Ayla Schermer is the 2021 recipient of the Mortensen-Voorhees Award for Achievement in Transportation Studies. Each year, this award is granted to the highest-achieving student with a concentration in transportation at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. The award is named for two individuals well-known for their contributions to the field of transportation planning: Alan M. Voorhees, a transportation engineer and urban planner who designed major transit systems and other public projects throughout the world, and the namesake of the Voorhees Transportation Center, and Robert E. Mortensen, a transportation planner whose career spanned more than three decades and included serving as the CEO of two major railroads and an advisor to foreign governments on state-owned railroad privatization.
This summer, Ayla will head to the Federal Transit Administration’s Region 2 office in NYC to begin work as a Community Planner. The position is part of the two-year Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program — fellows work from a home base at the FTA and complete rotational assignments and trainings at other federal agencies to help broaden their knowledge.
Ayla shared her eagerness for this new role:
Being that public transit is going to play a critical role in the region’s post-pandemic recovery, I am incredibly excited about joining the FTA at this pivotal moment, especially with projects such as the Gateway Tunnel in the pipeline.
In addition, she will continue to work on bicycle-friendly policies and programs, and will remain on the board of Bike JC, a nonprofit advocacy organization that aims to make streets safe and welcoming for bicyclists in Jersey City where she resides. Bike JC works to promote bike sharing, Vision Zero policy, a Bike Master Plan, and more.