Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

2016 APTF 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 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 Marsella 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​.


Help Scholars go BACK TO SCHOOL

back to school_Page_1.jpgIt’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.​

James Cowen Memorial Scholarship 

James “Jim” Cowen loved APTA and contributed to Association and the public transportation industry throughout his notable transit career. Jim is a member of the APTA Hall of Fame, former APTA Chair, and served as General Manager/CEO of Tri-Met in Portland and The Bus in Honolulu.

Shortly after his death in 2005, Reba Malone, who was Chair of APTA when the APTF was formed in 1988, created The James Cowen Scholarship Fund in an attempt to raise $50,000 for a permanently endowed named scholarship. Since then many have contributed to the Fund in an effort to reach the required $50,000 to fully endow the James Cowen Scholarship Fund. After more than ten years we are only half way to our goal with $25,000 contributed. To become a permanent named scholarship, the James Cowan Scholarship Fund must be fully funded by the end of 2016. Mr. Rick Simonetta of the Burns Engineering, Inc., and 25-year member of the APTF Board, has taken on the challenge to lead the effort to achieve full funding in 2016. As noted by Mr. Simonetta “[Jim] was an inspiration and a visionary at a time when our industry was positioned to make great strides across many fronts. Much was accomplished under his leadership.” ​

Please see our Memorial Giving​ page to learn how you can make a donation in Jim Cowen's name.  
APTF 2016 - What's Next
APTF made great strides in 2015. With your help, we will make 2016 even more successful. 

To develop the transit workforce of the future, we need to do the following:
  • Expand our outreach and engage our past scholars to ensure potential scholarship recipients are aware of the program; 
  • Grow our asset base so we can grant more scholarships and make larger awards; and 
  • Increase our visibility in the industry so there is a greater understanding of our mission.
Please consider making a contribution to the foundation so that we can continue to fulfill our mission of increasing and retaining 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. ​ 

Please donate to the American Public Transportation Foundation today!

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: 202.496.4803