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Meet Anne Victoria!


Anne Victoria Goodchild works as an engineer and teacher in the transportation field, which is generally an area where women are underrepresented.  For fun, she likes to ride bikes with her daughter.

Describe your job and a typical day at work.

My days vary a lot, but some of the elements of my job are:

Teaching! Giving lectures, having one-on-one discussions, and interacting with students of all ages.

Being creative – trying to think about ways to solve our transportation problems.  

Attending conferences and discussing ways to solve transportation problems with students and colleagues.

Explaining transportation problems to those in government making decisions about transportation spending.

Doing cool math problems; for example trying to figure out a timetable for flights between San Francisco and Seattle.

Thinking about the future, and how our transportation system needs to evolve to accommodate future demand.

I really enjoy going out in the field and seeing operations at work. My favorite days are spent watching real transportation systems in action; visiting a port, or a postal sorting station.

How did you prepare for your career? Did you earn a related degree, take classes or get special training?

I have always tried to just pursue what interested me. I studied Math as an undergraduate because I really liked the subject. I then worked as a consultant because I got to work on interesting “real-world” problems, and travel all over the world. Then I got interested in transportation, and wanted to learn more, so I earned an MS and PhD in Transportation Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. This prepared me for my job as an Assistant Professor, but I was always motivated by an interest in the subject, rather than a particular outcome.

When did you figure out what you wanted to do? Did it take you some time to figure it out?

It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do. I was 30 by the time I really knew! I always knew what I found interesting, but that was a lot of things! Even if I couldn’t specify one thing I wanted to do, I tried to just pick something I was interested in, and pursue that. I also tried to pursue the most challenging thing I was interested in, and I usually surprised myself. Before starting, I thought I might not be able to complete a PhD in engineering, but I just kept trying and I did well.

What would you advise girls who are considering the same career?

Stick with it! In order to accomplish something you feel good about, you will go through a period where you feel like it's too difficult, and you can’t do it. It's those experiences that you really learn from. Everybody feels insecure at time but keep trying, and you will achieve great things.

There are a lot of interesting problems in transportation, and not enough people to solve them. Transportation problems are really cool because they involve many diverse perspectives-typically political, economic, mathematic, environmental, and matter to everyone!

How do you balance your work and personal life? When it’s time for fun, what do you like to do?

I try to be efficient when I am at work, and when I come home for the night, I stop thinking about work. I have to think hard and be creative at work, which you can’t do if your brain is tired. I take lots of breaks and get outside to run or ride my bike. I have a 2 year old daughter I like to have fun with; we go on bike rides to the beach (I live in California), and spend time with family and friends.

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