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Student Endowment Fund: September/October

Jenny and Wulf receiving Contributor Recognition for contributions to the Student Endowment Fund. Presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting in Keystone, Colorado.

For the September/October spotlight, Jenny Grote, PE, PTOE, PTP shares her thoughts on the Student Endowment Fund. Jenny is a past International President and a recipient of the ITE Burton W. Marsh Award. Jenny is the Principal of GroTrans Engineering, LLC and a Visionary contributor of the Student Endowment Fund.

Happy Fall Y’all! I am amazed at all the changes that have taken place in 2020. Before the pandemic, I would not have considered participating in a virtual video conference, attending a virtual Annual Meeting, or virtual Student Traffic Bowl. ITE did an amazing job taking an in-person program, both at the District and International levels, and converting them to a virtual format. One giant, and positive, step for mankind!

During my 34 years in ITE leadership positions, visiting 30+ student chapters, I have seen many current leaders ‘grow up’ in ITE; from knowing them as student members/leaders, then as peers, and now risen to high-level leadership positions. One of these ‘rising stars’ (before there was an official ‘Rising Star’ award) was the current International Vice-President Alyssa Reynolds Rodriguez. I met Alyssa in the late 1990s when she was the Student Chapter President at Montana State University.

Upon graduation, Alyssa was hired by Rich Romer (2006 International President) for the Las Vegas office of Orth-Rodgers. When Alyssa was District President in 2012, Rich passed from this earth, but Alyssa saw to it that his legacy as a supporter of students lived on by naming the Endowment Fund after Rich. He would have been so proud to see the next generation of enthusiastic, energetic, motivated, dedicated students in transportation and to see them have successful careers in transportation. With the help of the Endowment Fund, and past and future leaders like Alyssa, we have an even more exciting future ahead!

A little Endowment Fund history

Student Endowment Fund Committee – 2008

In 2005, fifteen years ago, the Endowment Fund was initiated by then-District President Zaki Mustafa (who became International President in 2013). He appointed Pat Gibson as the first Administrator of the fund. Pat built upon the endowment fund idea from Montana State University and brought it to the District level. This Fund was established as a source for student members to attend District annual meetings, TRB conferences, and the extremely successful Student Leadership Summit. Other objectives were to expand the student awards program and various student initiatives.

After Pat completed his term, Cathy Leong, current International Director representing the Western District, was appointed as Chair in 2007, and I served on her Committee along with Michael Sanderson (2012 International President), Julie Townsend, and Jennifer Rosales (both Past International Directors). We met twice a year at the District Board meetings, to brainstorm ideas on how to promote contributions to the Endowment Fund and how to promote student involvement.

Now, Cathy is serving as an International Director and Kimberly Leung chaired the Endowment Fund Committee (now the Student Funding and Initiatives Committee) until she was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Western District in June. Taking on the task of Committee Chair, after Kimberly, is Ashley Kim, a young professional and true ‘rising star’ who graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; another ‘difference maker’ in our profession!

Student Leadership Summit (SLS)

The Student Leadership Summits bring together students in transportation programs to develop their leadership abilities, improve their career skill sets, and create connections with fellow students, faculty, and professionals. Planned events include presentations, technical tours, speed interviews, and resume reviews. They are a fantastic opportunity to meet new people, get your name out, and learn about developments in the transportation industry. The location of the Summit varies each year and is passed from university to university in the Western District, and now at universities around the world. Summits offer the chance for leaders from the transportation industry to share their expertise on how to be a successful leader and develop a successful career.

The Endowment Fund has been instrumental in providing students the ability to attend SLS’s and help them transition from being a student member into a productive, motivated young professional in the transportation profession.

In the Western District, the 8th Annual SLS will be ‘coming back SLOme’ on January 15-17, 2021. The Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Student chapter will be hosting the SLS.

2014 SLS hosted by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

 

2015 SLS hosted by Sacramento State

Student Traffic Bowl

2015 International Collegiate Traffic Bowl 1st Place Champions – Cal Poly, SLO

The objectives of the Student Traffic Bowl are to:

  • Encourage students to become more active members in the Institute;
  • Enhance their knowledge of the transportation profession;
  • Gain knowledge of the Institute itself;
  • Strengthen the programs of the ITE student chapters, and most of all;
  • Have fun and network with fellow students.

The winning team of the Western District Student Traffic Bowl goes on to compete in the Grand Championship ITE Collegiate Traffic Bowl at the International level. The Endowment Fund also provides funding for these events.

Reception for students during TRB week (pending)

Student Reception at ITE Headquarters @ TRB 2002

Students are invited to ITE’s Open House Reception for Students at ITE Headquarters in Washington, DC. This event is a great opportunity to meet ITE’s awesome Executive Director, Jeffrey Paniati, along with other amazing ITE staff members. Learn more about ITE from those in leadership positions, meet other students, and find out how we can help you succeed in launching a dynamic career. ITE encourages student members and non-members to attend – an interest in transportation is all that is required. Feel free to wear your school colors (like I did back in 2002….Go Buffs!).

