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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-16-025     Date:  December 2016
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-16-025
Date: December 2016


Federal Highway Administration
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center

Pathways to Careers in Federal Highway Research

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Consider a Career with Turner-Fairbank

Our researchers at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center are dedicated scientists and engineers.
They are experts in more than 100 transportation-related fields including:

Civil Engineering Information Technology
Structural Engineering Hydraulics
Pavement Engineering Aerodynamics
Chemistry Imaging
Safety Geometric Design
Mathematics Photometry
Computational Development Visibility
Modeling and Simulation Human Factors

... and many more.

Look inside to find out how you can become part of the Turner-Fairbank team!


Program Name and Information Source

Who’s Eligible

About the Program

Volunteer Agreements

Contact: Elisa Allen, elisa.allen@dot.gov, 202-366-1753

Typically High School students and College Undergraduates from local schools who are seeking to complete a senior thesis (high school) or interested in an unpaid internship.

Service is performed with the permission of the institution at which the student is enrolled for purposes of providing educational experience for the student.

Unpaid, generally short-term or part-time volunteer work on-site at TFHRC; student can be mentored on a research topic. Opportunity depends on availability of mentor.

Volunteers are not considered Federal employees and do not receive any employee benefits or travel reimbursement.

Summer Transportation Internship Program for Diverse Groups


Open to all qualified undergraduate and graduate students (or PhD, but not typical) but is designed to provide qualified women, persons with disabilities, and members of diverse groups with summer opportunities in transportation where these groups have been under-represented. Applicants must be US citizens.

10-week summer program in DC; provides college/university students with hands-on experience and on-the-job training while working on current transportation-related topics and issues.

The program provides stipend, housing and travel to/from the DC area.

The application period generally ends mid-January of each year.

Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Pathways Programs


There are three Pathways Programs:

Internship Program: Current students in high schools, colleges, trade schools and other qualifying educational institutions.

Recent Graduates Program: Individuals who, within the previous 2 years, graduated from qualifying educational institutions with an associates, masters, professional, doctorate, vocational or technical degree or certificate from qualifying educational institutions.

Presidential Management Fellows Program: Advanced degree candidates (e.g., masters or professional degree candidates), or those who have received a qualifying advanced degree within the preceding two years.

Applicants must be US citizens.

Positions are posted on USAJobs.gov.

Internship Program: Paid opportunities to work in agencies and explore Federal careers while completing their education.

Recent Graduates Program: Provides developmental experiences in the Federal Government to promote possible careers in the civil service.

Presidential Management Fellows Program: The Federal Government's premier leadership development program for advanced degree candidates.

FHWA Professional Development (PDP) Program


See Note 1 on back

Exceptional college graduates with a bachelors or masters degree in a variety of disciplines.

Applicants must: Have graduated within two years of applying to the PDP with a bachelor's or master's degree in a related field from an accredited university.

Be mobile to work anywhere in the USA

Be a U.S. citizen

Opportunities are posted on USAJOBS.gov, usually in February and September each year.

An entry-level career development program that is 24 months in duration and includes training, on-the-job experience. Participants enter the program at the Federal pay grade GS-5, GS-7 or GS-9, depending upon educational degree and GPA.

Participants are assigned to FHWA field offices around the country and perform several rotational assignments. Upon completing the program, participants are permanently placed based primarily on agency need.

Eisenhower Grants for Research Fellowships (GRF) Program


Open to current BA, BS, MA, MS or PhD students in transportation-related fields.

Open to US and non-US citizens.

Acquaints undergraduate and graduate students with transportation research, development, and technology transfer activities at U.S. Department of Transportation facilities.

Participants are paid a stipend.

NAS/National Research Council Associateship


Post doctorates (PhD for less than 5 years) or Senior Researchers (PhD for more than 5 years or expert/experienced researchers.)

Open to US and non-US citizens.

Graduate, postdoctoral, and senior level research opportunities at sponsoring federal laboratories, including the FHWA’s Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center. Prospective applicants select a research project from website and coordinate with sponsoring organization to determine mutual interest. (Includes stipend.)

Individuals with Disabilities

Contact: FHWA Selective Placement Coordinator: Lysette Givens, lysette.givens@dot.gov; 202-366-8746

Individuals with disabilities and targeted disabilities.

Must be US citizens.

People with disabilities can be appointed to Federal jobs non-competitively through a process called Schedule A, or may also apply for jobs through the traditional or competitive process.

Jobs are posted at USAJobs.gov.

See Note 2 on back.

Veteran’s Recruitment Appointment (VRA)


Veterans who are in receipt of a campaign badge for service during a war or in a campaign or expedition; OR

are a disabled veteran, OR

are in receipt of an Armed forces Service Medal for participation in a military operation, OR

are a recently separated veteran (within the last 3 years), AND

separated under honorable conditions (honorable or general discharge).

VRA allows agencies Government-wide to appoint eligible veterans without competition to positions at any grade level up to and including a GS-11. After successfully completing 2 years, the position is converted to the competitive service.

VRA authority can also be used to fill temporary positions. In this case, the position will not be converted to the competitive service after 2 years.


Turner Fairbank Facility

Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101

Notes from the reverse:

  1. Federal pay grades are locality-based and can be found at: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/2015/general-schedule/

  2. General Government-wide information on hiring individuals with disabilities under the “Schedule A” program: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/disability-employment/



Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101