UFTI Experience Benefits Alumnus Dr. Jing Li

Dr. Jing Li, a 2013 UFTI graduate and current Assistant Research Scientist at Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), favorably reflects on time spent at UFTI, where she gained and accomplished much beyond obtaining graduate degrees. Li says the experience has tremendously benefited her work regarding research, technical support, and technology transfer.

“The UF transportation program is very prosperous,” Li recalls, “Our professors are very active and well-established in the transportation engineering field, which brings in many cutting-edge research projects. That gives the students great opportunities of getting involved in those innovative research projects, which are very important for graduate students to shape their research skills. I benefited a lot from my time as a research assistant there.”

Particularly, Li praises her Ph.D. adviser, Dr. Scott Washburn, for helping make her experience at UFTI, and her transition to the country, a pleasant one. “As an international student,” Li says,“cultural difference is something that I had to face when I first came to the U.S. Dr. Washburn is very patient, understanding, and encouraging, which provided me a comfortable environment to learn, explore, and grow as a researcher.”

Li notes, interestingly, that she has experienced more cross-disciplinary collaboration in transportation research since relocating from China. She now considers collaboration necessary in order to gain a better understanding of the nature of transportation from diverse perspectives and to potentially derive inspiration from experts in other areas and disciplines.

Li sees keeping the public informed and providing innovative solutions for transportation concerns as two significant problems that the transportation community should address, with cross collaboration and cooperation both playing vital roles in implementing solutions in transportation engineering.

In the future, Li plans to continue work in her areas of interest, including: traffic operations, traffic planning, transportation infrastructure, and traffic safety. Eventually, Li hopes to branch out to pursue other interests in human factors, transportation facility maintenance, and public transit, as well.