Research Projects

METRANS

by Adylbek Abdykalikov, USC, IPPAM 2020

In February 2019, the Office of Development and the Office of Career Services presented a new fellowship program to commemorate the 90th anniversary of USC Price School of Public Policy. The Public-Private Partnership (P3) Fellows Program was designed as a high-impact career development initiative that provides substantive work and mentorship for the selected Fellows during Summer and Fall 2019. The program fully-funded 10 Price Masters and upper-level undergraduate students to pursue private and public sector fellowship opportunities.

Among all the selected students, we would like to highlight the experience of two MPA students, Jacqueline Reyes and Joelle Montier, who were engaged in transportation-related tasks during their summer fellowship.

Meet Jacqueline Reyes, our first featured student, who is a second-year Master of Public Administration student with certifications in City/County Management and Homeland Security and Public Policy. She got her bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a specialization in International Relations and English Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Reyes is currently working for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks Emergency Management Division, where she has been working for almost three years. Besides her work, Reyes is also actively engaged in extracurricular activities at school, being the current President of the Homeland Security Student Organization at USC.

Reyes completed her P3 Program Summer at the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) under the Vision Zero program Safe Routes to School. The Safe Routes to School Program provides street improvement plans and educational programming surrounding traffic safety to reduce the number of traffic collisions involving pedestrians around schools. 

“As a summer fellow, I was responsible for geocoding maps for school street improvement plans. I was also tasked with creating a prioritization methodology and producing statistical data regarding the use of city resources, such as crossing guard deployment and near-term school improvement plans,” shares Reyes. Additionally, she supported the new LADOT website launch by transferring information and creating new website pages and blog posts for the Safe Routes to School Program tabs. Apart from the daily tasks, she also had the privilege of sitting in on various stakeholder meetings with LAUSD board members and City Council members, adds Reyes.

“The summer fellowship at LADOT has had a major impact on my future career plans...When I entered the program, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in public safety, however, I had a very narrow understanding of the type of jobs I could pursue. My experience in working at the Department of Transportation helped me understand that there are multiple career paths that utilize a level of public safety to fulfil their work. While working at LADOT, I acquired hard skills, such as learning geocoding using ArcMap software. I gained knowledge about city and county clerk filing and website content management. I also acquired a multitude of soft skills such as being confident in my skillset and what I have to offer. I also developed stronger interpersonal skills and networking skills.”

Reyes enjoyed her fellowship at LADOT because of its rich learning environment. Her supervisors and co-workers were willing to teach her new software programs and were patient with her, reminisces Reyes. “They never saw my lack of knowledge as a hurdle but helped me understand until I felt confident enough to perform the task on my own. My supervisors didn’t just highlight my strengths when assigning tasks but also came to me for support in these areas. Their confidence in my skills and overall work made me feel like a valuable part of the team.”

“Overall, I am very grateful for the amazing learning experience the Price P3 Fellowship has afforded me. I value the opportunity that the program provides, as it allows students like myself to gain exposure to a vast amount of organizations and positions. Being able to apply to multiple competitive organizations in one fellowship program is invaluable. I hope that programs like the Price P3 fellowship can continue to be available for students like myself so that others can gain the amazing benefits and positive impacts I have experienced.”

Our next article will be featuring another MPA student Joelle Montier and her fellowship experience at Cambria Solutions.

About the Author:

Adylbek Abdykalikov is a graduate student in the International Public Policy and Management Program at USC Price. He has working experience in various positions at the Ministries of Transport and Communication and Investment and Development of Kazakhstan and was in charge of Transportation and Civil Aviation policy development and implementation, and serves as lead student event coordinator for METRANS and PSR.