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Jordan Preston

Jordan Preston

Student, Class of 2018
Major(s): Civil Engineering
Hometown: Yakima, Washington

Why did you choose Oregon Tech?

My dad graduated from Oregon Tech with his civil engineering degree. I heard about the good program from him and many of the other OIT graduates who work at the Washington Department of Transportation. When I decided to pursue civil engineering, it was the only choice.

What do you like most about your program?

The civil engineering program is such a good balance of classroom and practical work. We are learning concepts and the theory behind engineering, but then we get to go out to the labs and put them right into practice. The work is challenging, but working on group projects or studying for the FE together creates a real sense of community among the students. The faculty are also the best on campus. They know their technical stuff, but are also interested in helping students succeed, whether that is academically, professionally, or personally.

What are you passionate about changing within this particular field and why?

As one of my professors put it, my passion is designing for “small-town America. “ I hope to develop creative solutions to American transportation issues, specifically in car-centric rural environments, that meet the local economic goals and match the community lifestyle. Because of my experience at WSDOT, I completely understand the importance that vehicles have, and will continue to have, in rural towns and hope to become skilled at meeting the needs of all types of users.

What would be your dream job?

Once I graduate, I hope to work for a private engineering firm in the Pacific Northwest that specializes in transportation planning and design. The previous six summers I have been interning with WSDOT, which has allowed me to determine areas that I like or do not like. This summer was spend on a bicycle transportation-planning seminar, which completely changed the emphasis of my study (and future career) to multimodal transportation solutions.

What have been some of your favorite classes and why?

The graduate level transportation courses are excellent! Each course has a large project that allows to me combine the technical and communication skills that I have been honing during my time here at Oregon Tech – the work is engaging and the end result something that I am extremely proud of.

Is there anything about Oregon Tech that you wish everyone knew about?

The small class sizes at Oregon Tech are awesome. They allow students the ability to get to know their fellow students and faculty. These connections are the ones that get students internships, jobs, officer positions, study abroad trips, opportunities that are not as widely available at large schools.

Are you involved on campus? If so, how?

I have held multiple officer positions for the ITE Student Chapter, which has been one of the highlights of my time at Oregon Tech. I want to pursue transportation design, so an entire club dedicated to my field was a natural place for me to get involved. There are a few other clubs and committees that I hold positions in, including OIT Christian Fellowship, the American Society of Civil Engineers Concrete Canoe Team, the Cornett Hall Architectural Committee, and the Engineering Honor Society.  Lastly, I served as the project manager for my senior project team, which did an Alternatives Analysis for the KID C-Flume Replacement Project in Klamath Falls.

Have you participated in any internships or externships during your time at Oregon Tech? Did you gain valuable experience from them?

As an intern, I worked in three offices with WSDOT over the course of six years, including program management, construction, and design. Though the work challenged me, it gave me an intimate knowledge of the highway design and construction process. The theoretical principles that I learn in school make more sense when I can connect them to my own construction and design experiences on the job site.

Is there anything more that you would like to share with future students about campus, what you wish you knew before attending Oregon Tech or anything else?

Get involved! I showed up to Oregon Tech with no intention of hanging out longer than necessary. I ended up signing up for the MSCE program because of the relationships I have established on campus. There is so much support available and clubs in your interest areas – life extends far beyond the classroom here.

Awards/accomplishments during your time at Oregon Tech?

2017 National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) Outstanding Student of the Year (Receiving award at national conference in January)

2017 Sustainable Bicycle Transportation Seminar – three week course in Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands studying European bicycling infrastructure and policies

Project manager for seven-member team conducting an alternatives analysis for ten foot diameter siphon pipe

2015, 2016 & 2017 NITC Scholarship Recipient

2015, 2016 & 2017 Jesse Crabtree and Leo Ferroni Scholarship Recipient

2017 Oregon Section ITE Graduate Student Scholarship Recipient

2016 Oregon Section ITE Undergraduate Student Scholarship Recipient

2016 Women in Transportation Seminar Scholarship Recipient

2016 Coral Sales Scholarship Recipient

2016 Asphalt Pavement Association of Oregon Education Foundation Scholarship Recipient

2016 Richard H. Zbinden Scholarship Recipient

2016 Oregon Tech Alumni Scholarship Recipient

Head Research Assistant on NITC Research Project Vehicle Dynamics

Research Assistant on Multi-institutional NITC Research Project Rethinking Streets for Bikes