The July-August Endowment Fund spotlight was written by Joseph Claveria from Oregon State University. Joseph was one of four recipients of the inaugural Regional Travel Scholarship, the District’s newest Student Initiative supported by the Endowment Fund. The following are Joseph’s thoughts on ITE and the Student Endowment Fund:
Thank you, Western District ITE for supporting the Richard T. Romer Student Endowment Fund! Although I have only been an official ITE student member for less than a year, this fund has facilitated opportunities that I did not imagine prior to starting my graduate program in transportation engineering. Without the initiatives of this fund, I would not have gained the same memorable experiences and meaningful relationships in my brief time as an ITE student member. This fund, including the entirety of the Western District, has proven to me that my involvement with ITE is one of the best decisions I have made as a student in transportation engineering. Here is my attempt at sharing the overwhelming benefits both the Oregon State University (OSU) Student Chapter and I have experienced from this fund.
This year, the Student Endowment Fund (SEF) provided its inaugural Travel Scholarship to assist with travel expenses for the Western District’s Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA. Although I was the selected recipient from the District’s North region, other members from the OSU ITE student chapter significantly benefited from this award as well. The award helped our chapter accommodate an additional member to attend the conference, and since we were travelling from Oregon down to sunny San Diego, sending additional members is no cheap task. Through the support of the SEF, all four of the OSU ITE students in attendance at the Annual Meeting developed their professional skills and relationships, and discovered new insights in the transportation engineering field.
Personally, this year’s Annual Meeting was an eye-opening experience. I was able to meet new people, some of whom are either presidents, directors, or founders of engineering firms and agencies, expand my transportation knowledge beyond the classroom, and witness the close bond between ITE members. This experience would not have been possible without assistance from the SEF. Attending this year’s Annual Meeting has encouraged me to continue my involvement with ITE and attend future meetings as a student and professional.
Additionally, the support of the SEF for travel to the Annual Meeting allowed the OSU students to explore and enjoy the beautiful city of San Diego between conference events!
Despite finishing second place at this year’s Western District Traffic Bowl, OSU ITE won a greater opportunity by being selected as hosts for the 2018 Student Leadership Summit (SLS), which is also supported by the SEF. As a participant at the 2017 SLS, I can honestly say that the summit is a unique experience that gathers students and professionals from across the District in a casual environment. This summit was my first exposure to the Western District. I made new connections, many of whom I met again at the Annual Meeting, and developed my knowledge and professionalism in transportation engineering. As hosts for the upcoming SLS, OSU ITE members will collaborate and work as a team to expand upon the success of the previous summits. This opportunity will help develop our members and other student chapter members into better engineers for the Western District.
As regularly mentioned throughout this year’s Annual Meeting, ITE, both at the district and international levels, is strongly supportive of student development and enrichment. The SEF is one such mechanism that fosters student growth and immerses students into the ITE community. All of the fund’s initiatives (i.e. travel support to conferences, funding for SLS, data collection projects, chapter awards, etc.) provide opportunities for students to gain intangible skills that will benefit their academic and professional careers. As a single student member, I’m grateful to have received some of these benefits. The SEF has the potential to provide these same benefits to many more students across the District.
In closing, I’d like to thank all those who have made reaching the $500K mark a reality. Your support truly goes a long way in developing students into future ITE leaders. And big kudos to the Student Endowment Fund Chair, Kimberly Leung, and the previous Chairs for shepherding this fund and its initiatives.
Contributions to the Endowment Fund can be made at westernite.org/endowment-fund/endowment-fund-contribute/