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors in youth. One of the outcomes of this work is Green Ninja, an affiliated research group and a commercial enterprise in K–12 education that provides a platform where the results of research-based activities can be disseminated into schools to support teachers and their students. Eugene has built a strong team of researchers, educators, artists, and practitioners who together share a vision of a more sustainable future through science and education. Eugene’s research activities have been supported by NSF, NASA, and MTI.


Kiana Luong is a student in San Jose State University’s Animation/Illustration program with an interest in visual development and production. As a film and design student, Kiana hopes to use media to promote climate change education, sustainable living practices, and awareness of local flora and fauna. She is currently contributing to raising awareness by collaborating with a team of artists to produce a series of comics with Green Ninja, the research group founded by Professor Eugene Cordero that creates pro-environmental K–12 educational materials. Additionally, Kiana is an active member of the animation community, serving as the 2021–2022 President of the Animation/Illustration Shrunkenheadman Club and previously as the 2020–2021 Shrunkenheadman Charity Committee Moderator. Kiana holds five film credits on student produced short films and would one day like to have an environmentalist short film be screened at an international film festival.

November 2021
Transportation careers
Education and training
Climate change



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