 

 

Jenny’s next chapters…

The Arizona Section presented a plaque for an annual Jenny L. Grote Scholarship Award

At the ITE Arizona Section Holiday gathering in December of 2015, the members surprised me with a plaque acknowledging my support of students, young professionals, and my many years in offices at all levels of ITE. Each year, the Section has since awarded a $1,000 scholarship in my name to an ungraduated or graduate student in transportation at an Arizona university.

2016 was the first year since 1987 that I was not on an ITE Board at some level; the same year I also retired from my 31-year career with the City of Phoenix, Street Transportation Department. Just like the inevitable process of replacing me at the City, I was replaced as a leader in the Western District.

Then in 2019, I was asked to continue my service to ITE as the District Administrator of the newly formed Mountain District; a position I held in the Western District for eight years. Of course, I said ‘yes’ once again, and I was appointed on January 1, 2020. I also serve as the Board liaison to the new Student and Young Member Committee, so I can continue helping to attract new members and leaders to our organization. The December issue of the ITE Journal will have more details of the Mountain District and my role as District Administrator.

In the October issue of the ITE Journal, check out page 42 where I wrote an article as the recipient of the 2020 BURTON W. MARSH DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD for my contributions to ITE over many years. I wrote about the challenge of “Balance to Achieve Harmony.” It’s all about balancing ITE-Work-Life to achieve Harmony. I still wish I had the right formula, but I try, with the help of lots of other dedicated members and my family.

Looking back to my mid-career days, here is my advice to younger members:

  • Do not worry about “balancing” ITE-WORK-LIFE, just put one foot in front of the other and “Enjoy the Journey” TODAY! Do not wait till you retire to make up for lost time, like me. Make memories together NOW at whatever level. These just might be the “good ‘ol days!”
  • It is not about the amount of time but the special, quality times you create.
  • Instead of going in a straight line to the end of your journey, zigzag through life and enjoy the diversions, surprises, and detours.
  • Life is all about what we make of it. I cannot wait to see what is next!

I have seen lots of changes in ITE, but one thing never changes; the camaraderie and progress we are making at a rapid pace with our colleagues around the globe. My advice for future generations…keep up the good work that many of us old-timers dedicated our careers and volunteer time to. Someday, I will gladly step aside and let the next generation take the reins but be sure to balance your professional life with your personal life and… Enjoy the Journey!

Taken at our Grote Family Reunion in Estes Park, Colorado in 2019. With my husband, Wulf, son-in-law Frederik (28), daughter Krista (29), and daughter Kayla (25). As of 2021, Denver, Colorado will be our new home – coming back full circle to where we lived 35 years ago, and be close to my Alma Mater, the University of Colorado!

Please consider a contribution to the Student Endowment Fund. Those funds help support our student members participate in the exciting opportunities that are planned in 2021 and beyond!

Student Endowment Fund: July/August

For the July/August spotlight, Student Funding and Initiatives Committee (SFIC) member Ashley Kim shares how the Joint Western and Mountain Districts Virtual Annual Meeting hosted student events in the virtual format.

During pre-COVID times, the Western District would typically host in-person events for students at the Annual Meetings such as the Kell Competition, Student Traffic Bowl, Student/Faculty Leadership Forum, resume reviews, and Career Guidance Q&A.

With the decision in May to convert the meeting to virtual, the SFIC had two months to turn our in-person student events into a virtual format. The committee began meeting weekly to plan, test Zoom functionalities, and coordinate tasks to run the events. The committee ran through scenarios on Zoom to address possible technical difficulties. Each committee member oversaw the virtual logistics of a student event.

Typically, the Kell Competition is held on Sunday afternoon of the conference and is hosted by the Student Chapter whose proposal was selected for the event. Due to the virtual format, the SFIC decided to plan and host the Kell Competition for all student participants to compete. Designed and led by Brandon Wong from the Riverside-San Bernardino Section, the students were given virtual allowances for food and transportation and sent to explore the island of Oahu virtually. The student teams prepared fun PowerPoint presentations to share their day’s adventures, eats, and beautiful sightseeing in Oahu. There were 12 student teams from the Western and Mountain Districts. Judges Cathy Leong, Mark Spencer, and Neelam Dorman scored each team, and two BYU teams won first and second place. A Cal Poly San Luis Obispo team and Oregon Tech team tied for third place.

Team BYU2 – First Place

Team BYU1 – 2nd Place

Team CPSLO1 – 3rd Place (Tie)

Team OIT – 3rd Place (Tie)

The SFIC also planned resume reviews and a Career Panel. Coordinated by Kayla Fleskes from the Oregon Section, students were invited to submit their resumes before the conference to be reviewed by three ITE working professionals. Students received their resume reviews by the beginning of the conference. 30 working professionals reviewed 18 student resumes and provided feedback.

Session 4B Student Faculty Leadership forum was coordinated by Kimberly Leung from the San Francisco Bay Area Section and led by Dr. David Hurwitz from Oregon State University and Dr. Grant Schultz from Brigham Young University. The attendees discussed topics such as the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on ITE student activities, fundraising, recruitment, collaboration, and elections. After the session, Dr. Hurwitz and Dr. Schultz wrote a white paper summarizing the results from the session. A recording of Session 4B can be viewed here.

