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2018 $10,000 Ava Doner Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship Winner: Joceline Suhaimi

An undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in civil engineering (with a minor in urban and regional studies), Joceline Suhaimi has been a transit advocate for virtually her entire life. “Cities have been my haven since I was a child. I grew up in the suburbs of the San Francisco Bay area, a short BART ride away from the city, and I hated driving. I would take BART or the bus whenever I could, but I felt the effects of suburban car culture every single day. I longed for the freedom of good transit systems, bustling streets, and grocery stores within walking distance.” Ms. Suhaimi used her life experience to inform her vocation. 
“My passions lie in making transit more efficient and accessible. People who cannot drive, whether due to age or disability, should have the freedom to go wherever they want as easily as people who can drive. Accessibility lies not only in making transit vehicles more affordable for people who need and more comfortable for elderly, youth, or disabled citizens, but also connecting the ‘first-and-last mile’ so that people can access public transit from suburban areas as well…In addition to connecting people to transit, I’m passionate about connecting students to the transportation industry.” 
Her fervor and her dedication have not gone unnoticed. According to Walter Okitsu, PE, a lecturer at UCLA and principal at the KOA Corporation, “Ms. Suhaimi was one of the highest achievers in C&EE 180 Transportation Engineering, demonstrating both a complete understanding of the course material and an enthusiasm for the subject…Showing considerable confidence for a sophomore, Ms. Suhaimi persuaded me that her UCLA ITE student chapter should be hosting the 2020 Institute’s Western District Student Leadership Summit, a 3-day conference that attracts well over a hundred students in the transportation field from throughout the western United States. Due to the size of this event, UCLA will pursue managing this conference in a partnership with USC’s ITE student chapter. Joceline will play a major role in proposing on and, hopefully, directing this high-profile event in conjunction with our cross-town rival university in her senior year.” 
Though young in years, Ms. Suhaimi reflect well Ava Doner’s poise, tenacity, and pioneering spirit. For these reasons and many more, WTS-LA proudly awards her the 2018 $10,000 Ava Doner Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship. 


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