WTS International has announced the selection of the winners of its seven scholarships for 2013. Each of the winners will be recognized at an awards banquet on May 16 during the 2013 WTS Annual Conference in Philadelphia, PA. The scholarship winners are:
• Margaret-Avis Akofio-Sowah, Georgia – CH2M HILL Partnership Scholarship
• Crista Gardner, Oregon – Leadership Legacy Scholarship
• Amy Cavaretta, Florida – Helene Overly Graduate Scholarship
• Naima Rivas, Texas – Sharon D. Banks Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship
• Stacia Slowey, Wyoming – Molitoris Leadership Scholarship for Undergraduates
• Vinh Kha, California – WTS Junior College Scholarship
• Joyrie Dickerson, New Jersey – WTS Transportation YOU High School Scholarship
“WTS is thrilled with our seven national scholarship winners. Each of these young women—as well as the hundreds who have won scholarships awarded by their local WTS chapters and the hundreds more who applied—exhibit incredible dedication to preparing themselves to enter the transportation industry. With students like these focused on the disciplines required to bring the world’s infrastructure to the next level of efficiency and reliability in a sustainable and accessible way, we are all in good hands. WTS Foundation was established to foster the development of the world’s workforce, and our scholarship program has been extremely successful, as evidenced by the paths of our past scholarship winners,” said Marcia Ferranto, WTS president and CEO.
Margaret-Avis Akofio-Sowah, winner of the CH2M HILL Partnership Scholarship, attends the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta and will graduate in May 2015 with a Ph.D in transportation systems. Her career goal is to impact the lives of residents of developing countries through improvements in their transportation systems. Her determination to make a difference in the field of transportation engineering comes from her firsthand experience with the detrimental effects of the lack of an adequate transportation system on the socio-economic lives of Ghanaians. Margaret-Avis also has a secondary career goal to actively encourage female participation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. She is considering a position in academia at an institution for higher education in a developing country where the need for female engineering professors and role models is great.
Crista Gardner, winner of the Leadership Legacy Scholarship, is a senior transportation planner for Portland’s Metro and concentrates on transit, active transportation, station area and land use planning, public involvement and project management. Crista also gained experience in community development when she was a municipal development volunteer for the U.S. Peace Corps in Guatemala. She also served as a regional policy advisor, an urban and rural planning office consultant, and a community development workshop lead there. In this role Crista led the elections and training of town councils in 25 rural villages, educated county and town councils on community assessment, censuses, project planning, and grant applications, and wrote the first rural town council and mayoral training manual for 100 municipal governments to use. Crista has her Bachelor of Arts from Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN, with a major in urban studies and geography. Crista received the WTS scholarship to complete her executive master’s in public administration at Portland State University with a focus on leadership, international affairs, urban planning, and local government.