2023 Scholarship Recipients
Helene M. Overly Memorial Scholarship / GNY: Leonard Braun Memorial Scholarship
Xiaoyu Ma is a PhD student in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), enrolled in Transportation Engineering. Her research focuses on promoting emerging transportation systems, such as electric vehicle (EV) and connected automated vehicle (CAV) systems. In her research, she develops congestion pricing scheme and travel information provision framework for EV, CAV, and mixed-traffic systems to mitigate traffic congestion. Xiaoyu also collaborates with the Capital District Transportation Authority to improve bus arrival time prediction through machine learning, contributing to optimizing operational efficiency and the riders’ experience. At RPI, Xiaoyu served as the communications chair and was elected as the president of the WTS RPI student chapter. She also actively contributes to the advancement of women in transportation through other organizations such as AME20 TRB Standing Committee on Women and Gender in Transportation. Xiaoyu is the recipient of many awards and honors for her outstanding research accomplishments and academic performance, such as the Founders Award of Excellence and Belsky Award for Computational Sciences and Engineering at RPI. Xiaoyu enjoys traveling, cooking, and reading books in her leisure time.
National Leadership Legacy Award
Gina Yeonkyeong Park is a Research Associate at the Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy and a PhD candidate in Regional Science within the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University. Holding an MS in Regional Science from Cornell University and an MA in International Commerce from Seoul National University, Gina is profoundly dedicated to strategic development of transportation infrastructure, emphasizing sustainability, resilience, and equity. Her dissertation, "Toward a Just Transition: Implications of Urban Freight and Ports in Energy, Environment, and Health," investigates the impact of port policies on local environmental health and equity during the transition from diesel to electrification. She was honored with the Young Scholar Award by the Korean-American Scientists and Engineers Association (KSEA) and actively contributes as a Young Member of the Marine Environment Standing Committee at the Transportation Research Board. Her research has been published in esteemed journals such as Case Studies on Transport Policy, Transportation Research Procedia, and the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. In her leisure time, Gina enjoys gym workouts, paddleboarding, and watching movies.
Infra Tech S. David Ali Memorial Graduate Scholarship
Kanij Fateema is pursuing her Master’s in Regional Planning at Cornell University. She completed her Bachelor in Architecture in 2015 from Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (AUST) in Bangladesh. Her diverse range of interests encompasses gender consideration in planning practice and pedagogy, transportation equity, informal economy, community participation, etc. Her current research focuses on understanding the impact of ridesharing on urban mobility in the Global South, with financial support from the Clarence Stein Institute. At Cornell University, Kanij is leading the Women’s Planning Forum, a student organization within the City and Regional Planning Department. In addition to her academic pursuits, she has been contributing her expertise to WSP-USA since May 2023 as a Transportation Planning Senior Intern. Prior to her role at WSP-USA, Kanij worked as a Road Safety Consultant at the World Resources Institute (WRI) where she collaborated with city governments to enhance their capacity in designing streets and intersections that are more inclusive and safer. Before joining WRI, Kanij made a meaningful impact while working with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the Rohingya Refugee camps, one of the largest refugee camps globally. Her responsibilities involved micro and macro settlement planning, infrastructure development, and facilitating focus group discussions, etc. Last but not least, she initiated and led a pilot project on how public buses can be safer for children and women in Dhaka. She is determined to create an inclusive and safer urban environment through her professional commitment.
Sharon D. Banks Memorial / GNY: Susan Miszkowicz Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship
Zeynep Bromberg is a senior studying Mechanical Engineering and History of Art and Architecture at Harvard College. Zeynep was raised in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and attended Stuyvesant High School -- she is a proud New Yorker through and through. Zeynep is particularly passionate about accessibility in transportation, and is currently developing her capstone senior thesis project on an autonomous universal wheelchair securement device to be used in ride-share and public transit settings. This past summer she worked for Teknikio, a small company based in the Newlab at Brooklyn Navy Yard that designs STEM/STEAM kits and custom electronic modules that are easy to integrate with everyday materials. The products are gender neutral and place a focus on engaging girls with STEM without adhering to stereotypes. She is passionate about urban planning, and has done research with the Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative on population trends in major metropolises throughout history. At Harvard, Zeynep has served on the Harvard University Engineering Society and was also president of the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, an award-winning mixed-voice choir.
