MDOT, Morgan Celebrate Successful Internship Program
A participant in the 2017-2018 Maryland Department of Transportation-Morgan State University Graduate School Internship Program, Zohreh Rashidi Moghaddam sums up her experience.
"I got hired," she said.
She had just received her master's in Transportation Studies in May, and had worked for the past year as an intern in the MDOT-Maryland Transit Administration Office of Performance Management.
"I was responsible for the data analysis of public transit performance," she said. "I learned new software, and I learned how public transit worked. In the classroom you learn something theoretically, but when you go to work it's like learning more practically."
She is the 14th intern to be hired, proving once again that the program is a successful workforce development initiative. The program, which had 11 interns this year, celebrated their completion of the year-long program with a luncheon on June 19, 2018. The event was held in the Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies (CBEIS) building at Morgan.
Dr. Andrew Farkas, director of the National Transportation Center and the Urban Mobility & Equity Center, which administer the MDOT-MSU internship program, noted that the idea behind CBEIS was to put disciplines such as architecture, city and regional planning, and transportation "in close proximity in the hope there would be a synergy in the approach to these issues. I feel there has, indeed, been a synergy."
The students work in various MDOT business units full time in the summer and during academic breaks, and then work part time during the school year.
Graduate student Sha'Von Terrell, who is working on a master's degree in City and Regional Planning, spent this year managing data performance for on-time performance and absenteeism in the Office of Planning and Programs. "It's exciting to have this opportunity to humanize the data and drivers' experience," she said.
Phil Sullivan, chief performance officer for the MTA, who mentors interns, said of the interns, "I've been doing this for six years now and at this point they're just so integral to our team. We handle a lot of data and I've been so impressed with the quality of the interns. We couldn't hire them if the quality wasn't there."
The keynote speaker for the event was R. Earl Lewis, Deputy Secretary of Policy, Planning & Enterprise Services for MDOT.
"Here's hoping that you've learned lot and that being a graduate you consider bringing your talents back to MDOT," he said. "We believe MDOT is one of the most important agencies in the State of Maryland ... We connect our citizens and businesses to life's opportunities. When you think about transportation that's a big part - we are part of the network that people have to use to do whatever it is they need to do and our goal is for Maryland to have the best transportation network, not just in the United States, but in the world."