2024 Walking College Fellows & Mentors

Walking College pop up pedestrian crossing project installation with narrowed road width, stop signs, and shorter marked pedestrian crossings.

America Walks is pleased to introduce the 2024 National Walking College fellowship class. In its ninth year, the Walking College welcomes 25 impressive candidates. This year, our popular online training program has two sections. The first is an introductory course aimed at teaching participants the basics of walkable design and policy. The second course is aimed at those with preexisting knowledge of design and policy interventions who are interested in honing organizing and advocacy skills. For the first time, the National Walking College encouraged team participation to expand grassroots efforts.

Photos and profiles of our new fellows can be found below. 

2024 Fellows

Laura Harris
New Orleans, LA

Laura Harris headshot

Laura has been an integral part of the New Orleans bicycle community, living and biking across this city since the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Having served as Bike Easy’s first intern, she has long been a part of the story of better biking in the city. From working as a pedicab driver, to doing long-distance bike tours, and living for years in the city without a car, she’s experienced the joys of life on a bike in many ways.

A League Certified Instructor and Master of Urban & Regional Planning, she serves as Bike Easy’s Education & Policy Manager, overseeing all aspects of development and management of Bike Easy’s education programs, from bringing bikes to kids in schools to working to educate drivers on safely sharing the road. She also works to support activations with the New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition as well as advocacy efforts in policy and design.  Laura believes in the power of making our cities better places for people through transforming our transportation and urban form to support a healthier community.

Sofia Moraga
Tucson, AZ

Sofia Moraga headshot

Sofía (she/her) received her BA in journalism and French from the University of Arizona where she was awarded a grant to take on an ambitious project focusing on spotlighting individuals from underrepresented communities working in and visiting our National Parks; she interviewed, photographed, and documented their stories so that others could see themselves represented in the Parks and feel more welcome. Representation, equity, and accountability are of the highest importance to Sofia, and working with LSA she hopes to help make Tucson a safer space, where people of all abilities and backgrounds can feel comfortable in their streets. Sofía is Chilena, she was born in Chile and moved to the States in 2005 at 6 years old. She has been living in Tucson for 12 years (the longest she’s lived anywhere) and calls this city her home.  When she isn’t biking, you can find her cooking, painting, attempting to write a book, enjoying time with her family and friends, or like a lizard in the sun, basking in the beauty of our Sonoran Desert.

Luticha Doucette
Rochester, NY

Luticha Doucette headshot

Luticha André Doucette is the author of the groundbreaking book: Cultivating An Intersectional Mindset. She graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Bioinformatics where she developed protein surface prediction algorithms. After graduating, she was a Fellow at the University of Rochester where she worked in a genomics lab that focused on analyzing the venom of parasitoid wasps to develop new drug therapies for various diseases. She’s the author of many reports that have been used to further advocacy locally, including Wage Disparities Across Race and Gender, and The Working Reality: Employment Barriers for Disabled People. She is a graduate of the Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Fellowship program and an AUCD Emerging Leader. An inductee into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame established by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition and the 2020 – 2021 Distinguished Alumni Awardee from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Luticha’s research and writing has been featured in various publications such as Insect Molecular Biology, Toxicon, The New York Times, and Yes! Magazine.  She is the owner of Catalyst Consulting Associates, which helps organizations, leaders, and advocates examine equity across race, gender identity, and disability in policies, practices, procedures, and relationships. She also works as the NYS OPWDD (Office of People With Developmental Disabilities) Component manager at Georgetown University’s National Center for Cultural and Linguistic Competence. In her spare time, she is a fencer, cyclist and outdoor enthusiast.

Elizabeth Floyd
Washington, D.C.

Elizabeth Floyd headshot

For the past decade, I have worked as an affordable housing advocate in Washington, D.C., currently as supervising attorney of a program that advises low- and-moderate income residents who own and run their apartment buildings as affordable housing cooperatives. 

As a child of the American suburbs, I grew up driving everywhere—even to my own mailbox.  I have gradually discovered the freedoms of not being bound to a car and dream of growing old in a better version of my city, where I can shuffle my slow way up the block to the neighborhood grocery store without fear of being plowed over by a reckless driver in the middle of the crosswalk. 

Amanda Wilson
Washington, D.C.

