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APTF Fundraiser and Scholarship Reception



On Sunday, October 8, 2017 from 8 to 11 p.m. the APTF will hold a fundraiser and  reception to honor Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., APTA's incoming 2017-2018 Chair. The reception will be held in conjunction with the APTA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Atlanta, GA. 

All conference registrants are invited to join the 2017 APTF scholarship recipients, sponsors, and friends at an inspired event celebrating the future of transit. 


Please bring a gift for the foundation; all donations will directly support the APTF’s mission to provide scholarships and engagement opportunities to the future leaders of the transit industry.​ RSVP requiredPlease click the link below to RSVP for the reception.


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Two shuttle buses will run between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. to bring attendees to the reception (approximately 1.0 mile). 

Pick up: Marriott Marquis (265 Peachtree Center Ave NE) Courtland St. Entrance- lower level of hotel 

Drop off: Ventanas (275 Baker Street) 

Return transportation will not be provided.


Reception Sponsors:


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APTF Scholar Spotlight 

Since its inception in 1988 the American Public Transportation Foundation has awarded over $1,000,000 in scholarships in pursuit of the APTF's mission of increase and retain the number of individuals choosing the transit field as a career. This spotlight shines on the scholars and professionals who have received awards and shares how they have progressed in the industry. ​ 

Kelly Glenn

Service Planner, Sound Transit
Seattle, WA

APTF Board Scholarship Recipient


1. Why public transportation? 

Transportation, for better or worse, impacts everyone’s daily life. I’ve lived car-free for seven years while living in three different states, and my experience with public transportation has varied widely. Public transportation has given me the opportunities to visit friends and family, support myself financially while in school, live in a big city like New York, and even just relax and read a book on my way to work.  All this and more has been possible because of public transportation. While living in New York, I realized my penchant for providing subway directions to tourists could be useful in a career where it was important to understand routes and connections and my interest for public transit flourished.  

2. What are your career goals for the next five years, and longer term? 
I’ve already accomplished one goal – getting a job! After I graduate in May, I’ll be working as a service planner at Sound Transit in Seattle. I’m looking forward to being part of various innovative projects that are transforming Seattle into a transit-friendly city, such as the expansion of the light rail and the BRT network. Seattle is an ever-growing city with a lot of momentum moving forward. I am excited to contribute to the service that makes getting around the city via public transportation more accessible, and not just in and out of downtown. 

As for long term goals, I hope to obtain a managerial position which will allow me to further develop my leadership skills. I also enjoy public speaking, and I’d like to hold a position where I can present regularly to large audiences about my work in the transit industry. 

3. How do you plan to leverage your scholarship to help you reach your career goal? 
This scholarship has already helped me reach various career goals by allowing me to attend the APTA conference and discover the wide range of careers that involve public transit. I am about to start my first post-grad school job in transit, and I believe that being awarded this scholarship has given me the confidence to explore more of those options. 

4. How can the industry encourage more young professionals to seek careers in public transportation?
I believe my generation needs to know that public transit has a future and will continue to be funded if they are going to invest their careers in it. With the rise of new technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, people are speculating that we may not need transit anymore. I don’t believe that to be true, but we do need to continue to show the world why public transit is so important in many people’s lives.

5. What does the future of public transportation look like from your vantage point? 
Public transportation is as relevant today as it has ever been. With city populations expanding and growing income inequality, public transit will be changing as well. As an industry, we need to improve ways to leverage technology to help solve the “first and last mile” issue and how to integrate with TNCs, car share, and bike share. Public transit is still the most efficient way to transport many people with minimal congestion, and even the most efficient single-occupancy vehicles in the world couldn’t supersede that. 

6. What would readers be surprised to learn about you? 
I love to swing dance!

7​. What would you tell APTA members who don’t know much about the APTF? 
The APTF is putting public transportation on students’ radars and is encouraging young people to get involved. It has also raised awareness among our family and friends who were not aware that public transit was its own industry. And, of course, the scholarship has been a tremendous help. 


APTF to Award Record Amount of Scholarship Funds​ 

The American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) Board of Directors will award $149,000 in scholarship funds—a record amount of funds dispersed—to 29 students and public transit professionals at a special ceremony on Tuesday afternoon during the Annual Meeting. 

These funds bring the total amount of scholarship money awarded since the foundation’s 1988 inception to more than $1 million. APTF will also award one new named scholarship for the first time: the James “Jim” Cowen Scholarship, which was fully funded in 2016. This scholarship was created in memory of APTA Hall of Fame member Jim Cowen, who served as general manager and chief executive officer of TriMet in Portland, OR, and The Bus in Honolulu. 

The APTF board also selected recipients of this year’s new single-year scholarships, which are unique for the foundation because they are non-endowed, titled scholarships created and awarded in the same year. The six scholarships to be awarded this year are the Dora M. Boswell and John K. Reimer Scholarship, the Mineta Transportation Institute/American Public Transportation Foundation Joint Scholarship, three Leadership APTA Class of 2017 Scholarships and the Cubic Transportation Systems Inc. Scholarship. 
Please visit the Current Scholars page​ to see the 2017 APTF Scholarship Recipients



Help Scholars go BACK TO SCHOOL

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​It’s Back to School time and with that comes a focus on students, at all levels, and their advancement.

The greatest issue facing the public transportation industry is workforce development; leaders are retiring or otherwise leaving the industry faster than qualified replacements can be recruited and trained.

