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Graduate Berger Fellows Selected

Through a special graduate internship/fellowship program created in cooperation with The Louis Berger Group, Inc., Bloustein School Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP) and/or Master of Public Policy (MPP) students are considered for a comprehensive fellowship award and earn internship credit while taking on a professional experience internship at an international or national site of one of the leading planning and engineering consulting organizations in the country.

Following their selection as Fellows and at the conclusion of their first year of study, the MCRP and MPP students embark upon a full-time summer internship assigned to one of the Louis Berger Group’s projects which are carried out from over 80 locations around the world. The fellowship covers full tuition and fees for the second year of study, and may include an internship with the Berger Group within the region during the academic year as well.

According to Nick Masucci, President, Berger Group Holdings and a graduate of the Bloustein School (MCRP ’75), many of the Berger Group’s senior managers are graduates of Rutgers University and its planning and public policy school; for over 10 years the company has provided financial and other support to the Bloustein School. Establishment of the Louis Berger Graduate Fellowship program is a means to acknowledge the company’s special relationship with the Bloustein School. The fellowship is also an opportunity to return, in a small way, the many benefits the company has gained from that relationship while renewing its commitment to the goals, mission and ideals of the Bloustein School. The four students began their respective fellowships in June.

The Fellows and their Berger assignments are:

REBECCA GERBER – PHILIPPINES

Rebecca Gerber is an MCRP student at the Bloustein School, where she is focusing on housing and community development. Prior to arriving at Rutgers, she worked on economic development and neighborhood improvement projects for two Business Improvement Districts in New York City: the Alliance for Downtown New York, Inc., in Lower Manhattan, and the Lincoln Square Business Improvement District on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Rebecca also spent a year living in Jerusalem, Israel where she served as an intern for The Jerusalem Foundation, an organization that has funded many of the city’s largest infrastructure projects, cultural centers, and educational institutions. Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., Rebecca has always been interested in the development of cities and the diversity of urban life. She received a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College in 2003, majoring in Urban Studies with a concentration in History. After living in Manhattan and Caldwell, N.J. for several years, Rebecca has recently relocated to the Philadelphia area. As a Louis Berger Group Fellow, Rebecca will spend the summer of 2010 living and working in Davao City, the Philippines, a rapidly developing city located on the eastern coast of Mindanao, the Philippines’ southernmost island. She will be working with the Workforce Development team of the Berger Group’s Growth Equity in Mindanao (GEM) program, which seeks to prepare under-served populations in the region for better employment opportunities. Rebecca is grateful for the opportunity to obtain valuable international planning experience in the Philippines this summer, and looks forward to developing a better understanding of the development and equity challenges currently facing Southeast Asia.

PATRICK JENSEN – MAURITIUS
Patrick Jensen, a first-year MCRP embodies the “Jersey Roots, Global Reach” spirit of Rutgers. Patrick was born in New Brunswick, N.J.; raised in Sayreville, N.J.; and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in computer science in 2004 from Rutgers University. After earning his bachelor’s degree, Patrick spent four and a half years working for JPMorgan Chase as part of a global software development team on a website that was used by clients throughout the world. During his time at JPMorgan Chase, Patrick worked in New York, N.Y. and Columbus, Oh. When he was not working he spent time visiting a diverse array of North American cities, which inspired him to return to school for a degree in urban planning. Since enrolling at the Bloustein School, he has focused his studies on how urban design can encourage increases in walking, cycling, and transit usage in cities and the benefits that result from increases in these economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable forms of transportation. During his Berger internship, Patrick will be spending the summer in Mauritius, an island nation off of the east coast of Africa, where he will be doing program management work on a project to expand the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport. Patrick is looking forward to applying the skills and knowledge he gained in New Jersey to projects of international importance.

STEVE MICHEJDA – COSTA RICA
Steve Michejda is an MCRP student originally from Berkeley Heights, N.J. He completed a Bachelors of Arts in Metropolitan Studies through the Individualized Concentration Program at the University of Michigan. In addition to two summer internships at NJ Transit, Steve has worked at Radin Consulting, Inc. where he prepared National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation for public transit projects. Following his collegiate experience he spent four years in the Washington, D.C. area as a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analyst at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) in the US Department of Defense. Having traveled to more than twenty countries in Europe, Asia, North America, and South America, Steve views himself as a world citizen ready to share the vision of Berger Group and “produce a positive contribution to society.” Fascinated by how people interact with the built environment both domestically and internationally, he is focusing his studies on real estate, housing, and physical planning with the prospect of working on projects that can improve the quality of life and foster a sense of community. Steve’s fellowship will provide him the opportunity to work in San Jose, Costa Rica on projects pertaining to airline capacity modeling, such as the Airline Route Development Project for the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT).

DAVID STANEK – WASHINGTON, D.C.
David Stanek is an MCRP focusing on international development and physical/environmental planning. In addition to being a full-time student, David currently works for the School’s Center for Urban Policy Research as a graduate associate and is a member of the Rutgers Association for Planning and Policy Students executive board. Born and raised in Byram Township, N.J., David studied both music composition and international relations as an undergraduate at Lehigh University. Exploring his interests in international development, he moved to Washington, D.C. where he worked for the non-profit U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. Accustomed to suburban living, it was in Washington that David discovered his appreciation for cities – the conveniences and opportunities they afford as well as the complexities and challenges they present. In the beginning of 2008, David traveled to Mauritania where he studied Arabic for eight months. Upon returning to the U.S. (and back to New Jersey), he worked as a second grade teacher’s aide before beginning his studies at the Bloustein School. David will work at the Berger Group’s international headquarters in Washington, D.C. on the Inma Agribusiness Program in Iraq, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Inma, which means “growth” in Arabic, is a comprehensive program aimed at improving the livelihoods of Iraqi farmers and bolstering Iraq’s agriculture industry. With this opportunity, David hopes to gain a valuable perspective on the development industry and discover the potential for forward-looking planners to serve an international constituency.

“These fellowships represent the latest tangible evidence of a long-standing relationship between Bloustein faculty and senior leadership of Berger Associates, which began during the mid-1970s,” said Professor and Bloustein Associate Dean Michael Greenberg. “Berger Associates is a wonderful opportunity for high energy students to begin a career in a blue-ribbon firm with opportunities all over the world."

The Louis Berger Group is an internationally recognized consulting firm that provides engineering, architecture, program and construction management, environmental planning and science, and economic development services. For nearly 60 years, they have been a devoted and trusted partner to U.S. federal, state, and local government agencies; national, provincial, and local governments; multilateral institutions; and commercial industry. To this diverse client base it brings strategic vision and an entrepreneurial spirit, developing innovative solutions to the world’s most challenging problems. The Berger Group operates around the world with a commitment to integrity and holds to the highest standards of ethics, quality, and accountability, sharing a genuine sense of respect and stewardship for the places where they work and the people whose lives they impact.