2014 Scholarship Winners

2014 WTS Annual Awards Banquet Video

JanilleSmith-Colin_01.2014_(2)WTS CH2M HILL Partnership Scholarship
Janille Smith-Colin, P.E.

Janille Smith-Colin, P.E., is a second year PhD student in Transportation Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her professional goal is to become an educator and researcher. With several years of full-time employment on her resume, Janille has gained practical consulting and public sector experience and was able to earn professional licensure. While serving as a Government Liaison at the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), she developed federal planning documents, including the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). Janille also had the opportunity to assist with the transportation planning effort for projects of regional and local significance, including the Downtown Riverwalk, the Tampa light rail project, the Courtney Campbell Causeway multi-use tail, and the Florida High Speed Rail (HSR) project.  These projects focused on providing sustainable transportation options for the Tampa Bay community with the goals of mobility, connectivity, and access through non-vehicular modes. What intrigued Janille most about this work was the decision­ making process often undertaken to evaluate transportation options, the methodologies used to evaluate system performance, and the processes and technologies used to integrate sustainability into each project.

Janille’s research focuses on performance measurement, infrastructure and asset management, and on sustainable practices in transportation. She’s working on developing a framework for incorporating evidence-based  decision making principles into the transportation  planning and management process—her work at FDOT showed her how critically important it is to have a balance between evidence-based  decisions and experience-based  decisions. Janille is originally from the Caribbean and she’s had the opportunity to intern with the national road agency in Jamaica. In developing countries there is a critical need for transparent, quantifiable, and sustainable methods for transportation resource allocation. She hopes to develop methodologies that can positively impact infrastructure work globally.

As a participant in the National Academies Christine Mirzayan Graduate Policy Fellowship, Janille served as a summer policy fellow at the Transportation Research Board (TRB). As a masters student she was selected to represent the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the ENO Foundation Leadership Conference. While in Tampa, FL, Janille was an active member of WTS, serving as chapter vice president. In 2013 she served as volunteer coordinator for the Georgia Tech student chapter of ITE, and this year she has become involved with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Janille earned a Bachelor of Arts in Engineering at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, her Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and will complete her PhD at the Georgia Institute ofTechnology.She will also complete the Higher Education Teaching Certification offered through the Center for Teaching Education and Learning (CETL).


StaceyHeaton_WTS_(2)Dana Hook Leadership Legacy Scholarship
Stacey Heaton

Stacey Heaton is working to achieve a Masters of Arts in Public Policy and Management at Ohio State University. As a mother to five children she will be rejoining the transportation field within a few years. When she was a teen, she wanted to be a pilot, and she ultimately attended the Florida Institute of Technology, graduating in 1996 with a BS in Aviation Management with Flight Technology.

Stacey completed an internship with the Federal Aviation Administration in college, had a job as an airport management intern at the Reno/Tahoe International Airport in Nevada, and became an aviation/airport planner with a consulting firm on the east coast. From there she came back to the public sector as an assistant airport manager at a very busy general aviation airport and ultimately worked for the Columbus Regional Airport Authority from 2004 until she left to have her last child in 2011. Stacey’s career goal is to achieve a deputy executive position, or similar, at an airport.

By earning a Masters of Arts in Public Policy and Management, Stacey seeks a broader perspective of public policy workings. She feels that economic and global success is tied to sustainable multi-modalism, of which airports are key, and that strong people are needed to lead big policy discussions. Learning to work within policy making networks locally and abroad are skills she hopes to strengthen with her pending degree from the Ohio State University, and she hopes to contribute to solutions for sustainable transportation.


brit_montgomeryWTS Helene M. Overly Memorial Scholarship
Brittany Montgomery

For Brittany Montgomery, leadership is about pushing boundaries and humbly inspiring others to join her in the pursuit of creating enduring changes and reshaping the way problems are deliberated and solved.  She aspires to become a leader in teaching and mentoring future generations of transportation and planning professionals by becoming a professor of international development planning and transportation.

In her professional experience, Brittany has faced many challenges as she is frequently the only woman at the table, as well as the youngest and best trained in her field. But after initial resistance, her passion for generating transportation solutions that improve the well-being of the poor has transcended the skepticism of her colleagues. One example: she persuaded her all-male team to construct an at-grade wheel-chair accessible Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) station in front of a community center for the elderly, in lieu of a two-story pedestrian bridge.  Brittany’s most challenging professional experience was leading a 35-member team spread over four countries in the master plan of a BRT system for the metropolitan area of Asuncion, Paraguay. While the project tested her technical leadership, communication, and organizational skills, it granted her the opportunity to challenge run-of-the mill BRT solutions and shape a project with tangential benefits for poor, informal merchants and transit riders.  

Brittany’s experience has shown her the critical need for more nontraditional leaders in roles associated with development. She believes that the development of transportation policies and projects, as well as egalitarian societies, requires that transportation leaders stand up for groups that have traditionally had little voice, like women, children, the elderly, the disabled, and the poor. Transportation leadership in developing countries also implies a shift in focus from top-down project engineering to collaborative planning and knowledge transfer to local professionals. Entrenching herself in projects in Latin America showed Brittany  the gaps in knowledge of what is necessary to create a development continuum – how to take transportation projects off paper and make them reality in the context of weak government institutions.

