Go! -- an online magazine for young people -- promotes transportation careers

AMES, Iowa -- You can read how a 14-year-old handled her session in a snowplow simulator.

You can also read how airliners can take off and land in winter weather.

And there are stories about chemicals that melt snow, studying transportation at Iowa State University and gadgets that make it easier to travel in the winter. There's even a quiz about traffic signals.

It's all in the first issue of Go!, a free, online magazine for teens and young adults that's published by Iowa State University's Center for Transportation Research and Education. The magazine is now available at www.go-explore-trans.org.

Michele Regenold, the editor of Go!, said the magazine grew out of a research project she did for a graduate course in linguistics. She surveyed young people about what the word transportation meant to them and asked them about jobs in transportation.

"The vast majority said truck drivers and airline pilots had highly transportation-ish jobs," she said. "But civil engineers and bridge engineers didn't rate high."

When Regenold was asked to present those findings at a transportation conference, she started thinking about ways to teach young people about the full range of transportation careers. She thought a magazine devoted to transportation careers might be the answer. A magazine could be fun and interesting. It could cover different parts of the industry. And each issue could reinforce the fact that there are a lot of careers related to transportation.

Regenold ultimately decided on an online magazine because it costs a lot less to produce. The magazine is being launched with grants of $3,000 from the Women's Enrichment Fund from Iowa State's Provost's Office and $2,500 from the Retention and Recruitment program of Iowa State's Professional and Scientific Council. The magazine is also being supported by donations from the Associated General Contractors of Iowa Foundation, the Midwest Transportation Consortium at Iowa State, the Iowa Chapter of the American Public Works Association and the Iowa Laborers/Employers Cooperation and Education Trust Fund.

Regenold said the magazine will be published every other month. Each issue will feature a theme (it's "winter work" for the first issue.) The magazine will begin with an Iowa focus, but Regenold hopes to move to a national focus. If there's enough interest and support, she hopes to eventually publish the magazine every month during the school year.

Megan Kroeger, that 14-year-old freshman at Ames High School who took the wheel of the Iowa Department of Transportation's snowplow simulator for the magazine's first issue, is one of two students on the magazine's editorial board.

She said she's more interested in a teaching career than a transportation career. But she's willing to read and help with the magazine because, "I love to drive."

And how did her session in the snowplow simulator go?

This is what Go! reported in a story by Regenold: "a car zooms up on her right. It's trying to pass on the right. It bumps Megan and she spins into the median. The truck comes to a stop in the snowy median. Megan is breathing hard. 'This is so terrifying,' she says."

This is what Kroeger, who's just learning to drive, had to say about the experience: "I've never really driven a truck that big before. It was a bit difficult, but quite fun."

And yes, she said, she'll tell her friends about Go! She thinks it will interest some young people. And they just might learn something.