Each year, NIATT honors one especially outstanding graduate student by naming that person
Students are selected based on the technical merit of their
research, academic performance, and professionalism and leadership. The
NIATT student is then submitted to represent UI for a chance to be the
TranLIVE or the PacTrans UTC Student-of-the-Year. The US
Department of Transportation (DOT) recognizes the Student-of-the-Year from each
university transportation center at a special ceremony during the annual Transportation Research Board
meeting in Washington, DC. The student
also receives $1,000 cash award and a trip to DC for the annual TRB
Christopher "Kip" Davidson
was first exposed to traffic signal systems during his senior year of
pursuing a B.S. in Civil Engineering at the University of Idaho and has
been fascinated with the dynamic topic ever since.
After assisting in research efforts for the National Institute for
Advanced Transportation Technology (NIATT) during his undergraduate
career, he felt at home in continuing his transportation engineering
education as a graduate student under the supervision of Dr. Ahmed
Abdel-Rahim, P.E. During this time, he had the exciting opportunity of
investigating eco-friendly traffic signal timing plans for
fully-actuated isolated intersections and fixed-time arterial corridors.
The outcome of this research is rewarding both on a local and global
perspective. Reducing the amount of tailpipe emissions and fuel consumed
as a result of traffic signal control is a substantial step in the fight
against pollution and global warming.
NIATT has supplied him with pertinent tools, such as transportation
simulation experience, and the knowledge to effectively solve real-world
problems. Upon obtaining his M.S.C.E. with an emphasis in transportation
engineering in December of 2013, he joined the team at Horrocks
Engineers, headquartered near Salt Lake City, Utah, working on various
transportation related projects.
Kip represented UI in the TranLIVE UTC Student-of-the-Year
selection process. William "Andy" Edwardes from Virginia tech was
selected as the 2013 TranLIVE Student-of-the-Year
Andrew "Drew" Hooper
UI mechanical engineering graduate Andrew (“Drew”)
Hooper has been selected Student-of-the-Year for the PacTrans regional
UTC, which is based at the University of Washington.
He was selected as the most exceptional student studying
transportation in the five northwest universities that comprise the
PacTrans research group.
Drew graduated Fall 2013 with a MS in Mechanical Engineering from the
UI. He is now a project
engineer with Polaris.
His expertise is in the area of clean and efficient
direct-injected two-stroke engine development.
He was instrumental in the achievements of the UI Clean
Snowmobile Team in the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge in 2013, which won
overall Third Place, and a record of 10 other trophies and awards.
The UI snowmobile had the same pollution emissions as the
cleanest four-stroke machines, while being equally fuel efficient and
200-300 pounds lighter.
With Polaris, Andrew is now working on the next generation of clean
Drew is author or co-author on two papers that have
been submitted to the Society of Automotive Engineers for publication as
technical papers and presentation at the international Small Engines
Technology Conference, the premier global venue for work in small
engines. One of the papers
received the Best Technical Paper Award at the Clean Snowmobile
Challenge in 2013.
Drew also was a member of the
senior design team which designed and now has a patent on a synchronous
charge trapping (SCT) two-stroke engine.
The SCT valve is unique in that it operates at any engine speed,
and may be able to replace the heavy, bulky, large tuned pipe which is
placed in the exhaust of a typical two-stroke engine.
These rotary exhaust valves operate at the speed of the engine
and greatly reduce emissions from the engine by improving scavenging.
This saves weight and space, and reduces costs. His thesis
examined the pollution emissions produced by the engine and is entitled
“COMPARISON OF SYNCHRONOUS CHARGE TRAPPING AND VARIABLE EXHAUST VALVES
IN A TWO-STROKE ENGINE.”
During his graduate career, Andrew also had an internship with
Bombardier Recreational products, makers of Evinrude and Ski-Doo, and
learned how to control combustion in two-stroke engines.