News | USC Students Ling Feng and Rachel Junken Win WTS Scholarships

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USC Students Ling Feng and Rachel Junken Win WTS Scholarships

Monday, November 2, 2015

by By  Arpita Sharma , MPP/MPL 2017

On November 5th, WTS Los Angeles Chapter will present Rachel Junken and Ling Feng, two second year Master of Planning students at the University of Southern California, $6,000 & $4,000 Myra L. Frank Memorial Graduate Scholarships respectively. These highly competitive scholarships are awarded annually to women pursuing career paths in transportation. The scholarship is in honor of Myra L. Frank, a leader who was instrumental in founding the WTS Los Angeles Chapter and actively served as a WTS member for over 25 years. Applications are evaluated on their transportation career goals, academic record, commitment to transportation, writing skills, and recommendations.

Rachel Junken, the $6,000 scholarship winner, shared, “Though I embarked on this journey just a little more than a year ago, my experience in transportation planning - both in academia and in the workplace - has renewed my commitment to public service and provided me with an overwhelming sense of personal fulfillment. As an emerging transportation professional dedicated to improving mobility in Los Angeles, I am truly honored to be recognized by WTS-LA as a recipient of the Myra L. Frank Memorial Graduate Scholarship.”

Rachel has a perfect, 4.0 GPA, and was previously honored by the University of Southern California Price School of Public Policy with the MPL First Year Award for Academic Achievement and Promise in May of 2015. She acknowledges distinguished transportation scholars like Dr. Genevieve Giuliano and Dr. Lisa Schweitzer who opened her eyes to the political, economic and social justice ramifications of transportation and infrastructure policy. Junken is concentrating in Transportation and Infrastructure Planning with a particular interest in transit, bicycle planning, and transportation funding. She is currently a Graduate Intern in the Transportation Planning Division at the Port of Long Beach, where she works on bicycle planning projects, traffic management, and grant writing. She previously interned for Metro Board Director Mike Bonin and LADOT’s Bicycle Outreach and Planning.

Ling Feng, the $4,000 scholarship winner, similarly commented, “WTS is a unique organization that empowers women in the transportation field, and it's very empowering for me. I was thrilled to receive this award.  With a committed work ethic and proficiency in multiple languages, I look forward to starting my career in the diverse community of Los Angeles, exchanging ideas with practitioners in different transportation specializations, and devoting myself to moving this city forward. This scholarship will help me to continue toward achieving my goals and pursuing my dreams.”  

Feng is also concentrating in Transportation and Infrastructure Planning with a special interest in transit, active transportation, and sustainable development, and is also pursuing a Certificate in Sustainable Policy and Planning.

Feng’s interest in Transportation Planning is deeply rooted in her experience living in western China, where she experienced unprecedented transportation and infrastructure construction, in particular of the Chinese High Speed Rail. “This experience made me realize the importance of transportation planning and began my interest in city development, most specifically pursuing education and a career in planning for the built transportation environment” she shares.

Feng interns with Metro, promoting transit safety, improving the transit experience, and encouraging transit use in L.A., including the implementation of Incident Based Surveillance System, monitoring the Nextrip real-time arrival information program.  She is also the lead student assistant for the USC based METRANS Transportation Center. Feng is a member and active volunteer of WTS, she attends every CicLAvia event, volunteers at USC’s Community Bike Program, and attends every transportation-related conference possible (such as FuturePorts, ITS California, and ESRI).   

Feng encourages all students to seek out opportunities, especially international students. She has personally experienced the challenges of being an international student at USC with the language barriers she has faced working in this new environment. “Don’t feel discouraged from pursuing opportunities out of fear. Don’t let these challenges limit your ability to pursue your dreams. ” she encourages.


Arpita Sharma

Arpita Sharma is a dual Master of Public Policy and Master of Planning Candidate at the USC Price School. She is interested in issues of health inequities, sustainable land use development and active transportation.  She expects to complete her degrees in May 2017. She can be reached at or at [email protected].