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To Grow in Your Field, Volunteer


Jen Duval remembers getting started in her transportation planning career. “It was initially hard for me to find role models, until a colleague introduced me to WTS.” Through her work with WTS, Jen began to value the relationships and mentorships that were established through this professional network, and she has come to appreciate her involvement in WTS as one of the best moves for her career. She’s been involved with WTS for 10 years.

A Transportation Planning Manager at Jacobs, Jen is also very active with the Transportation Research Board (TRB), a non-profit, independent, non-partisan organization that is part of the highly-respected National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Known for its Annual Meetings, TRB is also repository for 220 standing committees and 7,000 volunteers that are active in nearly all facets of transportation.

Jen said that being part of both the WTS and TRB communities is the perfect combination for women looking to move forward in their careers and have an impact on the industry. While WTS provides the network of career support necessary to advance with professional development and connectivity, TRB rounds out the technical knowledge base, exposes volunteers to new ideas and practices, and is a great place to keep pace with where the industry is headed.

Jen serves on a TRB Committee that aligns with her interest on how women use transportation and issues of women’s involvement in transportation planning. “My role on the TRB committee is research-focused, and very synergistic with my role on the board of the WTS Foundation, which focuses on research and education.” TRB is actively seeking volunteers for many of its 220 standing committees and applied Cooperative Research Program panels. Women and people who are newer to the transportation industry are encouraged to join these networks. Get started by joining a mailing list and becoming a “friend of a committee,” joining webinars, following TRB and WTS on social media, or receiving E-Newsletters to discover volunteer opportunities.

“My participation in TRB as a volunteer was an important part of my professional development and growth,” said Neil Pedersen, Executive Director of TRB. “As TRB Executive Director, I am committed to increasing diversity among the professionals who participate in TRB activities, committees, and panels.  When TRB collaborates with organizations like WTS, individual professional development and growth can blossom, as Jen has experienced. Moreover, including diverse perspectives is essential when developing viable, responsive solutions to today’s complex transportation problems.”

“TRB’s work is integral to WTS International’s abilities to achieve our mission. As CEO, I encourage TRB’s committees to engage in WTS activities and efforts to advance women in transportation, and I recommend that those WTS members interested in industry issues, especially workforce development, participate in any of the many initiatives being carried out by TRB,” said Marcia Ferranto, WTS International President and CEO.

Volunteering has taken on a new facet for Jen. As someone who has been in the field for more than a decade, she now takes on the role of mentoring those who are just starting their career. “I’m inspired by the mentorship that I received from WTS and TRB to help the future leaders of transportation.”



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