News | Recognizing 2023 Pacific Southwest Region UTC Students of the Year

Stop the Video



by METRANS Staff

The Pacific Southwest Region (PSR) University Transportation Center (UTC) is proud to honor exceptional students from member institutions for their promise in the transportation field. Students in doctoral, masters, undergraduate, community college, and professional development programs are recognized for their technical and research merit, academic, and leadership capabilities.


Monisha Reginald, a Master’s student at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is PSR’s U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) University Transportation Center (UTC) Student of the Year. The U.S. DOT honors outstanding students from participating UTCs for their achievements and promise of future research and outreach contributions to the transportation field at the annual winter meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB). The Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) hosted the 33rd Annual UTC Students of the Year (SOY) Awards ceremony on January 6, 2024, to celebrate and recognize their accomplishments.


In 2019, the PSR UTC established a new series of awards intended to recognize exceptional students who display strong research and academic performance in undergraduate, graduate, community college, and professional development programs. This suite of awards honors students from a broad range of educational levels who have demonstrated promising leadership and contributions to academia or industry practice.

The 2023 PSR UTC Students of the Year are:


Monisha Reginald | UCLA | Master’s in Urban & Regional Planning
Monisha’s primary research interests relate to improving the safety and convenience of using sustainable modes of transportation. Her Master’s Capstone research will focus on understanding the limitations of current models of bus stop amenity delivery in Los Angeles through a gender-equity lens. She was able to bring unique value to her role at the MBTA by applying a social science research approach that illuminated individual-level factors influencing riders’ choices and perceptions.


Yazmin Martinez | UNLV | Ph.D. Candidate in Computer Science
Yazmin is currently working on Reinforcement Learning for Traffic Signal Control in the Las Vegas Valley at the UNLV Center for Information Technology and Algorithms (CITA). Dr. Wolfgang W. Bein notes that Yazmin’s excellent analytical skills, as well as her substantial background in data analysis from her earlier employment as a Senior Information Systems Analyst for L.A. County makes her research contributions invaluable.

Alejandra Rios Gutierrez | UCLA | Master’s in Urban & Regional Planning
Alejandra is pursuing a dual MA in Urban Planning and Latin American Studies. Dr. Lugo notes Alejandra’s keen sense of the mobility challenges that marginalized groups experience. Alejandra has partnered with a local community-based organization as a project client, shaping her research questions to match their needs. Alejandra’s abilities were recognized recently when she received a Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship.

Uriah Campos | UC Irvine| B.A. in Urban Studies
Uriah is currently at the UC Irvine Institute of Transportation Studies as an Undergraduate Research Assistant. He is interested in looking at the Equitable Design of Shared E-bikes and E-scooter systems within American cities. Uriah was a finalist at the 2023 SCAG Regional Conference and General Assembly as part of the Student Story Map Showcase.