The 2022 PSR UTC Students of the Year are:
Julene Paul, Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Julene Paul is this year’s PSR student of the year. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies from Harvard University and a Master of City and Regional Planning degree from Rutgers.
Julene’s initial interest in transportation began while studying urban policy as an undergraduate. In her coursework, she found transportation to be a recurring and critical theme. While pursuing her master’s degree, Julene worked with Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (Port Authority), focusing on transit operations and planning. She shares that her work at the Port Authority was memorable and exciting, and furthered her interest in transportation planning. It preceded her work as a Program Manager at the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) after graduating from Rutgers.
At UCLA, Julene is currently working on a research project studying the effects of COVID-19 on transportation behavior. She is also part of a team conducting research about BlueLA, an electric carshare program that provides services targeted to low-income areas of Los Angeles. She also has worked on several projects related to trends in automobile ownership. She has presented some of this research at national conferences and has also published some of this work with her coauthors (including her advisors, Brian Taylor and Evelyn Blumenberg). Julene has been interested in research since her undergraduate years at Harvard where she worked a research assistant with the Education Innovation Laboratory. She was also a Research Fellow with the Getty Foundation and a research assistant at Rutgers University. At UCLA, she has worked on research projects with both the Institute of Transportation Studies and the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies.
Julene advises students to seek out (and speak with) professors who teach classes in the fields that interest them. For students interested in working in particular fields, she suggests reaching out to industry professionals who work in their “dream jobs.” She also advises students to take advantage of internship opportunities and to seek out mentors from these experiences. Julene cites her work with the Port Authority as an example in which her supervisor – Gregory Wong – made special efforts to mentor her. This included presenting her with challenging projects and opportunities to interact with senior leadership. Julene also encourages students to venture out beyond their required classes when possible. She recently took a course at the UCLA Law School in employment law, and this challenged her to think critically about transportation policies and their effects on workers.
Qinhua Jiang, Ph.D. in Transportation Engineering at UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science
Qinhua earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Civil Engineering at Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing. At UCLA, he works in the UCLA Mobility Lab under the supervision of Dr. Jiaqi Ma. Jiang works closely with both the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies and B. John Garrick Institute for the Risk Sciences. Jiang is the lead student researcher in several research projects covering areas of Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV), transportation electrification, large-scale transportation system modeling, and weather-related traffic prediction. He was the lead author of several peer‐reviewed journal papers including Transportation Research Part D, Journal of Transportation Engineering Part A, and Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems. Jiang also presented some of his research at national and regional conferences such as the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and the Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center (PSR UTC).
Jame Reuter, Master's Degree in Philosophy at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB)
The contributions that James has made to PSR research over the last year exemplify the impact of University Transportation Center programs on students who do not have traditional transportation backgrounds. In October 2021, James joined the PSR team as a Master's student from CSULB’s Philosophy department where he conducted rigorous scholarship (maintaining a 4.0 GPA) and served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant who led exam review sessions, prepared tests, provided grades, and proctored tests according to university standards. Upon joining the PSR team, James made immediate contributions to a range of transportation research projects that required a unique combination of critical thinking and scholarship.
He served as the lead research assistant and principal author of a literature review for a California Air Resources Board (CARB) study, entitled “Workforce and Economic Impact Evaluation of Future Zero-Emission Requirements.” James’s ability to review, analyze, and synthesize a broad range of legislative and regulatory documents, peer-reviewed articles, and commercial publications into a literature review format contributed significant insights to the project. His preparedness for this challenging project about a highly controversial and political topic—focusing on the relationship between emissions regulations, port automation, and labor—is a testament to his previous multidisciplinary training and the value of empowering transportation students from broadly interdisciplinary backgrounds.
James also made meaningful contributions to the preparation of a grant proposal for the administration of the Southwest Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP) by drafting an overview narrative detailing CITT’s expertise and experience in transportation technical assistance and technology transfer. He also coauthored and edited articles for CITT’s Outreach Team and contributed to research on the state of U.S. Inland Waterways for CITT’s Waterborne Competitiveness: U.S. and Foreign Investments in Inland Waterways study on behalf of the ENO Center for Transportation.
Anthony Eschen, Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at Northern Arizona University
Anthony Eschen has assisted Professor Edward Smaglik at Northern Arizona University (NAU) with a Pacific Southwest Region 9 funded research project entitled “Prioritizing Bicyclist Safety and Mobility: Which Guidance Do I Use?” Part of this project involves surveying state DOT bike/ped coordinators, and Anthony applied his skills to establish contacts with these individuals in all fifty states and a number of US cities.
Anthony has been working as an undergraduate researcher with AZTrans doing research in the field of transportation engineering. Recently he finished a research paper on the efficacy of a camera-actuated signal system that uses advanced AI technology for use at intersections. He is from Livermore, California. Anthony enjoys reading, building architecture Lego sets, and watching movies. He will graduate in Spring 2023 and is planning to pursue a Masters's degree at NAU.
Calvin Bragg, Global Logistics Specialist student from CSULB College of Professional and International Education (CPaCE)
Calvin Bragg is a student in the Global Logistics Program (GLP) program who receives practical instruction from industry experts on a wide range of logistics-related topics including how to cost the movement of goods nationally and internationally, the role of information technology, and how to address compliance issues. The culmination of the program is a team capstone project in which students are asked to prepare a logistics plan for a fictitious company. Graduates of the program serve in leadership positions in a variety of logistics-related companies across Southern California and beyond.
Like many who attend the program, Calvin was attracted to GLP because it serves as an opportunity to gain critical knowledge about the industry in which he works and to position himself for advancement. He was recently promoted to the position of general manager for a local trucking company that offers intra-harbor and interstate deliveries along with warehousing and cross-dock services. He has also worked as a terminal manager for the BNSF Railway at the Port of Oakland, working with local teamsters, longshoremen, truckers, port terminals, and some of the major shipping lines.
Calvin’s background is not uncommon for students in our program. He had to leave college back in 2008 due to the recession, and consequently the company he was working for went out of business. His advancement since that time is evidence of his contributions to the transportation industry and his personal initiative. His work clearly impressed his employer who offered to cover the costs of enrollment in the GLP. He has excelled in the program while balancing work, school, and home life as a single, full-time father of two children. Calvin’s capstone advisor confirmed his commitment, commenting in her review of his work that “he is always in 110%.”