Scholars

The Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation at Portland State University offers an unparalleled education to future bicycling and walking experts. To assist students in pursuing this dream, we created the IBPI Scholarship Program. A total of 24 students have been awarded IBPI scholarships since the program’s beginning in 2007, and a vast majority of them now work as bicycle and pedestrian transportation professionals. Below are their stories.

To support our work in providing scholarships to future active transportation professionals, you can give a donation here.

2017-2018 IBPI Active Transportation Scholar: Maria Sipin

Maria Sipin is a student in the joint degree Master of Urban & Regional Planning and Public Health program at Portland State University and Oregon Health & Science University. She is from Los Angeles and has a background in health communications for nonprofit health care prior to moving to Portland to become a full-time student. Maria appreciates the warm welcome to PSU from her supportive networks: Graduate Students of Color, Student Fellows of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions, and TREC. Her interests are in transportation, sustainability, and equity. She is experienced in community mobilization for issues ranging from national adolescent health initiatives for LGBTQ youth of color and local active transportation projects to prioritize the needs and rights of low-income communities of color, including grassroots involvement to shape Vision Zero and bike share in Los Angeles. She currently serves as an advisory board member for Multicultural Communities for Mobility, and is passionate about storytelling, leadership development for young professionals, addressing inequities within institutions, and making urban planning processes more accessible and inclusive for communities of color. Since 2012, she has also enjoyed working as a bike safety instructor for local schools and advocacy organizations.

2016-2017 IBPI Active Transportation Scholar: Michael Williams


Michael is a graduate student in the Civil Engineering Department at PSU, studying transportation with an emphasis on pedestrian and bicycle facilities. He has a BS in Computer Science and an MS in Electrical Engineering from CSU Chico and UC Santa Barbara, respectively. He worked for 15 years as a biomedical device engineer/manager with eleven patents in the field. Michael also worked as a public works general contractor for approximately 15 years managing road work, bridge work and school modernizations. He returned to school to pursue his passion of creating safe, exciting transportation for all. Michael worked as a volunteer advocate for ten years in Shasta and Siskiyou counties in Northern California and is a member of the California Bicycle Coalition Policy Advisory Board and Shasta Living Streets. Michael spearheaded the creation of a city pedestrian and trails master plan for the City of Mt. Shasta and the securing of grants to build the improvements in that plan. Having lived in the small town of Mt. Shasta, CA for more than 20 years, Michael is particularly interested in active transportation and public transportation issues in the rural environment. While pursuing his Masters, Michael is working at Alta Planning + Design.


Derek Abe, Senior Planner, Alta Planning + Design

2012-2013 Alta Planning + Design Scholarship and 2011-2012 Bike Gallery Scholarship

I’ve been intrigued by cities and city life as long as I can remember. As a child I spent much of my time wandering downtown, exploring the city by foot, skateboard, bus, and later by bicycle. I recognized this as the best way to experience my surroundings, and eventually realized that how we get around has tremendous effect on the quality of our urban places. I came to understand how the ways we move through our environments can contribute to our sense of place and community. My fascination with the sights and sounds, and the interactions and connections to people and place possible with active transportation persists to this day. As a transportation planner I want to work with communities to develop and integrate active transportation into our everyday lives to help us move toward more interesting, accessible, and healthy places for everyone. The IBPI Scholarship allowed me the opportunity to receive first hand experience on planning and design projects while in grad school, and exposed me to the rewards and challenges of consulting.


Eugenio Arriaga, Ayuntamiento de Guadalajara, Jalisco

2012-2013 Rex Burkholder and Lydia Rich Scholarship

I am interested in researching urban policies aiming to help shift from car use to sustainable transportation modes (walking, bicycling, and public transit). I am also interested in income and gender equity issues related to access to sustainable transportation. IBPI's support was crucial to allow me, as an international student with limited financial resources, to attend several workshops and academic opportunities that otherwise I would not have been able to attend. As a result of my participation in the IBPI’s workshops I have gained sound technical capacity that will allow me, once I return to Mexico, to teach sustainable transportation courses at the graduate level and also to improve my ability to participate and eventually influence city planning towards active transportation and smart growth policies. This is very important because in Mexico (as in many other places in the world) political support is biased towards the use of automobiles.


