Planning students selected for prestigious Port Authority Leadership Fellow Program

April 8, 2020

Bloustein School MCRP candidates Chase Palmer and Rebecca Weiss have been selected for the Port Authority Leadership Fellow Program. Over 250 graduate students applied to the program; Chase and Rebecca were two of the five finalists that were selected for the prestigious program.

The Leadership Fellow Program is a two-year rotational program for leadership and public service in the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan region that offers on the job experience in business functions including planning, finance, security, facility operations, human resources, and other areas. Leadership Fellows are involved in approximately four rotational assignments designed to build a strong foundation of business acumen, adaptability, and knowledge of Port Authority operations in order to build future leaders within the organization. Leadership Fellows are often considered for key positions in the agency.

A native of Richboro, Pa., Chase graduated from Penn State in 2018 with a double major in Geography and Community, Environment, and Development (CED). “I decided to concentrate in transportation and land-use planning at the Bloustein School because I was interested in how people move around and how we can best use our land, especially in a state as dense as New Jersey,” he said.

Chase worked as one of the school’s graduate student recruiters, helping to coordinate prospective student visits and the annual open house event. He also interned at the Land Conservancy of New Jersey, where he assisted townships throughout New Jersey with the development of Open Space and Recreation Plans.

In the future, Chase hopes to focus on environmental sustainability in transportation and land-use practices to help make people’s lives easier when they are using various transportation systems. “There are four rotations that I can choose from during the fellowship that will allow me to see all sides of the Port Authority,” he said. “I hope to complete rotations at Port Newark–Elizabeth in New Jersey as well as Newark Airport, the bridges and tunnels, and the PATH to see where I would want to be placed after the completion of the two-year program.”

Rebecca Weiss, originally from Arlington, Massachusetts, is a 2012 graduate of Brandeis University with a double major in Politics and Sociology. She worked for Brandeis in their Graduate Professional Studies School in recruitment and admissions after graduation, taking several graduate courses in Strategic Analytics as a part-time student.

At the Bloustein School, Rebecca is concentrating in transportation while also pursuing a Certificate in Transportation Studies. “I was drawn to urban planning because I felt the discipline brought together all the aspects I most enjoyed in my educational, professional, and personal experiences,” Rebecca said. “I chose to attend the Bloustein School because of its strong reputation among planning programs, the amazing faculty I got to hear from on admitted student’s day, and the number of alumni working in careers I am interested in.”

While attending Bloustein, she has worked for the Voorhees Transportation Center, assisting with the New Jersey Department of Transportation Technology Transfer project. This past summer, she interned with the New York City Department of Transportation’s Transit Development Group, where she has continued working part-time during the school year.

Rebecca aspires to help build equitable, sustainable transportation systems that support and advance all outcomes of the communities they serve. “I believe the fellowship will help me advance these goals as I will gain transferrable skills in project management, finance, data analysis, and more,” she said. “I am interested in exploring rotation opportunities in PATH operations, capital projects, environmental initiatives, and the Office of Continuous Improvement.”

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