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George Mason University PhD candidate Benjamin Atsem says it’s his passion to make an impact in the field of transportation engineering. His focus has led him to win the U.S. department of Transportation Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program award not once, but twice.
“When you have a passion to do something, you put in all your best to reflect in your work quality and commitment,” says Atsem, who won the fellowship award for the first time in 2018. “I feel humbled by the award, which challenges me to work harder than before."
Through this 2021 fellowship award, Atsem will receive a grant of $35,500 towards completing his dissertation work. His research will focus on environmental justice and economic equity issues of emerging modes of transportation, such as micromobility. The micromobility area of transportation includes lightweight, smaller vehicles, like bicycles and scooters.
Atsem will work closely under professor Mohan Venigalla in Mason’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering.
“I feel proud working under professor Venigalla through my research to make sure bikeshare and scooter share systems have equal spread and access in all major urbanized communities, especially in underserved communities,” says Atsem. “Receiving this has given me the launch pad to succeed in my educational and professional career.”
The Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program awards students pursuing degrees in transportation-related disciplines. This 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.