Bryan Blanc, Associate, Nelson\Nygaard Consulting

2014-2015 DKS Associates Scholarship

I recently joined the team at Nelson\Nygaard’s Portland office. Prior to that, I was interning for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to investigation data quality issues associated with PORTAL, Portland’s regional transportation data archive. While completing my M.S. in Transportation Engineering, I worked as a graduate research assistant for Dr. Miguel Figliozzi with the Transportation, Technology, and People Laboratory. With Dr. Figliozzi, I worked on the ODOT-sponsored project that created ORcycle, a bicycle data crowdsourcing smartphone application. I also worked on another ODOT-sponsored project that developed statewide guidance for bicycle and pedestrian counting. I am most interested in the application of innovative data sources to transportation planning. The IBPI scholarship allowed me to pursue my graduate studies and continue working on research projects investigating and developing active transportation data collection methods.


Sarah BronsteinCommunity Planner, Sheinberg Associates

2010-2011 Bike Gallery Scholarship

I am a community planner at Sheinberg Associates, a long range and strategic planning micro-firm of two in Juneau, Alaska. We are the only planning firm in Southeast Alaska, and we work almost exclusively for towns, villages and boroughs in the region, most of whom are only accessible by ferry or plane. Our firm works on a variety of projects including waterfront masterplans, safe routes to school plans, and non-motorized transportation plans. I am also one of the founding members of a bicycle advocacy organization for Juneau. We have organized Bike Month activities for two years now. This spring we successfully crowd-funded the city’s first bike map. The IBPI Scholarship sends a clear signal to prospective students that active transportation is a pillar of the planning program at Portland State University. It was part of the reason I chose to attend PSU. This investment in students attracts a strong cohort of bike/ped students every year, and is part of what makes Portland State University one of the top schools for bike/ ped planning in the country.


Collin Chesston, Planner, Alta Planning + Design

2011-2012 Alta Planning + Design Scholarship

A big part of my job is educating people about the benefits of walkable, bikable places. In the south, there’s a big focus on health, economic development, and equity. Another part of my job is helping people figure out how to implement policies, programs, and projects that make walking and biking an attractive alternative to driving. I’m also involved with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and the Atlanta Cycling Festival. I believe walking and bicycling can make our cities more livable for all, while responding to some of the most significant environmental, energy, and mobility challenges of our time. The IBPI Scholarship played a critical role in establishing my career as a bicycle and pedestrian professional. During my IBPI internship at Alta I led the development of a free guidebook to creating Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plans - a product that remains relevant and useful to planners around the country. I’m now leveraging my experience as a bicycle and pedestrian planner in Portland to make the South a great region to walk and bike.


Dana Dickman, Senior Associate, Alta Planning + Design

2007-2008 Rex Burkholder and Lydia Rich Scholarship

I have worked in pedestrian and bicycle planning, design and advocacy for 14 years. I work closely with my clients to develop solutions to the unique challenges they face in improving pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure and programs, as well as research and planning for innovative approaches to improving transportation options. I believe that increased cycling and walking can be transformational for the health of individuals and whole communities. I have worked over the past decade to help define a clear connection between diverse transportation options and healthy places. I’m currently a member of Portland’s Bicycle Advisory Committee and volunteer to support more cycling and walking to my children’s schools in SE Portland. With IBPI's support, I have been able to work for a more equitable transportation system. The Rex and Lydia Burkholder Scholarship supported my personal interest in transportation equity and allowed me to pursue the topic more deeply.


Kathryn Doherty-Chapman, Transportation Planner, City of Portland

2011-2012 Stephen Gomez Scholarship

Through my work at the City of Portland and Metro, I help people learn about their transportation options in the region through marketing and outreach campaigns. I also volunteer with Oregon Walks serving on advisory committees for plans and projects through out the region ensuring that the needs of people walking are included and highlighted as necessary, not “extra.” I am also very interested in parking management and how that impacts travel behavior. I worked on the SFpark demand responsive pricing parking pilot in San Francisco last year. The IBPI scholarship helped me understand how important bicycling as transportation is for the future of our cities. Through getting to know other students and researchers scholarship winners I was able to expand my perspectives on bicycling and walking infrastructure and research. The money was super helpful in paying for graduate school too!


Kate DrennanTransportation Planner, CH2M HILL

2012-2013 Stephen Gomez Scholarship

I work on a range of projects including multimodal transportation plans, TDM studies, transit studies, Active Transportation plans, Complete Streets design and policy work, transit-oriented development (TOD) plans, parking analysis and paratransit studies, among others. I work on inspiring mode shifts from single-occupant vehicle trips to walking, bicycling, transit and ridesharing. This is often through transportation demand management plans, access and facility improvements, and a focus on targeted programming and policy. The IBPI Scholarship program helped fund my fee for the Netherlands Transportation Engineering Class, a study abroad course that focuses on bikeway design. The trip was eye-opening, and offered practical information on planning and designing multimodal corridors. I have often drawn upon my experience in the Netherlands when considering innovative, bicycle focused facilities.


