Gadsby to tackle policy side of transportation at Eno Future Leaders Development Conference

Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Ph.D. student April Gadsby. (Photo: Jess Hunt-Ralston)

“This experience will be a huge boost in my growth in [the policy side of transportation].”

– April Gadsby, Ph.D. student

It’s been quite a spring for Ph.D. student April Gadsby. And, as a result, her summer and fall are booking up fast.

The Eno Center for Transportation has invited Gadsby to Washington in June to participate in its Future Leaders Development Conference and see, up close, how transportation policy is made. She’ll join 19 other graduate students selected for the 2019 conference.

“I'm really looking forward to escaping the Georgia Tech ‘bubble’ and interacting with new people about issues in transportation,” Gadsby said. “It's really only been within the last year that I've been exposed to a lot of the policy side of transportation, and I think this experience will be a huge boost in my growth in that area.”

Gadsby works with James Tsai and Kari Watkins in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and studies bicyclist behavior and safety. She tracks riders’ eye movement to measure their stress levels, and she also has a special bike equipped with sensors that collects air quality and environmental data that helps her understand bicyclists’ surroundings.

The Future Leaders Development Conference includes a week of meetings with federal officials, congressional staffers, and business and nonprofit leaders. It’s the second honor for Gadsby in recent weeks — in January, she learned she’ll spend the fall in the Netherlands with a scholarship from the Institute of International Education.

“When I think about the honors I've accrued, really my main feeling is gratitude,” said Gadsby, who is also a National Science Foundation graduate fellow and a previous Eisenhower transportation research fellow.

“I'm very grateful to all the people who've helped me get here, like Dr. Tsai, who has supported and worked with me for four years now; more recently, Dr. Watkins; and my fellow grad students. It also puts me in a position to mentor younger students, and it feels great to pass some of the success along.”

Gadsby is the eighth civil and environmental engineering graduate student invited to the Eno leadership conference in the last nine years.