News | Aspiring Civil Engineer, USC Freshman Alejandra Reyes co-leads MTSA

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by Kailee Mark, English, USC Dornsife

Alejandra Reyes is a freshman at USC majoring in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Construction Engineering and Management at the Viterbi Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  She joined the METRANS student team this year, and co-leads the METRANS Transportation Student Association (MTSA).


To Alejandra, her hometown of Miami, Florida is “just like another Los Angeles.”  She explains, “[Miami] reminds me so much of LA because the beaches are pretty, just like LA. The water is definitely colder and the waves are a lot stronger, though! Nevertheless, my hometown and LA are very similar to each other.” Thus, it was not a huge adjustment for her to move to LA.


Alejandra Reyes, Construction Engineering and Management, USC


A significant factor in Alejandra’s decision to attend USC was the diversity of opportunities that both the university and the area offer. “I felt the USC Civil Engineering Program was the best option for me because it offers multiple emphases so it is pretty much made for everyone,” she     shares. “The Civil Engineering program has different emphases, and Construction Engineering and Management was what I was leaning towards the most, and settled on.” She notes that during her first semester at USC, her Introduction to Civil Engineering course was one of her favorites. “I looked forward to attending that class the most throughout the week,” Alejandra recalls. She has found numerous opportunities on campus to help with her academics, and recommends them highly. They include supplemental instruction sessions, office hours, and tutoring services. “They help me understand the material more in-depth,” she notes.


At METRANS, in addition to co-leading MTSA, Alejandra is a member of the METRANS Toastmasters, Student Newsletter and K12 Teams. “I was drawn to METRANS because of its mission to seek ways to solve transportation problems, which I feel is imperative in order for there to be less traffic congestion throughout the city,” she says. “I have commuted by car, train, and bus. When I commuted by car, I noticed that there are heavy traffic patterns throughout the city which hinder my ability to get to my destination at the expected time of arrival. When it comes to traveling by bus, I noticed the buses take longer to get to their stops than they should because of traffic. The maps app on my phone allows me to see what time the next bus should arrive and, usually, the estimated time is inaccurate.”


In the future, Alejandra hopes to pursue a career in civil engineering in her hometown of Miami. “I seek to have my projects scattered around my hometown with the interconnected mazes that compose its infrastructure,” she shares. “I hope to supervise and take part in the development of road and highway construction to improve the urban development of the city while minimizing the harmful effects of these reparations and innovations to the environment, economy, and society as a whole.”


In addition to her multiple roles at METRANS, Alejandra works as a research assistant in the Center for Undergraduate Research in Viterbi Engineering (CURVE) program at USC, where she helps develop a coding interface to simulate repeated decision-making scenarios regarding traffic congestion and gather data from human test subjects. She is also a member of the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) and the American Society of Civil Engineers. Outside of work, Alejandra is passionate about exercising and prioritizing time with her family and friends. She says, “If I had to choose people that inspire me, I would definitely choose my parents. They have always supported my decisions and motivated me to become the best version of myself!”


About the author:

Kailee Mark is a first-year undergraduate student at the University of Southern California studying English at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. She currently works for METRANS’ Fast Facts, K-12, and Newsletter student teams, and loves spending time with family.