International Transportation Expert Determined to Diversify Field
When Neville Parker graduated from City College in 1965 with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering in 1965, he didn’t have too many classmates who looked like him. He set out to contribute both as a scholar and as a mentor to underrepresented minorities and women in his field. He succeeded.
As the Herbert G. Kayser Professor of Civil Engineering at CCNY and Director of the CUNY Institute for Transportation Systems, Parker has contributed importantly the international transportation arena. He is a member of various committees of the International Road Federation, and participated in various leadership capacities at numerous North American, South American, Caribbean, African, and European conferences and workshops.
As Director of the CUNY Institute for Transportation Systems, Parker is responsible for leading a comprehensive multidisciplinary inter-college effort, which addresses transportation issues affecting the economic and social life of the city, state, and region. Institute activities include pure and applied research, the coordination and development of curriculum, policy analysis, urban and transportation systems analysis, modeling, forecasting, and professional training and development. Among the objectives of the Institute are to disseminate research findings and to serve as a resource to New York City and New York State agencies involved with transportation issues.
At the same time, Parker has never flagged in his determination to bring more underrepresented minorities and women into civil engineering and transportation. He served as the Director of Research Careers for Minority Scholars RCMS City College, where he led a college-wide effort to increase the number of minorities entering research careers in STEM fields at the post-graduate level. As Lead Principal Investigator and Director of the Alliance for Minority Participation in Science at City University, Parker is part of a CUNY-wide effort to substantially increase minority participation in science, mathematics and engineering at all levels. This work has been reinforced and supplemented over the years by his position as Director of the New York City Alliance for Minority Participation in Science, Director, Entrepreneurial Training and Technological Assistance Program, and Project Director Summer Transportation Institute.
Neville Parker’s experience has been international, like the students he teaches. After receiving his received his M.E. in Transportation Engineering from Cornell University in 1966and his Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from Cornell in 1971, Parker began his career as a Professor of Civil Engineering. His first teaching assignment was at Howard University. In 1976 he went to the University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania as a Senior Fulbright Scholar, and a year later, he was appointed Head of the Department of Civil Engineering. Parker remained at the University of Dar Es Salaam until 1988, when he returned to the United States to assume the position of Associate Director of the Institute for Transportation Systems and Professor of Civil Engineering at The City College of New York. In 1989, he was appointed Director of the Institute, as well as Acting Principal Investigator and Director of the Transportation Research Center for Federal Region II, a post he held until September of 1990.
In 2014, Parker has been awarded the 2014 Distinguished Contribution to University Transportation Education and Research Award by the Council of University Transportation Centers; the national honor recognizes individuals with a history of outstanding contributions to university transportation education and research that has benefitted transportation. Parker has been previously honored nationally for his work. In 1996, he received the Giants in Science Award from the Quality Education for Minorities Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Network.
His other honors include: Outstanding Achievement in Education from the Association of Dominican Engineers; The Mayor’s Educational Achievement Award; Black Engineer of the Year – Outstanding Educator; the International Road Federation’s Exceptional Achievement Award; and the Army Commendation Medal, presented by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.