Research Projects

METRANS

by Adylbek Abdykalikov, USC, IPPAM 2020

Meet De'Von Jennings, a Ph.D. candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a specific interest in Transportation Systems Engineering, recent recipient of three awards - the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship, the HDR Scholarship and Internship, and the ASCE LA YMF Dr. Bill Goodin Outstanding Student Mentor Scholarship. "I am ecstatic about winning these awards,” Jennings said.  “It has truly been a blessing for me."  

 

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Jennings completed an undergraduate degree at Arizona State University in Civil Environmental Engineering. He then came to University of California, Irvine, where he is currently pursuing his doctorate. He is interested in the Demand Modelling of Rail systems, specifically looking at commuter rail systems in California.

 

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship is designed for students pursuing degrees in transportation-related disciplines. This award is his second Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship in a row. 

 

The HDR Transportation Scholarship is granted to only two exceptional graduate-level students in transportation engineering fields. Along with the scholarship, Jennings was also offered a paid internship at HDR. HDR is an architectural, engineering, and consulting firm.

 

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Los Angeles Younger Member Forum (LA YMF) Dr. Bill Goodin Outstanding Student Mentor Scholarship is given for his outstanding academic achievements and significant growth within the Civil Engineering profession.

 

"Honestly, when I applied for these fellowships (and other opportunities), I did not really think that I would receive them,” Jennings shared.  “I just wanted to apply and see what would happen, but receiving these fellowships have definitely opened more doors and connections with different people and companies that I probably would not have interacted with.” 

 

 

Besides the three new recent awards, Jennings has an impressive list of fellowships and scholarships over the past years. He was the recipient of the Gates Millennium National Scholarship and the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Scholarship, the Tsinghua University Summer engineering award, the Pacific Southwestern Region 9 UTC Fellowship, The National GEM Consortium Fellowship, the NEXTGEN Leaders Fellowship, and the ENO Center for Transportation Fellowship, and the NASA Space Research Grant, awarded to research in Geological Earth Science. 

 

Jennings has worked for numerous government agencies over the years, including the U.S. Department of Transportation (Federal Highway Administration), U.S. Department of the Navy, Los Angeles Department of Transportation, Arizona Department of Transportation, and the City of Phoenix Department of Transportation.

 

As a piece of advice to students, Jennings said, "Apply to as many Fellowships/Scholarships that you can, even if you are funded in your program. The applications can be tedious; however, it is worthwhile to at least try. Also, use the applications as an opportunity to polish up your resume and essays too, which will help you when you start looking for jobs. Sometimes fellowships have a very low application pool, [and doing this] can make it easier to be selected."

 

In his spare time, Jennings likes to travel. "I have traveled to 25 countries so far and five continents - I love to learn about the cultures and see transit systems in other countries. I would like to visit all seven continents before I turn 30 (South America, Antarctica are the last two that I have not visited)." He is also actively involved in volunteering with the UCI summer programs, such as UCI Water, Innovator Squad, and INSPIRE. He shared that he enjoys helping to teach youth engineering concepts. 

 

We wish De' Von Jennings all the best in his future endeavors and many more accomplishments!

 

About the Author:

Adylbek Abdykalikov is a recent graduate of the Masters in 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. He served as the lead writer to METRANS Newsletter and lead student event coordinator for METRANS and PSR.