After completing his undergraduate studies at Michigan Tech, Dylan Anderson came to Oregon State University to join the transportation engineering master’s program. With a focus on railroads and airports, Dylan will join BNSF Railway following graduation. He recently sat down with the school to talk about his time at OSU.

Why did you choose to attend Oregon State University?

I’m originally from Michigan and did my undergrad at Michigan Tech. OSU seemed like a new and fun area of the country. I came here for the prospective grad student visit and Oregon was amazing. Everything about the campus was spectacular and it just seemed like a terrific place.

How did you become interested in the field of transportation engineering?

Transportation has always been an interest of mine since I have been a kid. I do not see myself as a typical transportation student as I focus on railroads and airports. Dr. Katharine Hunter-Zaworski has done notable work in railroads and that helped attract me to OSU. My undergraduate classes also helped lead me in that direction.

What are some of your current research projects?

I am focused on railroads right now and my current research project is looking at the gap between the trains and the platforms to help make them safer for all users. People often trip and fall between those gaps and we are getting ready to do some site visits to help us gain a better understanding of what design changes would be effective. We have collected some instant data from transit agencies and are starting to analyze the information. It has been interesting because there is no single, right answer to the problem and we are dealing with a number of factors, including the human element.  

What are your plans following graduation?

I’m heading to Seattle to work for BNSF Railway starting in September. The company handles a number of capital expansion projects. I previously held an internship with them and I’ll be handling construction oversight on some of their projects.

How has Oregon State helped you prepare for your future career?

I have learned a lot since I have been here. Most importantly, I have really learned how to balance my time and adapt to different situations. Graduate school has also helped me become a much better writer, which I know will be a big help for me moving forward.

What do you like about Corvallis and Oregon?

Coming from Michigan, it has been great to experience the Oregon weather. The winter is amazing as you get the best of the sun and the snow. I am in the OSU Triathalon Club and we can train in the Willamette Valley and you can drive an hour to get to the mountains and train in the snow. If you are ambitious, you can do skiing, mountain biking, running, and surfing all in the same weekend. It is amazing.

Any advice for incoming students?

One of my biggest pieces of advice is to make sure you get involved in other things to keep yourself centered. There are a number of great organizations on campus and they really help you achieve a good work-life balance.