As a PhD student in international development at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Brittany will focus on research questions related to the implementation of poverty-reducing critical infrastructure projects. Her WTS Helene M. Overly Memorial Scholarship will permit her to conduct international fieldwork relevant to her research agenda. Through her doctoral research, and her career, she aims to lead in developing practical solutions that reduce poverty and improve life for the poor, as well as under-represented groups like women. 


Dascanio_headshot_(2)Sharon D. Banks Memorial Scholarship
Angelene Dascanio

Angelene Dascanio, a civil engineering student at the University of Notre Dame, loves bridges. In the past three years she has come to deeply appreciate their aesthetic appeal, complex structure, and most of all their purpose. In 2013 Angelene was accepted to Notre Dame Students Empowering through Engineering Development (NDSEED) a team of seven undergraduate engineering students who will design and build a footbridge in a rural town in Nicaragua. Angelene will design the bridge and serve as liaison between the blue prints and construction. During the rainy season in Nicaragua, communities such as the one with which Angelene is working become isolated from resources, work, medical care, and schools for weeks at a time due to flooded rivers. Some people desperately try to cross the rivers, sometimes getting swept away or killed doing so. The intent for building a bridge in a community such as this is to alleviate these perilous risks. Her recent trip to Nicaragua to assess the site and talk with the community opened Angelene’s eyes to the true impact of engineering, where she has learned that being a great leader means building with those she is leading, not for them.

Angelene is also the lead design engineer for a research team inventing novel deployable relief structures for the U.S. Army (a project for which she currently has a patent pending), and she leads the construction team for Engineering to Empower, designing and building permanent housing for Haitians.

After she graduates she’d like to attend graduate school for structural engineering and eventually pursue a career as a transportation engineer. She wants to focus her career on service to those who have challenges to overcome but do not have the tools to do so. Angelene says that this WTS scholarship will support her on her path to becoming an engineer and leader so she may continue to inspire and be inspired.


sarah_cote_(2)Molitoris Leadership Scholarship for Undergraduates
Sarah Cote

Sarah Cote will soon graduate from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) with an engineering degree, and for Sarah, taking on leadership roles during her undergraduate studies has been a character-building and rewarding experience. She took on positions with her chapter of ASCE as a sophomore, and after a few years of leading events she has become Chapter President. She is also the founding secretary of the Iota Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi.

Sarah believes that effective leadership is characterized not only by the ability to delegate tasks but also by the ability to communicate, to be an example, and to see broader contexts, and her work experience will help her become the transportation leader she has set out to become. Her resume includes serving as an engineering intern for the Town of Southold, NY, Engineering Department, as an undergraduate research intern for WPI’s Hot Asphalt Pavement Lab, as an autoCAD and analystical mechanics peer learning assistant, as well as a math and science help leader and tutor for the Academic Resource Center at WPI. 

Sarah has received several awards at WPI for involvement and academic achievement, and she is an active member of ASCE WPI, the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, the Chi Epsilon Civil Engineering Honor Society, the Order of Omega Greek Honor Society, the Alpha Phi Women’s Fraternity, as well as the Society of Women Engineers.

Sarah is working toward achieving her goals of attending graduate school, pursuing a career in transportation, and becoming a professional engineer. She’s taken the GRE exam, and is registered to take a review class in preparation for the FE exam in the spring, and ultimately seeks a career in the transportation industry.


Annie_2WTS Junior College Scholarship
Annie Rosen

Annie Rosen knows that to rebuild America's infrastructure, the industry must think far ahead into the future, and that transportation leadership and accountability are especially important. Annie believes it will take strong leaders in the field to guide the industry in the right direction, and this is the person she aspires to be. In her tutoring job, a role she is passionate about, Annie has learned great leaders possess the confidence to tackle problems they haven't seen before, the transparency to admit when they’re not sure, and the know-how to ultimately succeed. She would like to contribute to the rebuilding of America’s infrastructure by applying a combination of learned industry acumen with her leadership skills to work with other leaders in the transportation industry to create a public transportation system that truly serves Southern California. She believes her community deserves public transit that is so well designed that it eliminates rush hour traffic, significantly reduces carbon emissions by individual-use vehicles, and renders the personal automobile optional.

Annie is currently a physics student at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, but will soon transfer to University of California, Berkeley, to complete a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. Upon completion of that degree, she plans to test for her EIT and begin working with experienced transportation engineers. She would also like to pursue a post-graduate degree in transportation engineering through Berkeley, then hopes to gain enough experience to obtain a PE license. Ultimately she would like to become a senior partner in an engineering firm so that she can contribute to her community while also fostering the next generation of engineers.

Katy_2WTS Transportation YOU High School Scholarship
Katy Schmidt

Engineering combines Katy Schmidt’s two favorite subjects, math and science, into practical problem solving application, so her professional goal is to become a civil engineer. She sees civil engineering as a discipline that combines both form and function. The idea of creating something integral, meaningful, and memorable, such as powerful dams, majestic bridges, scenic mountain roads, and quiet reservoirs is what inspires her.

Katy was raised to appreciate the value of hard work as a means to attain her goals. As a woman pursuing a degree and career in engineering, she understands that she is a minority in a male-dominated field, and this motivates her to do even better, to show that she is capable and can surpass expectations.

Katy’s plans for college include attending Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, while playing Division-1 soccer. After she receives her bachelor's degree in civil engineering, she plans to stay for an extra year to earn a masters degree. After graduation, she intends to find a job in civil engineering to design bridges. Ultimately, her engineering goal is to see a significant structure, design, or process and be able to claim credit for that functional and unique creation.