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Kathleen Russell 2012-2013

Kathleen Russell 2012-2013 Traveling Fellow

Kathleen Marie Russell, graduating senior, has been named the 2012 recipient of Vanderbilt University's Michael B. Keegan Traveling Fellowship.

The goal of the fellowship is to develop future leaders through world travel and experiential learning. Graduating seniors awarded the fellowship have the opportunity to pursue an idea or an issue, about which they are impassioned, in the context of daily life in communities around the world.

Russell, who is from Saint Louis, MO, will graduate in May from Peabody College with majors in human and organizational development – concentration in public policy – and earth and environmental sciences. It was her time abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, that particularly ignited an awareness of, and desire to understand, the role of transportation in our cities, our communities, and our futures.

“This opportunity to travel and study as the Keegan Fellow is nothing short of surreal, and I am truly humbled by the selection committee’s confidence in my proposal,” said Russell. “Sustainable transportation has the ability to address some of the biggest challenges facing the modern urban environment, challenges that will only be exacerbated as people continue to flock to our cities. How do we – as policymakers, urban planners, architects, nonprofits, government officials, developers, and engaged citizens – enable a transition to sustainable transportation? It is this question I wish to engage and explore over the next year as the Keegan Fellow.”

In her project, titled, “Sustainable Transportation and the Future of Our Cities: A Global Discussion,” Russell plans to travel to key urban areas across five continents, including those in developed and developing countries, those with the most advanced transportation systems and those with the greatest need. This project rests on the belief in the power of collaborative innovation, innovation that can shift the focus of the modern city to the needs of the human person. “By engaging in a global discussion, and learning from efforts across the world, we can successfully address the challenges facing the future of our cities. It is this community effort that can lead to livable communities,” said Russell.

Students must apply for the fellowship by completing an application, submitting a resume and letters of recommendation and proposing a plan of study/travel. A committee of alumni, faculty and staff selects the winner.