Xiaobo Ma is a Ph.D. Candidate from the University of Arizona. His major is Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Transportation Engineering and a minor in Statistics and Data Science. He is a recipient of the Jenny L. Grote Student Leadership Award this year, which recognizes an exemplary graduate ITE student chapter member who has shown exceptional dedication to the transportation profession through ITE service, mentoring, research, real-world experience, and other noteworthy accomplishments. He has written multiple journal papers and won several influential awards in the U.S. and China, and has worked on many hands-on and practical research projects for public agencies in Arizona.

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I am a Ph.D. Candidate from the University of Arizona. I am a fast learner, a team player, and a passionate researcher aiming to apply statistical and machine learning methods to solve complex and practical problems in the field of transportation engineering. In my free time, I love swimming and traveling.

What (or who) has influenced your career path in transportation?

Under my advisor Dr. Yao-Jan Wu’s supervision, I have been involved in several research projects and doing solid practical and theoretical research in developing local, regional, and national...

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Jennifer Leslie is a City and Metropolitan Planning graduate student at the University of Utah. She earned a BS in Parks, Recreation and Tourism from the University of Utah in 2019, and completed an internship at the National Park Service helping to manage the increasing visitation to parks across the country through collaboration in multi-agency projects. She has also volunteered as a surveyor for the University of Utah's Outdoor Education, Recreation and Tourism Lab. Jennifer is currently working with researchers Kristina Currans and Danya Rumore on a Research Roadmap for the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC).

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I am a first-year masters student of city and metropolitan planning at the University of Utah. Before graduate school, I studied parks, recreation and tourism at the U of U. I am an environmental advocate and passionate about how natural spaces influence communities. My favorite way to experience the outdoors is through backpacking.

What (or who) has influenced your career path in transportation?

As someone that cares about access to parks and trails, I have been very interested in active transportation and accessibility to green spaces. As I become more involved in the...

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Ten Portland State University students have been awarded National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) scholarships for the 2021/22 academic year. We're very proud to acknowledge their hard work and dedication. The NITC Scholarship program recognizes outstanding students working on transportation projects. Financial support for students helps to develop the workforce by directing talented individuals toward research and practice, raising the number and caliber of graduates in transportation. 

Meet the NITC Scholars of PSU:

Cameron Bennett, Master in Civil & Environmental Engineering

Cameron Bennett is a first-year masters student in transportation engineering. He was the...

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The National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) is proud to introduce our newest Dissertation Fellow, Austin Drukker of the University of Arizona, who was awarded $15,000 for his doctoral research project: How Essential is Essential Air Service? A Welfare Analysis of Airport Access for Remote Communities

Mr. Drukker will study the welfare implications of Essential Air Service (EAS), a federal government program that provides subsidies to airlines that provide commercial service from remote communities. Congress established EAS after the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, which gave airlines almost total freedom to determine which domestic markets to serve and which fares to charge, fearing that the newly deregulated airlines would shift their operations to serve large, profitable markets, leaving remote communities without access to the national passenger airline network and the markets and opportunities that come along with such access. By combining novel data containing information on airline passengers’ home location with cutting-edge econometric techniques, Mr. Drukker will study the value that EAS community members place on having access to their community airport as revealed by their actual choices. Mr. Drukker’s preliminary findings suggest that passengers who live in communities with subsidized service have a plethora of choices available to them and many if not...

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Christine Highfill is a PhD student and graduate research assistant in social work at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). She retired as a military spouse in 2014. She has since earned her master's in social work from UTA in 2019, and a master's of arts in human services counseling with a focus on military resilience from Liberty University in 2016. Her primary research interests are social determinants of health and military-connected spousal abuse.

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My name is Christine Highfill. I’m a third-year social work doctoral student at the University of Texas at Arlington. My main research emphasis is social determinants of health across the lifespan; within that, I’m most interested in policy related to military-connected domestic abuse. Social work research is my second career. During most of my adult life I was a military spouse raising a large family during the Global War on Terror. I see my research as a way to give back to the Military and its families.

What (or who) has influenced your career path in transportation?

I had not considered transportation as a research path until I began my graduate research assistantship with Dr. Noelle Fields. Although I have personally experienced latent transportation demand in the past...

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Three students from partner universities in the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) have been awarded WTS Portland scholarships. Congratulations to Caroline Crisp of Portland State, and Cynthia Roe and Caroline Schulze of Oregon Tech!

