Kamilah Mercedes Valentin Diaz is a Purdue sophomore studying political science. She presented her research at the Fall Undergraduate Research Expo in November 2020. Her research focuses on the ways transportation is set up around the United States and how future transportation planning could be maximized under the lenses of social equity.
said Kamilah. “A system that has been weaponized in the past and in the present is transportation. Lack of efficient and accessible public transportation helps to facilitate the division of haves and have-nots. This disparity is not an accidental outcome; if we move forward by acknowledging that history and actively try to correct it the new system we build will benefit everyone exponentially.”
She conducted this research alongside Dr. Rosalee Clawson, who is conducting research on transportation sustainability and social justice. Kamilah has been conducting research since her freshman year and believes that “when you have access to knowledge, you shouldn’t gate-keep it, you should share it”. She thoroughly enjoyed presenting at the Fall Expo and believes research has helped advance her professional career. Kamilah plans on attending graduate school and shares that research helped prepare her for this transition. “Through my research, I have made personal and professional connections that will aid me in my career” says Kamilah. It is never too early to start your journey in undergraduate research!