For the Session 7B – Career Guidance Q&A, Kayla Fleskes served as moderator, and Joshua McNeill, Alicia Yang, and Jenny Grote shared their career insights and experiences with the student attendees. The panelists shared their ITE Annual Meeting memories, what they would have done with their fun time in Hawaii, reflected on their transition from student to working professional, and discussed the impacts of the pandemic. A recording of Session 7B can be viewed here.

Career Guidance Panel

The Traffic Bowl was converted to a virtual format on Zoom. Led by Ashley Kim from the San Francisco Bay Area Section, the SFIC practiced the details of sharing the gameboard with the attendees, muting audience members, and determining the fine details of the virtual setup on Zoom. For the prequalification round on Sunday, 11 student teams from the Western District and the Mountain District completed the prequalification quizzes on Google Forms. The top three scores from each district advanced to the virtual Jeopardy game hosted by each District.

Immediately after the prequalification round results were sent, the committee led the qualifying Western District teams through a tutorial on how the virtual format would work. Students were instructed to keep themselves on mute unless they were answering a question, utilize the Zoom chat box as a buzzer, and hold a non-Zoom conference call during the game to deliberate with their teammates. The Oregon State University team won first place, and Cal Poly SLO and UCLA tied for 2nd place after a triple tiebreaker. The virtual Jeopardy worked well for the first time, and the committee is passing the knowledge to the International Traffic Bowl committee and providing the logistical details for the virtual International Traffic Bowl taking place in fall 2020.

1st Virtual Western District Traffic Bowl

In total, there were 90 student attendees, representing 26 student chapters from the Western and Mountain Districts, at the virtual meeting. The virtual student events would not have been possible without Kimberly Leung leading the charge by coordinating with the SFIC committee and the LAC and practicing on Zoom as a host to become well-versed with the program. The committee hasn’t seen each other in person in over a year, but we were able to come together within a month’s notice and put together a successful student program all on Zoom. Thank you to the committee members, volunteers, contributors, and students who make these events successful. We hope you all have a safe and healthy summer, and see you next year at the Joint ITE International, Mountain, and Western District Annual Meeting and Exhibition in Portland, OR!


Contributions to the Endowment Fund can be made at westernite.org/endowment-fund/endowment-fund-contribute/

 

Student Endowment Fund: May/June

For the May/June spotlight, we invited our ITE Student Chapters to share what they have been doing during this new normal of online coursework and off-campus life. The following Chapters shared how they are keeping their members connected.

UCLA

ITE at UCLA has switched quickly to online webinars and workshops via Zoom! We have weekly trivia socials using Kahoot to stay connected, and we still have our weekly meetings on Zoom as well.

-Joceline Suhaimi, Chapter President

 

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Cal Poly ITE is springing ahead. We quickly adjusted our plans for the rest of the school year to go virtual. To keep our members up to date, we created a Slack with various channels such as transportation news, announcements, etc. Every week we have some sort of event. We continue to have general meetings with companies and professors in order to keep in touch with the transportation industry. When we don’t have general meetings planned, we open our officer meetings to all members to give them an opportunity to understand the internal functions of our chapter. Lastly, we have planned fun online socials to keep connected!

-Kezia Suwandhaputra, Chapter President

 

UC Berkeley

Due to the change to virtual instruction, Cal ITE has wrapped up this academic year slightly differently than usual. Usually, Cal ITE and the Cal Transportation Team cohost a banquet in order to celebrate the year’s events together. However, this year, the team focused on virtually designing t-shirts and stickers together! Through the input from all the students, we were able to design a shirt that everyone will be proud to wear and a sticker to decorate our Hydroflasks to proudly rep Cal ITE.   In addition, the Fehr and Peers team was very accommodating and hosted a virtual presentation and Q&A to introduce students to various ongoing projects. Through this event, students were able to continue to connect with one another and with industry professionals. Although these are interesting times — to say the least, Cal ITE is proud to have finished the semester strong. In the upcoming months, we hope to host virtual FE studying sessions, among other events!

One of the last events our chapter was able to host was game night! See above for the photo of us all together, circa pre-6ft-apart times.

-Amy Huang, Chapter President

 

Oregon State University

Oregon State University’s ITE student chapter has been trying to maintain as “normal” of a spring term schedule as possible. We held our spring term General Meeting this past Tuesday, an informational meeting to generate interest for this term’s events, get feedback as to what fall term events our members want, and introduce our newly-elected officers for 2020-2021. Because we usually provide food at in-person meetings, we did a drawing for food-related gift cards. In the upcoming weeks, we are really excited for:

  • A virtual presentation from a project manager at the Portland Bureau of Transportation, who will speak about their career and how “a normal day” has changed for them during this pandemic;
  • An hour-long Introduction to Synchro webinar;
  • A virtual civil engineering-themed trivia event, hosted jointly with our ASCE student chapter;
  • Launching a mentoring program to connect our juniors/seniors with professionals.
  • A bi-weekly transportation discussion group focused on engaging our graduate student members (interested undergraduate students are welcome, too). We meet for an hour (virtually) every two weeks to talk about transportation topics, the projects we’re working on, ask questions and get feedback, and just generally connect with each other. Under “normal” circumstances, we’d be split across different graduate offices, so I think this discussion group is really helping bring us together as a more cohesive graduate group–more so than before COVID started!