The WTS Portland Chapter, established in 1985, offers six annual scholarships to high school seniors, junior college, undergraduate, and graduate students to support women seeking leadership opportunities and pursuing transportation careers. This is a highly competitive scholarship with applicants from colleges and universities throughout Oregon and Washington.

All of the WTS Portland scholarship awardees will be honored in a formal awards ceremony via Zoom on February 10, 2022 (5 - 6 PM Pacific).

Caroline Crisp, Portland State University

2021-2022 WTS Portland Beverley Swaim Leadership Legacy Graduate Scholar

...
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Brendan J. Irsfeld is a second-year graduate student at the University of Oregon enrolled in the Master of Community and Regional Planning program. His primary research focus is sustainable and equitable transportation issues pertaining both to public transit systems and the wider built environment. He currently serves as co-president of UO student group LiveMove, and presented his work on social sustainability as an Eisenhower Fellow at the 2022 annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB). In addition to transportation, Brendan is active in disaster planning work, exploring the relationships between land-use decisions and the preparedness and resilience of communities in the event of a wildland fire.

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I am a New Englander that arrived in Eugene, Oregon after discovering planning during an assignment at my previous job. After deciding to make a career change to planning, I knew I was most interested in transportation issues. Currently, I study the interactions within transportation systems that manifest inequitable outcomes to better understand the impacts on quality of life from economic, ecological, and social perspectives. I also serve as Co-President for the student organization LiveMove at the University of Oregon. The group promotes active transportation...

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Kelly Rodgers is a Portland State University PhD student in Urban Studies who is studying the use and influence of health indicators in transportation plans. In 2021, Kelly was named the NITC Outstanding Student of the Year. Kelly has been awarded the Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship three times and twice named a NITC Student Scholar. Kelly is also the Executive Director of Streetsmart, a non-profit research synthesis and resource clearinghouse for integrating health, climate, and equity into transportation. Kelly is the vice-chair of the Institute of Transportation Engineers' Health and Transportation Standing Committee, a member of the Transportation Research Board's Transportation and Public Health Committee, and is an advisory board member of the American Public Health Association's Center for Climate, Health, and Equity. 

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After a decidedly non-urban upbringing, I was delighted to find urban planning at Miami University as an undergraduate. After graduating, I moved to Oregon sight unseen—all I knew about Oregon was that there were forests and...

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Along with the Oregon Institute for Technology civil engineering faculty, we are proud to congratulate Oregon Tech students Thomas Dodgen and Caroline Schulze for earning scholarships from the Asphalt Pavement Association of Oregon (APAO) Educational Foundation. 

The scholarships were awarded on Friday, December 3 in Bend at a gala event at the APAO Annual Meeting. Oregon Tech maintains a decades-long relationship with APAO and the Oregon asphalt pavements industry - APAO was instrumental in establishing the Oregon Tech Pavement Engineering Lab in Cornett Hall. There were four scholarships awarded this year; the other winners were from Oregon State University and the University of Idaho. Several APAO members commented on the high-quality applications from Oregon Tech students and were impressed with the hands-on experiences that Tech students have in the Pavement Lab!

Thomas Dodgen, a BSCE senior graduating in June 2022, is from Adin, California. Thomas recently interned at Wildish Construction, an APAO member company, in Portland. Thomas is a licensed pilot interested in all modes of transportation!

Caroline Schulze, from Loveland, Colorado, is completing her BSCE and will begin her MSCE graduate studies in June 2022. Caroline is the immediate past president of Oregon Tech's Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Student Chapter. She recently interned for GRI, a geotechnical and pavement engineering in Beaverton,...

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Jaclyn Schaefer is a graduate of the civil engineering master's program at Portland State University. A former Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellow, she is now a Transportation Engineer 2 in training at the Washington State Department of Transportation. During her time at PSU, Jaclyn worked as a graduate research assistant on various projects with Dr. Miguel Figliozzi. At the 2020 TRB Annual Meeting, she presented the results of a study examining how the presence of bicycles on roads without bicycle lanes affects passenger vehicle travel speeds. Jaclyn was awarded NITC scholarships during both the 2018/19 and 2019/20 academic years.

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Tell us about yourself?

I am a recent graduate from Portland State University, where I received a MS in civil and environmental engineering, and previously completed a BS in civil engineering. During my time as a graduate student at PSU, I was fortunate to work under Dr. Miguel Figliozzi conducting research on factors affecting traffic speeds and speed limit compliance on roads with a high percentage of bicycles (an ODOT research project with co-PI Avinash Unnikrishnan) and studying the spatial distribution of...

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