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Highlights from the WTS-Boston 2016 Annual Awards and Scholarships Dinner


Article By: Rayna Z. Rubin, Special Events Committee

Photos By: Frank Monkiewicz

The 2016 Annual Awards and Scholarships dinner was a great success attended by more than 200 members and guests. Annually, WTS provides an estimated $2 million in scholarships nationwide and is a major focus of the Boston Chapter’s fundraising activities. This year’s recipients are:

The Transportation YOU Undergraduate Scholarship recipient is Emma Heller of Milton High School. She is a senior with a passion for engineering, including Advanced Placement courses in physics, calculus, and economics.  In addition, she has participated in an engineering camp at Brown University and the MIT KEYS Day Program for women engineers. Emma will be attending the Georgia Institute of Technology this fall and is planning to major in civil engineering.

The Community College Scholarship recipient is Kim Hardy of North Shore Community College.  Kim is in her second year working on her Associates Degree in Aviation.  She hopes to work in the field of aviation and to serve as an inspiration for other women.

The Jacquelyn R. Smith Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship recipient is Sara Rauwolf of Northeastern University.  Sara is an undergraduate student working on her degree in engineering with a concentration in transportation.  She is a leader in numerous engineering and transportation groups, including the Chi Epsilon National Civil Engineering Honor Society.  She plans to continue her work and leadership as a woman engineer in transportation.

28343151415_8ffaca8173_kThe Ann M. Hershfang Graduate Scholarship recipient is Corinna Li of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  Corinna is a recent graduate with dual Masters Degrees in transportation and city planning.  She developed a smartphone-based platform allowing transit rides to give real-time feedback on service.  This program is currently being run as a pilot on the MBTA Silver Line. She will be joining Sidewalk Labs where she can continue to work on innovative urban transportation and livable city projects.

The Claire Barrett Memorial Graduate Scholarship recipient is Farnoush Khalighi of the University of Massachusetts – Amherst.  Farnoush is a Ph.D. student working on her doctorate degree in civil engineering with a concentration in transportation.  As a research assistant, her focus is on creating more sustainable transportation systems.  She already has experience working with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Transportation Center.  She also is active with the Transportation Research Board, Institute of Transportation Engineers, and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The presentation of the Boston Chapter Awards was given by WTS-Boston President Rachael Sack. Rachael began the awards presentation by presenting the Member of the Year Award to Sarah Deschaine of WSP | Parsons Brinkerhoff.  Sarah spoke of her unplanned journey to leadership through WTS and of the women who supported and encouraged her. She plans to nurture and encourage other women to share in WTS opportunities.

The Innovative Transportation Solutions Award was presented to Yvonne Graves Jones, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).  Yvonne talked about her initiatives with sustainable public lighting through DCR’s successful LED Outdoor Light Conversion Project that has resulted in more than 2,000 light replacements in parks, bridges, and other public places.

The Employer of the Year Award was presented to Howard Stein Hudson (HSH).  HSH is a leading transportation engineering and planning firm in Boston founded by Jane Howard and Kathy Stein, also founding members of WTS-Boston.  Comprised of almost 50 percent women, HSH is known for its excellence as well as its welcoming culture and mentoring atmosphere.

The Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award was presented to Massachusetts Senator Karen E. Spilka, Chair of the Ways and Means Committee.  Senator Spilka spoke of her “Women on Boards” legislation promoting equity and diversity on company boards which passed in the Senate by a vote of 38 to 0 and by 256 to 0 in the House.  She also talked about other legislation addressing paid family and medical leave plus legislation protecting access to medical records.  The Senator talked about her fight for equal pay for women as well as more opportunity for advancement of women in the workplace and in politics.  Senator Spilka concluded in her remarks by stressing that efficient and affordable transportation is also an important women’s issue that is embodied by WTS and its members.

28264785491_1705516207_kThe Honorable Ray LaHood Award was presented to Frederick Salvucci, Senior Lecturer at MIT.  Mr. Salvucci discussed how a level playing field that encourages diversity results in high quality women leaders who make great contributions.  He went on to identify a number of women and their notable contributions in the transportation field, including evening attendees Jane Garvey, Ann Hershfang, Liz Levin, and Marilyn Newman.

The final award presented was the 2016 Woman of the Year Award to Mary Jane O’Meara, Associate Vice President of HNTB.  Ms. O’Meara talked about her career in the public and private sectors.  She discussed how it was an honor to be included in the book “Boots on the Ground, Flats in the Boardroom” recently published by Liz Levin and Grace Crunican.  Ms. O’Meara recalled that 35 years ago she and 25-30 other women in the transportation industry would meet for lunch and reflected that now the Boston chapter has more than 400 members.  She emphasized that through WTS, she has established life-long friendships and commented that it has been her privilege to be mentored to be a mentor to others.  Ms. O’Meara expressed her amazement at WTS’ talented members and looks forward to continued dedication to WTS.

It was noted that the WTS –Boston awardees Frederick Salvucci and Senator Spilka were also selected to receive WTS International awards which were presented at the WTS International Conference in May in Austin, Texas..

Rachael concluded the evening with a kudos to the Scholarship & Awards and Special Projects Committee for coordinating a stellar event which recognizes both current and future leaders in transportation.

To learn more about our scholarship and award recipients visit our News Archives.



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