Friday, February 10, 2012

The First of Her Kind, But Not the Last

In honor of Black History Month, we would like to showcase one of our own trailblazers.

An engineer’s journey to be recognized for her work and not her color.

“I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me. All I ask is that you respect me as a human being,” said late baseball great Jackie Robinson.

American history shows that the road for respect and recognition beyond color is a hard traveled road, but it can be done.

Louise Cooper is one of the many minds that have graced Caltrans with their intellects, creativity, logic, and talent. During almost 39 years with Caltrans, Cooper worked on major projects such as the I-405/I-605 Interchange, the Golden State Freeway (I-5), the Artesia Freeway (SR-91), a bicycle path for the Santa Ana River, and the Glenn Anderson Freeway (SR-105).

Cooper was originally drawn to the Division of Highways (as Caltrans was called back then) in 1953 while she was attending Los Angeles State College (known now as Cal State University, Los Angeles). As a math major, Cooper saw an engineering aide position at the Division of Highways (DH) as an opportunity for her to use her talents doing the kind of work that she loved. More...