President’s Message: Ralph Waldo Emerson Was Right On

Over 20 years ago, 17 of my classmates and I piled into an 18-passenger van and drove over 1,400 miles from College Station, Texas, to Washington, DC, to attend the annual Transportation Research Board (TRB) meeting.  It was a pilgrimage that the transportation engineering students there still do today. We were excited to meet students from other schools, rub elbows with potential employers, and find out what was new in our industry.

While we had groused about having to drive rather than fly to DC, what I remember most about TRB was the 50 hours I spent with my classmates in those close quarters of the van.  Nearly all of those folks are still in the industry today – I see them posting on the ITE Community and see their names as speakers at the ITE annual meeting and at their respective District meetings.  Every one of them has become a resource to me throughout my career.

This edition of the E-news focuses on student activity. I’m hoping that the Student Leadership Summit, which general chair Kaylinn Roseman writes about below, will become the mecca for students in the West as TRB has been for decades on the east side of the map. Or perhaps student chapters will road trip to the Rapid City meeting this summer and get there in time for the MiteY Race.  They may not realize it now, but the journey may be as valuable to them in the long run as the destination itself (that’s a nod to Emerson’s quote, hence the title).

Yours in ITE,

Karen Aspelin
Karen Aspelin, P.E., PTOE
Western District President