Eisenhower Fellowships Awarded to Twelve NITC Transportation Students

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Twelve students attending partner universities of the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) are receiving Eisenhower Fellowships presented by the U.S. Department of Transportation at this year's annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB). Meet the NITC Eisenhower Fellows:

Cameron Bennett, Portland State University

Cameron is a second-year master’s student in transportation engineering at PSU. His work as a graduate research assistant focuses on promoting and facilitating the uptake of active transportation modes. He serves as president of the PSU ITE-STEP (Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning) student group. He received Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowships presented by the U.S. Department of Transportation at the Transportation Research Board 2022 and 2023 annual meetings. He is also the 2022 NITC Masters Student of the Year. His passion lies in the promotion of cycling in all its forms through engineering design, planning, policy, advocacy, and community-driven engagement. In his free time, you can usually find him moving through the mountains on a bike, vertical rock, a pair of skis, or his own two feet.

Connect with Cameron on LinkedIn

Austin Drukker, University of Arizona

Austin Drukker is a doctoral student in economics at the University of Arizona. His research mainly focuses on the intersection of industrial organization and public policy. From 2015 to 2018 he was a research assistant at the Brookings Institution, where he primarily worked on issues of taxation and public finance. His influential work studying federal tax exemptions for the construction of professional sports stadiums has been cited by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and many others, and his work has directly influenced several pieces of federal legislation; including most recently the No Tax Subsidies for Stadiums Act of 2022. He is an active member of the American Economic Association, the National Tax Association, and the Association of Christian Economists. He is a NITC dissertation fellow currently studying essential air service.

Connect with Austin on LinkedIn or via his website.

Robert Hibberd, University of Arizona

Robert Hibberd is a Ph.D. student in the University of Arizona's College of Architecture, Planning & Landscape Architecture. His research emphasis is on urban and transportation planning, demographics, Smart Growth and New Urbanism, housing affordability issues, and sustainable development. Robert has worked on multiple NITC projects including LRT/BRT/SCT/CRT Development Outcomes FINAL PHASE and Updating and Expanding LRT/BRT/SCT/CRT Data and Analysis working as a graduate research assistant with advisor Dr. Arthur C. Nelson. As a NITC dissertation fellow, he is currently studying employment-worker balance and polycentric transit-oriented development. Learn more about Robert by reading a 2020 NITC "Student Spotlight" interview.

Connect with Robert on LinkedIn

Sadie Mae Palmatier, University of Oregon 

Sadie Mae is a graduate student at the University Oregon’s College of Design studying for a master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning. At UO, she has worked with Urbanism Next and the Institute for Policy, Research, and Engagement on new mobility and parking management projects. She is currently a Project Manager with the Institute for Policy, Research, and Engagement and leading an update to Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. Her research focuses on the impacts of minimum parking requirements on housing development which is supported by the Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program. She is also the 2022 Outstanding NITC Student of the Year.

Connect with Sadie Mae on Linkedin

Saulo Aguilera, University of Texas at Arlington

 Saulo Aguilera is a masters student studying finance at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Ehiremen Ebewele, University of Texas at Arlington

Ehiremen Ebewele is a second-year Ph.D. student in Aerospace Engineering. Ehiremen's passion for air transportation started when he got on his first flight at age 5 and had the privilege to meet and greet with the flight crew. Originally from Nigeria, he moved to the US for his bachelor's degree, after which he completed his master's degree in aerospace engineering at the University of Maryland. He then began his Ph.D. program at the University of Texas Arlington, with bearing technology as his research's focus.  His work involves developing a stiffness prediction tool for bump-type foil bearings. Bearings are utilized in turbomachinery in between rotating and stationary parts. Industrial applications where bearings are used include turbines, aircraft engines, and air cycle machines which are the core of the environmental control system in aircraft. After completing his doctoral studies, he plans to work in the aerospace industry to improve aircraft manufacturing technologies.