Amanda Wilson is a creative marketing professional living in Northwest Washington, DC. She does not own a car. In her free time, she loves cycling, reading, sailing, pilates, and working in her community garden. She is also a member of the DC Chapter of the Sierra Club where she is an active volunteer with the Zero Waste Committee and the Single Use Plastic Subcommittee. Amanda is also the chairperson of her building’s tenant association. During her fellowship with Walking College, Amanda’s goal is to become an informed advocate for road safety and walkability for herself and her neighbors. As a career communications professional, she also aims to gain insights to help strategically market and advertise walkability to the wider world.  Amanda earned her a BA in Journalism from UNC Chapel Hill and an MA in Sociology and Social Anthropology from Central European University.

Christine Lindstrom
Amherst, MA

When Christine Lindstrom moved to Amherst, MA in 2024, she looked for a neighborhood that was walkable to town, to school, and to work.  She found it.  Her family gave up their second car, saving a lot of money and freeing up resources for other things.  Unfortunately, the state of sidewalks and bike lanes in the community left her nervous for safety and puzzled about decisions regarding these ‘alternative’ modes.  That led her to the Amherst Transportation Advisory Committee, and to start up the Safe Routes to School initiative in town.  She hopes the Walking College will help her spark a movement for safer walking and biking in town.

Tynita White
Columbus, OH

Tynita M. White serves as a Policy Analyst in Columbus Public Health’s Center for Public Health Innovation in the Policy, Research, and Evaluation Section. In her role, Tynita researches best practices to inform policy and program recommendations that create and promote health equity in the built environment. Prior to joining CPH, she served as the Program Administrator of the Ohio Legislative Service Commission’s Legislative Fellowship Program, amassing nearly a decade of experience in legislative affairs and program management. Tynita is a two-time alumna of Ohio University where she earned her B.A. in Political Science and Master of Public Administration from the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service. Outside of her professional endeavors, Tynita finds joy in cycling through scenic routes and immersing herself in the soulful melodies of jazz music.

Madeline McClure
Tucson, AZ

Madeline McClure (she/her) is a writer of poetry, fiction and drama, and a daily pedestrian of the streets of Tucson, where you can find her walking her dogs along downtown sidewalks morning and night. While obtaining her Bachelor of Arts degree, Madeline studied social movements in southern Mexico and draws inspiration from the Zapatista conviction that ‘Another World is Possible’. She brings this belief into her role as Operations Manager for the transportation advocacy non-profit Living Streets Alliance, where she centers community care and organizational sustainability in this important work.

Lydia Lynch
Warren, OH

Lydia is the Health and Wellness Coordinator at Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, a community development non-profit based in Warren, Ohio that focuses on strengthening neighborhoods through quality of life programming. Since 2022, Lydia has run the healthy community store program, aided in organizing the Warren Farmers Market, and been a part of several grant opportunities surrounding healthy food and active living. Pairing her passions for public health and urban planning, Lydia has been part of Health Community Partnership’s Active Transportation team that advocates for complete green streets policies, leads bike safety demonstrations, and organizes walking groups.

Tyler Fleischman
Provo, UT

I am a young entrepreneur living in a town with a lot of potential, but mountains of work to do. As a passionate designer and marketer, I’m fascinated by the intersection of human psychology and the built environment. I advocate for human-scaled places built for people first, not machines. I firmly believe that everyone deserves safe, reliable, and comfortable neighborhoods to walk and roll in, not just for pleasure, but also as a means of genuine transportation for our daily needs. Our mindset around how we build our places should make this shift for the sake of our health, wellbeing, and economic prosperity, and I’m confident that by embracing incremental change, we can make it a reality.

Kris Kriebel
Warren, OH

Currently, Kris is a health educator at the Trumbull County Combined Health District working under the Creating Healthy Communities grant. Work revolves around policy, systems, and environmental change with a focus on healthy eating and active living strategies. Some accomplishments include but are not limited to: the creation of two active transportation plans in two separate jurisdictions, bicycle crossing and lane improvements and, currently, planning a safer streets demonstration project to highlight potential future infrastructure improvements.

Ma’isah Bateman
Takoma Park, MD

I’m a grad student at NYU, diving deep into urban planning. Currently I’m a Planning intern for the City of Takoma Park, MD, making cities cooler one step at a time! Previously, I was a Field Ambassador for Transportation Alternatives in the bustling streets of New York. My passion? Ensuring that cities are accessible, affordable, and safe for everyone.

