2012-13 Bloustein/Berger Fellows announced

June 8, 2012

The Bloustein School and The Louis Berger Group, Inc. have announced the selection of the Louis Berger Graduate Fellows for the 2012-13 academic year. The new fellows are David Koch, Matthew Kusy, Areej Sabzwari, andJoshua Wilcox.

The Berger Fellows program was created in 2009, in which Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP) and/or Master of Public Policy (MPP) students from the Bloustein School are considered for a comprehensive fellowship award and earn credit during a professional experience internship at an international or national site of one of the leading planning and engineering consulting organizations in the country.

“The relationship between the Bloustein School faculty and senior leadership at Berger has been strengthened by the development of this fellowship program,” said Bloustein professor and Associate Dean Michael Greenberg. “The fellowships are a generous investment in the future of these students, aimed at developing knowledge and professional skills by jump-starting their careers in a blue-ribbon firm that offers opportunities around the world.”

At the conclusion of their first year of study fellows embark upon a full-time summer internship assigned to one of the Louis Berger Group’s projects, which are carried out from over 80 locations around the world. The fellowship covers tuition and fees for the second year of study, and may include an internship with the Berger Group within the region during the academic year as well.

The Louis Berger Group, Inc. is an internationally recognized consulting firm that provides engineering, architecture, program and construction management, environmental planning and science, and economic development services. For nearly 60 years, they have been a devoted and trusted partner to U.S. federal, state, and local government agencies; national, provincial, and local governments; multilateral institutions; and commercial industry. The Bloustein School and the Berger Group have a long-standing relationship; many of the school’s graduates are senior managers with the firm, and the company has provided financial and other support to the Bloustein School for over 10 years.

The Fellows for the 2012-13 year and their assignments are:


David Koch (photo copyright Rutgers University/Bloustein School)

David Koch’s areas of interest include transportation in the realm of rail and mass transit, post-conflict management, and natural resource management. Before his arrival at the Bloustein School, David spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Macedonia, where he was made aware of both the challenges and successes surrounding international development. He became involved in several small-scale, grant funded development projects successfully aimed at helping the local community and worked with local English teachers to improve teaching methods, curriculum implementation, and extracurricular activities in his community’s primary and secondary schools. As part of the Berger fellowship, David hopes to gain stronger understanding of the planning, financing, implementation, and monitoring involved in the creation of successful international projects that produce real benefits for the communities that they are designed to help. David will spend time in the Louis Berger Group’s Paris, France office before heading to Cameroon, where Berger is involved with construction of a deepwater port in the coastal city of Kribi. David will assist the project’s team leader to complete the port’s design review.

Matthew Kusy (photo copyright Rutgers University/Bloustein School)


Matthew Kusy has developed a passion and enthusiasm for making a difference in communities through economic development and intelligent planning. While living in Philadelphia, Matthew’s interest in planning grew through his involvement with the city’s Green 2015 Action Plan, the Central Delaware Riverfront Plan, and the Philadelphia 2035 Comprehensive Plan. After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering at Cornell University, Matthew had the opportunity to work on sustainable transit-oriented development projects designed to increase the quality of life for local residents and spur economic development in neighboring regions. Matthew looks to gain a better understanding of the global problems facing much of society today, and to help create planning solutions that will reduce disparities between different societal classes while reaching across global borders.  With his interest in economic growth and development and physical planning, Matthew will be assisting Louis Berger Group engineers currently working with the Kuwait Ministry of Public Works to upgrade several main arterial roads feeding traffic into the downtown area of Kuwait City.


Areej Sabzwari is hoping to combine her undergraduate education and work experience as an architect with planning knowledge and apply both locally and internationally, using strategies that will impact not just a building but a city or a country.  As a junior architect working with a firm specializing in educational facilities in the tri-state area, and previously as an intern at Madison Square Garden for the MSG Arena Transformation, she developed an attachment that was more than just the design of form but more with how a city functions as a whole. While earning her master’s degree Areej is concentrating in land use and comprehensive planning, and believes that her diverse ethnic background provides her with a unique planning perspective. Having lived in three countries, she has come to understand that planning exists in every aspect of life, and would like to become part of a project that affects the development of a city from a different perspective. In Qatar, Areej will be working with Louis Berger staff in overseeing construction of Education City, which aims to combine the development of world renowned educational institutions with social, commercial, and cultural facilities and integrating the development with the historical sites in the area.  Having a passion for design and physical development, Education City is the ideal project for her.


Joshua Wilcox (photo copyright Rutgers University/Bloustein School)

Joshua Wilcox’s work monitoring and evaluating HIV/AIDS care and treatment programs developed his interest in planning. Because human health is linked with the built environment, basic infrastructure issues must be addressed in order to achieve improved health outcomes. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Inhambane province in Mozambique, he learned that many patients were unable to continue treatment due to economic and infrastructure problems—long traveling distances, unpaved roads, and poor or non-existent public transportation caused patients to miss two days of work and food just to receive follow up care—highlighting the need to plan for and development critical infrastructure.  Joshua has focused his studies in the area of GIS, believing that this can revolutionize spatial awareness and highlight the interplay of seemingly disparate factors such as transportation routes, income levels, and disease indices in the neighborhoods ,cities, and regions where we live and work. Joshua will be involved in the development of a feasibility study for the refurbishment, upgrading and development of sanitation and drainage systems in Mozambique and assist with the design of a low-cost sanitation implementation program, taking into account environmental and socio-economic aspects of the local communities.


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