Nick FalboSenior planner, Alta Planning + Design

2010-2011 Alta Planning + Design Scholarship

My work specializes in the planning and design of physically separated bike lanes, spaces for people, and transit oriented complete streets. I contributed to and illustrated the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design guide, the definitive guide to integrating bikeways into the fabric of American cities. I am shaping the field with cutting edge research into future bikeway design, popularizing the Protected Intersection design concept. The IBPI scholarship program and associated Internship at Alta Planning+Design have directly shaped my professional path and career trajectory. At my internship, my primary project was to support and illustrated the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide. Aside from giving me advanced knowledge of the guidebook that defines our field, it well positioned me to advance new concepts and ideas that go above and beyond current practice.


Ryan FarncombTransportation Planner, CH2M HILL

2012-2013 Bike Gallery Scholarship

I am now a transportation planner for CH2M HILL in Portland, where I assist with day-to-day management of multiple projects. I also work to develop longrange transportation and transit system plans, and to manage public involvement through the development of outreach materials. I have assisted with developing innovative decision-making tools to help with capital project programming. My professional focus is on active transportation improvements for communities in Oregon and in other locales across the US. I am passionate about planning for projects that will improve pedestrians and cyclists’ comfort and especially safety. The IBPI Scholarship helped me to complete my Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree. Completing the MURP program was key to securing my current position and gave me the tools to do quality pedestrian and bicycle planning.


Tara GoddardGraduate Student Researcher, PSU Urban Studies

2011-2012 Rex Burkholder and Lydia Rich Scholarship

As a graduate student researcher, I focus on safety, culture, and driver attitudes and behaviors toward bicyclists and pedestrians. In my research I analyze roadway conflict and transportation psychology, examining the effects of roadway interactions on bicycle and pedestrian safety. The IBPI Scholarship program allowed me to work on a research paper with a colleague and travel to Grongingen in the Netherlands for a conference on transportation psychology. That conference was a turning point in my career and helped me both focus in on the attitude and behavioral aspects of bicyclist and pedestrian safety, and make connections with researchers around the world with whom I’m still in contact, three years later, and with whom I’m actively planning collaborations. Without the financial support of the scholarship, a trip like that would not have been possible for me.


Sravya GarladenneResearch + Visual Communication Specialist, SERA

2013-2014 Rex Burkholder and Lydia Rich Scholarship

I work as a sustainable design professional in an inter-disciplinary setting combining indoor environmental quality, urban design, urban panning and architecture. I am passionate about the design and planning of healthy places that are founded on the basis of sustainability, livability, equity and diversity. At SERA, I’m currently focused on creating urban design concepts and policies around active transportation and housing to help two Silicon Valley clients move away from the car-dependent culture of the Bay Area and address the area’s ongoing housing affordability crisis. Thanks to the IBPI scholarship, I was able to take a series of courses around active transportation issues and land use planning in each quarter of my final year at PSU. The scholarship opened up resources and avenues for my career path, helped me identify an academic focus for my interests in active transportation and was very critical in helping me manage the stress of financing my education.


Gena GastaldiPlanner, Alta Planning + Design

2014-2015 Alta Planning + Design Scholarship

I am really interested in the intersection of transportation planning and health, particularly the emerging field of Health Impact Assessment and how that framework can be used in active transportation planning. My background is in architecture, so I also love doing design work, especially illustrating how a space could look once bike and pedestrian elements are incorporated. As a mom, I want to work to create safe, fun places that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy. The reason I am dedicated to doing this work is simple: I love to walk and bike. And I want to help people and communities feel the same sense of joy that I get from walking and biking. The ability to work on projects that strive to create safe, connected places that everyone can enjoy is why I am at Alta. Receiving the IBPI scholarship was a huge honor and it really validated the hard work I had put into the MURP program. The added bonus of getting to intern at Alta was a great way to get my foot in the door and work with inspiring people on awesome projects.


