The fellowship provides funds and educational opportunities for graduate students completing research in the field. It enhances the transportation workforce by attracting the brightest students and retaining high-caliber talent.
“I focus on more of the urban planning side of it, such as how transportation affects various people, especially when it comes to extreme heat,” says Avila.
Avila was connected to the transportation sector as a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Built Environments student at CAPLA. She was a Transportation Research Board Minority Student Fellow for 2022.
Her work in that program was highlighted in an article presented at a conference of the National Academies.
Avila credited Associate Professor of Urban Planning Kristina Currans with encouraging and aiding her during the application process.
“She helped me a lot during the process of applying and coming up with research questions and the proposal. It was fun to get to have a hands-on experience,” says Avila.
“She’s curious about the world around her, and she approaches her work with a keen focus on details,” says Currans. “I am so impressed by her self-initiated interest in making sense of questions, big and small.”
Avila will be attending the annual Transportation Research Board Conference in Washington, DC in January as part of her fellowship.
“There's a lot of politicians, academics and industry professionals. It's a really great networking opportunity,” says Avila.
Avila will also get the valuable chance to present her research during a poster session where she will be recognized as a prestigious Eisenhower Fellow.
“Many of the leaders in our field have been at one point supported by an Eisenhower or associated programs. It’s truly an honor to be part of this legacy,” says Currans.
Looking to the future, Avila plans to use her talent to aid the public and take her advanced education one step further.
“I want to work for the city government for a while to work on climate, comprehensive, or transportation plans and get some experience there. I think, after that one or two-year period, I want to start applying for PhD opportunities,” says Avila.