CTEDD Student of the Year

(Council of University Transportation Centers)

For the past 25 years, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has honored an outstanding student from each active University Transportation Center (UTC) at a special ceremony held during the TRB Annual Meeting. During this event, students are recognized for their outstanding accomplishments in three major areas: technical merit and research capability, academic performance and leadership.


2020 – Ladan Mozaffarian, University of Texas at Arlington

Ladan Mozaffarian is a second-year doctoral student in the Urban Planning and Public Policy at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). Coming from a background in architecture and landscape architecture, she chose to pursue a Ph.D. in urban planning because of its interdisciplinary nature.

As a Ph.D. student in Urban Planning and Public Policy, she is interested in knowing how cities will shape, and be shaped, by their human inhabitants. Accordingly, she has developed a research interest in innovation districts as living laboratories for understanding how technology and innovation bring economic development to cities, and what are the social and environmental impacts of innovation districts on cities.

Ladan works as a Graduate Research Assistant at CTEDD, under the mentorship of Dr. Roya Etminani-Ghasrodashti. She has contributed to studies on medical transportation, machine learning, innovation districts, TOD development, and transit planning.


2019 – Brian Staes, University of South Florida

Brian Staes, E.I., is a graduate research assistant under the direction of Dr. Robert L. Bertini at the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) located at the University of South Florida. He is currently working on an assessment of highway operations in the State of Florida and California during both large-scale notice and no-notice evacuations.

He graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) with a bachelor’s in civil engineering in 2018. While attending FGCU he was an engineering teacher’s assistant and an active member in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). His area of focus for his master’s is transportation engineering and he is currently working on his master’s thesis which will identify variations in limited access facility traffic flow theory during evacuations.

He plans on pursuing a PhD at the University of South Florida under the direction of Dr. Robert L. Bertini.


2018 – Thomas Scott, University of Texas at Arlington

Thomas Scott completed his Bachelors in Anthropology in 2015. He interned with the Texas Historic Preservation Department in 2016, getting a firm basis in historic preservation and its influence on new development.

In 2016, he began his Masters in Public Administration at the University of Texas at Arlington and started working for CTEDD at the beginning of 2018. There, he worked under Dr. David Weinreich on the Transportation Governance Index, researching transportation infrastructure and locating how transit if funded and how they are fragmented across the country.


2017 – Somayeh Moazzeni, University of Texas at Arlington

Somayeh Moazzeni is a Ph.D. student in the Urban Planning and Public Policy program at the University of Texas at Arlington. She has worked on research with a variety of topics including walkability, housing and transportation affordability, transit system efficiency and access to opportunities.

Somayeh is one of the top doctoral students and has experience with advanced GIS analysis and quantitative research methods. Somayeh has successfully completed her required courses for the doctoral program and is currently developing her dissertation on transportation equity. She has produced a number of research papers and has presented her research in several conferences including TRB and ACSP.