Alumni Career Panel gives students perspectives on trends, challenges and opportunities in transportation policy and planning

One of the Bloustein School’s greatest strengths is its extensive alumni network. Recently four alumni returned to the school in an Alumni Career Panel, offered by the Office of Student and Academic Services to give current students their perspectives on the trends, challenges and opportunities facing the nation in the area of transportation policy and planning, as well as how these opportunities may impact the field and how current students might prepare for the future.

Chris Riale MCRP ’05 (Parsons Brinckerhoff), Nina Haiman MCRP ’06 (New York City Department of Transportation), Donald Ehrenbeck MCRP ’85 (AECOM), and Portia Henry MCRP ’13 (Port Authority of New York & New Jersey), spoke to approximately 30 students on a panel moderated by Bloustein Assistant Professor Mike Smart. Each alumnus was able to offer a different perspective, as their work spans different decade, both the public and private spheres, different scales, and many different locations.

With expertise ranging from urban design to political policy to major transit infrastructure to bicycle and pedestrian design, the panelists discussed their experiences at the Bloustein School and how they ultimately landed in their current employment. Each panelist commented on emerging issues in transportation planning and important skills they think current graduates should possess.

After the main discussion of their planning histories and thoughts on the profession, the panelists took questions. Students asked about everyday responsibilities, how to approach large scale and small scale projects, what motivates these practitioners, some of the difficulties in entering the job market, and how they stay positive when working on projects that sometimes face daunting opposition.