Connect with Ehiremen on LinkedIn

Eder Fuabuna, University of Texas at Arlington

Eder Fuabuna graduated with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2020, and is now studying for a Master of Engineering degree in structures. He is honored to be the recipient of the 2023 Eisenhower fellowship award, and plans to become a member of the Transportation research Board. Eder currently works in roadway design at the Texas Department of Transportation as an engineer assistant.



Kelli Greenwood, University of Texas at Arlington

Kelli Greenwood is a doctoral student in civil engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington. She is an Engineer-in-Training (EIT), and graduated Summa Cum Laude from UTA in August 2017. Following a brief career in the land development sector, she returned to academia to pursue her research interests, including hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, urban water resources management, flood warning and alert systems, and flood control. Her current research combines transportation planning with urban water resources management to proactively combat flooding.

Connect with Kelli on LinkedIn


Kelly Patterson, University of Texas at Arlington

Kelly Patterson is a doctoral student in the Civil Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Arlington. Patterson holds bachelor’s degrees in astronautical engineering and mechanical engineering and was a practicing engineer for several years, first as an aerospace machinist and then as a space launch officer for the Atlas V rocket with the U.S. Air Force. Patterson began her studies at UTA in 2019. Her research focuses on designing, maintaining and improving critical infrastructure, and she is working with civil engineering Professor Nur Yazdani and his bridge and hazard mitigation research group.




Victoria Kiker, University of Texas at Arlington

Victorkia Kiker is a second-year graduate student in the MCRP program at The University of Texas at Arlington, where her studies have concentrated on public transportation and affordable housing. She is currently a Planner II for the City of Austin in the Residential Development and Services Department. She is well positioned to contribute to the Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship, where her research will focus on affordable housing and transportation equity as a means to homelessness of low-income residents in Austin, Texas. Victoria will analyze and find ways around the burdens that disserve people as Texas grows exponentially. Her planned research aims to impact how people view transportation as a vital need with the help of her Faculty Advisor, Dr. Ariadna Reyes-Sánchez, Assistant Professor of Public Affairs and Planning at UTA. She looks forward to producing research that will motivate students and other planners, as her motivation behind this topic is to create sustainable commutes for marginalized and transit-dependent individuals. She thoroughly enjoys helping people and communities by building safe spaces that will make lives less strenuous for years to come.

Connect with Victoria on LinkedIn

Alyssa Knox, University of Texas at Arlington

Alyssa Knox is a second-year graduate student pursuing a master's degree in City and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Arlington. As a student in the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs, she is thrilled to have the opportunity to make a difference in the built environment. Alyssa currently works as an intern with the North Central Texas Council of Governments. This internship allows her to gain practical experience outside the classroom and receive course credit for her work. She is also involved in the Student Planning Association, which provides resources for planners looking to network, develop their skills, and get certification needs.

Connect with Alyssa on LinkedIn


Anika Rimu, University of Texas at Arlington

Anika Rimu is a Doctoral candidate in Industrial, Manufacturing, and Systems Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington. She currently works as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Human Factors Engineering lab. Her research is focused on increasing the safety of vulnerable road users using human factors principles. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University. She completed her Master’s degree in Bioengineering from UT Arlington. Later, she changed her major to Industrial Engineering for her PhD.

Connect with Anika on LinkedIn

The Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program advances the transportation workforce by helping to attract the nation's brightest minds to the field of transportation, encouraging future transportation professionals to seek advanced degrees, and helping to retain top talent in the U.S. transportation industry.

The University of Texas at Arlington had a total of eight Eisenhower fellows this year. In addition to the two civil engineering & urban planning fellows listed above, UTA had six additional recipients in fields including hydrology, finance, industrial engineering, and aerospace engineering.

The National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) is one of seven U.S. Department of Transportation national university transportation centers. NITC is a program of the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University. This PSU-led research partnership also includes the Oregon Institute of Technology, University of Arizona, University of Oregon, University of Texas at Arlington and University of Utah. We pursue our theme — improving mobility of people and goods to build strong communities — through research, education and technology transfer.

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