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Reflection on My Experience of 2018 TRB Conference - Jin Wang

It is not my first time attending TRB conference. If the previous experiences were good, attending it with National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE) makes it absolutely excellent! As the winner of the NOCoE ePortfolio Award, I am so grateful and honored to be recognized in the conference. Back at home in Alabama for a few days, I have been able to quiet down and reflect on the experience.

My journey as a transportation professional started from my dream of helping others by doing what I love. Transportation is a necessity of everybody’s everyday life, as it has been since the beginning of human history. Traces of the influence are from infrastructures, operation, means, to participants of transportation. Being a transportation professional not only allows me to give back to the society, but also makes my dream come true. We make connections between people from different sides of the world possible. We turn theories to realities. Today's transportation problems are more complex and the needs of the modern society have created unparalleled challenges. Now we keep the society moving and solve problems with applied science and technology. We make a difference in the society and positive impacts on people’s everyday life by making transportation safer, efficient, and environmentally friendly.

My participation in TRB was due to my involvement and commitment in transportation research on Safety and TSMO including Traffic Safety and Operation, Access Management, Safety and Operational Effects of Geometrics and Traffic Control Devices, Driver Behavior Analysis, and Intelligent Transportation Systems. I enjoy making a positive impact in my communities through my expertise and leadership, as these researches have practical implications for better transportation and are of interest to policymakers as well as individual transportation professionals. My attendance and participation at TRB were extremely beneficial for a variety of reasons.

The most unique aspect of TRB conference was the range of disciplines and the largest gathering of traffic professionals in the world involved in efforts to make transportation better. I learned so much about transportation research from various disciplines in various sessions and committee meetings. From an academia standpoint, I can appreciate exposure to new research updates and data sources that can be used to expand my research areas. From an industry viewpoint, I can see how innovative approaches apply to improving transportation.

Not only was this a fantastic learning opportunity, but everyone I met was so supportive and encouraging. While attending with NOCoE, I had the privilege of meeting and connecting with many of the leaders that are passionate about the profession. Each conversation with individuals from industry, government, and academia, reaffirmed the importance of including other skills and perspectives in policy development and practical application. I truly appreciate their sharing of their unique experiences regarding career and life. I left with a much more optimistic outlook on the prospects of continued improvement in Transportation and inspiration of my love and devotion to Transportation in the process of generating solutions as a young professional.

Moreover, I am so inspired to see NOCoE is promoting such a positive culture in developing young professionals. NOCoE engaged and empowered us so much more than what we could have ever asked for. I too believe in a positive culture stems from engagement. I have been volunteering to plan and host STEM education outreach activities for students from elementary school through college in southern Alabama to strengthen their interest and confidence in pursuing STEM education and careers. Through engaging people in the process, we get into the people’s minds and adapt our mentoring to accommodate each individual’s needs, personalities, and skills. Consequently, ideas and perspectives have flourished; communication and relationships have improved; and beliefs are built and shared. We are building better communities by help people dream more and become more.

I truly appreciate having attended the TRB conference with NOCoE. Again, I would like to thank NOCoE for awarding me the ePortfolio Award. Through the experience, I am more aware of the necessity of improving transportation through innovative research. I left with a lot of valuable experiences and friendships that I would cherish and see grow. Upon graduating, I find myself more eager than ever to shoulder new responsibilities and meet new challenges; I am confident I will find ways to continue serving people with my skills and commitment to Transportation as a young professional. I look forward to attending future NOCoE and TRB activities, keeping up with the people I met!

 

Jin Wang
Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Civil Engineering
Auburn University, AL 36849-5337
Email: jinwang@auburn.edu