Tuesday, June 27, 2017

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The Women’s Transportation Seminar SDSU chapter is the first student chapter in California. (Credit: Women's Transportation Seminar) The Women’s Transportation Seminar SDSU chapter is the first student chapter in California. (Credit: Women's Transportation Seminar)
 


Advancing Women in Transportation

The Women’s Transportation Seminar focuses on advancing networking for young women in the transportation industry.
By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, The Daily Aztec
 

Getting to school by car, bus or trolley revolves around one single thing: transportation.

That is what civil engineering senior Yesenia Ortega said attracted her to the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) chapter at San Diego State University.

The chapter focuses on advancing networking for young women in the transportation industry, Ortega said.

WTS is an international organization, but the SDSU chapter is the first student chapter in California.   

“Our goal is to help keep encouraging young women who are in the career path and get a hands-on experience,” Ortega said.

Ortega, the chapter’s president, traveled to Washington D.C. for the first time though the WTS mentor program.

“It was an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience and I got to meet so many women on the same career path,” she said.

The chapter offers networking opportunities with other women in the transportation industry through its close relationship to the San Diego County chapter.

Vice president of the seminar and public administration graduate student Gysel Galaviz said the networking, mentorship and internship opportunities the organization offers persuaded her to join.

“In general you find a place in engineering,” Galaviz said. ”It’s hard because there’s not a lot of women in the field.”

She got an internship through the mentor program the chapter offers.

She said chapter campus mentor Nensi Lakrori, a civil and construction engineering lecturer at SDSU, is helpful in recommending students for internships.

Ortega said she hopes to expand membership this semester by encouraging men to join as well as students from other majors and colleges.

“Eventually we would like to expand and become a regional organization,” Ortega said.

Miguel Avalos, a civil engineering senior, is currently the only male member of the student chapter.

He decided to join WTS because he felt that compared to other organizations, it offered more benefits that could get him to the next stage of his career.

“I was nervous to join because I would be the only man, but even though it is a community that focuses on advancing women in transportation, men are also a part of the equation in those efforts,” Avalos said.

He said the women in WTS are welcoming and committed to their work.

“Just because it’s a women’s club or transportation club, it doesn’t mean you’ll get booted out if you don’t fit that criteria,” Avalos said.

“You drive your car; you take the trolley; you use the road and in all of that you’re being affected by transportation,” Ortega said. “If you’re interested in helping your community, education or the environment, then maybe this is the place for you.”

Ortega can be reached at wtssdsu@gmail.com for more information.

This article originally appeared in The Daily Aztec.