InTrans / Aug 05, 2020

InTrans students snag two Women in Transportation awards

Wasama Abdullah
Bahar Bazargani

Since winning a scholarship from WTS International last year, InTrans alumna Bahar Bazargani has found another calling: sharing her passion for transportation engineering and encouraging fellow young professional women in the field.

Her enthusiasm and activism led her to earn another award from WTS International, an organization dedicated to supporting women in the transportation industry, the Helene M. Overly Graduate Scholarship.

Her efforts also helped inspire InTrans graduate student Wasama Abdullah to follow her lead, and resulted in Abdullah earning the same scholarship. Bazargani’s award is from the Kansas City chapter, and Abdullah’s is from the Greater Chicago chapter; since Iowa’s chapter has only recently started, it was not accepting award applicants during the period in which Bazargani and Abdullah applied.

“Receiving the Chicago award and knowing that my best colleague, friend, and co-worker Bahareh Bazargani received the Kansas award was very festive to both of us and our entire team, knowing that two members of our research team have been acknowledged for the scholarship,” Abdullah said recently.

Bazargani likewise described herself and her team as being “over the moon” to learn that Abdullah had received the same scholarship, even though it put them in friendly competition for the national award.

“Graduating in July, this was my last activity as a student with WTS. I hope, as a young professional, I can continue inspiring more women into believing in themselves,” Bazargani said, adding that winning the president’s scholarship last year gave her the confidence to become active in the WTS organization and encourage others’ involvement.

“The Helene M. Overly Graduate Scholarship is the most prestigious award that a graduate student in transportation engineering can win,” Bazargani added. “It was around Christmas when I received the email that I won, and I couldn’t ask for a better gift to receive!”

Both women worked with InTrans’ Center for Transportation Research and Education Director Omar Smadi and researched highway safety and intelligent infrastructure engineering. Bazargani graduated this past July, and Abdullah is expected to graduate this fall.

Iowa State women have won a scholarship from WTS Greater Chicago Area Chapter in each of the last five years.

Additional information on Abdullah is available here, and more information on WTS International is here.