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Jessica Prince – Where She is Now

Jessica_Prince

When Jessica Prince received a WTS scholarship, she was a student at the University of Oklahoma. Since then, with new confidence to head into a career in transportation, her career path has taken her to leading a construction office for the Oklahoma DOT. WTS sat down with Jessica to learn more about where her WTS scholarship has led her, and what she sees in her future.

WTS:Which WTS scholarship did you receive?

JP:I received the 2009 Undergraduate Scholarship from the WTS Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter.  The chapter presented the award to me at their annual meeting and recognized me in front of the entire—very large—chapter! The financial support and recognition I felt from this event as a Junior in college gave me tremendous confidence at a pivotal time in my professional development.  It was truly an honor receiving the scholarship and was a beneficial talking point on my resume for interviews as I was entering the work force.

WTS:Where were you studying at the time you received your scholarship?

JP:I was at the University of Oklahoma majoring in civil engineering and environmental sciences.

WTS:Where has your career path led you since the award?

JP:After graduating I accepted a position with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, where I spent four years participating in the Engineer-in-Training program. During my time in that program, I spent one year rotating through various divisions within the Department, two years working in roadway design, and one year working in the field overseeing construction projects. Upon the completion of that program, I passed the Professional Engineers examination and became a licensed Professional Engineer, which I have used to serve as a Resident Engineer in one of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s construction offices for two years.

WTS:What do you do in your current role?

JP:I currently lead a construction office of 15 people that manages the construction of all highway roads and bridges in two counties. The office includes a wide array of personnel, including administrative positions, field inspectors, and laboratory technicians, all of whom I train and develop. Half of my role in the office is spent working in the field with the field inspectors resolving constructability issues or monitoring the progress of projects; the other half of my role consists of providing feedback for construction perspective to the planning and review process and ensuring contracts are being administered appropriately. 

WTS:What is it about the transportation industry that keeps you excited?

JP:I have strong family ties to the industry, with both of my parents and both of my grandparents working and retiring from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. They all worked in various capacities of transportation, but it is something that I grew up around. For that reason, I’ve seen closely how the industry has evolved over my lifetime. The way that technology has changed how we are planning the sustainability of our infrastructure is exciting, and I feel so fortunate to be a part of it. There are so many challenges ahead with the implementation of newer energy efficient cars, more focus on public transit, and the rapidly declining state of the nation’s infrastructure, and it’s very exciting and rewarding to be a part of the solutions.

WTS: How did your WTS scholarship help get you to where you are today?

JP:The WTS scholarship gave me the confidence I so desperately needed as a young woman getting started in her career. Going into the construction side of the transportation industry can be very daunting and feel it’s unchartered territory for a woman, at times. I firmly believe that the scholarship I received provided the foundation of confidence necessary to perform my current job.

WTS: Do you feel that WTS is a worthwhile organization for others to be a part of?

JP:Absolutely. This organization provides women of all ages and status the support that is needed to be successful. WTS is raising and molding the future leaders of the transportation industry by way of providing mentorship and networking. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

WTS: Where do you see yourself going next?

JP:I see myself continuing to serve my state in a leadership role with the Department of Transportation. I hope to someday be in a leadership position that will allow me to have influence on the direction our state goes with advances in the transportation industry.

 

WTS scholarships are made possible through the WTS Foundation for the attraction, retention, and advancement of women in transportation, which relies on the support of individual donors. To become a WTS Foundation supporter, please click HERE to make a donation today!

 

 

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