First and foremost, I would like to take this time to thank the Western District ITE for selecting me as a recipient of the Regional Travel Scholarship, and for the generous support from contributors of the Student Endowment Fund. The Western District ITE’s commitment to aspiring transportation engineers will continue to benefit generations of eager professionals kickstarting their careers.
I have never been able to travel and attend a conference before, and this fund allowed me to be surrounded by a community passionate about transportation. Because of this scholarship, our student chapter had the financial means to fly and accommodate one more person to the conference, so we both benefited from this memorable experience. I am grateful that we were both able to represent Portland State as we bring home the Student Chapter Momentum Award.
This conference has opened my eyes to a world beyond what many folks outside of this profession think of as transportation engineering. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that transportation systems are techy, electrified, carefully timed— all an orchestrated apparatus to keep all users of the road comfortable and safe. It’s also about carefully prioritizing public interests, considering both residents and businesses, and considering the effects that any changes to a transportation system will have on the communities that are involved.
Portland State University represent!
This conference allowed me to connect with other students in ITE during the young member events. I found that the Student/Faculty Leadership Forum was a great chance to hear about the successes and challenges in running an ITE chapter, and brainstorming ideas for events that will recruit and retain members. It has given me ideas that I can take home with me when running events and programs for our ITE students in the upcoming school year. In addition, the MiteY Race was a ton of fun, building camaraderie with my school and taking a break from technical sessions for a relay-style race.
Portland State University killing it at the MiteY Race!
I am grateful to take this advantage to meet with other professionals as well. My ‘transportation buddy’ for the conference, Cameron Shew, really set me up for a great experience, as he was my first connection, and through him, I was able to meet with more professionals. Diving into this conference headfirst without knowing anyone can be intimidating, but didn’t find any trouble striking up a conversation with someone in the hallway, pulling a speaker aside after a technical session for a quick Q&A, and sitting with a new face during the networking luncheons.
Once again, I’d like to thank the supporters of the Student Endowment Fund and those that continue to perpetuate its mission. I cannot be more grateful for this opportunity to be involved in the ITE community at this scale. I am excited to see and meet with more students and professionals in the future as student enrichment programs continue to grow.
The future of the transportation profession depends upon a stable and continuing flow of students who are excited and passionate in the career opportunities afforded by transportation engineering and planning.