Eno Welcomes University of Washington Ph.D. Candidate as the 2020 Thomas J. O’Bryant Fellow

The Eno Center for Transportation has selected Katherine Idziorek as our 2020 Thomas J. O’Bryant Fellow. The fellowship is designed to provide a professional development opportunity for aspiring transportation specialists. Katherine provided insight into her professional background and what led her to the Thomas J. O’Bryant Fellowship.

How did you become interested in transportation?

I started my undergraduate life as an engineering major and always used to walk by the architecture building on campus. I saw the way that the architecture students worked, modeling and building, and that tactile process really captivated me. I switched to an architecture degree and took a course on light rail transportation planning. Unlike my other architecture projects that were just focused on individual building sites, we were looking at entire neighborhoods and how travel patterns might change with the new line.

I loved working at that scale and learning how urban planning and design could shape that community. That experience molded my interest in urban design and led me to the University of Washington.

What is your research focused on?

I’m currently a Ph.D candidate in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D Program in Urban Design and Planning. My research focuses on social infrastructure and social networks that help form resilient communities. One aspect of that is understanding what disaster preparedness means for acute disasters, like the pandemic we are currently experiencing, but also chronic disasters, like systemic inequities and poverty.

Transportation is definitely my passion within urban design and planning. Before I became a Ph.D student, I was an urban design consultant in the city of Seattle, where I worked mostly on place-based transit planning and community visioning projects.

What made you apply for the fellowship?

I remember learning about Eno when I was working as a consultant. The resources that Eno provides are really useful for people in the public sector to get a quick read on what’s happening in the transportation industry. The way that Eno is able to synthesize and package complicated transportation issues is helpful.

Eno bridges the research and practice worlds, which is something I strive to do in my own work and wanted to learn more about.

Katherine Idziorek
2020 Thomas J. O’Bryant Fellow

What are you looking forward to about the fellowship?

I’m looking forward to working in Eno’s think tank environment, which is something I haven’t experienced yet in my career. It will help me better understand what working in an organization like Eno would be like and also how I could collaborate with independent organizations in the future. I’m looking forward to learning more about Eno’s perspectives on how we can improve the future of transportation.

The Thomas J. O’Bryant Fellowship provides a high-quality professional development opportunity for aspiring transportation specialists. Each summer, Eno selects a Fellow who will gain in-depth knowledge of transportation policy and practice under the guidance of Eno staff.

Along with a successful career in the financial industry, transportation policy was a large part of Thomas O’Bryant’s life and legacy. Tom was a driving force behind Eno’s Future Leaders Development Conference and devoted a significant amount of his time to serving Eno’s transportation leadership and policy research efforts. He was a member of Eno’s Board of Directors for 12 years, spending nine of those years as treasurer, and served on the Eno Board of Advisors and Regents.

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