Hi! My name is Sarah Wilson, I am currently a fourth year undergraduate student studying civil engineering and I grew up in the suburbs southeast of Atlanta. Like most Atlantan suburbs, my area growing up was very car centric with only a few disjointed bike lanes and sidewalks. Because of this, I’m still very much reliant upon my car, especially when I go home for a visit. Upon coming to Georgia Tech I was able to utilize MARTA more often, though I still tended to stick closer to campus. After a year or two on campus I became braver and really enjoyed exploring different neighborhoods nearby, particularly Virginia Highlands near Piedmont Park and Inman Park off of the Beltline. Although I sometimes had a car for these adventures I often found the best way to explore was on foot, particularly because of the access provided by the Beltline. I really love Atlanta and am excited to explore more on a bike soon!
Although I have grown up in Georgia my whole life, I’m very grateful to have parents who love to travel! We’ve done some traveling around the United States but, honestly, I never really liked those trips as a kid because we would always fly somewhere and then rent a car and drive for far too many hours. As I got older and we began to go on more adventurous trips we sometimes would go to Europe and take the trains, I truly believe this changed travelling for me. The trains were so much fun; I felt like I was going to Hogwarts or somewhere magical! This feeling only escalated my second year at Tech when I studied abroad at GTL. I’d already established that I wanted to pursue civil engineering and had even gained interest in city planning but being in a foreign country and not needing a car for hardly anything changed the way I thought about transportation and made me excited to enter into a career helping people get about their day. I am really curious as to why it was so easy to use their transit system and how that could be incorporated better back home. Coming home I was really hoping to utilize MARTA more effectively and I think at some points I have, but I honestly still prefer walking. Even this past summer I worked in Midtown Atlanta and walked to work every day. I’m sure biking would have been more efficient but I usually enjoyed walking through the city.
I am really excited for this course as I think it’s a great opportunity to not just experience the transportation system like I did at GTL, but also to learn more about how it works as a whole. This hopefully could provide more insight into how pieces of their system could be incorporated back home. I’m also really interested in the mentoring aspect of the course. I love talking to people about what they do and why they are passionate about it so I think it’d be great to hear from professionals in the transportation industry on these types of infrastructure systems. I think so much of America is car centered that hopefully there’s a way that more modes can be incorporated and more importantly incorporated in the proper manner.