The Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and The Louis Berger Group are pleased to announce the Louis Berger Graduate Fellows for the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year: Channing Bickford, Jonathan Castaneda, Roman Titov and Ai Yamanaka.
Now in its sixth year, the Louis Berger Fellows program enables four Bloustein School students to undertake a comprehensive fellowship and earn credit during a professional internship experience with Louis Berger. At the conclusion of their first year of study at the Bloustein School, Fellows embark on a full-time summer internship assigned to one of the company’s international projects.
Channing Bickford will be working this summer in Hong Kong, Jonathan Castaneda in Panama, Roman Titov in Jamaica, and Ai Yamanaka in Paris. Previous Fellows have spent their internships living and working in diverse locations such as Cameroon, Costa Rica, France, India, Kuwait, Mauritius, Mozambique, Panama, the Philippines and Qatar.
“The relationship between the Bloustein School faculty and senior leadership at Louis Berger has been strengthened by the development of this fellowship program,” said Bob Nardi, senior vice president. “The fellowships are an investment in the future of these students, aimed at developing knowledge and professional skills by meaningful involvement in signature company projects underway around the world.”
The Bloustein School and LBG have a long-standing relationship; many of the school’s graduates are or have been senior managers with the firm, and the company has provided financial and other support to he Bloustein School for over 10 years—part of LBG’s broad commitment to corporate responsibility and sustainability.
More about the 2015-16 Berger Fellows:
Channing Bickford grew up in northern Vermont where he developed a philosophy of service to the community. He attended Marlboro College in southern Vermont, studying with the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies which was followed by an independent study abroad . While in Beijing he worked with Future Generations China to plan, promote, carry out and solicit corporate donations for the “Green Long March,” a nation-wide youth conservation movement. In 2008 he graduated with honors from Marlboro College receiving a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and concentrating in Chinese environmental development as well as green architecture.
After graduation, Channing returned to Beijing where he earned a CELTA language teaching certification and a Level 4 HSK Chinese Language Proficiency Certification. He lived in Beijing for five years, working as a language and communications instructor at various schools and companies. This ranged from teaching PhD candidates at Peking Union Medical College and foreign-bound high school students at Beijing Number 101 High School international program. In Beijing Channing continued his commitment to service, teaching at the Xin Xin Migrant School and volunteering as a photographic image technician with Operation Smile Handan mission.
In 2014 Channing left China to pursue the MCRP at the Bloustein School, where he has dual concentrations in environment and physical planning and in transportation planning. He has continued his commitment to service while at the Bloustein School, co-founding the “Spokes Education” bicycle safety program for disadvantaged youth in New Brunswick, and working to start a student-led service group to strengthen ties to the community. Channing is currently working as a ferry policy intern at the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance in New York City.
Jonathan Castaneda comes to Louis Berger following a professional trajectory in government and nonprofit management, including two stints in federal executive departments and two in federal legislative offices. A first-generation American of Cuban and Colombian descent and a lifelong resident of West New York, NJ, he has been shaped by the experiences of his family, his neighbors and his community. Growing up in an environment of socioeconomic uncertainty, immigration disputes and security issues, his academic and professional aspirations to improve the quality of life and the socioeconomic opportunities for his family and his community were defined from an early age.
Jonathan graduated from Seton Hall University’s John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations with a B.S. in Diplomacy and International Relations. He focused his research on democratization and the effects of security and inequality on electoral behavior in Latin America. He later earned a Master of Public Administration with honors from the same institution, with a concentration in Leadership, Governance, and Policy.
He interned for Asociación Tepeyac de Nueva York, where he lobbied New York State legislators for passage of NY Dream Act legislation. While working toward his undergraduate degree, Jonathan assisted in the district office of U.S. Congressman Albio Sires, working with constituents, local organizations, and local officials in the district to gauge policy saliency and seek ways to efficiently provide services to the community. Shortly after, Jonathan was selected by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute as one of 14 Public Policy Fellows from around the country, and the only representative from New Jersey. There, Jonathan worked as an Export Control Policy Fellow at the Bureau of Industry and Security at the U.S. Department of Commerce with Under Secretary Hirschhorn and his dedicated team on reforming the export control system under President Obama’s Export Control Initiative. He also had the distinct opportunity to work with Senator Robert Menendez as the Hispanic Affairs Fellow, working with the Senator’s communications and legislative team on policy that had the potential to impact the 55 million Hispanic/Latinos who reside in the United States. More recently, Jonathan has complemented his full-time academic studies with the mission of locating, screening and re-housing the homeless Veteran population in Bergen and Hudson counties on behalf of North Hudson Community Action Corporation. Jonathan is pursuing his Masters in City and Regional Planning with concentrations in Transportation Planning and International/Regional Development, on track to graduating in May 2016.
Born in Minsk, Belarus and raised in Brooklyn, Roman Titov embarked on the American dream upon graduating from SUNY Farmingdale with a dual bachelor’s degree in architecture and construction management. While professionally engaged in the construction contracting industry, specializing in capital infrastructure projects, including streetscapes and pedestrian improvements, Roman played a project management role on two unique contracts, Imagination Playground and Bushwick Inlet Park.
Imagination Playground is an innovative recreational park and landmark for children, which was built within the historic South Street Seaport district of Manhattan. This project featured an opening day ceremony with the former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the international magazine Time Out has selected it as one of the best playgrounds in New York City. Bushwick Inlet Park is a LEED Platinum-certified park and headquarters for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. It is located on the redeveloped industrial waterfront of Williamsburg, Brooklyn and has been branded as one of the Top Ten Green Projects for 2014 by the American Institute of Architects.
In 2012 Roman’s professional career came to an intermission upon being awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for graduate study in Canada, where he achieved a Master of Science degree in civil engineering with a specialization in project management from the University of Calgary. The decision to pursue a second graduate degree in city and regional planning was justified by a goal to ground his management, engineering, and architectural background in a growing and associated field that serves a higher social purpose.
Born and raised in New York, Ai was always drawn to the dynamism of cities and diverse cultures. But it wasn’t just cities—her childhood experiences of summers in the rural villages of Japan left lasting impressions of how people and communities can learn to live sustainably. Having had the opportunity to grow up in New York, study in Moscow and Maine, and live and work in Kyoto and Vancouver, she became inspired to learn more about cities’ physical infrastructure systems, particularly transportation networks and streetscapes, which determine a community’s economic viability and livability.Together with her interests in sustainable living, her studies now focus on transit-oriented development and environmental planning using GIS and data analysis.
Ai draws from a multidisciplinary background. She attended Colby College as a Posse scholar and majored in International Relations and East Asian Studies. She wrote an undergraduate senior honors thesis on the socioeconomic impacts of local food in Japan based upon her year-long study abroad experience in Kyoto. She graduated from Colby with a Leila M. Forster Leadership Award and an Honors in East Asian Studies.
Ai has experience in international sales and management. She served as a team leader for a multi-national serviced office company, where she oversaw a portfolio of nearly 10 million yen per annum with clients that included Japanese, Australian, and American businesses. In her role, she supervised a team, coordinated networking events for clients, and managed a floor of service and tenancy contracts. This past year, Ai worked for the Bloustein School’s Environmental Analysis and Communications Research Group, where she authored a report on the risks of climate change for socially vulnerable populations in New Jersey. She currently works for the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority under their Enterprise Asset Management department with the Division of Car Equipment on component serialization and database management. She has been assigned to the Paris office, where she will be working on LBG’s Port Lekki project in Nigeria.