Group of people standing together for a photo inside SFCTA office

In April, the Transportation Authority welcomed middle and high school students from San Francisco and the East Bay to the second “Girls in Motion” Spring 2024 Summit, an annual event introducing girls to careers in transportation.

The American Council of Engineering Companies, California Bay Bridge Chapter, and the Women’s Transportation Seminar, San Francisco Bay Chapter organized the event to empower students to pursue careers in transportation and share scholarship and internship opportunities.

Summit Highlights

The event featured several panel discussions, including insights at the executive level from BART Assistant General Manager, Sylvia Lamb SFMTA Planning Director, Maia Small, and Transportation Authority Executive Director Tilly Chang who shared insights on what inspired them to work in this field, their career highlights, and the skills needed to thrive in transportation.

All three panelists emphasized the importance of having strong communication and collaborative skills as well as the ability to imagine various possibilities in transportation.  The panelists also highlighted the importance of diverse viewpoints, as women only make up 15% of the transportation workforce.

Other career tracks and highlights included:

  • Engineering and Architecture - Panelists spoke about the opportunity to use math and science skills and the ability to impact people’s lives and the built environment
  • Program and Construction Management - Panelists highlighted the importance of seeing the big picture and also the ability to be part of building something 
  • Planning and Community Engagement - Panelists provided insight on finding solutions and working with the public

Hands-On Activity

Students also participated in a hands-on intersection design activity with guidance from mentors. With a goal to better serve current and new users and to incorporate community amenities, the students considered safety, parking, beautification, traffic/congestion and accessibility/mobility options as well as community members’ perspectives.They also integrated a theme,  images, and street names for the development area.

Students said one of their favorite parts of the event was meeting and collaborating with other girls and transportation professionals as well as finding solutions.

“Figuring out how riders will get off the bus and whether to have parallel or diagonal parking was the most challenging,” said Marilyn, a senior at Lincoln High School.

The combination of presentations “brought out our creative sides,“ said Naomi and Khari, middle school students from the East Bay. “The project was really fun and we both love engineering, science, and robotics.”

Thank you to ACEC and WTS for organizing this special event, and to our many partners for helping to develop the next generation of transportation leaders.