Sunshine Bellon
Roosevelt, UT

I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah where active transportation was a big part of my life. I walked or biked to school, internships, work, or just to visit my friends or run errands. I spent my free time mountain biking on the Bonniville Shoreline Trail or touring up and down the Salt Lake Valley on the Jordan River Parkway. I rarely drove, and owning a car was not a necessity until I moved to a highway town in rural Utah nearly a decade ago. I have felt the stark difference in the kinds of employment, recreational, community, and health improving opportunities that are available in a city that, until recently, has not prioritized walkability. As an employee of Roosevelt City, I have had the opportunity to participate in the construction of a nature park and pedestrian trail, which has inspired me to learn more and become a stronger advocate for walkability, accessibility, and quality of life in my community.

Jeiri Flores
Rochester, NY

Jeiri is a Puerto Rican disability rights activist from Rochester, NY. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in the study of Sociology and African-American Studies at SUNY Brockport in 2014. Her master’s in the study of Human Development at the University of Rochester in 2023. Jeiri serves as a resource for residents in her community by connecting them to existing services and supports. As a disability advocate, Jeiri shares her unique perspective at various colleges and conferences, where she introduces attendees to the struggles and invisibility that people with disabilities face. She provides insight regarding inclusion, citizenship, disability intersectionality, and challenges that remain unaddressed by society. She hopes to influence young disabled people to fulfill their purpose and create a new narrative for what it means to be disabled.

Kaysi-Ann Webley
Takoma Park, MD

Kaysi-Ann is the Special Projects Coordinator for the City of Takoma Park. Her responsibilities include coordinating, supporting and facilitating bicycle and pedestrian safety events, programming and policy. All with the aim to lead to safer and more walking and biking for all the residents of the City. She also serves as the Safe Routes to School Coordinator for Takoma Park and has five schools of approximately 4000 students in the program. Her interest in more walkable cities is longstanding but got reignited after the birth of her son, who she loves to walk and bike with. She believes that developing more walkable cities and communities is good for health, wellness, strong communities and good for business too!

Benji Rouse
Tucson, AZ

Benji Rouse (he/they) – Anishinaabe, citizen of the White Earth Ojibwe nation, Ottertail Pillager band – is the Safe Routes Manager at Living Streets Alliance. Born in Seattle, he worked for 13 years as a crisis intervention worker with street-involved and unhoused youth and young adults, eventually getting the bike-mechanic bug when he started a bike-building and repair project to support youth experiencing urgent transportation issues. Since 2014, he’s worked at community bicycle education nonprofits in Oakland, Minneapolis, and Tucson, coordinating Safe Routes to School programs, training people in bicycle mechanics, and facilitating bike trips with youth.

Ben Hanpeter
Norwalk, CT

My name is Ben Hanpeter, and I’m passionate about building lively and safe neighborhoods that are conducive to building community. I live in Norwalk, CT, a small city of about 90,000 people an hour outside of NYC. I’m fortunate to live in the walkable neighborhood of South Norwalk, which has allowed me to start living car-free last year. I never lived in a walkable community until I was in college, and living within walking distance of friends, classes, and services helped me feel more a part of a community than I ever had before in my life. I missed this feeling when I first moved to Norwalk, so I got involved to help make Norwalk more walkable. I started by doing projects for the Norwalk Bike Walk Commission, and later helped found Sustainable Streets Norwalk, our city’s first and only advocacy group dedicated to issues of walking, biking, housing, and transit. I believe that building walkable neighborhoods is essential to building strong social connections and combating the epidemic of separation and loneliness that is growing in our country.

Shani Smith
Chicago, IL

Shani is a dynamic force for change, and has been known for her impactful presence behind the scenes as a nonviolent action strategist for numerous mass demonstrations in Chicago. Specializing in conflict exploration, nonviolent communication, and emotional and social learning curriculums, she exudes her passion for inspiring collective action and empowering communities. Shani leads with love in every aspect of her life.

In her current chapter, Shani is immersed in community building as the Director of Black Cornerstones Project while acting as the Master Curator for its StoryQuilt anthology series, weaving personal narratives to forge connections between communities. Her unique approach inspires individuals and community leaders to glean paramount lessons from their own experiences, catalyzing transformative growth.

Shani’s humanitarian efforts have been recognized by publications such as The Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, as well as in books like “Mayor 1%” and “Democracy in Black.” She has mobilized thousands of supporters around civil rights issues to dismantle structural racism, with a steadfast commitment to inclusion as the cornerstone of her work.

