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September 9, 2005



NEW YORK, September 9, 2005 – Chen Li and Li Wei, graduate students at The City College of New York (CCNY), are among four winners of the inaugural September 11 Memorial Program Awards for Transportation Planning presented by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC). 

The awards, which honor the memory of three Council employees killed at the World Trade Center, Ignatius Adanga, Charles Lesperance and See Wong Shum, were presented at a ceremony yesterday at the NYMTC offices in Manhattan.  They encourage innovation in planning activities throughout metropolitan New York by recognizing talented students with interest in transportation technology and planning.

Ms. Chen and Ms. Li, along with recipients from Columbia University and Rutgers University, will each receive a one-year, $34,000 stipend for tuition and expenses.  Four other winners from academia and industry will receive planning awards.

The two natives of China said the experience garnered from the one-year fellowships would augur well for their future careers as transportation researchers and educators.

“I am delighted,” said Ms. Chen, a resident of Jersey City, who began her Ph.D. program in Civil Engineering at The City College this fall. “The program offers me an excellent opportunity to work in the transportation sector in New York City.”

As part of the program, she will intern with the West Side Manhattan Traffic and Transportation Study at the New York City Department of Transportation.  Her work will entail examining different modes of transportation and safety and land-use issues in a rapidly evolving area on the edge of the region’s central business district.  A native of Fuzhou in southeast China, Ms. Chen wrote in her application essay about similarities of the transportation challenges in New York and her home city.

Ms. Li, who is in her third semester as a doctoral student, thanked her mentor, City College Civil Engineering Professor Cynthia Chen, for her guidance.  “If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have won the award,” said the Manhattan resident.

In one project, Ms. Li will develop accessibility indicators to such activities as medical services and grocery stores for the region’s aging population, comparing travel times and range of travel choices for drivers and users of public transportation and para transit services.  A native of Huang Gang in southern China, Ms. Li discussed ways alleviate traffic congestion in busy centers like New York and her hometown, where she once nearly bicycled into a policeman at a busy intersection, in her application essay.


The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council is an association of governments and transportation providers.  It serves New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley.  NYMTC provides a collaborative planning forum to address transportation issues from a regional perspective and plans and makes decisions on the use of federal transportation funds.  The NYMTC region encompasses an area of 2,440 square miles and a population of 11.3 million, approximately 65 percent of New York State’s population. 

About The City College of New York

For 158 years, The City College of New York has provided a high-quality affordable education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Over 12,200 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Science, the School of Education, the School of Architecture, the School of Engineering, and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education.