President’s Message

Highlights from the Student Leadership Summit, Oregon State University, January 19-21, 2018

I recently attended the fifth annual ITE Western District Student Leadership Summit at OSU in Corvallis, OR. This was the first time the Western District SLS was held outside California and every year the SLS gets better and better. There were 125 students from 19 schools in attendance! At least 30 professionals participated in mentoring roundtables; resume review and speed interviews; technical presentations; and judging the group projects. ITE International Vice President Bruce Belmore and International VP Candidate Randy McCourt attended the SLS, along with Western District International Director Walter Okitsu and Student Initiatives Chair Danielle Scharf.

This year the group projects were focused on ways to help ITE Student Chapters grow and thrive.  Teams of students from different schools were partnered to create posters on one of four topics:  fundraising; community outreach; professional development; or student recruitment. The top eight teams were then selected to present their posters to the judging panel. We saw eight excellent presentations that combined great ideas, passion for transportation, humor, clever meme references, excellent use of graphics (in particular trees as we were in Oregon), and several references to pizza as the ubiquitous food that serves all people and all purposes (ahh, college….).

The winning team delivered a clear and concise presentation of their poster about professional development through ITE. Other poster presentations that stood out included the 2nd place team that featured a path to professional development as told through the game of LIFE, and another that used the doge meme to recruit students into ITE. If you aren’t aware of the doge meme then you are not the target audience for this campaign. And as I quickly found out, I am now old per social media. This is actually a very clever way to recruit today’s students!

Overall, I came away inspired and confident that our next generation of ITE professionals will be leaders and transportation champions, and our future is in good hands. Congrats go to Kayla Fleskes and her OSU team for delivering a great SLS! The WesternITE website has recently highlighted the OSU Student Chapter; check them out at

Next year the SLS will be held at UC Berkeley in January 2019. I hope to see you there!

Mark Spencer, P.E.
Western District President

Winning Poster with judging panel (front row) and poster team (back row).  

Second Place Honorable Mention Poster