I was born in New York where I lived for a few months before my family moved to Zurich where I lived for the next 15 years. Zurich is a wonderful city with a safe, reliable, and efficient public transportation system. I started taking public transit to school, to violin lessons, and to see my friends at an early age. At 15 my parents decided it was time to move back to the US and we moved to Newton, a suburb of Boston. With a classic suburban and automobile dominated environment, I quickly lost the independence I had take for granted in Zurich.
I went on to pursue a Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont (UVM) in Burlington, Vermont. In my sophomore year I took an elective, Sustainable Transportation Planning with Richard Watts, where I learned about the impact the automobile has had on the United States. Finally, I understood why there was such a difference between living in Zurich and Newton – one was designed for people and the other for the car. I graduated in 2016 from UVM to pursue a career in sustainable mobility, to help people and communities become more sustainable by building better places to walk, bike, scooter, or take public transit.
After graduating I interned for the City of Burlington, VT, where I worked extensively with stakeholders and used AutoCAD to produce designs for low-stress bicycle routes and protected bicycle lanes. I quickly learned about the complexities of municipal governments and the importance of community engagement.
After this internship I went backpacking for five months in Southeast Asia, and I started traveling through a new lens of urban mobility. Not only did I eat incredibly well, but I also took every transportation mode imaginable. From the sleeping buses in Vietnam, to electric mopeds in Myanmar, to electric tuk-tuks in Cambodia, to even a hot air balloon in Laos.
When I returned to the US I moved back to Boston and went on to work at the Boston Cyclists Union, a bicycling advocacy non-profit, where I conducted community outreach for bicycle safety projects. Following this experience, I became the Community Affairs Coordinator at Lime, an international micro-mobility company. There I partnered with local community groups, organized e-scooter trainings and other events. Unfortunately, early in COVID-19, Lime shut down operations in the Boston area and many other locations. However, this was the perfect push to take the next step in my career and pursue a Master’s.
Throughout my career, I frequently heard “We aren’t Amsterdam” in resistance to change, yet Amsterdam hadn’t always been the city that it is today. Only through local advocacy movements and intentional policy decisions did the Netherlands become what it is today. Determined to learn from the best, in August 2020, I moved to Amsterdam to complete a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Amsterdam. I wrote my thesis on COVID-19’s impact on implementing Street Experiments in the City of Boston. I found that the urgency of action with COVID-19 helped overcome critical barriers to implementation, and presented a unique window of opportunity to transition to a sustainable mobility system. At a time when cities around the world are reclaiming public space away from cars and towards people faster than ever, I have a newfound determination to create and help enable change.
I am excited to start work at Mobycon where I can help bring Dutch expertise and experiences to the rest of the world, in hopes that we can transition to a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.