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FHWA Works: Careers in Motion

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Road sign: CAREERS AHEAD

Welcome to the "FHWA Works: Careers in Motion Employee Spotlight" series, a look into the careers and lives of Federal Highway Administration employees. Each month, we will introduce you to one of nearly 3,000 FHWA colleagues and highlight the important work they do. Our employees come from all corners of the agency but all offer the same, yet unique sense of dedication and professionalism, all while keeping America's roads and bridges safe.

Check out whose career is in motion and how #FHWAWorks! Discover exactly why our agency is celebrating being ranked in the Top 10 percent of "Best Places to Work in Federal Government!"

To learn more about how FHWA Works, explore the video series on YouTube or FHWA's LinkedIn page.


FHWA Works: Employee Spotlight - Michelle Arnold, Ph.D.

Photo of Michelle Arnold, Ph.D.

Full Name: Michelle Arnold, Ph.D.
Title: Research Transportation Specialist
Division/Department: Office of Safety, Research & Development
Location (City/State): McLean, VA

  1. What is your current position and how long have you been in this role?
    My current position is a research transportation specialist on the Human Factors team at Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center. I joined Federal Highway Administration's Office of Safety R&D in 2014. My experiences in research include driving simulation studies and human factors research projects using the Sign Lab, and field research vehicles. I’m also the FHWA technical lead for the Traffic Control Devices Pooled Fund Study (TCD PFS) Consortium, lead projects in connected/automated vehicle research and continue to manage projects related to visibility and driving behavioral data.

  2. What is your typical workday like?
    In my role as a researcher, I lead multiple research projects and many of these are conducted in our Human Factors Labs–so constant communication with our onsite support staff is key. As I lead and manage this research, I’m involved in all aspects from beginning to end. I read and review a variety of deliverables (including literature reviews, research plans, and research reports) and also write technical reports. I work to disseminate these results by sharing the knowledge to others within and outside of FHWA. Our human factors program within FHWA is a support program for other offices and it is necessary to collaborate, so I also serve as technical reviewer for multiple projects within FHWA and sometimes outside of FHWA.

  3. What has been your biggest accomplishment over the last year? Each year our TCD PFS Consortium has an annual meeting. This pooled fund has roughly 30 members of regional, state, and local entities, appropriate organizations, and the FHWA; and the meeting takes place at a different location in April or May each year. The planning that goes into this annual meeting is extensive. Although I have a wonderful support team who help to make this annual meeting happen, it still involves a lot of oversight and making sure the different components all line up as this meeting is planned. I’m happy to say that this year’s meeting is planned and ready to begin.

  4. Prior to working at FHWA, what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?
    In graduate school I was the first person in our psychology lab to conduct research using our new driving simulator. Since I was the first person to tackle research using this tool, and the only person at that time who wanted to pursue transportation safety research using the simulator, I was given full reign to find gaps in the literature in areas of interest and learn about the simulator on my own. I spent numerous hours exploring ways to program the computer simulations and was given permission to hire undergraduates to help with my research. As a fresh new graduate student, this was the best experience for me because I learned a lot on my own but also had full support of my advisor and helping hands to perform a variety of research.

  5. What are your hobbies in your spare time?
    I enjoy spending time with my husband and toddler. With a toddler in the house, my hobbies are centered around activities he likes to do such as playing outdoors or going to parks and zoos. I am also expecting twins any day now, but prior to this, I enjoyed being outdoors and doing activities such as hiking or playing sports. I hope to get back into doing these things after the twins are born.

  6. What is one of the biggest lessons you have learned in your career to get you where you are today?
    There are a few things I’ve learned in my career and one such thing is to not be afraid to say yes even when you don’t feel comfortable performing the task. This is how I learned many different areas that have helped me to learn new things, to build my repertoire and expertise in research, and constantly evolve. Another lesson is to always give credit where credit’s due and be appreciative of those who help you along the way. I believe you go far in life doing good work and always thanking and showing appreciation for those who’ve helped you and then reciprocate and help others when they need it.

  7. Who do you admire in the transportation field and why?
    I admire a lot of people in the transportation field but I believe the person I admire the most is my graduate advisor, Dr. Ron Van Houten. He carries a passion for this field and is always trying to find new ways to save people’s lives in transportation research. I strive to be like him in my career.

  8. Complete this sentence: "People would be surprised if they knew..."
    When I was young, my dream job was to be a member of the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol. I thought it’d be fulfilling to hop out of a van and surprise winners with large oversized checks and big bouquets of flowers and see the happy faces of the winners.

