By Bo-Sen Shao, USC Master of International Public Policy and Management, 2020
We are happy to announce a new series of articles dedicated to intern experiences. We are dividing this series of articles into three parts - public sector, private sector and non-profit sector. We start our series by featuring a student interning in the public sector, Dongyang Lin who is also a member of the METRANS events team.
Dongyang Lin, second-year Master of Planning student at USC Price School, is an international student from Ganghzou, China. She completed her undergraduate and first graduate degree in China, both focusing on urban design and planning. In addition to her studies, prior to coming to USC, she worked on urban regeneration projects and land use planning projects with Ganghzou Urban Planning & Design Survey Research Institute in Guangzhou, China.
Lin has been an intern for the Active Transportation and Special Programs department at the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) since April 2019. She also works with METRANS as an events coordinator.
At her SCAG internship, Lin primarily focuses on Connect SoCal, Traffic Safety Workshops and Webinars, and Go Human projects. Her tasks within these initiatives include taking charge of Active Transportation and safety sessions, outreach, spatial analysis of micro-mobility and organizing various webinars and workshops for agencies across the region to share best practices for traffic safety.
“Connect SoCal,” she explained, “is the ‘2020-2045 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy.’ It’s a long-range visioning plan that balances future mobility and housing needs with economic, environmental and public health goals. I am helping with the Active Transportation Session and Safety Session.” By offering “Traffic Safety Workshops and Webinars,” she added, “SCAG provides opportunity for agencies from across the region to learn/share best practices to increase traffic safety. I am helping with city outreach. Go Human (is) a community outreach and advertising campaign with the goals of reducing traffic collisions in Southern California and encouraging people to walk and bike more. I am helping while learning the organization process of Go Human events such as the Bike Week Challenge and CicLAvia,” she added. In addition to these, she noted that she often assists staff members with other projects as the need arises.
Lin’s proficiency with ArcGIS and graphic design software was extremely useful at her internship for her daily tasks as SCAG is a data driven agency. “I am using ArcGIS a lot because SCAG utilizes data and modeling to predict and analyze long range mobility and housing demand,” she shared. Apart from her hard skills she also found her soft skills like coordination, presentation, and organization strategy essential in securing an internship at SCAG. “…skills of coordination and teamwork is very important because most of our projects require trans-departmental coordination and city outreach,” Lin said.
“My supervisor and co-workers (at SCAG) always encourage me to learn from different tasks and challenges while offering me help and advice whenever I ask for it. I was so nervous with my first phone call for outreach, but right now I am much more confident to ask questions and share my point of view with co-workers and staff from other agencies.” says Lin. Besides the working environment, she implemented her skills learnt from classes like statistics and ArcGIS Pro to solve tasks in the professional world.
Lin credits her experience at METRANS as integral to her development of soft skills and of a professional network, both of which have helped her in many aspects of her life. “Working at METRANS for the seminar team gives me a great opportunity to develop my soft skills such as coordination and organization,” she remarked, “and attending different seminars really helps me to build networks with experts in the field of transportation.”
Lin’s advice for other students is this, "We can always learn new things from every task, even if it seems simple. Staying hungry for knowledge and a positive attitude can go a long way in the professional world. And last but not least, it is important to be aware of the deadlines and priorities of multiple tasks at your job.”