Engaging students in creating a more sustainable future
The UVM Transportation Research Center seeks outstanding graduate and undergraduate students interested in conducting research and outreach on critical transportation issues.
The TRC currently has open positions for graduate research assistants. Contact us for more information.
2020-2021 TRC Students
Originally from Sevastopol, Russia, Anastasia Allen is a junior studying Civil Engineering in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS). Anastasia’s primary interest is in renewable energy use for buildings and she sees Civil Engineering as a tool for making a positive ecological difference.
This year, Anastasia is assisting Professor Dana Rowangould on a project that evaluates travel constraints and burdens for people living in rural areas. Anastasia is looking at a large dataset from the National Household Travel Survey to assess what constraints are faced by rural households without a vehicle, or multiple-person households with only one vehicle. Anastasia’s research position is sponsored in part by the CEMS Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), which connects motivated students with research faculty during the academic year.
Brittany Antończak is a Graduate Research Assistant at the TRC, pursuing a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a focus on Transportation Engineering. Coming to UVM by way of Kenilworth, New Jersey, Brittany’s interests in transportation include transportation planning and forecasting, transportation policy analysis and transportation economics. Through her work, Brittany is motivated to improve transit access, active travel opportunities, accessible transportation design and transportation policy.
Brittany’s current research at the TRC investigates the relationship between paved surfaces and urban heat. This research aims to highlight the relationship between transportation infrastructure and warmer city temperatures in an effort to provide state DOTs and municipal transportation agencies with new information for mitigating undesirable heat impacts from transportation projects, improving the health and welfare of those experiencing excess heat.
Joining the TRC from Darien, Connecticut is Julia Clarke, a junior studying Civil Engineering in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS). Julia’s interest in Civil Engineering stems from her passion for sustainability. She is most interested in green building design, LEED certification processes, and urban planning.
In line with her planning interests, Julia is assisting Professor Greg Rowangould on a bicycle count data project for the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC). In her role, Julia is finding and compiling data and information on all of the county’s bicycle-related infrastructure projects over the past 10 years to analyze how the projects relate to the county’s existing bicycle count data.
Julia’s research position is sponsored in part by the CEMS Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), which connects motivated students with research faculty during the academic year. She hopes that this experience will be an opportunity to improve her skills using software like ArcGIS and to see what kinds of professional opportunities are possible with an engineering degree.
Elizabeth Duffy joined the TRC as a Graduate Research Assistant in 2019 and is currently pursuing a M.S. in Civil Engineering with an Environmental Concentration. Joining the Center’s research team from Jackson, New Hampshire, Lizzy’s interest for studying air quality has roots in her passion for protecting the environment.
Lizzy’s current research at the TRC looks at greenhouse gas emissions from long distance travel. Using the Longitudinal Survey of Overnight and Long-distance Travel to model trips using vehicles or air travel, Lizzy’s research seeks to evaluate which travel mode is the most efficient on a trip-emission basis. Together with Professor Altman-Hall, Lizzy will be submitting a paper on her air quality research to a special issue of Transportation Research Part D on the Topic: “Intercity Travel and the Environment”.
As an avid biker, Lizzy foresees bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure as they relate to air quality as a possible next topic for her research.
Originally from Fredericksburg, Virginia, Sierra Espeland is a senior majoring in Civil Engineering with minors in statistics and mathematics in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences and Honors College. Sierra’s appreciation for engineering is rooted in the field’s ability to go through a creative problem-solving process that provides integrated solutions for people in the world.
The research that Sierra is doing for her Honors College thesis focuses on constrained travel, transportation equity, and accessibility in northern Vermont. Using data from the Chittenden Area Transportation Management Association, Sierra is evaluating transportation equity in terms of which users are forced to travel by modes other than their preferred mode. Through her research, Sierra hopes to improve peoples’ lives by creating safer travel routes and increasing accessibility to sustainable travel modes.
Joining the TRC from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Stephen Montaño is a Graduate Research Assistant pursuing a M.S. in Civil Engineering, with a focus on transportation. Stephen’s research is focused on electric bicycles (e-bikes). Specifically, Stephen’s research investigates how e-bikes impact a user’s route choice, sense of safety, and how e-bikers differ from traditional bicyclists.