David Carreno
Tyler, TX

My name is David and I am passionate about making my small city a better place for walking, cycling, and the vast variety of options to roll from one place to the next. I started a group of active transport advocates in my city to bring people with the same passions together and advocate for change. I am excited to learn how we made ourselves automobile dependent, and gain some insights for what the path to reversing this dependence looks like. I’m looking forward to using what I learn in this course and using it to make my city a better, more equitable place for all modes of transport.

Emily Burnaman
Norwalk, CT

Hi, I’m Emily. I live in South Norwalk, Connecticut, embracing an eco-friendly lifestyle with my dog Bentley (not a car), and my e-bike as my primary mode of transportation. Professionally, I work as a Digital Project Manager at Snyder Group Inc., creating engaging, accessible websites to advance the missions of various organizations, ranging from non-profits to large corporations. My role involves enhancing user experiences and optimizing digital content to meet diverse marketing goals, skills critical for advocating for walkable communities.

As an active Board Member of the Norwalk River Valley Trail (NRVT), I contribute to digital marketing and content strategy to support the organization’s mission of building and maintaining a scenic 30-mile trail in Fairfield County, Connecticut. I’m also involved with the Norwalk Bike/Walk Commission, currently serving as Vice-Chair, to support bicycling and walking as safe, accessible, and sustainable transportation and recreational options. These efforts perfectly align with the Walking College’s mission to empower fellows to lead community change for pedestrian-friendly environments. Learn more about me @heyemmibee.com

Jennifer Chen
Norwalk, CT

I am a suburbanite who grew up to fall in love with cities. I flitted around many, jumping from city to city before landing in New York. In New York, I measure the dimensions of my life in city blocks and what I can reach in a 7 minute walk. But as my husband and I have expanded our family, adding a mini poodle and a human-in-training, I have sought more space. This led to a return to suburbia. In my past work life, I explored different ways of getting around when I worked on Google Maps and led product for driving, bicycling, and walking directions. There, I studied the impact of increasing congestion. We need fewer cars on the road, but not driving isn’t a viable option for most. Let’s make it one.

Jeremy Anderson, PhD.
Amherst, MA

I grew up in a small town that had bike trails that allow families to safely go to school in the morning, the beach in the afternoon, and to shopping/restaurants/entertainment in the evening, and so much more. Now that I’m the parent of two young children who love to bike, I have been trying to work with our town government to address traffic safety and have seen first-hand how backwards our current traffic guidelines are – prioritizing the speed of vehicles over the safety of communities. As a result, I’ve become a passionate advocate for pedestrian and bicycle safety, and hope that we can make our communities safer and more accessible for all members. I have a PhD in Environmental Science Policy and Management, and believe that by making our communities more accessible that we can create a calmer and safer environment for everyone to live, work, and play in.

Paul Fox
Norwalk, CT

Paul has been a keen reader on urbanism, walkability, and public transit for many years but has only recently become active in advocacy. He grew up in the Washington DC area and has fond memories of walking around downtown DC and riding the Metro, and not-so-fond memories of being isolated in his suburban Northern Virginia neighborhood surrounded by uncrossable highways.

After attending Grove City College in Pennsylvania and graduate school at University of Delaware, he has worked as an electrical engineer and looked for opportunities to advocate for walkability and public transit. After moving to Norwalk for work in 2022, he has become involved as a core member of the recently-founded Sustainable Streets Norwalk, reading and analyzing policy, speaking at public hearings and helping to organize events.

Amy McLaughlin
Detroit, MI

Amy has lived, worked, volunteered, and built her life in urban centers in Canada and the US for over 25 years. After running a design business in Toronto for fifteen years, she relocated to a central neighborhood in Detroit in 2017.

Amy has a background in design and design management, creating solutions for all audiences through listening, continual learning, outreach and engagement. She has experience developing products and spaces that cater to multiple types of users. The belief that everyone is entitled to joy, ease, access, and opportunity is fundamental to her thinking and approach.

Establishing connections and forging links in her new city, Amy became a member and vice-president of Woodbridge Citizens’ Council (WCC)–her neighborhood wide block club; volunteered with and was a past board member–now contract employee–of Woodbridge Neighborhood Development (WND) a Detroit not-for-profit economic development agency; and is actively engaged with civic processes and meetings especially pertaining to planning, development, and zoning. Additionally, she represents her neighborhood in a local-leadership network led by her City Councillor, where she sits on the housing committee.