To get the word out about our events this term, we contacted professors currently teaching transportation classes to ask them to share our upcoming events with their students. Many already had assignments to attend a professional development event virtually this term, so our chapter events fit in well with their course requirements. We are also advertising events in both our department and ITE weekly messages. Our newly-elected officers, who took over this term from a fantastic group of outgoing officers, have been superstars in making ITE at OSU happen despite the pandemic!

-Amy Wyman, Chapter President


Contributions to the Endowment Fund can be made at westernite.org/endowment-fund/endowment-fund-contribute/

Student Endowment Fund: March/April

For the March/April spotlight, Gonzaga University student chapter president Madelyn Cayton reflects on the inaugural year of the Gonzaga University Student Chapter.

Gonzaga University has had an ITE student chapter for several years but it wasn’t until Fall 2019 that it became an established club on campus. A few students who were interested in transportation engineering decided to contact Dr. Rhonda Young, our transportation engineering professor, and with her help, we were able to bring fresh energy to the student chapter.

Since then, we have focused our efforts primarily on community service and professional development. Last fall our student chapter worked with the City of Spokane to create a popup temporary cycle track near campus. We hope to work closely with the City in upcoming transit and multi-modal focused projects in the years to come. We have also been organizing a bike drive to collect bicycles from the community, which will then be refurbished and donated to children in Northeast Spokane. This is part of a campus-wide initiative for the Gonzaga to better serve Northeast Spokane, which is an area of the city that historically has faced significant economic challenges.

In addition to our community service focus, we have made sure to provide our members with plenty of opportunities to network and learn about careers in the transportation industry. This spring we hosted an ITE Washington Industry night which brought together several employers and three ITE Student Chapters to connect and learn about developing a career in transportation engineering. Our members are regular attendees of seminars hosted by Women’s Transportation Seminar, American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Gonzaga University Civil Engineering faculty on campus. These events allow our members to get an idea of what a career in the transportation field looks like while seeking out professional opportunities.

Along with supporting our community and fostering professional development, another important part of our student chapter is to allow students to learn more about the transportation industry. This is where the Endowment Fund has been the most beneficial to us. This summer, we hope to send members to the Western ITE Annual Conference, providing us with the opportunity to network with professionals in the transportation industry and other student chapters. Our goal for next year is to send our officer team to the Western ITE Leadership Summit to learn more about how we can continue to grow our student chapter and develop engaging activities for our members.


Contributions to the Endowment Fund can be made at westernite.org/endowment-fund/endowment-fund-contribute/

Student Endowment Fund: January/February

For the January-February spotlight, USC ITE students Joan Lee, Allison Fischer, and Lei Lily Tam reflect on the ITE Student Leadership Summit, which they planned and hosted with the UCLA chapter. The Student Leadership Summit is one of many initiatives supported by the Student Endowment Fund.

Planning and executing a three-day conference with 200 attendees is no easy task. UCLA and USC’s ITE student chapters spent about a year planning the 7th Annual Western/Mountain District Student Leadership Summit, which took place from January 31 to February 2, 2020. 

A year before the Summit, our chapters started by creating a budget, which we adjusted many times before the actual event. Next, we worked on finding sponsors and venues for the Summit. Soon enough, we were developing a preliminary schedule of events and deciding what materials we would need to make each event happen. As the date approached, we developed the website, sign-up form, and coordinated volunteers. One week before the Summit, we were filling 200 Metro souvenir bags with “swag” donated by various companies, and we reflected and saw how far we had come. 

Thanks to our ITE student chapter presidents, Joceline Suhaimi (UCLA) and Lei Lily Tam (USC), we proudly planned and hosted a very successful Summit. With guidance from our chapter advisors, Walter Okitsu and Eric Shen, we overcame the challenges we encountered and formulated the message we wanted to send to our SLS attendees. 

Planning the Summit allowed us to gain valuable leadership experience and see what it is like to manage a long-term project. As USC students, we enjoyed working closely with UCLA ITE members, despite the existing rivalry between the universities. We appreciate the opportunities to take on new and familiar tasks. It was extremely rewarding to see the event come together after all our hard work. 

As for the conference itself, the speed interviews and career fair portions were useful for the students to build their connections and network. Also, meeting and bonding with students from the Western District ITE schools and Montana State University was a rare, amazing opportunity. We learned how other schools ran their chapters and what kind of events they held, gaining inspiration to apply to our own chapters. Also getting the opportunity to hear from transportation legends Donald Shoup and Genevieve Guiliano was extremely valuable as it displayed how great ITE’s reach is. We would like to continue branching out and expanding membership to anyone who is passionate about transportation, particularly outside of the civil engineering major.  

We would like to continue the conference to build the students’ professional skills, as well as allow other ITE chapters to meet and collaborate with one another. Meeting others who are passionate about transportation is inspiring and motivating, making the conference especially valuable. Through this reunion of transportation students, we can continue to learn how to improve from each other.

“Although I am not a civil engineer or a planner, my interest lies in data and being the bridge between business and technology – skills that can be applied to any industry, especially one like transportation where there’s an insane amount of data collected everyday! My M.S. Choice, came from this as supply chain is literally connected by transportation systems. This joint effort to host SLS with UCLA was truly a unique experience, seeing two rival universities come together to celebrate the same passion.”

