Ilgin Guler: ‘I Engineer Travel’

August 18, 2022

“I Engineer” highlights excellence across the Penn State College of Engineering, as well as how the college is made stronger by the diversity of perspectives, experiences and backgrounds of those in the engineering community.  

Ilgin Guler, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, primarily researches modes of transportation available to people in cities and how they use them. Using statistical modeling and machine learning, she examines how these travel choices — driving, bike riding, walking or public transportation — can be coordinated to improve the safety, reliability and accessibility of the overall transportation network and its infrastructure. Guler published two papers this year summarizing ways to monitor and forecast the conditions of Pennsylvania’s 25,000 state-owned bridges, many of which are structurally deficient.

Guler also teaches students at Penn State and received the 2020 Cambridge Systematics New Faculty Award for “outstanding teaching and research contributions to the transportation field.” Guler teaches courses on highway engineering, traffic operations, public transportation systems and infrastructure systems management.

Why did you become an engineer? What does engineering mean to you?  

I was inspired to become a transportation engineer when I saw the many different fields that need to work together to solve transportation-related problems — engineering, economics, psychology, optimization and many more. Engineering to me means to improve the way people travel and its impact on our environment.  

What are you aiming to achieve?

My goal is to provide connectivity and accessibility to people while reducing its impacts on the environment.

What advice do you have for those considering a career in engineering?  

As an engineer, you can achieve changes in the world that otherwise might have been thought not possible!

How have your perspectives, experiences and background shaped you and your career as an engineer? 

I have a dual bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and operations research. I think transportation has been the perfect blend of these two fields that I have interest in.


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