Graduate student awarded Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship

This past fall, Ziyi Ma, a former undergrad at NYU Tandon with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and now a graduate student studying Transportation Planning and Engineering, has been awarded a Student Designee for the 2019 Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Since its inception in 1983, the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program (DDETFP) has supported students pursuing degrees in transportation-related disciplines. This program benefits the transportation workforce by attracting 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. 

Ziyi MaMa heard about the fellowship opportunity through Professor Joseph Chow’s encouragement towards the transportation MS program admitted students to apply. Ma chose Professor Chow to write one of the recommendation letters for the fellowship application process as well as to be his faculty advisor. Ma values his close relationship with Professor Chow, having done research with him since his sophomore year as an undergrad at Tandon. 

This past fall, Ma’s accomplishments have been gaining a lot of traction in regards to transportation. In September, he led the team formed from members of NYU’s Behavioral Urban Informatics, Logistics, and Transport Laboratory (BUILT Lab, which is affiliated with Connected Cities with Smart Transportation, C2SMART) in the first “Micro-Transit Hack-A-Thon.” Having participated and having won the hackathon, Ma presented their findings on behalf of the team at Mobilize 2019 on October 17 in Las Vegas.  

Among his grants and awards, Ma remains modest. He sees beyond the financial assistance DDETFP provides, grateful to be included in recognition of past and proposed research. 

“My research proposal for the DDETFP is to develop an open-source, agent-based simulation tool for public transit planning, an extension based on a virtual test bed of New York City’s large-scale transportation simulation model,” Ma said.

But before gazing forward towards the possibilities the fellowship will give him, Ma looks back in appreciation.

“In 2016, besides working on the assigned mode choice study with a graduate student, I read published papers focused on carpooling in both matching and pricing case study, travel patterns in New York City and vehicle parking,” Ma said. “Tracing reference by reference, I found that each paper was an original addition to other researchers’ work. Now, as a master’s student, with the support from C2SMART research center and the DDETFP, I truly can be part of the additional effort.”

Anna De La Rosa
BS, Media, Culture, and Communication
Class of 2021