– Lei Lily Tam
4th Year Undergraduate – Industrial & Systems Engineering
1st year Master’s student – Global Supply Chain Management


Contributions to the Endowment Fund can be made at westernite.org/endowment-fund/endowment-fund-contribute/

Student Endowment Fund: November/ December

For the November-December spotlight, Student Funding and Initiatives Committee Chair Kimberly Leung will be sharing updates to the District’s Student Initiatives, including new awards and funding allocations, beginning in 2020.

The Student Funding and Initiatives Committee (SFIC) is tasked with promoting the advancement of the transportation planning and engineering profession by fostering the close association of professionals with civil and transportation planning and engineering students. Student members are valuable assets and the future leaders of the Institute. The SFIC is also charged with overseeing and managing the Student Endowment Fund, which establishes a self-sustaining funding source for the District’s Student Initiatives.

 

Student Initiatives

In 2020, with the creation of the New Mountain District from a portion of the existing Western District, the Student Endowment Fund was distributed equitably based on the proportion of student membership located within each District, with 73% in the Western District and 27% in the Mountain District.

To reflect the redistribution of student chapters, the funding for the Western District’s various Student Initiatives was also adjusted with changes that included:

  • Reducing the number of data collection projects from six to four.
  • Eliminating the $100/report award for student chapter annual reports.
  • Establishing more detailed submittal requirements, including evaluation criteria and page limits, for the Student Chapter Award.
  • Establishing the Student Chapter Momentum Award to recognize a student chapter that has experienced the greatest momentum or most improvement in the past year.
  • Reallocating $1,000 previously used to provide travel support for the Student Chapter Award winner to attend the ITE International Meeting if they were also the winner at the International competition to the Student Chapter Momentum Award winner at the District level.
  • Eliminating the $300 cash prize for the Kell competition.
  • Reducing the number of Student Regional Travel Scholarships from four to two.

 

Each year, over $12,000, paid from the Endowment Fund, is spent on Student Initiatives, which now includes:

  • Funding for the Data Collection Fund ($1,000/project for 4 projects)
  • Awards for the Student Chapter and Student Chapter Momentum winners at the Western District Annual Meeting ($1,000/award for 2 awards)
  • Funding for the James H. Kell competition held at the Western District Annual Meeting ($1,500)
  • Awards for the Student Paper, Outstanding Graduate Student, and Outstanding Undergraduate Student winners at the Western District Annual Meeting ($500/award for 3 awards)
  • Student Regional Travel Scholarships to attend the Western District Annual Meeting ($500/student for 2 students)
  • Support for the Student Leadership Summit ($1,000)
  • Travel support for the winning Student Traffic Bowl team to the ITE International Meeting ($1,000)
  • Sponsoring special events for students and professionals ($250)

 

Student Chapter Awards

The complete list of award and funding opportunities for student chapters, including award guidelines and deadlines, is available here.

Data Collection Fund

In 2004, the ITE Western District created a Data Collection Fund to encourage student chapter involvement with the profession. This program is specifically aimed at creating interest in transportation through practical activities and mentoring. The District awards up to $4,000 annually for the Data Collection Fund, typically distributed in $1,000 increments.

Beginning in 2019, the number of data collection projects was reduced from six to four.

James H. Kell Award

The James H. Kell Student Competition Award intends to give student members attending the District Annual Meeting an opportunity to apply transportation and traffic engineering classroom knowledge to a real-world problem. The competition also gives students the chance to meet and interact with students from other schools. The District issues a request for proposals (RFP) inviting ITE student chapters to design and run the student competition at the Annual Meeting. The winning student chapter is awarded up to $1,500 to cover material costs and travel expenses of students and their faculty advisor to attend the Annual Meeting.

Beginning in 2020, the $300 cash prize for the Kell competition was eliminated.

Outstanding Student Award

The Outstanding Student Awards recognizes both an undergraduate and graduate student who has shown exceptional dedication to the transportation profession, extraordinary enthusiasm for ITE, and unwavering professionalism in transportation research or an intern position. The District recognizes one undergraduate student and one graduate student each year. The winners receives plaques, a $500 award, as well as free registrations for the Western District Annual Meeting.

Outstanding Transportation Educator Award

The Outstanding Transportation Educator Award recognizes an educator who has shown extraordinary creativity in teaching, taken exceptional measures to spark student interest in the transportation profession, provided unwavering encouragement for student endeavors, or shown unequaled service to ITE.

Student Chapter Annual Meeting Award

The Student Chapter Annual Meeting Award encourages student participation in Annual Meeting events. The award is given to the student chapter who has the highest participation and performance at the Annual Meeting. Points are awarded for general attendance, participation in student events, and volunteering throughout the conference. The winning student chapter receives the Western District Student Chapter Annual Meeting traveling trophy.

Student Chapter Award

The Student Chapter Award is designed to encourage ITE student chapters to participate in activities that are in alignment with the purpose and objectives of ITE. Additionally, student chapters should strive to show diversity and inclusiveness practices throughout their various activities. The winner student chapter receives a plaque and $1,000 for travel to attend the Western District Annual Meeting. The District will submit the winning report for consideration in the ITE International competition.