Other Employee Spotlights

Photo of David Mensching Full Name: David Mensching, Ph.D., P.E.
Title: Asphalt Materials Research Program Manager
Division/Department: Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Location (City/State): McLean, VA
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Title: Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Research Program Manager
Division/Department: Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
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Title: Community Planner
Division/Department: Systems Planning and Analysis Team, Office of Planning
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Stephanie Stoermer Full Name: Joi Singh
Title: Realty Specialist
Division/Department:Office of Real Estate Services
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Stephanie Stoermer Full Name: Stephanie Stoermer
Title: Environmental Program Specialist/Archaeologist
Division/Department: Environment, Air Quality & Realty Technical Services Team, Resource Center
Photo of Justin Ocel Full Name: Justin Ocel
Title: Civil Engineer
Division/Department: Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center - Office of Infrastructure RD&T
Location: McLean, VA
Photo of Dan Wolfe Full Name: Dan Wolfe
Title: Marketing Communication Specialist
Division/Department: Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center
Location: McLean, VA
Photo of MaryAnn Carpenter Full Name: MaryAnn Carpenter
Title: Transportation Specialist/International Liaison
Division/Department: Federal Highway Administration
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Brenda Red Wing Full Name: Brenda Red Wing
Title: Senior Advisor for the Program Management Improvement Team Leader
Division/Department: Director of Field Services
Location: Lakewood, CO
Photo of Melinda Urban Full Name: Melinda Urban
Title: Senior Area Engineer
Division/Department: FHWA Colorado Division
Location: Lakewood, CO
Photo of Monica Jurado Full Name: Monica Jurado
Title: Pavements and Materials Engineer
Division/Department: FHWA Resource Center
Location: El Paso, TX
Photo of Al-Hasan Rashida Full Name: Al-Hasan Rashida
Title: Multimedia Specialist
Division/Department: Office of Management Services
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Neil Gaffney Full Name: Neil Gaffney
Title: Public Affairs Specialist
Division/Department: Office of Public Affairs
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Susie Tingler Full Name: Susie Tingler
Title: Management Assistant
Division/Department: Director of Field Services
Location: Baltimore, MD
Photo of Christopher Douwes Full Name: Christopher Douwes
Title: Community Planner; commonly known as the Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails Program Manager
Division/Department: Office of Human Environment
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Mohammed Yousuf Full Name: Mohammed Yousuf
Title: Program Manager, ATTRI/Transportation Research Specialist
Division/Department: FHWA Office of Operations R&D
Location: McLean, Virginia
Photo of Rebecca T. Crowe Full Name: Rebecca T. Crowe (Becky)
Title: Transportation Specialist
Division/Department: Office of Safety
Location: ADL- Virginia Division; Richmond, VA
Photo of Jihan Kamel Noizet Full Name: Jihan Kamel Noizet
Title: Transportation Specialist
Division/Department: Office of International Programs
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Todd Kohr Full Name: Todd Kohr
Title: Legislative Analysis Team Leader
Division/Department: Office of Policy and Governmental Affairs
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Kirsten Poston Full Name: Kirsten Poston
Title: Disability Policy Analyst
Division/Department: Office of Civil Rights
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Agnes Vélez Full Name: Agnes R. Vélez
Title: Transportation Specialist
Division/Department: Office of International Programs
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Seetha Srinivasan Full Name: Seetha Srinivasan
Title: Attorney Advisor
Division/Department: Office of the Chief Counsel
Location (City/State): Washington, DC
Photo of Abdul Zineddin, Ph.D. Full Name: Abdul Zineddin, Ph.D.
Title: Transportation Specialist
Division/Department: Office of Safety R&D
Location: McLean, VA
Photo of Dan Mathis Full Name: Taylor Lochrane
Title: Technical Manager
Division/Department: Office of Operation Research and Development
Location: McLean, VA
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Title: Division Administrator
Division/Department: Washington Division
Location: Olympia, WA
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Title: Program Management Analyst
Division/Department: Oregon and Washington Divisions
Location: Salem, OR
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Title: Director of the Office of Bridges and Structures
Division/Department: Office of Infrastructure
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Title: Division Bridge Engineer
Division/Department: Arizona Division Office
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Photo of Doug Hecox Full Name: Doug Hecox
Title: Spokesman
Division/Department: Federal Highway Administration
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Tome White Full Name: Tom White
Title: Social Media Coordinator
Division/Department: Office of Public Affairs
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Ralph M. Davis Full Name: Ralph M. Davis
Title: Supervisory Transportation Specialist
Division/Department: Office of Government and Policy Affairs, Office of Highway Policy Information
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Doug Atkin Full Name: Doug Atkin
Title: Assistant Division Administrator Nebraska Division
Division/Department: Nebraska Division
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Photo of Norah Ocel Full Name: Norah M. Ocel, P.E.
Title: Transportation Operations Team Leader/Highway Safety Engineer
Division/Department: Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division
Location: Sterling, Virginia
Photo of LaToya Hines Full Name: LaToya Hines
Title: Staff Assistant to the FHWA Administrator
Division/Department: Office of the Administrator
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Travis Thomas Full Name: Travis Thomas
Title: Lead IT Specialist
Division/Department: Office of Information Technology Service/Office of Administration (HAD)
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Brittany Broussard Full Name: Brittany Broussard
Title: Human Resources Specialist
Division/Department: FHWA/Office of Human Resources
Location: Washington, DC
Roger Ryder Full Name: Roger Ryder
Title: Senior Stewardship Advisor/Director of Operations
Division/Department: FHWA Pennsylvania Division
Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Jennifer Nicks Full Name: Jennifer Nicks, PhD, PE
Title: Research Geotechnical Engineer
Division/Department: Office of Infrastructure Research & Development (R&D)
Location: Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center,
McLean, Virginia
Trinette D. Ballard Full Name: Trinette D. Ballard
Title: Marketing and Communications Specialist
Division/Department: FHWA Florida Division
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Jaun C. Garcia Full Name: Juan C. Garcia
Title: Multimedia Specialist
Division/Department: Management Services/Office of Administration (HAD)
Location: Washington, DC
Melissa Yu Full Name: Melissa Yu
Title: Marketing and Communications Specialist
Division/Department: Center for Accelerating Innovation
Location: Washington, DC
  U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration - Careers in Motion  
Page last modified on April 15, 2019
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000