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RTA welcomes summer 2024 interns

June 27, 2024

2024 RTA Interns 1

This summer the RTA welcomed six new interns from Chicago-area universities. The interns work in various departments including Communications, IT, Strategic Planning, Local Planning, Finance, and Regional Coordination where they gain real-world experience and support the agency’s vision to provide safe, reliable, accessible public transportation that connects people to opportunity, advances equity, and combats climate change.

We caught up with this year’s cohort to get to know them and ask them why they love transit.

Suban Aden is spending her summer with the Local Planning team. She just completed her first year of the Master of Urban Planning and Policy program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Aden is looking forward to applying her Geographic Information System (GIS) skills to the Local Planning projects she has been assigned. Currently, she is working on researching sidewalk, bike, and transit infrastructure and how they can be used to reach popular destinations in specific Chicago neighborhoods.

As a new Chicago resident, Aden said she has been using the CTA to explore what this great city has to offer. She plans to use transit this summer to explore new neighborhoods, check out Chicago’s beaches, and try new restaurants.

Joseph Barry is interning with the Regional Coordination Division. He just wrapped up his first year in the Master of Urban Planning and Policy program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Barry is looking forward to exploring how the RTA, CTA, Metra, and Pace work together to carry out system-wide improvements to public transit. Currently, he is helping update and expand wayfinding for public transit riders in the Chicago region.

Since moving to Chicago two years ago, Barry has made a hobby out of exploring the city’s neighborhoods and parks by train and bus. His favorite haunts are Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary, Northerly Island, and a window seat aboard the CTA’s Route 147 bus.

Samira Kassem is spending her summer with the Communications team. She is a master’s candidate in Sustainable Urban Development at DePaul University. Kassem is most excited to get back into writing and help with the RTA blog. Along with her work at the RTA, she will be working on a research fellowship with the Social Transformation Research Collaborative (STRC) at DePaul that explores transit access for Black Chicagoans from 1915 to present day. She says this is her dream internship and could not be more excited to be spending her summer with the RTA.

Kassem said her love for transit started as soon as she moved to Chicago in 2021. After growing up in a rural town she was amazed at how easy it is to get around the city without having to drive. She believes transit is the answer to a better Chicago and that it has the ability to break barriers and bring people together in an incredible and unique way.

Paola Reyes is interning with the IT Department. They are an undergraduate studying Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Reyes will support the Application Services team and they are most looking forward to being a part of application development and beginning coding. They said working for the RTA is an incredible opportunity for their future career as a software engineer and are proud to carry out meaningful work for the betterment of Chicago’s public services.

Reyes calls the CTA their “bread and butter,” siting themselves as a loyal Orange Line rider. They look forward to using the trains this summer to hang out with friends around the city at their go-to spots which include Chinatown, the Riverwalk, and Oak Street Beach.

Jeffery Ryan is interning with the Strategic Planning team. He is a rising senior studying Industrial Engineering and Percussion Performance at Northwestern University. Ryan is working with the RTA in data analytics, and he looks forward to applying the technical skills he has learned in the classroom to an impactful and tangible public good. He is currently working on data from several years of customer satisfaction surveys where he hopes to uncover patterns that will help identify and remedy riders’ challenges on public transit.

As a student in Evanston, Ryan said the CTA is the “one-stop shop for connecting his community to Chicago.” He said the Purple Line makes summer internships possible for himself and dozens of his Northwestern colleagues.

Sanskruti Vyas is interning with the Finance, Innovation, and Technology team this summer. She is currently a junior at the University of Illinois at Chicago, double majoring in Finance and Business Analytics. Vyas is looking forward to working with the Budget and Treasury, PMO, Controller, and IT departments. The RTA’s role in overseeing the financial and operational aspects of public transit in Chicago is impressive, and Vyas is eager to contribute to projects that enhance the efficiency and accessibility of transit services.

Vyas loves using the Chicago transit system to dive into the city’s vibrant cultural scene. She frequently takes the train to visit the renowned museums in the Loop, attend live music performances in neighborhoods like Wicker Park and Lincoln Park, and explore the diverse culinary offerings from Chinatown to Little Italy. Whether she’s admiring contemporary art at the Art Institute of Chicago, attending a concert at Soldier Field, or savoring authentic dim sum, Vyas finds that public transit is the key to unlocking all the unique experiences the city has to offer.

The RTA is thrilled to welcome interns who recognize the critical role of public transit in stewarding safe, reliable, accessible public transportation that connects people to opportunity and advances equity.

The RTA hires several non-intern, full-time positions and prides itself on diversity, equal opportunity, and camaraderie among staff. If you share that vision, see current career opportunities and apply to work for the RTA.

To learn more about the ways that transit can help create a more equitable and thriving region and join our coalition for transit funding, see the Transit is the Answer website.

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