Beginning in 2020, the $100/report award for student chapter annual reports was eliminated. The $1,000 previously used to provide travel support for the Student Chapter Award winner to attend the ITE International Meeting if they were also the winner at the International competition was reallocated to the new Student Chapter Momentum Award. Additionally, more detailed submittal requirements, including evaluation criteria and page limits, have also been established and are included in the award guidelines.

Student Chapter Momentum Award

The Student Chapter Momentum Award recognizes the student chapter that has experienced the greatest momentum (or most improvement) in the past year. Submissions can address (but is not limited to) activity in any of the following areas: Chapter Administration, Application of Technical Knowledge, Networking Events, K-12 STEM Outreach, New Member Recruitment, Diversity and Inclusion, Training/Professional Development, Field Trips/Technical Tours, Service Projects, and Leadership Development. The winning student chapter receives a plaque and $1,000 for travel to attend the Western District Annual Meeting. The District will submit the winning report for consideration in the ITE International competition.

This new award was established in 2020 and includes a $1,000 prize. This $1,000 was reallocated from travel support for the Student Chapter Award winner to attend the ITE International Meeting if they were also the winner at the International competition to the Student Chapter Momentum Award winner at the District level.

Student Paper Award

The Student Paper Award encourages student members of the Western District to conduct and to report on independent research and investigation of transportation engineering subjects and to provide a means for recognizing outstanding accomplishments in this area. The winner receives a plaque, a $500 award, as well as free meeting registration for the Western District Annual Meeting. The District will submit the winning paper on to ITE International for consideration in the Daniel B. Fambro Student Paper Award competition.

Student Regional Travel Scholarship

The Student Regional Travel Scholarships provide financial support for up to two (2) students to attend the upcoming ITE Western District Annual Meeting. The District will select one student from each region (Region 1 and Region 2). The recipient from each region receives a $500 travel scholarship. Please see the scholarship application to determine your school’s region.

Beginning in 2020, the number of Student Regional Travel Scholarship was reduced from four to two.

Student Traffic Bowl

The Western District hosts a Student Traffic Bowl at the Annual Meeting. All teams are required to attend the Pre-Qualification round on Monday of the Annual Meeting. The winner student chapter receives the Western District Student Traffic Bowl traveling trophy, a certificate, and $1,000 in travel funds from the District to attend the International ITE Annual Meeting to compete in the Collegiate Traffic Bowl Grand Championship.


Thank you to the Western District and its members for your continued support of the development of students in our profession. Contributions to the Endowment Fund can be made at westernite.org/endowment-fund/endowment-fund-contribute/

For questions regarding the District’s student initiatives and chapter awards, please contact SFIC Chair Kimberly Leung at kimberly.leung@sfmta.com.

Student Endowment Fund: September/October

For the September-October spotlight, the ITE at UCLA and USC ITE student chapters would like to invite the District to the upcoming Student Leadership Summit, one of many initiatives supported by the Student Endowment Fund.

This year, ITE at UCLA and USC ITE are co-hosting the 7th Annual Western/Mountain District Student Leadership Summit, one of many initiatives supported by the Student Endowment Fund, from January 31 through February 2, 2020. We hope to bring over 200 students and professionals to Los Angeles to expand on previous successes and enhance the experiences of future transportation professionals from all over the Western and Mountain districts.

UCLA and USC ITE Student Chapters
(Courtesy of Eric Shen)

Los Angeles is an interesting place for transportation engineering and planning. There is so much infrastructure, from roads and highways to bus systems to new modes of transportation. Furthermore, with major projects going underway like the 2028 Olympics and High-Speed Rail, the city produces a dynamic space for students to directly observe a city’s transformation. The collaborative effort between two will push forward the event further and make a greater impact on the industry of transportation.

Established in 2014 by the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student chapter, ITE Student Leadership Summits (SLSs) have become a powerful tool for student members to gain conference planning experience, professional development opportunities, and access to ITE leaders. At our conference, there will be various activities including train tours, speaker series, team-building exercises, and a discussion panel about trends in the transportation industry.

The Student Leadership Summit brings together a diverse community of people. Whether experienced or young, male or female, privileged or underprivileged, students and professionals will have the opportunity to discuss ongoing controversial topics, career advice, and clever solutions to meaningfully improve our existing city. We measure the success of our event by how well we connect professional transportation engineers to students. The society’s present growth is governed by those who are already in their career with experience. Through all the event activities, we hope to bridge the gap early in students’ lives and encourage them to drive forward the future of transportation!

If you’re interested in attending this year’s SLS, register here. We also have opportunities for your company to get involved with sponsorship and donations. If you’re interested, please take a look at our sponsorship packet:

Feel free to send us an email at iteucla@gmail.com if you have any questions.


Contributions to the Endowment Fund can be made at westernite.org/endowment-fund/endowment-fund-contribute/

Student Endowment Fund: July/August

Thank you to all of the teams that participated in the MiteY Race at the recent Western District Annual Meeting in Monterey, CA!  We kicked off the meeting on Saturday with with 4 family/friends and 8 student teams completing fun, but challenging tasks around the Hyatt Regency Monterey.

