The April Program Luncheon featured a panel conversation on Smart Mobility with Capital Metro, represented by Todd Hemingson, Executive Vice President of Planning and Development, and the City of Austin, represented by Jason JonMichael, Assistant Director of the Austin Transportation Department. The panel was moderated by Meg Merritt, of Nelson Nygaard.
The May Program Luncheon featured a presentation by Laurie A. Moyer, Director of Engineering and Capital Improvement for the City of San Marcos. Laurie shared information on the City of San Marcos development and adoption of Code SMTX, the process to update the City of San Marcos Land Development Code.
The 2018 Heart of Texas Chapter Gala was a huge success, with $37,000 raised toward programming. Hosted by Gala Chair Erika Esparza (TxDOT), Steve Johnson (Garver) and Odette Tan (Travis County), the Old Hollywood theme was brought to life through a combination of glittering ensembles, a rocking band, and witty banter typical of award shows.
As I approach the end of my term as Chapter President, I am excited to report on some of our successes over recent months:

We hosted our 14th annual gala that helped us to raise more than ever before for our scholarship and Transportation YOU student programs ($37,000!!). I am truly grateful to all of the donors, sponsors and attendees that are helping us make an impact for young women pursuing careers in transportation. And a BIG thank you to our gala planning team, including our Chair Erika Esparza for hosting such a fun evening to support a great cause.

We have recently increased our scholarship award amounts to keep up with rising tuition costs and will be awarding scholarships of up to $5,000 each next year. Let us know if you’d like to get involved in our scholarship committee!

We kicked off our pilot mentoring program with 11 mentor-mentee pairs and have held three monthly programs so far. It is off to a fantastic start and I look forward to hearing from our inaugural group of mentees at the end of the program.  

We have also hosted a variety of fun programs as highlighted in this newsletter and look forward to finishing out the year with even more exciting things to come. Be sure to check out our calendar of upcoming events! Be on the lookout for our upcoming events:
  • September 21 - Professional Development Seminar: Effective Management of People and Projects
  • October 17 - Luncheon featuring Rob Spillar, PE, City of Austin Transportation Director
  • November 5 - Luncheon featuring Randy Clarke, Capital Metro CEO

As always, I want to extend my gratitude for all of our supporters that help us accomplish our mission to attract, sustain, advance and connect women in our field.
Our June Lattes and Leadership event featured Heather Ashley-Nguyen, Advanced Project Development Director for TxDOT's Austin District. Our Lattes and Leadership events are known for providing a more intimate setting to learn about and ask questions of accomplished women in transportation in the region.
Members of the WTS Heart of Texas Chapter, in partnership with the UT Center for Cooperative Mobility for Competitive Megaregions (CM2), comprised two Girlstart Summer Camp career panels during June. Being a member of both organizations, Lisa Loftus-Otway initiated communication with Girlstart and recruited panelists from WTS and CM2. Mary Jo Galindo (Galindo Environmental Consulting) organized the participants and moderated the panels. Nine WTS members from seven firms and two public entities participated in the events. Special thanks to Shari Cannon-Mackey who was a panelist for both of them. Olivia Posner and Gian-Claudia Sciara of CM2 also participated in both panels.
June 7 Panelists (from left to right):
  • Shari Cannon-Mackey, Department Manager, Burns and McDonnell
  • Hong-Ting Chen, Financial Analyst, Atkins
  • Olivia Posner, Graduate Student, UT Austin
  • Gian-Claudia Sciara, Assistant Professor, UT Austin School of Architecture
  • Odette Tan, Senior Engineer, Travis County
  • Carine Choubassi, Transportation Planner EIT, Jacobs
  • Jessica Rodriguez, Senior Project Manager, Freese and Nichols
  • Laura Friello, Project Manager, Garver
June 13 Panelists (from left to right):
  • Kammy Horne, Vice President Transportation and Austin Group Manager, HNTB
  • Olivia Posner, Graduate Student, UT Austin
  • Gian-Claudia Sciara, Assistant Professor, UT Austin School of Architecture
  • Caitlin DÁlton, Senior Transit Planner, Capital Metro
  • Shari Cannon-Mackey, Department Manager, Burns and McDonnell
  • Ashley McLain, Principal and Senior Planner, Cox|McLain Environmental Consulting
The latest event we planned was a Paper Writing Workshop with Dr. Steven Boyles last June 19th. The main idea was provide students with some guides for writing papers since we are close to TRB deadline and many students are working on that. We provided a light breakfast and the event duration was about 3 hour which included an interactive part reading papers in groups and some peer review group for revisions before submission. We had a nice group of about 25 students. 
HOT Chapter's Transportation YOU sent mentors Jamie Byers and Niki Lambrou along with mentees Alexandra and Erika of the Ann Richards School to DC Summit in June. Participants visited the U.S. Department of Transportation, Turner-Fairbanks Research Labs, the U.S. Capitol, and the monuments, among many other events.

Jamie Byers reports:
To sum up the incredible DC Summit in a word: WOW . All the mentees, mentors, volunteers, WTS Staff, and more, were all incredible and inspiring. I came away from the week charged and ready to make a difference. Mary Jo warned me that I would get just as much out of it, if not more, than my mentee. She was absolutely right; I feel like my network grew nationwide and I was incredibly inspirited by all the motivated, smart mentees from ages 15-18. I am forever grateful for the opportunity afforded to both my mentee Alexandra and me by the Heart of Texas Chapter.