News | USC Alum Nicole Guo Moves LA at HDR

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USC Alum Nicole Guo Moves LA at HDR

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

by Adylbek Abdykalikov, USC, IPPAM 2020

Meet HDR traffic designer Nicole Guo, currently working on the Automated People Mover project, designed to improve the transportation system of the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).


Guo earned her bachelor’s degree in Transportation Engineering from Southeast University in China and then a Master of Science in Civil Engineering, Transportation Engineering in 2017 at USC. While at USC, Guo lead the METRANS Transportation Center Student Administrative Team.



Guo remembers that she attended several seminars hosted by METRANS in her first year at USC, and found them very helpful for both her academic studies and her professional development. “Then I reached out to Dr. Victoria Deguzman, METRANS Associate Director, and asked if I could volunteer,” adds Guo.  Soon after, she was hired to the METRANS Student Team.


At METRANS, Guo organized and coordinate METRANS activities, including creating, planning, and executing enrichment and professional development programs and events for students and local professional society chapters. She also assisted with compiling, editing, revising, and circulating our METRANS weekly newsletters. Based on her exemplary performance, she was promoted to lead the team of 17 student assistants.


After graduation, Guo worked as an intern in DKS, transportation planning, and transportation engineering firm at the company’s office in Portland, Oregon, a few months later was offered and accepted a full-time, permanent position in their Anaheim, California office. Guo appreciated the opportunity while at DKS to contribute to both Oregon and California projects.


Guo is currently working as a traffic designer with HDR, a design firm specializing in engineering, architecture, environmental and construction. At HDR, Guo has a wide range of responsibilities, including developing plans for transportation projects; preparing the design of traffic signal, signing, striping, lighting; ITS; and traffic control plans. She also builds, customizes, and uses travel demand and simulation models, and conducts traffic impact analysis.


One of the projects Guo is working on right now is LAWA-APM (Automated People Mover) project. The ultimate goal of this project is to transform LAX into a world-class destination airport and enhance the passenger experience. More specifically, the project team is making efforts to relieve traffic congestion in the Central Terminal Area, improve the connection to transit, reduce private vehicles trips to LAX, create new options for passenger pick-up and drop-off, give passengers a fast and reliable new way to get to their fights, reduce vehicle emissions and improve air quality. Guo is part of the traffic team, where she is helping with roadway signing and striping design, traffic signal design, and street lighting design. “I am very excited and looking forward to seeing big improvements in the LAX airport,” she shared.


Guo is also actively involved in the WTS Orange County Chapter, holding positions in both the Mentor and Scholarship Committees, and is a board member of ICTPA-SCC (International Chinese Transportation Professional Organization – SoCal Chapter).


Guo at one of the WTS Chapters


Guo believes professional engagement and networking are critical to professional success, and suggests to always set a goal for yourself before going to a networking event, such as “I will talk to five people during this event and get their contact information.” She also highlights the importance of mentorship, finding a mentor, and follow up regularly. She advises job seekers be persistent and resilient “Don’t give up when you receive 100 rejection letters,’ she advises.  “Letter 101 will be your offer.” In her spare time, Guo likes building Legos, hiking, traveling, and organizing.


About the Author:

Adylbek Abdykalikov is a graduate student in the 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 serves as the lead writer to METRANS Newsletter and lead student event coordinator for METRANS and PSR.