Student Leadership

Carlee Benhart Kukula

Women in Transportation Fellow, 2019 – 2021

Carlee developed an interest in smart transportation, urban infrastructure, and transportation equity during her time studying Regional Planning at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. While pursuing her degree, she undertook internships with the Indiana County (PA) Office of Planning and Development where she worked as the Indiana County WalkWorks community liaison to address the challenges of introducing alternative transportation infrastructure, and with Quaker Valley Council of Governments in Allegheny County, where she served as manager of an pilot online geographic information systems implementation for the rollout of a new municipal property and structure condition assessment. After graduating, Carlee maintained her professional relationship with the Quaker Valley Council of Governments to work on the Route 65 Corridor Study Multi-Municipal Project as a research intern.

She would like to incorporate a synthesis of technical and social science methods to improve the equity of all types of mobility. Upon completion of graduate school, Carlee hopes to work to improve the accessibility and integration of a spectrum of transportation modes with humans and the built environment. She is excited for the opportunity to hone her knowledge and skills in Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College Public Policy and Management program, and to continue her academic career in transportation planning and smart mobility as a Traffic21 Women in Transportation Fellow.

Hajra Shahab

Women in Transportation Fellow, 2020 – 2022

Photo of Hajra Shahab

Hajra grew up in Karachi [Pakistan], one of the largest and most populated cities in the world. Growing up, she witnessed complex deep-rooted problems in the city such as weak institutional capacity, absence of public transit system and marginalization of vulnerable groups. During her undergraduate studies as an Economics major at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), she was able to apply theoretical frameworks of economics and public policy to real-world issues. However, it was not until she got selected to attend an exchange semester at Waseda University, Japan, her interest in transportation and mobility solidified. Intrigued by a robust and efficient public transit system, Tokyo became a living laboratory for her urban planning interests and helped her trace factors that make cities sustainable and resilient in the long-run.

After finishing her undergraduate in 2018, Hajra worked briefly at a trading company before pursuing her research interests. She was able to take her research forward through a grant received from the Saida Waheed Gender Initiative (SWGI) at LUMS. Her team assessed women mobility patterns which got her interested in exploring multiple dimensions of an Intelligent Transport System (ITS) such as real-time information about bus delays or seat availability making women less vulnerable to harassment. She would like to continue to understand how users interact with cities and transportation systems. She believes Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College MSPPM program will provide her with an opportunity to master her data and policy skillset, engage with interdisciplinary groups, and explore technological breakthroughs to develop smarter, and well-connected mobility networks in cities.

Hajra says, “It is an honor to have earned the Traffic21 Women in Transportation Fellowship. I strongly believe that this fellowship has brought me a step closer to my career aspirations in transportation and mobility. Traffic21 is steering discussion around transportation in the 21st century, and I believe this futuristic approach will provide me with unparalleled exposure to cutting edge research, mentoring, and technological advancements.”

Maggie Harger

Women in Transportation Fellow, 2021 – 2023

Photo of Maggie Harger

Maggie is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Public Policy and Management with an interest in transportation policy. Prior to her time at Carnegie Mellon, she completed her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA, and worked as a mobility coordinator for the North King County region near Seattle. This role involved working with city planners, local human service providers, elected officials, and regional transit agencies to identify transportation challenges for populations with unique mobility needs, including older adults, people with disabilities, and low income individuals. Maggie hopes to continue learning about the intersection of efficient transportation, environmental sustainability, and economic advancement during her time as the Traffic21 Women in Transportation Fellow. In her spare time, Maggie can be found exploring the many bike paths of Pittsburgh.

Allanté Whitmore

Mobility21 Diversity Fellow

Allante Whitmore is a Ph.D. Candidate for Civil and Environmental Engineering at CMU. Originally from Detroit, Allante received her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University, and her Master’s degree in the same field from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Before coming to CMU, Allante was a supervisor for the McNair Scholars program in Detroit, where she worked with first generation or underrepresented undergraduate students preparing them for doctoral studies through research. As Mobility21’s first Diversity Fellow, Allante is excited to learn more about connected and automated vehicles, particularly through the lens of public policy. Read more about Allanté’s story.

Oscar Medina

Mobility21 Research Assistant

Photo of Oscar Medina

Oscar Medina is a graduate student in the Master of Science in Public Policy & Management program at Heinz College. He is from San Diego, California and his background is in active transportation. His undergraduate degree is in Public Administration-City Planning from San Diego State University. After college, Oscar worked in private consulting and later at a smart growth and mobility advocacy nonprofit. Immediately before coming to CMU, he worked at an environmental justice organization where he advocated for regional policies that reduce harmful emissions in disadvantaged communities. Oscar is a transit enthusiast and is excited to start using the local system in Pittsburgh more and more as the pandemic subsides.


Meet our Student Alumni here: