News | CSULB's Jenny Benitez is named PSR Undergraduate Student of the Year

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by Amy Guzman, USC Political Science and International Relations

We are pleased to congratulate Jenny Benitez for being selected as the Pacific Southwest Region (PSR) Undergraduate Student of the Year.  Jenny completed her BA in Economics at California University, Long Beach (CSULB).  While a student, she worked as a Research Assistant at the Center for International Trade and Transportation (CITT), and after graduating began working at RSG, a real estate agent and manager firm in Irvine, California.


While at CITT Jenny shares that she was part of a research team, with projects focusing on socioeconomic impacts, workforce development, automation, and inland waterways. Jenny was also part of the editorial team, writing news articles for various audiences. Recently, she wrote about the impact of COVID19 on logistics and intermodal education programs, for example. She is also involved in port automation, such as looking at the factors that prompt port terminal operators to automate cargo handling equipment. 


Jenny Benitez


Before working at CITT, Jenny notes that she worked in human resources, banking, food services, and retail. As a volunteer, she worked with children in K-12 Mathnasium and as a childcare assistant for the nonprofit organization Solutions for Change, which works to solve family homelessness. At CSULB she was the Digital Media Relations Specialist of the Economics Student Association at CSULB and helped run the social media accounts for the club. 


Jenny is interested in the intersection of economics and logistics and hopes to work as a transport economist. She recalls that she became interested in transportation while working at CITT, and became increasingly more inspired to work in transportation as she saw that the pandemic disrupted big supply chains and worldwide events. Her econometrics and statistics classes were also great ways to learn how to conduct research and its limitations. Jenny is fascinated by the significance of coordination and collaboration aspects to keep supply chains running smoothly. She is also interested in the challenges faced in transportation in the areas of sustainability, access to mobility and public transit, and workforce development. Jenny would like to become more involved in solving or improving sustainability issues related to transportation and hopes to see improvements for communities disproportionately impacted by emissions and pollution.


Finishing up a white paper is one of Jenny’s recent accomplishments. The white paper was about how the pandemic impacted postsecondary education programs related to supply chain and logistics.


Tom O’Brien, the Executive Director of CITT, mentions how Jenny has demonstrated skills in a variety of areas, including research and writing and that she has had the ability to represent the center at the university with partners such as the California Research Board and even helped pilot a Toastmasters club. 


Jenny hopes to look for a role as an analyst and would like to continue her involvement in the trade and transportation sector or city government. She also hopes to dedicate more time to some personal projects and hobbies, such as learning Python and roller skating. Her other interests include yoga, reading, running, and reading, and she mentions she’d love to get back into playing the piano. At CSULB, Jenny enjoyed being a part of the Econ club and running digital communications.


About the Author:

Amy Guzman is an undergraduate student attending the University of Southern California studying Political Science and International Relations. She is a student staff writer for the METRANS newsletter and is also part of the METRANS K12 student outreach team.