One goal of Stephen’s e-bike research is to help communities in Vermont identify opportunities to improve conditions for bicycling. Citing the health, economic, environmental, and accessibility benefits that come with using e-bikes, Stephen sees his research as an outlet for making positive contributions to the environment and the community.
Hannah November joined the TRC as the Vermont Clean Cities Coalition (VTCCC) intern in the fall of 2020. Coming to UVM from Katonah, New York, Hannah is a senior majoring in Environmental Science with a concentration in Ecological Design.
Hannah's interests are in environmental planning and community development, especially in the context of healthy air quality and the reduction of air pollution. As the VTCCC intern, Hannah helps plan and conduct events and social media campaigns and assists with projects to reduce petroleum usage across Vermont. Hannah’s work with the coalition is supported by the Clean Cities University Workforce Development Program at Argonne National Laboratory.
Rose O’Brien is a TRC Undergraduate Research Assistant for the 2020-2021 school year. A Pittsfield, Vermont native, Rose is a senior majoring in Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. Originally interested in water resources, Rose made the switch to researching sustainable transportation modes like bicycling, transit and others, with the goal of improving sustainable transportation facilities in Vermont and elsewhere.
This year, Rose will be assisting Professor Greg Rowangould on CCRPC grant-funded project that will develop a comprehensive bicycle count program. Rose will review and compile past and current bicycle count data in Chittenden County, considering factors such as traffic conditions, topography, infrastructure, and bike culture that influence a person’s decision to bike.
Parsa Pezeshknejad a Graduate Research Assistant at the TRC, pursuing a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Joining the TRC from Tehran, Iran, Parsa’s interests in transportation include evaluation of public transportation systems, data science, urban transportation planning, sustainable and transit-oriented development, and pedestrian accessibility. He is most passionate about sustainability and accessibility as they pertain to pedestrian and public transportation.
The aim of Parsa’s research at the TRC is to evaluate the pedestrian safety of Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) in Vermont. Parsa will analyze the effectiveness of RRFBs in Vermont through experimental design, data collection, and statistical analysis. The overall goal of Parsa’s research is to ensure that investments in RRFBs in Vermont improve safety outcomes in order to inform the design of pedestrian crossings in the future.
Erica Quallen is a Graduate Research Assistant for the TRC, pursuing a M.S. in Civil Engineering. Originally from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Erica has been living in Vermont for seven years and has worked in several transportation planning roles since receiving her B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from UVM in 2016. Through her transportation planning positions, Erica developed an appreciation for public engagement and policy development.
Although Erica’s educational background is in engineering, her research with the TRC draws on the social sciences. Erica’s research seeks to understand how people in rural places get around, what kind of rural spaces they’re from, and what it might take for individuals in rural places to change their travel behaviors in ways that address climate change. Specifically, this research examines how Vermont’s rural residents might change their travel behaviors if money from the Transportation Climate Initiative was invested in programs and policies that seek to change rural travel behavior.
Zach Roussel is a TRC Undergraduate Research Assistant for the 2020-2021 school year. Hailing from Fall River, Massachusetts, Zach is a senior studying Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. Zach chose Environmental Engineering because it is technical but has a focus on environmental conservation, which differentiates it from other engineering fields.
Zach started doing research for the TRC during the spring of 2020. Accompanying graduate student Brittany Antonczak, Zach performed research on urban heat in Burlington: reviewing literature to figure out urban heat evaluation methods and looking at change in heat based on different land use types and infrastructure in the city. During the summer of 2020, Zach received a Barrett Scholarship from CEMS to continue his research. Working with Professor Greg Rowangould, Zach investigated urban heat on a smaller scale: evaluating, for example, how one parking lot might increase temperatures in the areas around it.
Sharwari Salvi is a senior studying Civil Engineering in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS). Coming to UVM from Kalamazoo, Michigan, Sharwari’s interest in Civil Engineering stems from the field’s ability to meld the technological and socioeconomic worlds. She is particularly interested in how transportation infrastructure deeply impacts peoples’ well-being.
This year, Sharwari is assisting Professor Dana Rowangould with a project that is exploring how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted public transit and transit users. Sharwari’s role is to evaluate the qualitative responses, in both Spanish and English, of a national survey that asks about transit-users’ experiences of transit throughout the pandemic. Sharwari’s research position is sponsored in part by the CEMS Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), which connects motivated students with research faculty during the academic year.