Liz KasterActive transportation COI mgr, Puyallup Watershed Initiative

2014-2015 Rex Burkholder and Lydia Rich Scholarship and 2013-2014 Alta Planning + Design Scholarship

As the Active Transportation Community of Interest Manager, I work with partners - including community advocates, public agencies, and non-profits - to ensure that everyone in the Puyallup Watershed has access to safe, healthy, and affordable active transportation options. My work is part of the Puyallup Watershed Initiative, a 10-year collective impact project funded by the Russell Family Foundation, which is aimed at improving the health of people and places from Mount Rainier to Commencement Bay. The IBPI Scholarship Program was the reason I came to Portland State. Being able to combine my academic work with an internship at Alta Planning + Design provided a unique opportunity to grow as a planner. I draw on what I learned in the MURP program every day, and I am so grateful to the IBPI program for supporting my education.


Nathan McNeilResearch associate, PSU Center for Urban Studies

2009-2010 Rex Burkholder and Lydia Rich Scholarship

I do a variety of transportation research project implementation and management, with current projects focusing on active transportation policy, car sharing, citizen transportation education, and bike share equity efforts. Professionally, I’ve worked on projects examining the factors influencing why, when and where people decide to ride bicycles for transportation, studying the influence of innovative infrastructure such as protected bike lanes on ridership, among other impacts. I’m also working on getting my three-year old to love riding a bicycle. The Rex Burkholder and Lydia Rich scholarship that I received provided me with an opportunity to explore the topic of 20-minute neighborhoods as applied to people riding bicycles. It allowed me to work on topics of personal interest to me, and to put together a report (and subsequently published paper) that I was quite proud of.


Drew MeiselPlanning associate and creative services, Nelson\Nygaard

2009-2010 Alta Planning + Design Scholarship

I work on increasing bicycle and pedestrian opportunities, infrastructure, and services. I am also a member of the Creative Services team. I specialize in developing infographics that translate planning data into a concise and approachable format. Guidance for the development of bikeways in the urban context is readily available with the NACTO Urban Bikeway Guide (a document that I helped to develop), but many smaller communities are unable or unwilling to adopt this guide wholesale. Some of my most important bicycle planning work involves adapting innovative bikeway concepts to meet the local land use and political context. The IBPI Scholarship landed me an invaluable internship experience that led to my direct hire out of school. Without this opportunity my professional trajectory would have been significantly impacted. I am thankful for the program’s continued investment in students that are committed to active transportation planning and design.


Chloe RitterAnalyst, Resource Systems Group, Inc.

2011-2012 DKS Associates Scholarship and 2010-2011 DKS Associates Scholarship

While at PSU, I worked on an award-winning recreational trails plan for Cascade Locks and was involved with the Oregon Modeling Collaborative, in partnership with PSU and the City of Portland, helping to evaluate the economic impacts of bicycling and walking at local shops and restaurants. I also worked with the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance to promote awareness of bicycle and pedestrian issues. As an intern at DKS Associates and later at the City of Portland, I was involved in a number of transportation studies and projects including Portland’s annual bicycle counts. IBPI's support provided both financial aid and inspiration from a strong community of professionals who support active transportation. This support continues to inspire me in my current position at RSG, Inc. where I conduct market research and study nonmotorized travel behavior, such as bike/ped barriers in Utah and car-sharing and other vehicle trip reduction strategies in New England.


Colin RowanProject Manager, Multnomah County Drainage District

2010-2011 Rex Burkholder and Lydia Rich Scholarship

At MCDD, I work as the Levee Ready Columbia Project Manager. Levee Ready Columbia is a partnership of more than 30 local governments, business and community-based organizations that recognize the value of the levees to our regional future. As project manager, I manage a program of work that will help to better understand the current condition of the levees, the potential changes in river conditions associated with climate change, and the economic, community, and environmental assets that are at risk. Before moving to MCDD, I worked at Nelson\Nygaard as a transportation planning consultant, working on a portfolio of transportation planning efforts and projects around the country. The IBPI scholarship allowed me to complete the MURP program at Portland State University and pursue my research interests in active transportation, especially planning efforts to encourage and enable youth and elderly populations to ride and walk.


Patrick SingletonPh.D. Student, Civil Engineering, Portland State University

2013-2014 DKS Associates Scholarship

My research looks at walking and bicycling behaviors and attempts to increase our understanding of the personal, social, and environmental determinants of walking and bicycling. I also develop statistical models of walking and bicycling demand. Last June I had the pleasure and honor to attend the 2015 Eno Center for Transportation’s Future Leaders Development Conference, in Washington, DC. Along with 19 other graduate students from around the country, I learned about federal transportation policymaking from leaders in the field. The IBPI Scholarship enabled me to focus my attention on completing and disseminating my master’s thesis; developing a conceptual framework of the influences on active travel behavior. I hope that my framework helps to inform the development of transportation planning tools to evaluate walking/bicycling and interventions designed to increase active transportation.


