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Scholarship and Award Winners

2018-2019WTS Puget Sound Chapter Scholarship & Award Winners

Scholarship Winners
Helene M. Overly Memorial Graduate Scholarship:

Mehrzad Mehrabipour

Jillian Trinkaus

Scott White Memorial Scholarship:

Gabriela Giron

Sharon D. Banks Memorial Scholarship:

Chandler Waldal

Professor Scott Rutherford Memorial Scholarship:

Michelle Abunaja
Shawna Mulhall Memorial Scholarship:

Megan Zollars

Cathy Strombom Memorial Scholarship

Morgan Cowick
Award Winners
Employer of the Year:


Woman of the Year: Lorelei Williams
Honorable Ray LaHood Award: Rob Gannon
Member of the Year: Geri Poor
Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership: Dawn McIntosh
Innovative Transportation Solutions - Small/Special Project:

WSF 2040 Long Range Plan

Innovative Transportation Solutions - Large Project:

Community Transit Swift Green Line


 Brief Bios

Sharon D. Banks Memorial Undergraduate

Chandler Waldal, University of Washington

Chandler began her journey as a Civil Engineering student at the University of Washington with one main focus in mind: to pursue a degree where she could collaborate with others to create sustainable solutions that leave lasting impacts on the community around her. Chandler spent the summer after her freshman year interning at Transportation Engineering NorthWest (TENW), where she worked on a wide variety of projects. This experience underscored her passion and excitement for a career in transportation. Chandler is driven to continue to grow as a problem solver and leader and looks forward to future involvement in the transportation field and within the WTS community.


Shawna Mulhall Memorial Scholarship

Megan Zollars, Gonzaga University

Megan is currently a senior at Gonzaga University studying Civil Engineering, focusing her studies on Transportation and Water Resources Engineering. Last year, she spent a semester studying Transportation at the University of Auckland and traveling across New Zealand. She is currently working with Wyoming Department of Transportation to analyze data collected from the Wyoming Connected Vehicle Project, for her Senior Design project. In the future, she hopes to help create new ways to improve the safety and connectivity of transportation.


Senator Scott White Memorial Scholarship

Gabriela Giron, University of Washington

Gabriela is a Ph.D. candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington. She is a Fulbright Scholar recipient and a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Urban Freight Committee. As a research assistant at the SCTL Center, she has contributed to develop and implement data collection techniques and analysis of the freight network that has resulted in new City protocols for infrastructure and data management. Her goal is to become a leader in the proposal and implementation of data-driven policies and strategies related to the transportation and logistics sector.


Professor Scott Rutherford Memorial Scholarship

Michelle Abunaja, University of Washington

Michelle is a McNair Scholar and first year Master of Urban Planning student at UW specializing in transportation planning. She formerly worked as a planner for Varela and Associates Engineering and is currently the Program Assistant for UW’s Livable City Year Program partnership with the City of Bellevue. Michelle’s work is centered around ADA transition planning, air quality research, and multimodal transportation. She is passionate about improving the ways people travel without private vehicles and excited to work in Seattle’s evolving transportation sector.


Cathy Strombom Memorial Scholarship

Morgan Cowick, University of Washington

Morgan is pursuing concurrent master degrees in Urban Planning and Public Administration at the University of Washington. She also currently interns with the Street Use Division of the Seattle Department of Transportation, where she works to capitalize on underutilized public areas and encourage non-automobile centric spaces through community activation programs in the public right of way. She plans to continue to work in public service after graduation, and to leverage her background in consulting, environmental justice, and non-profit work to advance policy that improves public transit for marginalized communities.


Helene M. Overly Memorial Graduate Scholarship

Mehrzad Mehrabipour, Washington State University

Mehrzad Mehrabipour received B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees with honors in Industrial Engineering. Working as an instructor for two years, she became interested in improving transportation systems as a critical need for a sustainable society. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Transportation Engineering at Washington State University (WSU) where she also received a second M.Sc. degree. She is working on analytical approaches to solve large-scale traffic assignment problems. She established the ITE Student Chapter at WSU in 2017 to promote the advancement of transportation and represented the Civil Engineering department at Graduate and Professional Association in 2017-2018.


Jillian Trinkaus, University of Washington

Jillian is working on her master’s degree in sustainable transportation at the University of Washington. To Jillian, sustainable transportation is about moving people instead of cars. She is planning for the day when people have a transportation toolbox with a host of available travel options. This would give people the ability to choose the mode of transportation that works best for each specific trip rather than defaulting to driving a single occupancy vehicle for every trip. In addition to her studies at the UW, Jillian is the transportation coordinator at Western Washington University.


Transportation You

Merilyn Luong, Franklin High School

Merilyn is a senior at Franklin High School and plans to study Information Systems management in the near future. When she is not in class, she takes on officer roles in three different clubs at her school and sits on Principal's cabinet. She has always had a passion for business management but became more interested in STEM through her internship at Alaska Airlines as an ITS communications specialist. She hopes to make a change in business by creating a more diverse and inclusive environment for everyone.

