A Time to Give: COMTO Scholarship Fund Removes Barriers to Transportation Careers

Melissa Rolle-Scott









To My COMTO Family:

As a member of COMTO’s Board of Directors, long-time member of the Scholarship Committee and as a transportation advocate, I want to remind you of the importance of the work of COMTO in ensuring scholarship opportunities for minority students pursuing careers in STEM. According to the National Science Foundation, the STEM workforce is 89% white and 72% male. Your continued support of the Scholarship Fund will help us to identify and support students of color in these and other transportation related fields.

In 2021, the National Student Loan Debt reached $1.73 trillion dollars. With the rising costs of a college education, the COMTO Scholarship Committee is committed to ensuring that we assist as many students as possible The focus of the COMTO Scholarship Fund is to help lessen the financial impact of rising tuition costs; and to reduce the number and amount of student loans. We cannot do this without YOU!

November is “Giving Month” and as we approach “Giving Tuesday” on November 29th, let’s reflect on COMTO’s vision statement: “To ensure full access for minorities in transportation while preparing and positioning leaders for rapidly evolving global opportunities.” According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of STEM jobs will grow 8%. By the year 2025, there will be 3.5 million STEM jobs, according to the National Association of Manufacturing and Deloitte. As a former STEM student at the University of Miami and current public-sector employee, I can tell you first-hand how important diversity is in both the private and public sector institutions and in the workplace. The COMTO Scholarship Fund helps to address both.

My parents showed me the true value of Family and Giving at a young age. I learned that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) This has been my mantra for many years. I became a member of this wonderful purpose-driven family in 1995. I immediately got involved in COMTO Miami, serving in various leadership capacities, including President. Maya Angelou once said, “...when you get involved you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better."

Being a member of COMTO and serving on several committees has opened up a plethora of life-changing opportunities for me. I credit COMTO for the connection that allowed me to obtain my Master’s in Engineering Management debt free through the U.S. DOT Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program. Serving as a TRIP Ambassador, afforded me to travel around the country promoting transportation research products and exposed me to the opportunities of the Transportation Research Board which led to my involvement as a TCRP panelist.

Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give”. As a Pastor and community leader, I have a deep-rooted passion for youth and enjoy serving to assist in the growth and development of children. The words of Pablo Picasso resonate with me daily: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

I challenge each of you to GIVE to the COMTO Scholarship Fund. If not you, then who? If not now, then when? The need is greater than ever before. I leave you with these words from Psalmist Yolanda Adams: “Remember when we were children? And if not for those who loved us and who cared enough to show us, where would we be today?” NOW is the perfect time to GIVE.

Melissa Rolle-Scott
At-Large Member, COMTO Board of Directors
2022 Celebrating Women Who Move the Nation Honoree
Parliamentarian, COMTO Miami
Section Chief, Miami-Dade Department of Transportation and Public Works


We believe that diversity moves the nation.

We believe that the leadership of a massive industry that has the responsibility of transporting all people all the time should reflect the complex mosaic of those they serve. We believe that commitment to inclusion across race, gender, age, religion, identity and experience moves us forward every day.