Two MSP Students Honored with Eisenhower Fellowships

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In the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, two students pursuing a Master’s of Science in Planning (MSP) have been awarded prestigious Dwight David Eisenhower Graduate Transportation Fellowships. Both Alexander Garcia and Marie Scheetz will receive these nationally competitive fellowships from the Federal Highway Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation for the academic year 2011-12. Garcia and Scheetz are studying various aspects of the relationship between transportation and the built environment.

Alexander Garcia is specializing in Transportation Planning with a focus on the role that decentralized public transportation networks and transit frequency play in increasing ridership, improving accessibility to services, and fostering effective development. He is currently working with Dr. Gregory Thompson and Dr. Jeffrey Brown. “After completion of my program, I intend to pursue a career in the public sector as a transit planner working at a public transit agency. This award will go a long way towards enabling me to continue my program without undue financial pressures and will enable me to continue to increase my knowledge of public transit planning and to hopefully make a contribution to the practice of transit planning through my research,” Garcia said.

Marie Scheetz is pursuing a dual specialization in Transportation Planning and Growth Management & Comprehensive Planning. She is studying the broader impacts of spatial planning issues in public transportation. “Essentially I want to find a more effective and efficient way, through policy and the design of the public transportation system, to serve low-income residents and meet their needs for transportation to access employment opportunities, education, recreation, shopping, and medical care,” Scheetz said. “I feel very fortunate to have been selected as one of the recipients of this fellowship, and I think it reflects very highly on the Department of Urban and Regional Planning to have not one, but two students receive this award.”

Their fellowships will help support their studies in the MSP program and allow them to conduct and present research at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, DC. This annual meeting is the world’s largest gathering of transportation academics, practitioners, and researchers.

The Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program (DDETFP) supports graduate studies in transportation related fields, including urban planning, engineering, and law. Founded in 1991, the program encourages research on all modes of transportation and aims to support outstanding and innovative future professionals in the transportation community.

Florida State’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning offers professional as well as research-based degrees. The Master’s of Science Planning program, first established in 1965, provides professional training to graduate students seeking careers in planning. Students receive training in core areas; participate in a professional internship; complete a capstone project; and develop a specialization within planning including areas like Transportation Planning, Planning for Community Health, and Environmental Planning.