The top family & friends teams were:

  • 1st Place:  E-Squared – Victoria and Lisa Edington
  • 2nd Place:  The Mounties – Karen Aspelin and Paul Barricklow
  • 3rd Place:  MiteY Minions – Mark and Alex Spencer

The top student teams were:

  • 1st Place:  Cal State Fullerton Team B – Bakri Al Mouradi and Kenny Nguyen from Cal State Fullerton
  • 2nd Place:  Track Suit Weekend – Travis Larson and Cameron Bennett from Oregon State University
  • 3rd Place:  Cal State Foolaround – Maniriam Phoummathep-Winspear and William Talamaivao from Cal State Fullerton

Join us again next year in Hawaii for our next edition of the MiteY Race themed “Hawaii Five-O.”

Student Endowment Fund: May/June

For the May-June spotlight, we will hear from Vivian Sy, Allison Traylor, and Lauren Takeyama from the Cal Poly Pomona ITE Student Chapter about the influence ITE has had on their personal and professional development as well as their career aspirations in the transportation industry:

Cal Poly Pomona ITE Student Chapter

Vivian Sy
2019 Graduating Senior, Civil Engineering – Transportation

How did you join ITE?
I joined ITE when I first transferred to Cal Poly Pomona and I instantly fell in love with transportation and all the like minded people I was around. Our ITE Student Chapter has been a second family to me. It has given me so many opportunities to grow as an individual and in a community. I did not decide to become an engineer for myself, but for the chance to able to positively impact the lives of other people. I believe that the hardest part of doing anything is taking the first step. I am constantly scared of failing but I like to think of it as F.A.I.L. meaning first attempt in learning. Any criticism is good criticism to learn from. And once you have taken that first step, the next step won’t seem so terrifying.

What do you like about your ITE position?
Thanks to Cal Poly Pomona’s philosophy “learn by doing” I was able to get hands on experience with taking on lead roles for group work and learning to deal with unforeseen situations such as setting deadlines that must be met and following up with the issues dealt to the group. This has helped me grow a great foundation for working with others and eventually leading those who are willing to follow in my lead.

With my peers supporting me, I felt confident and ready to take on a leadership position by taking on the role of ITE 2018-2019 Cal Poly Student Chapter President. This opportunity has opened many doors for me and has allowed me to use the connections I have made when I was a ITE member going to professional events to bring in guest speakers at our general meetings which help get new members more involved in coming out to professional events and conferences. Before I graduate, I want to pass down the knowledge I have to the next President of ITE (Allison Traylor).

Dream job?
My next goal in life is to work with a company that has the same goals and mindset as myself. I have a passion for wanting to make a change in the world by connecting people through transportation. A wise person once said that traveling is not about the destination, but the journey that matters. This in essence is what transportation is to me. It’s not difficult to arrive from one point to another but it’s about how you arrive at your destination that matters. And as an aspiring transportation engineer, I hope to be able to play a role in ensuring the journey is as convenient and safe as possible.

Ways in which your student chapter has benefited from the Student Endowment Fund?
Cal Poly Pomona has been supported by the student endowment fund back in 2016 when we hosted the student leadership summit and when we participated in the data collection project and we are thankful because these funds had helped up open doors for our members giving them the opportunity to attend networking events and we hope to continue obtaining funds to help support our student chapter. Thank you.

Anything else you would like to share?
I just want to thank our advisors Xudong Jia and Wen Cheng for all their help in helping our student chapter thrive.

Our chapter is always looking for sponsorships and guest speakers at our general meetings as we dedicate our club in helping our members by having them attend all our events for free so if you are interested please contact us at ITECalPolyPomona@gmail.com for more information and thank you so much in advance!


Allison Traylor
4th Year, Civil Engineering Major

How did you join ITE?
During the 2018 summer I was given an Internship with the City of Gilroy as a Transportation Intern. This internship sparked my interest in the Transportation field. When school was back in session, I decided that I wanted to be more involved in clubs and societies. I heard about the ITE student chapter at Cal Poly Pomona and immediately decided that is where I wanted to spend my time. I am very happy that I did because ITE has given me so many opportunities and connections that I will continue to use throughout my career. I encourage as many people as I can to join organizations because of the experience that I have had in ITE. I hope to continue to learn throughout my involvement with ITE.

What do you like about your ITE position?
Currently I am a member of the Cal Poly Pomona ITE student chapter. This experience has made me grow as a person not only in my education, but personally as well. I have been elected to be the 2019-2020 Student Chapter President. I am very excited to be taking on this role because I want to give back to people what ITE has given to me. I am looking to get more underclassmen involved in ITE early on because that is one thing I with I would have done. I look forward to working with the current president as well as the upcoming board to make these dreams a reality.

Dream job?
My dream job is to on day be a City Engineer for any City. Since my first internship with the City of Gilroy I have fallen in love with the Public sector. I prefer this side of the engineering field because you get to directly work with the citizens in a community and can have more control of the outcome of a project. I have since started to make my name known in the Public sector. I am now an intern at the City of Fontana with hopes of moving into an Assistant Engineer position soon. My plan is to work my way up from an intern to an Assistant Engineer then an Associate Engineer and hopefully become a City Engineer one day. I want to be able to make decisions that will have a direct impact on society.

Ways in which your student chapter has benefited from the Student Endowment Fund?
The Cal Poly Pomona student chapter has greatly benefited from the Student Endowment Fund. Because of this fund we are able to send student to conferences such as the Student Leadership Summit. This year I was given the opportunity to attend the Student Leadership Summit in Berkeley, California. There is was able to make great connections with professionals and other ITE members. This has given me the chance to expand my network and continue to learn more about the Transportation field.