Faizah Zuberi, Sammamish High School

Faizah Zuberi is a senior attending Sammamish High School. Faizah has enjoyed attending Transportation You seminars at her high school since freshman year. Since attending her first Transportation You meeting, she has enjoyed exploring the transportation field while being inspired by females in this business. By learning about different fields through this program and taking a variety of engineering classes throughout high school, Faizah has decided to study computer science in college.


Member of the Year

Geri Poor, Port of Seattle

Geri is the Regional Transportation Manager for the Port of Seattle and currently serves on our Chapter Advisory Board. She has enjoyed WTS throughout her career and been a member for over 15 years, championing the WTS mission through chapter engagement, mentoring, and cross-selling our chapter’s value to outside leaders. Geri has involved our chapter in a variety of initiatives, especially connecting WTS with our region’s public agencies. At the Port, she provides project and policy linkages to collaborate among partner agencies, stakeholder groups, and Port divisions. With over 30 years of professional experience and 6 years of service on our WTS board as the treasurer, president and advisory board liaison, Geri brings to our chapter a wealth of knowledge and healthy dedication and support.


Innovative Transportation Solutions - Large Project

Community Transit Swift Green Line

TheSwift Green Line project will be the second route in the Swift Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network, which has been provided by Community Transit since 2009. The Green Line will include construction of thirty-four Swift BRT Stations and roadway improvements at three locations. The 12-mile route extends from Canyon Park/Bothell to Boeing/Paine Field and is currently a strong transit market with robust employment and population. The Swift Green Line will provide a high capacity, high quality, reliable and sustainable transportation alternative to auto travel along this important regional corridor.


Innovative Transportation Solutions - Small/Special Project

WSF 2040 Long Range Plan

Washington State Ferries (WSF) operates the largest, most diverse ferry system in the US and carries nearly 25 million passengers a year. WSF’s 2040 Long Range Plan is the product of an intensive process that incorporated ridership forecasting, modeling and a broad community outreach component that involved ferry riders, transit agencies, elected officials, business and economic development, Native American tribes, and others. The Plan is a pragmatic roadmap for WSF to follow for the next two decades and is the embodiment of inclusion, in large part because it was led by women who work across diverse practice areas in the traditionally male-dominated maritime industry.


Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award

Dawn McIntosh, WSDOT

Dawn serves as WSDOT’s Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program (AWV) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Compliance Manager. In Fall 2013, FHWA investigated civil rights complaints on the AWV’s DBE participation and concluded that business processes were making it difficult for some Small, Woman and Minority owned firms to participate on the $1.5 billion project. Dawn, a Licensed Professional Engineer and a Project Engineer on the AWV was asked to assist with ensuring the DBE goals were met. Dawn implemented a DBE Oversight Committee and developed policy and procedures to eliminate barriers to participation. A recent FHWA audit of the AWV’s DBE program acknowledged WSDOT’s compliance and recommended the project be recognized as a national standard. This is a testament to Dawn’s accomplishments. Based on Dawn’s efforts, $143 million has been paid to 113 small, woman and minority owned firms.   


Employer of the Year


EnviroIssues is a female-founded, 100 percent woman-owned business at the forefront of public participation practices and is working on the most complex transportation projects in the region. Firm leaders demonstrate career advancement opportunities firsthand with several principals having started at entry level positions, and an internal ‘EI Academy’ training program fosters career progression for staff (seventy percent female). EnviroIssues actively supports WTS at all levels including organizing local workshops, seminars, and regional conferences. Staff are also involved in the regional and international advisory board committees. From WSDOT mega projects to corridor planning and transit projects, EnviroIssues is not only engaged in the region’s most critical projects, it is a great place to work and an advocate for women in the transportation sector.


Honorable Ray LaHood Award

Rob Gannon, King County Metro

Rob Gannon, General Manager of King County Metro, has advanced the careers of women and minorities to leadership positions to reflect the regional community being served. During his leadership Metro has supported greater equity in the community by advancing the Low-Income Fare for Transit (ORCA LIFT) program. He is a longtime supporter of organizations that promote women and minorities including being a founder of the WA state chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials. Finally, he has led Metro to national recognition by being named the best large transit system in North America. Mr. Gannon is an exemplary leader in the mold of former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.


Woman of the Year

Lorelei Williams, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT)

Lorelei is a well-respected leader in the industry throughout the Puget Sound. After beginning her career in consulting, Lorelei started at SDOT as a Project Manager and quickly advanced to her current role as Deputy Director of Capital Project Delivery. She also serves as APWA WA Chapter President. In her current role at SDOT, Lorelei oversees the delivery of the $930 million Move Seattle Program and is responsible for executive management of project delivery for all SDOT's capital projects. Under her leadership, she has successfully guided major high-profile projects in Seattle including the final phase of the Elliott Bay Seawall Project and the Fremont Bridge Project. She has earned the utmost respect for her leadership, positive outlook, and her ability to arrive upon balanced solutions to complex transportation challenges.

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