Former BSIE Student named METRANS Student of the Year

Christine Nguyen

METRANS is pleased to announce that Christine Nguyen is the METRANS Outstanding Student of the Year for 2010. METRANS, a partnership of the University of Southern California and California State University, Long Beach, is a US Department of Transportation designated University Transportation Center. Its mission is to solve transportation problems of large metropolitan areas through research, education, and outreach.

Originally from Carol Steam, Illinois, Nguyen became interested in transportation studies while studying at Northwestern University. "I used the Chicago CTA buses and 'L' trains fairly regularly," she remembers. "I became fascinated by the trains in the Loop, in particular, because almost all of the train lines looped around those blocks and continued out north, west, or south. This fascination extended to the movement and coordination of traffic on the one way streets of Chicago and my curiosity kept going from there."

Nguyen joined the doctoral program in the Epstein ISE Department in 2009 as a Provost's fellow, after completing her undergraduate studies at Northwestern's Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Science. Soon she was involved with research projects at USC's Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE). "She is a joy to work with," says her faculty advisor, Professor James E. Moore, II, who is jointly appointed in the Viterbi School of Engineering and the School of Policy, Planning, and Development. "She meshed very nicely with the rest of our research team, and is a consistent contributor with whom the other graduate students work to keep up," Moore says.

Meanwhile, Nguyen donated her time to teach about operations research to schoolgirls at the Expanding Your Horizons career day, organized by the award-winning Math/Science Interchange program, and continued her involvement until eventually joining the organization's board of directors. The group is headquartered adjacent to USC on the Mount St. Mary's College Doheny Campus. 

Nguyen, who expects to complete her doctoral work by 2014, has not yet decided what she wants to do after that. "There's still so much for me to learn and many areas I'd like to continue to explore. But certainly I want to stay in academia and do research," she says.

As METRANS Outstanding Student of the Year, Nguyen received $1,000, a certificate from USDOT, plus a trip to the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, which was held in January, 2011 and included the Annual Outstanding Student Awards Ceremony. This annual meeting is the largest meeting of transportation academics and professionals in the world (www.trb.org).