The American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) is working to address this problem by providing financial assistance to students who are pursing education in a transit-related area of study or are already employed in the industry and seeking to advance. 

 In 2016 the APTF awarded $130,000 in scholarships to 27 scholars and professionals working in public transportation. The APTF would not be able to support the next generation of transit leaders without the generous support of corporate sponsors and individual donors.

The goal of the BACK TO SCHOOL Annual Giving Campaign is to raise $50,000, which will allow the Foundation’s Board of Directors to increase both the size and number of scholarships that we are able to award over the coming year.


To donate, please click on the campaign flyer or visit the Donate Now link.​


APTF Offering Single-Year Scholarships


The American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) is pleased to announce the creation of a Single-Year Scholarship program. These scholarships are unique for the foundation because they are non-endowed, titled scholarships that are created and awarded in the same year. This program was created for individuals and organizations who would like to create an APTF sponsorship but may not have the budget to meet the $50,000 commitment necessary for a permanent, named scholarship. 


Did You Know.jpgSingle-Year Scholarships start at $5,000 and the program offers some flexibility for the donor(s). Scholarships may be funded by a single organization or individual, or through multiple smaller contributions. Individual donors contributing less than the $5,000 minimum (but at least $2,000) may fund a jointly-named scholarship, i.e., the Smith-Jones Scholarship. Contributions in multiples of $5,000 may be used to fund additional scholarships in succeeding years or to fund multiple scholarships in one year. Donors will be recognized in APTF materials and announcements as well as at the APTF scholar ceremony at the APTA Annual meeting. Donors will also have the opportunity to suggest scholar selection criteria for their scholarship, i.e. area of study, geographical location, etc.


Single year scholarship recipients will be chosen along with the named scholarships at the APTF Board’s scholarship selection meeting in August.  The scholarships will be awarded during the following APTA Annual Meeting. Additional information may be found on the program flyer​. If are interested in sponsoring a Single-Year Scholarship, or if you have any questions, please contact Lindsey Robertson at 



APTF 2017 - What's Next:


The American Public Transportation Foundation made great strides in 2016, and with your help, we are well on our way to making 2017 even more successful.  Examples of the progress being made this year include:

  • Fully funding the James Cowen Scholarship. As a result of the hard work and personal commitment of APTF Board Member Rick Simonetta, the Cowen Scholarship is now fully funded, which will allow the first scholarship bearing his name to be awarded this October.
  • Awarding our first Single-Year Scholarships. Thanks to the generosity of the Leadership APTA Class of 2017, we will be able to award single-year scholarships named in honor of Joe Niegoski, long-time Program Manager; the Leadership APTA Committee; and the Class of 2017 itself.
  • Establishing our first University Partner Scholarship.  Implementing the suggestion made several years ago by Board Member Alan Wulkan, APTF will join forces with the Mineta Institute to offer at least one scholarship that is jointly funded by the Foundation and the Institute.
  • Developing a new Strategic Plan. Building on the work done three years ago by Barbara Gannon, Crystal Lyons, the New Initiatives Committee, under the leadership of Board Member Anne Louise Rice, is working hard to complete the Foundation’s first true Strategic Plan.

Please consider contributing to the Foundation so that we can continue to fulfill our mission to increase and retain the number of individuals choosing the transit field as a career by providing scholarships and engagement opportunities to deserving students and transit professionals – our future leaders.


2016 AP​TF Scholars Celebrated at the APTA Annual Meeting



On September 13, the APTF presented scholarships to the 27 scholars at the 2016 APTA Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, CA. A total of $130,000 in academic scholarships was awarded, the highest amount in the history of the Foundation.


​At the ceremony the APTF recognized the recipients of the inaugural Valarie J. McCall and Bombardier scholarships:


Golda Speyer is the recipient of the Valarie J. McCall scholarship and is sponsored by the National Transit Institute at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Golda will use the scholarship to assist her as she completes her Master's Degree in transportation planning while working full-time in a local planning agency. She hopes pursue a career as a transportation land use planner.

(Pictured left to right: APTA President and CEO, Dick White, APTF Board Chair, Jennifer Mitchell, Golda Speyer, APTA Immediate Past Chair, Valarie McCall, Paul Larrousse, APTA Chair, Doran Barnes)​​​​​​​


Coleman_Cristal.jpgCristal Coleman is the recipient of the Bombardier Scholarship and is sponsored by HDR. Cristal is thankful to Bombardier and the APTF for providing the scholarship, which will help her as she works to complete her degree in Construction Management at the University of the District of Columbia.


The APTF also offered a one-time scholarship in 2016 in the name of Clarence “Cal” Marsella. As General Manager at RTD in Denver, Cal championed and directed FasTracks, a project nationally recognized for its innovation and vision. APTA recognized his outstanding work by naming him Outstanding Public Transportation Manager in 2006. The scholarship offered in Cal’s name was made possible by his family and his wife Sheri, who requested that donations be made in his memory to the foundation.  

Jacob Neu is the recipient of the Cal Marsell​a scholarship and is sponsored by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. As a veteran, Jacob is honored to receive the scholarship in Cal’s name, which will help him as he completes his degree in Civil Engineering​.


See the full list of 2016 APTF Scholars 

Our Mission: 'To increase and retain the number of individuals choosing the transit field as a career by providing scholarships and engagement opportunities to deserving students and transit professionals - our future leaders.'​ 

American Public Transportation Foundation
1300 I Street NW
Suite 1200 East
Washington, DC 20005


Phone: 202.496.4818