Why I love the +Policy Fellowship

I was recently awarded  funding to support my work with the amazing folks at Virginia Tech’s Office of Economic Development in our collective efforts on Vibrant Virginia, which engages and supports university faculty in exploring community and economic development in urban and rural Virginia. Vibrant Virginia examines the nexus within and among the regions of the Commonwealth with an eye towards highlighting opportunities for community stakeholders from all sectors (government, education, industry, and non-profit) to address the challenges that they face.

The +Policy Fellowship is an awesome opportunity to leverage the Vibrant Virginia work by helping us to place policy considerations front and center in our interdisciplinary project. I am thankful to be one of three people who were awarded funding for the +Policy Fellowship to embed me in the Vibrant Virginia project and use my policy expertise to increase the visibility and importance of this type of policy research at the university. More here.

 

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How and why SMMs tend not to utilize the workforce development and technical assistance resources available to them

In a new article with colleagues from Virginia Tech’s Office of Economic Development, we explore why many Small and Medium Manufacturers  in one rural region of Virginia are not taking advantage of the many workforce development and technical assistance resources available to them. Using a survey and interviews, we find that constant and consistent outreach to SMMs, regular engagement in social and economic networks, and a diverse array of services tailored to rural SMMs’ needs will play key roles in developing productive partnerships between SMMs and resource providers. More here.

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A highlight of one’s profession

Hamre graduation_2018

I’d always thought that the hooding ceremony for a PhD advisee would be a professional highlight and on Sunday, May 13, 2018 I found that to be 100% true. I was honored to hood my first student, Dr. Andrea Hamre. Though I was not technically Dr. Hamre’s chair — I was merely a stand-in for her actual chair, Dr. Kris Wernstedt, who is presently in Tanzania on a Fulbright — the feeling was still enormously rewarding. What a fun way to metaphorically pass the torch on to the next wave of scholars! A heartfelt congratulations to my own advisee, Dr. Caitlin Walter, who also graduated (though she did not walk, and hence no picture) on Sunday.

Tis’ the season for capstone defenses

I’ve been witness to two successful capstone defenses here in Alexandria this past week. The first, by James Garman (not pictured, sorry!), explored cost externalities associated with pervious pavement.  The second, by Bryan Steckler (picture below), examined the West Philadelphia Scattered Site Model, which has been used to redevelop vacant properties in residential neighborhoods. Congratulations to both James and Bryan!

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A successful dissertation defense

I am delighted to share the news that Caitlin Walter successfully defended her dissertation today. The work – entitled, “Metropolitan Areas in 1990 vs. Today – How Different Are They? An Examination of Changes in Built Form and Resident Characteristics” – explores how density has changed in the context of the overall metropolitan region and the extent to which the characteristics of residents in metros has changed as well. Her findings suggest that the suburbs-city distinction may no longer be relevant and that Millennials are not having as big of an impact on density as was predicted.

 Caitlin’s other committee members include Tom Sanchez (UAP/SPIA), John Provo (VT Office of Economic Development), and Lisa Sturtevant (Lisa Sturtevant and Associates).

Congratulations, Dr. Walter!

Caitlin Walter defense