2020 Highschool Scholarships and Sponsors

High school is a pivotal time in life. Aside from fundamental social experiences, high school is where many of us first start thinking about what we want to do with our lives, about choosing a career. WTS-LA Transportation YOU Co-Chairs Barbara Marquez, Caltrans District 7 Sustainability and Innovation Deputy District Director, and Sharlane Bailey, Foothill Transit Facilities Director, appreciate that and use their position to help young women at underserved high schools become aware of the vast array of challenging and rewarding careers in the transportation industry. But they do more than that.

Offering knowledge and encouragement, they also offer inspiration in the form of scholarships, something that profoundly affects students in underserved communities. And they spend considerable amounts of time and energy helping those students, mentoring them to ensure they succeed. Of course, they do it because it’s the right thing to do. But they also believe in the power of young people to transform the transportation industry. For them, though, it really is about the joy of seeing a young mind come alive.  

“High school students are just so eager to learn and absorb knowledge and information, particularly when it’s something that they’re familiar with, but don’t really know or understand. And transportation is a perfect example of something that’s initially invisible, but that once you see it you can never again unsee it,” explains Bailey. “Everyone uses transportation. But most—nearly all—students and many adults don’t realize that the transportation they use every day provides a wealth of career opportunities. So, having someone, especially a successful woman, come in and talk to these girls about transportation really opens their eyes to a new world. It’s just the most rewarding thing to see the light go on in their heads.”

Marquez agrees. But she points out that in addition to the commitment of the women of WTS-LA, there’s another key element.

“It’s just phenomenal that our donors have stepped up so much, particularly during COVID. It’s times like these when students need support the most. In fact, Sharlane and I just received an email from a donor who wants to contribute even more. There are more donors this year than ever before and it’s continuing to grow. And that’s a testament to our supporters belief in both WTS-LA’s mission and that young people are really the next generation of transportation professionals.”

Marquez and Bailey credit the many donors who have stepped up over the years, both organizations and individuals. But they would particularly like to highlight the following organizations for financing this year’s high school scholarships. They are AECOM, BergCM, Hill International, Mott MacDonald, PGH Wong Engineering, and WSP. Representatives from each organization will be on hand on November 12, 2020, at the virtual 2020 WTS-LA Annual Scholarship and Awards Dinner to digitally hand out these scholarships. And the scholarship winners represent three area schools: Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA), Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnet High School, and Susan Miller Dorsey High School. Marquez and Bailey also reached out to Azusa High School, but unfortunately the pandemic limited their ability to participate in the scholarship program. But Bailey and Marquez look forward to next year, in hopes that Azusa students can participate again, along with a growing list of other schools. And here are this year’s winners.

WSP Bright Futures Scholarship. With 50,000 employees in 500 offices in 40 countries, WSP delivers professional services around the globe. They’re also a staunch supporter of WTS, as a Trailblazer Corporate Partner on the international level and a Platinum Corporate Partner to WTS-LA. The 2020 WTS-LA $2,500 WSP Bright Futures High School Scholarship recognizes a deserving young woman from the Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnet School. This year’s winner seeks to transform transportation more equitably to increase access to healthcare in underserved communities.

PGH Wong Engineering Scholarship. Established in 1985, PGH Wong is a leading infrastructure engineering, project management, and construction management firm that delivers successful projects on time, within budget, and with exceptional quality. And they’re a faithful supporter of WTS-LA and the scholarship program. The 2020 WTS-LA $2,500 PGH Wong Engineering High School Scholarship goes to a deserving young woman from Susan Miller Dorsey High School. Wanting to become a firefighter/paramedic, this year’s winner values the vital role transportation plays in her chosen vocation and seeks to improve it to help save lives.

AECOM Richard G. Newman Scholarship. Named after AECOM’s legendary chairman Richard Newman, the scholarship honors his commitment to fairness and equality in the transportation industry. A global professional services firm with nearly 90,000 employees on nearly every continent, AECOM is a longtime supporter of both WTS (a Trailblazer Corporate Partner) and WTS-LA (a Platinum Corporate Partner). The 2020 WTS-LA $2,500 AECOM Richard G. Newman Scholarship goes to a young women from the Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnet School who wants to use her passion for environmental science to drive more fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly transportation.

Mott MacDonald Scholarship. One of the largest employee-owned companies in the world, Mott MacDonald fields more than 16,000 staff in 150 countries. Mott delivers exemplary engineering, management, and development through its global network to improve society and the built environment. They are also a perennial WTS-LA Platinum Corporate Partner. The 2020 WTS-LA $2,500 Mott MacDonald Scholarship goes to a commendable young woman from GALA. And she looks to rectify an inequality in aviation by becoming a commercial pilot.

BergCM Scholarship. BergCM provides complete project management, engineering and inspection services to public works agencies with the profound understanding of the importance of effective service coordination and timely communication on project schedules. They are also devoted to equality and WTS-LA’s mission, as a Silver Corporate Partner and as a firm that regularly supplies superlative people to the chapter. The 2020 WTS-LA $2,500 BergCM Scholarship goes to a worthy young woman from Susan Miller Dorsey High School. And she looks to study both urban planning and philosophy to become a lawyer who advocates on behalf of underserved communities.

Hill International Scholarship. Headquartered in Philadelphia and founded in 1976, Hill International provides program and project management, construction management, cost engineering and estimating, quality assurance, inspection, scheduling, risk management, and claims avoidance services on major construction projects around the globe. They are also a strong believer in equality and education. The 2020 WTS-LA $2,500 Hill International Scholarship recognizes a woman from the Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnet School who shares those beliefs. And she looks to put those beliefs into action by becoming a pediatrician or pediatric nurse working on a pediatric transport team.

WTS-LA Marilyn J. Reece Memorial Scholarship. The first woman in California to earn her PE license, former Caltrans engineer Marilyn J. Reece was a true pioneer. And the WTS-LA Marilyn J. Reece Memorial Scholarship honors a student who shares that virtue. The 2020 WTS-LA $2,500 Marilyn J. Reece Memorial Scholarship honors a deserving young woman from the Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnet School. This year’s winner looks to use her passion for political science and finance to help women and families in distress.

WTS-LA Joan G. Wood Memorial Scholarship. Former Adopt-A-School co-chair and transportation-planning manager Joan G. Wood believed wholeheartedly in education and its power to transform lives. This scholarship honors that belief. And the 2020 WTS-LA $2,500 Joan G. Wood Memorial Scholarship goes to a deserving young woman from the Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnet School. This year’s winner looks to become a financial manager and use her knowledge and skills to aid disadvantaged businesses.

High school is a pivotal time in life. In addition to growing socially, it’s the first time most young people start to think about their careers. Through WTS-LA’s Transportation YOU, co-chairs Barbara Marquez and Sharlane Bailey are helping young women from underserved communities learn about those possibilities in transportation by providing awareness, support, and scholarships.