Introducing the 2019 TURF Undergraduate Research Fellows

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Our Transportation Undergraduate Research Fellowship (TURF) program is in its second year, and we're excited to introduce our 2019 cohort. The TURF program advances critical thinking and research skills under the guidance of a PSU transportation faculty mentor. This year's fellows are working on various research initiatives at TREC, including e-scooters, bicycle and pedestrian count data, multimodal trip generation, pedestrian safety and equitable transit.

TURF is funded by an education grant through our U.S. DOT funded program the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC). Students were selected through a competitive application process; we had 103 applications from 23 U.S. states and 4 countries.

The TURF fellows will spend six weeks during the summer of 2019 at Portland State University, tackling transportation engineering and planning research questions.

MEET THE 2019 TURF FELLOWS

Anaisabel Crespo - Leiva, SUNY Plattsburgh

Anaisabel graduated summa cum laude in May from SUNY Plattsburgh with a BA in Environmental Studies and a minor in Business. Anaisabel has worked on several transportation and sustainability projects, including a project aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the international shipping industry. The final plan won second place in a competition judged by executives from the company World Fuel Services. In addition, she also worked with a faculty advisor to evaluate several sustainability initiatives within the City of Plattsburgh. The project was in collaboration with the Plattsburgh Housing Authority to evaluate the feasibility of a community solar program on low-income housing.

Faculty Advisor: Kelly Clifton

TURF Project Focus: Multimodal trip generation (including TNCs, scooters, bike share, and freight) at multifamily apartments. It will be a continuation of PSU's work in this area with attention to the role of new mobility and goods movement.


Garima Desai, University of California, Santa Cruz

Garima is a undergraduate student at UC Santa Cruz pursuing a double major in environmental studies and economics. She works as a research assistant for Professor Adam Millard-Ball and Professor Jeremy West on a housing and transportation study looking at the effects of the below market-rate housing lottery in San Francisco on transportation outcomes. Prior to this, she interned for Committee to Bridge the Gap, a non-profit nuclear safety group, to assess the validity of an environmental impact statement for a Superfund site in Southern California where she focused on the Department of Energy's claim of natural attenuation. She has also assisted an environmental studies PhD candidate with his research on Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), a local climate policy to change local grids to renewable sources, and presented her findings at the Symposium for Undergraduate Research at UCSC where she was awarded Best Oral Presentation.

Faculty Advisor: John MacArthur

TURF Project Focus: BikePed Portal, the national online nonmotorized count archive housed at and maintained by TREC at Portland State University. We will be working on adding more eco-counter data this summer, as well as ongoing documentation to make the data easier to use.


Abbey Ibarra, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Abbey Ibarra will be starting her senior year at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona this upcoming fall. She is majoring in Urban and Regional Planning with an emphasis in transportation and infrastructure. Her interest in sustainable transportation and environmental justice began during her sophomore year when she worked as a research assistant. She continues to be a research assistant for professor Nicole Lambrou, where she assists with projects related to the LA Exide and Ventura County wildfires. She is also a McNair scholar, where she has conducted individual research on California’s High Speed Rail. She currently interns for the City of La Puente in the planning department.

Faculty Advisor: Jennifer Dill

TURF Project Focus: E-scooters! We will be conducting a survey of Portland residents about their experience with e-scooters as pedestrians. We will also do some observation of interactions between pedestrians and e-scooter riders in congested areas. This will help inform the City of Portland's one-year pilot project.


Jared Islas, University of Missouri - Kansas City

Jared Islas will be starting his senior year at the University of Missouri - Kansas City this fall. He will graduate with a major in Urban Planning + Design along with a Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). He worked for the City of Raytown, Missouri as their Community Development Intern prior to the PSU TURF program. Jared received second place recognition for his project “The Promenade” in the 2019 J.C. Nichols Student Prize. Along with his classmates at UMKC, Jared won a Student Poster Award for their project “Comparative Urbanisms” at the 2019 National Planning Conference in San Francisco, CA.

Faculty Advisor: Nathan McNeil

TURF Project Focus: Determining how pedestrian safety improvements on the roadway and in signal timing designs (e.g., RRFBs, Median Islands and Leading Pedestrian Intervals) affect pedestrian Quality of Service and comfort. This will be done through a combination of field intercept surveys and video data collection.


Grace McDonough, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Grace is a rising senior in the Geography and Planning Department at West Chester University focusing on Geographic Information Systems (GIS). She is apart of the Accelerated Masters Program at WCU to pursue a Masters of Science in Geography, as well as working on minors in Spanish and Business GIS. Grace studied sustainable tourism and development throughout Kyrgyzstan, as well as planned developments in Cocoyoc, Mexico during the summer of 2018. Outside of her studies at WCU, she is an administrative assistant at Tommy’s Automotive which led her to a strong interest in sustainable and equitable transportation. When she is not working or studying, Grace is also an executive member of the Abbes Society, a service organization at WCU. 

Faculty Advisor: Aaron Golub

TURF Project Focus: Assisting with surveys and focus groups for a project studying the challenges transit riders face when transit agencies move to cash-less fare payment systems. The project will produce a set of recommendations for best practice and least-cost approaches to mitigating and reducing barriers for un- and under-banked and digitally-excluded riders.


Lilly Nie, University of Southern California

Lilly Nie is a rising junior studying Urban Planning and Spatial Sciences, with an interest in community engagement, equity-driven development, and accessibility to sustainable, alternative modes of transportation. As an aspiring planner and public servant, she endeavors to build healthy, active communities through socially conscious design. Lilly currently assists with research at the USC Spatial Sciences Institute, where she has investigated alternatives to the existing urban fabric of Los Angeles neighborhoods. 

Faculty Advisor: John MacArthur

TURF Project Focus: E-scooters! We will be conducting a survey of Portland residents about their experience with e-scooters as pedestrians. We will also do some observation of interactions between pedestrians and e-scooter riders in congested areas. This will help inform the City of Portland's one-year pilot project.


Katherine Riffle, Northern Arizona University

Katherine is a Mechanical Engineering honors student, rising senior, at Northern Arizona University where she also studies Math and Civil Engineering as minors. She is the next president of the NAU chapter of ITE, and she works driving the campus bus. Last summer, Katherine interned at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency as a Transit Engineer. 

Faculty Advisor: Sirisha Kothuri

TURF Project Focus: Determining how pedestrian safety improvements on the roadway and in signal timing designs (e.g., RRFBs, Median Islands and Leading Pedestrian Intervals) affect pedestrian Quality of Service and comfort. This will be done through a combination of field intercept surveys and video data collection.

The Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University is home to the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI), and other transportation programs. TREC produces research and tools for transportation decision makers, develops K-12 curriculum to expand the diversity and capacity of the workforce, and engages students and young professionals through education.

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