Molitoris Leadership Scholarship
Arpita Saha is a junior at Columbia University, majoring in Civil Engineering with a minor in Sustainable Engineering. The summer after her sophomore year, she worked as a Lab Assistant at the Robert A.W. Carleton Strength of Materials Laboratory, where she performed tensile testing on suspension bridge cables. Currently, Arpita is an Engineering Intern at COWI, where she is working on a marine infrastructure project and assisting with embodied carbon calculations for a transportation project. On campus, she serves as a co-chair of the Engineering Recruitment Committee, where she leads engineering tours for prospective students, overlooks other tour guides, and manages committee operations. She was also a participant in the ACE Mentor Program in high school and now serves as an ambassador, mentoring other students. In the future, Arpita hopes to pursue the intersection of engineering and sustainability to create sustainable infrastructure. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, and trying new cuisines.
Community College/Technical/Trade Degree Scholarship
Casey Houlder is a fourth-year undergraduate student at SUNY Maritime College majoring in Marine Engineering while earning her United States Coast Guard Third Assistant Engineer License. Over her last three years of college, Houlder spent her summers aboard SUNY Maritime’s Training Ship learning the inner workings of a steam ship. Upon graduation, Houlder plans to utilize her license to work on ships and later shoreside at a shipyard. While on campus, she works as a tutor in her school learning center and at the school pool as a swimming instructor. Houlder is a member of the Women of Maritime Club, Black Student Union, and Culture Club on campus and occasionally lends a hand at the Waterfront and Admissions during her free time. Houlder’s goal for the future is to empower young girls by showing them that we can be successful in non-traditional fields. She wants to open their eyes to the maritime industry and let them know that it is an option.
Susan L. Kupferman Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship
Hi everyone, my name is Sadia Afrin. I am currently a senior at Vaughn, working on my instrument rating at Heritage as well as working at JFK as a customer service agent. My goal is to become a commercial pilot. When I decided to become a pilot, many people discouraged me, including my own parents, but I chose to believe in myself and go through with it. The aviation industry has always fascinated me. I also love traveling and trying new food from all different cultures.
Infra Tech S. David Ali Undergraduate Scholarship
Emily Specht is a senior at Manhattan College studying Civil Engineering. She has been on the Dean's List for all semesters throughout her college career. During her junior year she was inducted into Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society, and Chi Epsilon, the Civil Engineering Honor Society. Last semester, Emily was appointed Vice President of Tau Beta Pi. As Vice President, she plans to organize networking events to help connect Tau Beta Pi students with professionals in the industry. Additionally, she plans to support younger inductees as they continue their journey in engineering. She is involved in many clubs on campus such as SWE, the Society of Women Engineers and ASCE. This past summer, she had the opportunity to intern with WSP in their transportation group. This internship has helped her gain more knowledge in various software programs such as MicroStation and AutoCAD. In the past, she also interned with Cicognani Kalla Architect, where she utilized MicroStation to alter floor plans. After graduation, Emily will continue her education at Manhattan College in the fall of 2024, working towards her Master’s degree in Civil Engineering. During her leisure time, she enjoys skiing and biking.
High School Scholarship:
WTS Transportation YOU High School Scholarship
My name is Mariah Martin and I’ve recently graduated from City Polytechnic High School of Engineering, Architecture and Technology. I am currently on my journey to become a Marine Corps Medic in the US Navy. I graduated High School with a 3.1 GPA and have been a member of WTS for the past 3 years. As a member l have been mentored by all the ladies of WTS. They helped expose us to different types of jobs in
transportation and always spoke to us about doing our part for our communities. We participated in Job Shadowing, Career Day panels, Transportation based trips, and Cultural trips. Through my involvement in the mentorship, I was referred for a job with the MTA in which I interned at the East NY Bus Depot. This has been one of my fondest experiences as it helped me develop my leadership, teamwork, and collaboration skills. During my leisure time, I enjoy solving puzzles, watching films and spending time with my family. I am passionate about being of service to others and helping my community.