 As a long-time walker and cyclist, Amy looks forward to diving deeper into the history and hopeful future of non-motorized transport, and bringing this knowledge back to her community by coordinating the creation of a shared vision for the improvement of a dangerous, busy highway through her neighborhood. 

Anna Piper
Columbus, OH

Anna Piper is a Certified Health Education Specialist working as a Program Manager in 2 traffic safety programs at Columbus Public Health in the Injury Prevention Program. In her role she works to prevent serious and fatal injuries on Franklin County roadways for all road user types through prevention, education, and advocacy. Anna grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio and then moved to Columbus after graduating from Miami University in 2020 where she studied Public Health Promotion and Behavioral Health and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology and Health. When Anna is not working she enjoys spending her time painting, going on hikes and walks with her dog, and more recently planning for her upcoming wedding. 

2024 Mentors

Phil Hanson
Columbus, OH

Phil Hanson is an urban planner and public health professional from Columbus, Ohio. He has focused his work on making his community a more health-promoting place for all residents through improvements to the built environment and social programs. His work for the City of Columbus began in 2015 as the City’s Walking Programs Manager, during which time he was a member of the 2016 Walking College cohort, then he worked as a Planner II in the Division of Parking Services, and since 2021 he has worked on the City’s federal Housing and Urban Development grants, particularly the Community Development Block Grant.

La Verne Parlow
Charlotte, NC

La Verne has over 24 years of public health experience.  She is a Health Education Coordinator at the Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services – Public Health Division.  In this role, she works with local governments to promote active living through policy and environmental changes.  Since 2011, she has taught health education courses at Johnson C. Smith University, North Carolina A&T State University and Clinton College.

La Verne holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Master of Health Promotion from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  She completed the Walking College in 2016.

La Verne enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, traveling, and running.  Her goal is to complete a full or half marathon in all 50 states plus DC.  To date, she has completed 31 states plus DC and has completed races in Jamaica and Bermuda.

Heyden Black Walker
Austin, TX

Heyden Black Walker (CNU-A) is Director of Planning for Black +Motal Architecture and Urban Design (formerly Black + Vernooy). Together with Sinclair Black, she co-founded Reconnect Austin, a community-based call to lower the main lanes of I-35 through Austin’s urban core, creating a vision of a reconnected city fabric which provides access to housing, jobs, medical facilities, education, and transit. Heyden manages a variety of planning projects, which include chairing the board of directors for Reconnect Austin and working to change the highway building paradigm at both the state (Texas Streets Coalition) and national (Freeway Fighters Network) levels. With the goal of human-centered transportation, increased safety, and access for all, Heyden also donates her time and advocacy efforts to the Congress for the New Urbanism, the Texas Statewide Pedestrian Safety Coalition, Austin Outside, and Safe Streets Austin. Heyden is a 2016 Walking College graduate.

Deidre Brown
St. Louis, MO

Deidre Brown is a founding member and President of the Riverview Gardens Education Foundation which serves the scholars of Riverview Gardens School District in St. Louis, MO.  She holds several degrees – a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Computer Science from Webster University, a Graduate Certificate and Master of Science in System Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla), and a Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity from Florida Institute of Technology.  Deidre has been employed with Boeing for 24 years.

Deidre has a passion for helping people be the best that they can be both academically and physically.  She is a 2016 American Walks Walking College Fellow, a Trailnet Walk/Bike Ambassador, serves as Great Rivers Greenway Advisor, and has been a GirlTrek organizer since 2012.  She has had several speaking engagements including participating as a presenter and panelist at the Great Rivers Greenway 3rd Annual Greenways Symposium in 2018 speaking on ‘Diversity and Inclusion in Parks and Recreation Programming’ and at the first Gateway Outdoor Summit in 2019 speaking on ‘Elevating Outdoor Recreational Access For All.’

Deidre promotes living an active lifestyle and acts as an advocate for making communities more livable and accessible for all.

Garrett Brumfield
Roanoke, VA

Garrett is honored to collaborate with the Walking College in his fourth year as mentor. As a person with a disability, he was first introduced to walkability/rollability space as a fellow in the Walking College in 2018. He has since created and co-facilitated many walk and roll audits alongside change makers from around the country in an effort to make communities more inclusive, accessible and livable for all. Prior to this, he founded his motivational movement, Overcome Yours, in 2014 as a way to educate, empower and advocate alongside various local, state and national organizations. He lives in Roanoke, Virginia and spends his free time hanging out with his puppy, attending festivals and doing sit down comedy.