Meet the WTS-OC
2019 Scholarship Winners
Back row, from left: Jessica Lopez, Katherine Mendoza, Yesenia Gomez, Maniriam Phoummathep-Winspear, Julia Ping Lu, Anissa Raja. Front row, from left: Shylayna Kirksey, Eileen Arriaga, Serena Lin, Tristyn Acasio, Farzana Khatun
The Orange County chapter of WTS is proud to offer multiple scholarships at the high school, community college, undergraduate and graduate levels to support young women pursuing their interests and careers within transportation. At the 2019 Annual Gala, WTS-OC awarded 11 scholarships totaling $50,000.
Continue reading below to learn more about these bright women and the future female leaders in transportation!
High School Students
Buena Park High School
Yesenia Gomez is a senior at Buena Park High School. Her favorite subjects are chemistry, environmental science and calculus. In the future, she plans to become a civil engineer with a focus on construction and environmental issues. Her goal is to build safe infrastructure that is not only strong, but is also good for the environment. More specifically, she wants to find the key to building better and stronger asphalt that will lead to stronger roads.
Cypress High School
Shylayna Kirksey is a senior at Cypress High School. She would like to study civil engineering in college and pursue a career in civil engineering in the future. Her strength and love for math and engineering courses influenced her goal in becoming an engineer. Realizing how transportation engineer impacts people’s daily lives, she would like to improve transportation in areas that need it to not only have a positive effect on people, but the environment as well.
Community College Student
Communications ● Fullerton College
Eileen Arriaga is a Communications major with an emphasis on public relations at Fullerton College. After homeschooling herself throughout all of high school, she graduated two years ahead of her class at 16 years old. She aspires to one day work closely in the public sector with transportation agencies and organizations in order to shine a light upon all the work that is done to improve the lives of thousands of citizens. She is a former member of OCTA’s Teen Council, and has recently been recognized by OCTA’s very own Board of Directors.
B.A. in Strategic and Corporate Communication ● Chapman University
Tristyn Acasio is pursuing a B.A. in Strategic and Corporate Communication, double minoring in Public Relations and Women’s Studies at Chapman University. Tristyn recently interned at the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority where she specialized in internal communication and conducted research on Transportation Network Companies. Tristyn is currently a Public Outreach intern at the Orange County Transportation Authority where she facilitates community outreach events and develops external communication materials. Tristyn aspires to work in the communication or outreach field to foster the mutually beneficial relationship between transportation providers in a mindful, efficient and inclusive manner.
Julia Ping Lu
B.S. in Civil Engineering, Transportation ● Cal Poly Pomona
Julia Lu is currently studying civil engineering at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. In the future, she hopes to work as a civil engineer to improve the overall conditions of the country’s existing infrastructure. Her goal is to help design and build safe infrastructure for a more sustainable future. She is an active member on campus by being involved in various clubs and have also worked as an intern in the transportation and construction industries.
B.S. in Civil Engineering ● Cal State Fullerton
Katherine Mendoza is a first-generation college student pursuing her undergraduate in Civil Engineering at California State University, Fullerton. Because of her great aspiration to helping people and her fascination toward infrastructure, she saw civil engineering as her greatest fit. She wants to help bring change to improve traffic congestion through sustainable practices. She is currently an intern at Caltrans District 12 in Santa Ana working under the Division of Design. Katherine is highly motivated to become the first engineer in her family!
B.S. in Civil Engineering ● Cal State Fullerton
Maniriam Phoummathep-Winspear is currently pursuing a BS in Civil Engineering at California State University, Fullerton. She plans to use her degree to help design more sustainable and effective transportation systems to help enhance her surrounding community. She has taken on multiple leadership roles, such as President of her student ITE chapter, Conference Chair for her ASCE Chapter and is an active member of WTS-Orange County Student Chapter, while also working as an intern at a local transportation engineering company. Maniriam hopes to use her leadership roles to uplift her fellow students and create leaders of them.
PhD, Transportation Science, Travel Behavior, Public Transportation, GIS Application in Transportation Planning, Rideshare ● UC Irvine
Farzana Khatun is a Transportation Science major at the University of California, Irvine. In the future, she aspires to work for a leading transit company. Her goal is to become a pioneer for promoting public transportation in the United States. She is an active member of Graduate Students’ Association of CEE: Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEEGA), and has participated in organizing many academic and professional panel events for the organization. She has also worked as a summer intern for a start-up company.
M.A. in Urban Planning, Transportation Planning ● USC
Serena Lin is a Master of Urban Planning student with a concentration in Transportation Planning at the University of Southern California. She is pursuing a career as a Transportation Planner in Orange County, and aims to guide development toward a more sustainable transportation model. Serena is currently the State and Federal Programming Intern at the Orange County Transportation Authority. She participated in the WTS-OC 2019 Transportation Academy program.
MBA ● University of La Verne
Jessica Marisol Lopez is a Section Supervisor in the Finance & Administration Division at the Orange County Transportation Authority. She is pursuing a Master of Business Administration at the University of La Verne. In the future, she aspires to continue developing a career in the public transportation field and work as a public servant keeping Orange County moving.
M.A. in Urban & Regional Planning, Regional & International Development, Environmental Analysis & Policy ● UCLA
Anissa Raja is a current graduate student of Urban & Regional Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles' Luskin School of Public Affairs. Her research interests and passions revolve around global environmental issues such as climate change adaptation and migration, sustainability and the intersections of these topics within public health. She is completing a capstone project on the incorporation of active transportation within the larger-scale of public space for the South Bay region. She is a member of WTS-Orange County and an affiliate of WTS-LA. She hopes to continue working with active, integrated and sustainable transportation systems in her future.