By Brenden Resnick, BUPD 2023

This summer, I worked as a community planner student trainee for the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. The Volpe Center, based in Cambridge, Mass., is a multidisciplinary agency of the United States Department of Transportation, completing work in every aspect of transportation. The center acts as a consultant for public and private sector partners, including other federal agencies, state governments, and non-profit organizations. Some projects that the center provides support on include federal grant programs, safety programs, and RFI development.

I worked within the Program Development and Capacity Building Division, with projects spanning several sponsors. I conducted a case study on the efficacy of a rural planning organization for the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration’s Transportation Planning and Capacity Building joint program. For the Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods grant program, I developed required website information for the updated grant structure and provided technical assistance on the nationwide webinars directed towards stakeholders and potential applicants. For the National Park Service, I completed a literature review for developing a report for a Transportation Safety Management system for the agency. Additionally, I reviewed submitted plans for the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) grant program.

Over the course of the summer, I also had the opportunity to travel for work. One project had me travel to Zion National Park, to conduct a road safety audit for the park. I aided in setting up locations for traffic counts and noted concerns about the main park roadway. When I was not clocked in for work, I was able to hike and explore around the park. It was my first time in Utah, and I can’t wait to go back! Additionally, I was able to spend a week at the Volpe Center campus in Cambridge, gaining in-person experience after working remotely for most of the summer. There, I was able to get a tour of their brand-new facility, which opened this past October.

In January, I will be joining the Volpe Center as a community planner full-time. My internship was part of the Federal Pathways Program, which creates paths to federal employment for college students or recent college graduates. I first learned about this program from an email from the Christine Rhine in the Department of Urban Planning at CAP, and I am very thankful to have had this opportunity to pursue what I am passionate about.

Fun fact: We share job openings and internship opportunities with our awesome students nearly every day. If you’re looking for a planner, write us at