High school students study Metro

Taylor Shaw with Bruce Shelburne, Metro's Deputy Executive Officer of Operations, and community outreach specialist Jody Litvak. Photo by Luis Inzunza/Metro.

With students heading back to school, it seemed like a good time to let you know about some great high school students I met this last year who focused on Metro. Four of them did so for school projects and one is just really interested in transit. I thought they and their projects were interesting enough to share.

Taylor Shaw – Designing a subway station

Taylor just graduated from Beverly Hills High School where she participated in a very interesting architecture class they offer. As a continuing student in that class, her project for the year was to design a public facility and she chose to tackle the subway station being planned for heart of Beverly Hills.

She reached out to my colleague Bruce Shelburne, our Deputy Executive Officer of Operations, and he reached out to me. One afternoon last fall, we met Taylor and a classmate of hers at the Wilshire/Vermont Station for a behind the scenes tour. We showed them the inner workings of the station including many areas that are not open to the public. Those are where we house equipment for power, communications, ventilation and the like. She was already quite knowledgeable and asked really good questions about the various technical specifications that are required for stations.

Towards the end of the school year, she came back to show us the station she designed for Wilshire/Beverly. Bruce reviewed everything and said it met all of our technical requirements. We also took Taylor to meet Martha Welborne, our Executive Director of Countywide Planning. Martha is an accomplished architect and was also impressed with Taylor’s drawings.

Taylor is heading to MIT, Martha’s alma mater, where she plans to study biology.

Kenneth Hudson, Billy Berblinger & Alex Chernick – Political Behavior

These three young men also just graduated high school – El Segundo High School – where they were enrolled in a class called Political Behavior. Their assignment was to focus on an important issue where there are different viewpoints. They made a movie interviewing myself and two other people – one of whom was Marty Hudson who is a Metro contractor. They spoke to me about transit in general as well as some of the ongoing issues surrounding the Westside Subway Extension. Then they each provided their own opinions on the matter.

The video does not have the best production for which I know they apologize but you can view it here.

This fall, Kenneth will be enrolling in UC Santa Barbara where he plans to major in geophysics, Billy is headed to CSU Long Beach planning to major in aerospace, and Alex is going to Indiana University planning to be an accounting major.

Sammy Hopp – Future Transportation Planner

Sammy just concluded his second summer as a volunteer intern here at Metro. Now beginning 11th grade at Beverly Hills High School, Sammy says he doesn’t remember a time when he wasn’t intrigued by transit. This summer, he built on his work from last year and prepared a detailed report titled, “Review of Potential Bus and Streetcar connections to Westside Metro Rail Projects.”

Art Leahy, Metro’s CEO, spent some time with Sammy and offered advice to the future transportation planner. He noted that there was more than one course of study to pursue to get into the profession. When he heads off to college, Leahy encouraged Sammy to find something he really enjoys studying where he will develop strong analytical, critical thinking and communication skills. Besides project planning, he also encouraged Sammy to learn more about scheduling, route planning, and other operational aspects of transit. As a USC fan, Leahy also spoke strongly about the benefits of an education at his alma mater. Sammy says he is considering USC for college in two years but he’s also thinking about UCLA, despite Mr. Leahy’s comments to the contrary.

When he’s not busy with school and studying transit, Sammy plays the piano and is involved in Junior Statesman of America. If I’m still working in a few decades, I suspect it might well be for Sammy.

Best of luck to these 5 talented young people for the upcoming academic year and beyond.


Categories: Inside Metro

2 replies

  1. Why is it that Metro does not allow all high school students an equal opportunity to address their concerns on public transit in . All of us are taxpayers for the public transportation that LA Metro provides to us taxpayers. I, soon to be a 18 year old, who will vote on Proposition J should have a say or should have the opportunity to study transit. But the bureaucracy at LA Metro does not allow students in Calabasas to study public transportation. Just because Calabasas schools are not in the LAUSD district does not mean that we should be left astray. Metro is heavily involved with public transportation in Calabasas. Metro provides funds for the shuttle system in Calabasas. Line 161 operates in Calabasas. So Metro be more clear as to who your referencing to