Robert SpurlockRegional Trails Planner, Metro

2008-2009 Rex Burkholder and Lydia Rich Scholarship

I focus on building out the Portland region’s system of off-street paths, which offer bicyclists and pedestrians comfortable, safe, and enjoyable alternatives to traffic clogged roadways. Twelve hundred miles of connected trails and greenways in the Portland region: that was the vision in 1992’s Metropolitan Greenspaces Master Plan. Since then, huge progress has been made to bring trails from concept to planning to opening day. Trail planning goes back a long way in the region: in 1904 the 40 Mile Loop was conceived to encircle Portland, linking parkways and parks. Today, nearly 30 cities and four counties are well into the process of creating hundreds of miles of connected trails – a regionwide network now called The Intertwine. The IBPI Scholarship gave me confidence to see my passion for car-free cities as a legitimate professional pursuit.


Rae-Leigh StarkIntern, Alta Planning + Design

2015-2016 Alta Planning + Design Scholarship

I’m in my second year of the MURP program and thrilled to have just started interning at Alta Planning + Design. During undergrad I studied abroad at the University of Amsterdam, which opened my eyes to the potential cities have. Growing up and working as a planner in the Midwest made me realize how much transportation affects people’s lives and as planners we have the power to improve their situation. While deciding where to go to grad school it was the combination of the research and programming through IBPI and the city’s excellent transportation planning that made Portland State the right fit for me. I’m honored to be awarded the IBPI/Alta scholarship. During my internship at Alta I’m interested in better understanding bike and pedestrian infrastructure design, planning for a range of cities from small to large, and improving multi-modal transportation systems in cities across the country.


Tara SulzenTransportation policy field rep, Congressman Earl Blumenauer

2010-2011 Stephen Gomez Scholarship

I work on federal transportation and infrastructure policy and funding, which includes advocating for Vision Zero, funding for transit and working with the Congressional Bike Caucus. Since I am based in Portland, much of my work is focused on staying up to speed and involved on local active transportation projects – so I work on the Tilikum Crossing, TIGER grants and supporting local cycling initiatives. Graduate school is expensive! As someone financing graduate school on my own, IBPI's support made a huge impact for me. As a result of receiving this funding, I was able to work fewer hours to better focus on my studies and research during that academic year. I was also introduced to many IBPI board members and leaders in the active transportation industry through IBPI events and gatherings who helped me to advance my career in transportation advocacy.


Zef WagnerAssociate Planner, Portland Bureau of Transportation

2012-2013 DKS Associates Scholarship

I work on transportation planning for the City of Portland, ensuring that we are investing resources in pedestrian and bicycle improvements to meet our mode share targets, address safety needs, and improve quality of life by offering real transportation choices. I have a passion for applying creative problem-solving skills to the pressing issues of urban life, and I appreciate being able to work with communities to improve quality of life. My areas of interest include transit network and service design, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, complete streets, parking policy, carshare services, neighborhood-level planning, infill development, and zoning regulations. I think a curious mind and sense of exploration are essential to a planner, as well as an enthusiasm for solving problems. The IBPI scholarship not only helped me afford my graduate school education at PSU, it also helped me make valuable connections in the professional world and enhanced my resume.


Lindsay WalkerEmployee Outreach/Bike Coordinator, Go Lloyd

2008-2009 Alta Planning + Design Scholarship

At Go Lloyd, I work with employers and employees to encourage people to use active transportation for their commutes to the Lloyd District. As Go Lloyd’s Bike Coordinator, I work on infrastructure projects such as the NE Multnomah Protected Bike Lane Pilot, and work with property managers to design and install bike parking. I staff the Go Lloyd Bike Committee, developing encouragement events, advocating for specific bikeway improvements, and providing educational resources. Through my work with Rick Williams Consulting, I advise local governments, property managers, and businesses on Transportation Demand Management programs and end-of-trip bike facilities. The IBPI Scholarship gave me the opportunity to intern at Alta Planning + Design where I worked on infrastructure projects and the Bicycle Boulevard Design Guidebook. I learned so much in the process of researching the Guidebook and grew my professional network. I continue to use the expertise I gained during this internship in my current position.