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WTS-LA gives Diversity/Careers editor 2006 diversity leadership award

Los Angeles, CA - The Los Angeles chapter of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) has selected Kate Colborn, editor in chief of Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology magazine, as the recipient of its 2006 diversity leadership award. The award was presented at the organization’s January 17 meeting in downtown Los Angeles.
   The award recognized the effectiveness of the magazine’s editorial content in providing role models for members of the diverse technical workforce.
   Colborn was introduced by Gloria Dixon, VP of diversity and economic opportunity for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit. Dixon is a long-time diversity advocate who co-chaired the WTS national diversity committee for several years. “This award does NOT highlight someone who will necessarily be written up in history books,” Dixon said. “The purpose of this award is to highlight the tireless efforts of someone who toils, often in anonymity, to make a difference in people’s lives.
    “Kate Colborn is the brain, pen, and heart behind the magazine called Diversity/Careers in Engineering and Information Technology. Serving as the editor-in-chief, Colborn has almost single-handedly raised awareness of the different colors, ages, sexes, ethnicities, and nationalities of a profession that was once thought of as a bastion only for white males...
    “One of the most powerful ways to promote diversity is through heightened awareness of minorities and women in our profession. The power of role models is very, very real. They change people’s lives. Kate Colborn has changed more lives than we may ever know by telling the stories and showing the faces of minorities and women in our profession in her magazine.
    “Dixon illustrated the importance of role models by quoting baseball great Hank Aaron, who credited Jackie Robinson, the breaker of baseball’s color barrier in 1947, with providing the role model that allowed Aaron to aim for a career in the major leagues. “As you can see, having a role model changed Hank Aaron’s life for the better, and ours as well,“ Dixon said.
    Accepting the award, Colborn said, “Diversity/Careers in Engineering and Information Technology, the magazine I edit, works hard to show our readers technical folks who look like them, people who have struggled with the same challenges. Over the dozen-plus years we’ve been publishing we’ve profiled several thousand diverse technical professionals, and our readers tell me that they are encouraged when they hear those stories.
    “Interviewing the people we profile is what I enjoy most about my job. Being a journalist gives me license to ask nosy questions without getting people mad at me. And hearing the stories of women who have had good careers in a male-dominated profession, and people of color who have done well in a “pale-dominated' profession, gives me hope for the future.”
    The 2006 award was the chapter’s second. The 2005 WTS-LA diversity leadership award went to Professor James Elliott Moore II of the University of Southern California. Moore is director of the transportation engineering program at USC and co-director of its construction management program. He chairs the Daniel J. Epstein department of industrial systems engineering in the Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering. He was involved in the creation of USC’s Women in Science and Engineering program, and has worked to increase the number of female engineering faculty at the school. He promotes diversity among his students and encourages them to join WTS-LA. Moore is a member of the WTS-LA board of directors, and has contributed generously to the WTS-LA scholarship fund.
    WTS-LA, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2005, is the largest chapter of the 4,000+ - member WTS International. Its 480 members include engineers and others who work in the public and private transportation sectors, plus legislators and students of transportation engineering and planning. WTS International was founded in 1977 to help women advance in the transportation industry. WTS International has more than thirty-five active chapters.

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