WTS Student Chapter Updates
FIU | GaTech | UF
Announcing the New WTS Student Chapter at Florida International University
Florida International University (FIU) is proud to announce the establishment of their new WTS student chapter. The chapter was established through the efforts of Dr. Yan Xiao, Ms. Shaghayegh Shabanian, Mr. Xuanwu Chen, and other students at FIU. The effort has been supported by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering and Computing, the Council for Student Organizations at FIU, as well as the WTS South Florida section. Our student chapter aims to provide students with excellent programs for professional development, professional networking, and mentoring opportunities. In addition, the student members will contribute to various outreach programs, with a focus on mentoring and educating young female students about transportation engineering and potential career opportunities.
Despite being such a new chapter, established in August 2013, the WTS student chapter at FIU already elected an executive board on September 4, 2013, and has a full plan for the coming academic year, including graduate seminars, guest speaker events, social events, and community services. They kicked off their series of guest speaker events by inviting Ms. Aileen Boucle, the Intermodal Systems Development Manager at the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Six, to the FIU campus. She offered an interesting presentation that covered the overall structure of FDOT, Miami-Dade major projects, potential job opportunities, and interview tips. Please visit http://wts.fiu.edu for more information about this exciting new chapter.
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WTS@GT is off to a Great Start!
The WTS Chapter at Georgia Tech (WTS@GT) is off to a great start this academic year. To kick off the school year in August, the chapter co-hosted a Joint Welcome Meeting with the Georgia Tech chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and another local transportation group called Students for Progressive Transit (SfPT). This event gave students the opportunity to learn more about each of the transportation-related groups and provided new students with a chance to mix and mingle with returning students.
WTS@GT also recently hosted two educational events in collaboration with the local NCTSPM University Transportation Center. At the first event (above), three female panelists presented on asset management, engineering, and planning projects at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, while students enjoyed lunch and learned more about the world's busiest airport. The second educational event was a presentation on the Atlanta BeltLine Project–one of the largest urban redevelopment and mobility projects underway in the United States–by Catherine Owens (pictured at left with WTS Chapter Chair Denise Smith). The BeltLine utilizes a historic rail corridor that circles the City of Atlanta in order to transform the space into a combination of walking and biking trails, light rail transit, greenspace, and art.
Additionally this semester, members of WTS@GT participated in two community service events. The first was a Transportation YOU! event, at which team members worked with the Atlanta Chapter of WTS to engage local high school girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and introduce them to transportation engineering. The team also partnered with ITE to volunteer at TEAM Buzz, Georgia Tech’s main community service event for which groups from across campus come together to volunteer for a day on projects throughout the City of Atlanta. This year, members of WTS and ITE volunteered at a Halloween-themed 5K run, the proceeds from which will support a group that provides education and childcare to children with disabilities and special needs. WTS and ITE member Alice Grossman volunteered at the event (right) and said that “it was a fun and rewarding experience.”
The Georgia Tech Chapter of WTS looks forward to hosting more educational, social, and community service events throughout the remainder of the school year. For information about these events and WTS@GT, check out our blog: wtsatgt.blogspot.com
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WTS Gator Student Chapter
During the fall 2013 semester, the WTS student chapter held general body meetings every few weeks to allow UF students to stay updated on current issues in transportation and upcoming activities and events. These meetings also promote networking by inviting students to gather at social events afterwards.
This semester, the WTS Student Chapter began several new initiatives to promote the Student Chapter and the field of transportation engineering. WTS hosted informational and recruiting sessions with prominent companies in the sector, including Fortune 300 company Norfolk Southern, and Fluor Corporation, the No. 1 ranked company in the "Engineering and Construction" industry category of Fortune's annual survey of the World's Most Admired Companies.
Another event that the WTS Student Chapter hosts annually is the WTS Transportation Symposium. For the fall 2013 symposium, panelists included the Associate Dean of the UF College of Engineering Dr. Angela Lindnerr; Dan Plonk, director of transportation planning, Norfolk Southern Railway; Jamie Breme, community and public affairs Manager, Fluor-Lane 95; and Jessica Grant professional engineer, Florida Department of Transportation. This year's symposium topic discussed by each of the panelist was "Communication: Men & Women in the Workplace."
Also this semester, the Student Chapter decided to create T-shirts to help promote WTS, and they held a contest among members to determine the shirt design. Tallying the votes at a general body meeting revealed that the winning design was by WTS member Zhuofei Li, a Ph.D. candidate in transportation engineering. The new design will be printed on the WTS student chapter T-shirts this spring!
In addition to networking events, the WTS Student Chapter participated in several community service events. The first community service event of the fall semester was the group’s 4th cleanup of the street they adopted in spring 2012 through the City of Gainesville Adopt-A-Street Program. The team also participated in Transportation YOU! Activities, such as volunteering at the engineering table at the P.K. Yonge Carnival and the Fall Transportation Career Day, and were involved in the Fall Engineering Tailgate on the UF campus before a Gator football game. To finish up the fall 2013 semester, WTS will hold officer elections, as many of the WTS officers anticipate graduating at the end of the semester, leaving several vacancies to be filled by upcoming, enthusiastic leaders in the transportation field!
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