Road Safety Activist

Yoder ’19 taking her passion to national conference
Skylar Yoder
Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Skylar Yoder ’19 was named a 2017 Traffic Safety Scholar and awarded a $1,000 scholarship to attend the 35th annual Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday through March 28.

“I attended Lifesavers last year as a speaker and wanted to attend again,” Yoder said. “I have been a road safety activist since high school, so I was really interested in attending the conference since it brings in a lot of professionals from around the country and the world.”

Yoder’s interest for traffic safety began as her community service outlet while in high school. She chose traffic safety since it is an issue that impacts everyone.

Her first work was to advocate for a law against texting while driving in her home state of Oklahoma.

“I then moved to the national level because of my efforts on the state level and began working with an organization in D.C. to train other students around the country to do what I did,” Yoder said.

Yoder is excited about catching up with others in the traffic safety movement at the conference.

“I am excited to go back because I will get to see some of my peers who have been working in the traffic safety world for a while and I will get to hear what they are doing because they are involved with other organizations.”

The essay for the scholarship required relating one’s college major to traffic safety, which caused some difficulty in the beginning.

“At first, I thought they were totally separate and isolated, but when I began to start writing my essay, I began to see the overlap between how businesses and unions could advocate for traffic safety by having policies for employees driving company cars.”

An interest in international relations and a passion for activism were factors that helped Yoder choose Cornell.

“I liked the spirit of activism and being passionate about whatever you are doing at Cornell, so that is a big reason why I came here.”

In December, Yoder spoke at the global summit for Safe Kids Worldwide.

At the Lifesavers conference last year, she did a presentation on how adults can communicate effectively with teens about road safety issues.

“I am a youth myself and gave my perspective about how it is best to communicate with teens.”

After speaking at Lifesavers, Yoder was offered a job as a social media manager for End Distracted Driving.

Founded by a lawyer who lost his daughter to a distracted driver, the organization encourages action against distracted driving.

Yoder took the job and has been sharing safety messages on its social media accounts for about a year. “I do research regarding the latest distracted driving trends, issues and laws, as well as engage with our followers about the impact these topics have on their lives.”

Yoder looks forward to using the insight and techniques she learns at the conference to continue saving lives on the road.