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2017 WTS-Boston Emerging Professional Program Recap

Michelle Deng, MassDOT Traffic Engineering and Safety

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The WTS-Boston Emerging Professional (EP) Program provided me with one of the most rewarding and gratifying experiences this year. I was introduced to WTS during my last couple of months of internship in 2016 at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and I met many incredible professionals in the transportation field. Lisa Schletzbaum, one of the managers in our Traffic Engineering and Safety Group, encouraged me to apply for the 2017 WTS Boston EP program.  I was lucky enough to be selected as one of the two Emerging Professionals for the year as I started the first year in my traffic engineering career. As the program neared its end, I realized that joining WTS not only offered me the opportunity to learn from a group of amazing women, but also provided me with the guidance and support for my future career.


The EP program has provided a number of benefits and many very valuable opportunities throughout the year. As an EP, I had the opportunity to attend and network with  peers at the WTS International Annual Conference held in Brooklyn, New York. The EP program also allowed me to attend WTS events such as professional development brown bags, the TED Talk event and monthly luncheons without any registration fee. In June, through the Professional Development Committee, I had the chance to represent the MassDOT Traffic Safety Section to present at one of the WTS Brown Bag sessions on MassDOT’s Road Safety Audit procedures.


The part I loved the most about the EP program was being paired with an experienced WTS mentor. I am very grateful to have Heather Hamilton as my EP mentor, who has provided me with invaluable insights and career advice. I also learned a lot about her current work and accomplishments within MassDOT, as well as her experience in running for Selectman of Brookline. When I ran into some speed bumps in advocating healthy transportation in my community, Heather's recommendations and her determination on overcoming challenges during her run for town selectmen inspired me to continue my goal of giving back and providing a positive impact to the community through my work.


Furthermore, during my year in the EP program, I also volunteered with the communications committee, helping with the weekly WTS-Boston E-Blast and social media updates. I also got an opportunity to volunteer in the Cambridge Science Festival with a group of amazing women from the Outreach Committee.


Lastly, I want to thank WTS-Boston for giving me such great opportunities and invaluable support over the past year. I have grown both personally and professionally through the knowledge gained and connections made in WTS-Boston. I am looking forward to using what I have learned this past year and will continue to support the organization in coming years.

 

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