2016 Lifesavers Traffic Safety Scholars Blog
Last weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities as a Traffic Safety Scholar, Speaker, and Exhibitor on behalf of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions). Surprisingly, I was the only local scholar from California as well as one of the youngest, since the majority of the scholars were Graduate and Doctoral students. It was very interesting and intriguing to learn about the different types of research that my fellow scholars were working on. What I loved most about the Traffic Safety Scholarship program was the opportunity to learn and network with several other students that all had similar values and goals to improve traffic and highway safety conditions in the U.S. In addition, the emphasis on joining the traffic safety workforce after our studies was mind-opening because there are so many opportunities and jobs in traffic safety that one can go in to.
The conference itself was one of the best conferences I have ever attended. The valuable information given at the workshops and the opportunity to network and connect with not only students, but professionals in the traffic safety world was amazing. I gained so much knowledge about highway safety from all types of perspectives including the media, government, nonprofits, law, etc. I was able to meet tons wonderful traffic safety professionals and experts from various organizations, such as Rhonda Craft, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety, among others that motivated and inspired me to continue the work I’ve done.
Additionally, I had the opportunity to speak to a crowd of 100+ individuals on the Distracted Driving panel that I was on, presenting the project I organized and coordinated in my high school. Most of all, this conference was so much fun! Making new friends, connecting with accomplished individuals, and most importantly, learning so much about traffic safety. At the end of the day, this entire learning experience reminded me of our ultimate goal in highway safety- that is to save lives. Our work revolves around saving lives and making the right choices to live a healthy life.
I am extremely honored to have attended this conference. A huge thank you to the Lifesavers Planning Committee and Traffic Safety Scholars program staff. Thank you to SADD National for providing me with this opportunity as a member of the National Student Leadership Council. Thank you.
-Julio Mendez, SADD National Student Leadership