Welcome to the SafeTREC Spotlight Series! Each month, we highlight SafeTREC staff and share their stories, work and interest in the transportation and safety research realm. In today's post, meet Ana Lopez, Policy and Program Analyst.
Ana Lopez is from Huntington Park (commonly known as “HP” among south LA natives), a city in the southeast Los Angeles region. She received her Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Social Welfare and in Hispanic Languages, Linguistics, and Bilingualism at UC Berkeley in 2016. She is a Policy and Program Analyst at SafeTREC and has been working at the research center for 2 1/2 years.
What sparked your interest in transportation safety research?
I faintly remember long commutes on the LA Metro with my mother. Using public transit was a great method of transportation that for the most part allowed us to get from point A to point B, while simultaneously exposing me to the vast differences in the sprawled out Los Angeles County. It wasn’t until I came to UC Berkeley where I learned about social theories and terminology that helped me conceptualize those differences, as well as my lived experiences. My degree in Social Welfare provided information and critical skills that allowed me to view and understand issues through a social justice lens. Factors such as the built environment, gender identity, race and ethnicity, cultural perspectives, place and zip code, etc. all intersect and manifest in different ways from city to city. I am conscientious of these social dynamics, and apply what I’ve learned in my social welfare classes to my work in transportation safety research.
What are current projects you're working on now at SafeTREC?
My main project is the Community Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Training (CPBST) Program. I primarily work with data provided by the Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS), an online mapping tool developed by SafeTREC. I translate and present data regarding pedestrian and bicycle injuries and fatalities to communities that SafeTREC serves. What I say, and how I say it is important. I acknowledge that most times, I am an “outsider” to this particular community, so it is imperative that I listen first. I am mindful in how I present data, facilitate group discussions and interact with community members.
What are issues you are particularly intersted or passionate about?
I am interested in the intersection of public health and urban planning, and specifically learning how to address these social issues that disproportionately impact women of color in underserved communities. I understand that my voice in this field is very important and necessary as a woman of color.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love going to concerts, mainly RnB, hip-hop, jazz and underground music. I like to support up-and-coming artists. I also enjoy going on road trips with my boyfriend and watching Insecure on HBO.
This Spotlight interview was conducted in collaboration with UC Berkeley SafeTREC. The opinions and perspectives expressed are those of the interviewee and not necessarily those of SafeTREC.