3 USF transportation students receive the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship

 

 

The Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program (DDETFP) awards fellowships to students pursuing degrees in transportation-related disciplines. This program advances the transportation workforce by helping to attract the nation’s brightest minds to the field of transportation, encouraging future transportation professionals to seek advanced degrees, and helping to retain top talent in the U.S. transportation industry.

CUTR is thrilled to announce three USF College of Engineering transportation students received this prestigious fellowship: Trang Luong, Lori Palaio, and Brian Staes.

 

Trang Luong is currently enrolled in the doctoral program at the University of South Florida (USF) specializing in transportation engineering. She earned her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Civil Engineering at USF in 2015 and 2017, respectively. While pursuing her degrees, Trang was inspired to promote education to help the next generations apply innovative engineering practices to enhance the quality of life. Throughout her time studying at USF, she has maintained a high level of academic excellence and leadership in numerous extracurricular activities. She served as President and Vice President of American Society of Civil Engineers and Institute of Transportation Engineers Student Chapters. Trang received several prestigious institutional and national awards for engineering research and service to the student body.

Why did you choose to go into the engineering field?  Throughout my education, math was always my favorite subject.  I wanted to enter a field where I can use the tools of mathematics to benefit the community.  Engineering was the perfect opportunity to make a difference in the world we live in.  
What are your primary research goals/interests?  I have gained interest in statistical and econometric modeling and its application to big data in micro-mobility, to improve sustainability and safety.
What does this Fellowship mean for your education and research? This fellowship was truly an honor to receive.  It sponsored the continuation of my education, as well as my attendance to the Transportation Research Board Annual Conference, both of which I am certain will contribute to my success in the field of transportation engineering.
What are your plans post-graduation from the University of South Florida? The safety and well-being of our community is very important to me, so I hope to work for a company where I can augment a reduction in incidents and fatalities to strive towards vision-zero.

 

Lori Palaio is a second semester Master of Science student at the University of South Florida. She earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in December 2018. Currently, she conducts graduate research at the Center for Urban Transportation Research with Dr. Robert L. Bertini as her advisor. She is most interested in bike-sharing across explanatory dimensions, including system size, weather, location, and trip purpose using large data platforms. Lori also acts as the Treasurer for USF’s ITE chapter.

Why did you choose to go into the engineering field?  Throughout my education, math was always my favorite subject.  I wanted to enter a field where I can use the tools of mathematics to benefit the community.  Engineering was the perfect opportunity to make a difference in the world we live in.  
What are your primary research goals/interests?  I have gained interest in statistical and econometric modeling and its application to big data in micro-mobility, to improve sustainability and safety.
What does this Fellowship mean for your education and research? This fellowship was truly an honor to receive.  It sponsored the continuation of my education, as well as my attendance to the Transportation Research Board Annual Conference, both of which I am certain will contribute to my success in the field of transportation engineering.
What are your plans post-graduation from the University of South Florida? The safety and well-being of our community are very important to me, so I hope to work for a company where I can augment a reduction in incidents and fatalities to strive towards vision-zero.

 

Brian Staes earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 2018 from Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). Currently, Brian is a graduate research assistant at the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) under the instruction of Dr. Robert Bertini. While at CUTR, Brian has worked on a variety of projects ranging from transit system performance analysis, campus mobility patterns, and evaluation of the stress imposed on Florida’s roadway network during the mass evacuation of Hurricane Irma. Brian is focusing on future projects concerning asset management during an evacuation, specifically targeting vulnerable populations and their transportation to areas of refuge. Brian also had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant for numerous engineering courses at FGCU where he assisted other students on understanding key civil engineering concepts. He plans on furthering his education by pursuing a doctorate degree.

Why did you choose to go into the engineering field? From early on I knew that engineering was a problem-solving oriented profession. Later on, I realized how impactful solutions can be to society. The combination of benefiting society and the enjoyment of working on complex, typically not fully understood problems, gained my attention and is why engineering has grown into a passion.

What are your primary research goals/interests? Right now, I am currently working on an encompassing analysis of every major roadway affected during the evacuation for Hurricane Irma in the State of Florida, and the Woolsey Wildfire evacuation in Ventura/LA Counties in California. My future work, which will utilize data from these events is analyzing the core concepts of traffic flow theory during such volatile events and if there is any evidence of altercation to this fundamental traffic flow perception. Public transit data, explicitly AVL, APC data analyses and econometric modeling are also intriguing, as well as travel demand modelling.

What does this Fellowship mean for your education and research? With the Eisenhower fellowship I plan to dive into my thesis and explore the harsh realities of traffic flow on key roadways during evacuations. This will allow me to focus on that work without the need to maintain time on other projects. The fellowship is also a means to interact with professionals and colleagues that are research oriented, to which, impactful insight to my own research development was attained.

What are your plans post-graduation from the University of South Florida?

I am currently working on my master’s thesis under the supervision of Dr. Robert L. Bertini, however, after I complete my thesis, I plan to continue with my PhD at USF with Dr. Bertini. Although my thesis topic is predominately concerned with highway network performance, I plan to deal with transit-oriented data and analyses. Post PhD, I plan on working at a research center and or teaching.

 

 

 

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