Lauren Takeyama
4th Year, Civil Engineering Major

How did you join ITE?
After finishing my transportation courses at CPP, I was inspired by my professor’s passion for transportation that I wanted to get involve myself and learn more about the field. That same year I ran into ITE’s Webmaster who offered if I would like a position as Membership Chair for the club. Since then I have become an active member and have been enjoying immersing myself in the transportation industry and the opportunities our club has to offer.

What do you like about your ITE position?
As project manager I was very eager to start my job. Since being involved in the 2017 Data Collection Fund and hearing about our 2017 PSWC Transportation Competition victory, I wanted to continue involvement in these projects and to give students the opportunity to participate this year. The best part about organizing these projects was being able to work with other students and forming meaningful relationships which will follow me after college. Working late hours and feeling the excitement of submitting a report in the nick of time has only strengthen our camaraderie amongst each other. Through our group efforts our team was able to bring home 3rd place at the 2019 PSWC Transportation Competition and has inspired two team members to be project managers for next year. I have learned valuable technical and interpersonal skills and feel so grateful to have been involved. This position has given me a memorable experience that I will never forget.

Dream job?
My dream job involves anything that will improve the safety of the public while creating an efficient and environmentally friendly system. I want to pursue a career in transportation since it allows me to make a direct difference in people’s lives. The dream is to one day be capable of making my ambitions real and to facilitate the technological advances that will improve our transportation infrastructure.

Ways in which your student chapter has benefited from the Student Endowment Fund?
Thanks to the Student Endowment Fund, we have been able to send students to attend conferences and meetings each year. In the past, I have been able to attend the 2018 and 2019 Student Leadership Summit in Portland, OR and Berkeley, CA, as well as, anticipating to attend the 2019 Western District Annual Meeting in Monterey, CA. The Student Endowment Fund has given our members a great opportunity to engage with other students and professionals interested in the same field, and has led many of our members to internship and job opportunities.


Contributions to the Endowment Fund can be made at westernite.org/endowment-fund/endowment-fund-contribute/

Student Endowment Fund: March/April

For the March-April spotlight, we will hear from Amer Zreika, Jay Gonzales, and Nicholas Caruso about the San Jose State University ITE student chapter and their recent experience at the ITE Student Leadership Summit, one of the many initiatives supported by the Student Endowment Fund:

SJSU ITE Students (from left to right) Amer Zreika and Jay Gonzales at the 2019 ITE Student Leadership Summit

Amer Zreika
4th Year, Civil and Environmental Engineering Major

How did you join ITE?
I discovered ITE during the engineering club fair at SJSU. I passed by their booth and was introduced to the club by the ITE SJSU president at the time.

What do you like about your ITE position?
I like that there is a lot of opportunity for growth within ITE. As president, I enjoy talking to people and encouraging them to be proactive about their college years. Join a club, any club that peaks your curiosity. These are the years where you get to explore and find your passions and interests.

Dream job?
My career passion lies in Construction. Even as a kid I would like to build structures from Lego bricks. Now I find that seeing projects being built is very fascinating. I see that my dream job would be managing the construction of huge projects in the Bay Area.

Ways in which your student chapter has benefited from the Student Endowment Fund?
We were able to send SJSU members to attend the ITE Summit at UC Berkeley at no cost for the students. As one of those who attended, I found the ITE Summit a terrific and inspiring experience with lots of fun activities and engaging opportunities for networking and meeting others who share similar interests.


Jay Gonzales
4th Year, Civil Engineering Major

How did you join ITE?
I found out about ITE through an engineering club fair.

What do you like about your ITE position?
What I like about ITE is that there are a lot of chances to explore, network, and meet those in the profession. I feel that making those connections are the catalyst to finding more about my professional career in a proactive way

Dream job?
What I find interesting about transportation is that it can go beyond the scope of engineering. There a a lot of logistics that can be made with urban planning. I’ve had a big interest in transportation planning because I’d generally like to help with something that affects most people’s lives by improving their daily commute, especially in the Bay Area.

Ways in which your student chapter has benefited from the Student Endowment Fund?
We had the opportunity to send some SJSU students to the ITE Summit at UC Berkeley. Having been one of the people that attended, it was a great experience to collaborate with other students from across the country and network with companies that work around the region. It was also very insightful and exciting to take part in the discussions that pertain to the future of transportation.


Nicholas Caruso
Graduating Senior, Civil and Environmental Engineering Major

How did you join ITE?
I was recruited by previous members who were also members of ASCE.

What do you like about your ITE position?
I have liked the opportunity to network with engineers from local agencies such as the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

Dream job?
My dream job would be one in which I could see an entire project through from its conception. I find the system approach to engineering to be a fascinating way to think of modern solutions to age old problems.

Ways in which your student chapter has benefited from the Student Endowment Fund?
The Student Endowment Fund has been very helpful for my peers who had the chance to participate in the ITE summit, granting them a wonderful opportunity to see a larger picture of the progress here in the Bay Area.


Contributions to the Endowment Fund can be made at westernite.org/endowment-fund/endowment-fund-contribute/