Published On: March 20th, 2023

The Student Endowment Fund is proud to support the continuing efforts of students planning for the Student Leadership Summit. Here is a quick recap of the weekend, as provided by James Huang of USC.

“The 2023 Western District ITE SLS, co-hosted by USC ITE, CSUF ITE, and UCI ITE, was a resounding success, bringing together over 170 participants, 120 of whom were students from 14 student chapters.

The SLS almost did not happen due to a lack of initial interest in hosting it. However, the three schools came together and successfully organized an in-person summit in less than six months. The planning process was a challenging one that required last-minute rearrangements, but the organizers were able to overcome these obstacles and put together an outstanding program.

Coordinating an event as large as the 2023 ITE Western District Student Leadership Summit was no small feat, particularly when considering that it was co-hosted by three different schools, each with their own unique goals and priorities. The organizing committee faced several challenges during the planning process, including managing a tight schedule alongside our regular classwork and reserving event spaces on a shorter than expected timeframe.

Despite these obstacles, the organizing committee was fully committed to ensuring a successful summit. We implemented several measures to ensure resilient planning, such as reserving extra spaces in case of rain. This proved to be a wise decision, as the summit was held during a particularly rainy weekend in California.

Another key factor in the success of the summit was our commitment to securing sponsorships. We attended several in-person events across the Southern California area, including a conference in Ontario, and worked diligently to secure support from various organizations. This was crucial in enabling us to provide a high-quality experience for all participants.

We were also thrilled to see the level of participation from underclassmen, including freshmen and sophomores, who played key roles in the planning process and even led certain aspects of the event. This not only helped to lighten the load on the organizing committee but also encouraged the younger members of our chapters to become future leaders, and for our chapters to scale up more so than before. All in all, over 20 students from the three chapters were involved in some way, shape or form with the planning summit.

We also sought help from young professionals with experience hosting the SLS. Throughout the planning process, we received invaluable support and advice from Brandon Wong and Emilio Murga, the RSBITE and SoCal ITE student liaisons. Their experience hosting previous SLS events was instrumental in guiding our planning process, and we are grateful for their contributions to our event’s success.

The three days (February 24-26) of the 2023 ITE Western District Student Leadership Summit was a great success, despite the rainy weather. On Friday, over 70 students attended three separate tours, all of which provided unique insights into various aspects of transportation engineering and planning.

The day was capped off with a social event at Rock and Reilly’s, a local USC favorite bar and restaurant. The food was highly received, and the event provided an opportunity for students to connect with one another in a more informal setting. The genuine connections made during the event helped to set the stage for a productive and engaging second day of the summit.

The second day of the 2023 ITE Western District Student Leadership Summit was action packed; One of the highlights of the day was the Hospitality Suites session, during which professionals from various transportation-related industries rotated between 15 tables of students. This provided students with the opportunity to engage in one-on-one conversations with professionals and learn more about potential career paths and industry trends. Additionally, over sandwiches at lunch, attendees had the opportunity to hear from Ms. Min Zhou, President of KOA Corporation, as she shared her experiences as a woman leader in the transportation industry. Ms. Zhou provided insights into her leadership philosophy and how she has managed to lead a cutting-edge transportation firm. Her talk was inspiring and provided valuable insights for the diverse set of students in attendance.

The career fair and resume review workshop also proved to be a valuable opportunity for students, with 11 companies in attendance and over 30 professionals participating in one-on-one resume review and mock interview workshops. Students had the chance to engage in long and meaningful conversations with professionals, gaining insights and advice that will prove invaluable as they move forward in their careers.

As the day came to a close, we held a dinner and student competition, which provided an opportunity for students to showcase their skills and knowledge in front of industry professionals. The dinner banquet also featured an inspiring speech from Mr. David Kim, former Secretary of Transportation for California and current Global Head of Mobility at WSP. Mr. Kim’s remarks were particularly relevant, given the pressing need for innovative solutions to transportation challenges in our modern society. We were honored to have such a notable and respected figure in the industry speak at our banquet dinner.

The final day of the 2023 ITE Western District Student Leadership Summit was filled with engaging eight panelists discussing their future careers in the industry, was particularly well-received by students in the audience. The panelists shared insights and experiences that provided valuable guidance for students looking to pursue careers in transportation. In addition to the panel, the day also featured three simultaneous presentations on the “Future in the Transportation Industry.” These sessions provided students with a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the latest trends and developments in the transportation industry.

The 2023 ITE Western District Student Leadership Summit was a resounding success, in large part due to the high level of engagement by students throughout the event. It was clear that attendees were truly passionate about transportation engineering and planning and were eager to learn, network, and engage with professionals in the field. One of the most remarkable aspects of the event was the level of commitment and dedication demonstrated by the attending students. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, students worked hard to attend this event, traveling from as far as Montana State and Hawaii to participate. Their enthusiasm and passion for transportation engineering and planning were truly infectious and contributed greatly to the overall success of the event.

We are proud to have hosted an event that provided students with a platform to learn, grow, and connect with professionals in the transportation industry. We are confident that the connections made during the summit will continue to flourish and that the students who attended will make significant contributions to the field of transportation engineering and planning in the years to come. We are thrilled to see such a high degree of interest in hosting the 2024 ITE Western District Student Leadership Summit, with three student chapters already expressing interest. We look forward to attending a revitalized SLS next year and seeing the continued growth and success of student chapters in the Western District.”

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