Walking College

Walking College

The Walking College offers participants an opportunity to hone their skills and knowledge around creating vibrant, safe, accessible communities for all. Paired with experienced advocates, fellows learn about the historical underpinnings of the car-centric transportation landscape, the basics of design and policy of non-motorized transportation, and develop essential leadership skills.  


Past student projects:

  • Developed walking school bus programs to promote non-motorized travel to school
  • Created awareness campaigns to raise the profile of walkability challenges and benefits
  • Used the arts to make communities more people-friendly
  • Conducted comprehensive audits to aid in prioritizing improvements
  • Implemented Complete Streets policies

Annual Timeline:

  • New applicant admissions opens in February 
  • Fellowships are awarded in late March
  • Courses run from May through early September
  • Final Action Plans are due in mid-October
  • Graduation/diplomacy takes place in December

How to Apply

We welcome all candidates that demonstrate a basic understanding of the importance of walkability and a desire to become more effective in advocating for positive change. There are no restrictions on age or professional background and we actively seek out candidates with a diversity of life experiences. 

Requirements:

  • $100 registration fee for accepted fellows (exceptions are made in cases of demonstrated financial hardship)
  • Commitment of 5-10 hours per week
  • Attendance at all group and mentoring sessions
  • Completion of a Walking Action Plan by program closing

Applications for 2022 are now closed.

For more information about the program application or other questions about the program, contact Walking College Program Manager Emilie Bahr. Email Emilie.

Mentors

Deidre Brown

Girl Trek Organizer, Advocate for Education Equity, Community Advocate, St. Louis, MO

Deidre 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 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.

Phil Hanson

MPH, MCRP, Planner II, City of Columbus

Phil is an urban planner for the City of Columbus, and previously worked as the City’s Walking Programs Manager for four years. He was a 2016 Walking College Fellow. As Walking Programs Manager, Phil oversaw the City’s Walk with a Doc and Columbus Art Walk programs, providing safe and enjoyable walking opportunities for Columbus residents. He also led the City’s first application for the Walk Friendly Communities designation, which resulted in a Silver level award.

Jeanne Anthony

Independent Consultant, Washington, DC

Jeanne is a national leader in developing strategies and resources to help communities implement safe, walkable streets, better housing and transportation options, access to key services, and opportunities for older residents to participate in community activities. Previously, as a Senior Project Advisor with AARP’s Livable Communities team, she developed and managed the AARP Network of Age Friendly Communities as well as the Technical Assistance program delivered in partnership with the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute.

Mukul Malhotra

Board member, America Walks; Principal and Director of Urban Design, MIG Inc., Berkeley, CA

Mukul has over 15 years of experience in urban design, planning and architecture, with a special interest in streetscape design and the pedestrian experience. A board member with America Walks and Principal and Director of Urban Design with MIG Inc., he is one of the creators of re:Streets – a multi-disciplinary collaboration that explores ways streets could be designed for living, instead of just driving.

Ana M. Lucaci

MPH, Walk2Connect Co-op Member-Owner, Made2Walk Founder/Owner, Longmont, CO

Ana is a 2017 graduate of the Walking College and she successfully launched her Walking Action Plan, Made2Walk, into a program educating motorists on how to keep pedestrians safe in traffic and within the built environment. She is a core-owner of Walk2Connect Cooperative and has recently been appointed by the Longmont City Council to serve as a Commissioner on Longmont’s Planning and Zoning Committee.

Lidwien Rahman

Former Oregon Department of Transportation Principal Planner and veteran Board member at Oregon Walks, Portland, OR

Born and raised in the Netherlands, Lidwien has been a land use and transportation planner in Oregon since 1981. She recently retired from the Oregon Department of Transportation where she worked to develop local plans for walkable, bikeable, and transit-supportive compact mixed use neighborhoods. An avid walker, hiker, bicyclist, and traveler, she has been a Board member and Plan and Projects Committee Chair with the advocacy organization Oregon Walks for 15+ years.

Dan Suraci

AICP, Industry leader in bicycle and transit integration; Principal of Urban Cycling Solutions

Dan is a strategic thinker and pragmatic leader with a proven track record of management results across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. As CEO and founder of Urban Cycling Solutions, Dan is a nationally recognized expert on equitable mobility solutions and active connections to transit; working in collaboration with more than 30 transit agencies across the country, Dan led the development of APTA’s national guide for Bicycle and Transit Integration.

Heyden Black Walker
(MSCRP, CNU-A)

Director of Planning, Black + Vernon Architecture and Urban Design

Hayden is Director of Planning for Black + Vernooy Architecture and Urban Design. Together with Sinclair Black, she co-founded Reconnect Austin, a community-based call to lower the main lanes of I-35 through downtown Austin, creating a vision of the highway rebuild that reconnects neighborhoods, while providing multi-modal access to jobs, medical facilities, transit, and civic resources. Heyden is a fellow of the National Walking College.

La Verne Partlow

Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services – Public Health Division

La Verne is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina and has over 24 years of local and state public health experience. She works for the Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services – Public Health Division and is an adjunct professor at three area college campuses. She holds a Master of Education in Health Promotion from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

La Verne enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and traveling. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and is already more than half way toward her goal of completing a full or or half marathon in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Her motto is: “Be good. Do good. Leave the world better off than you found it.”

Daniel Price

Executive Director of Mosaic Community Land Trust

Daniel is the executive director of Mosaic Community Land Trust, a 501c3 nonprofit focused on improving quality of life for residents in the Borough of Pottstown through community gardens, community land trust housing, and community arts. A graduate of Kutztown University with a degree in elementary education, Daniel is a member of Kutztown’s Alumni Council Leadership, and spent over a decade working for John Rafferty in the Pennsylvania Senate and managing economic development programs in downtown West Chester. Daniel was a 2019 America Walks Walking College Fellow and will be pursuing his masters in nonprofit leadership at the University of Pennsylvania this fall. He is passionate about endurance sports, mindfulness meditation, art, music, writing, reading and cooking. He lives with his parents, his dog Marley and several chickens and ducks on a family property called Grace’s Garden that operates as a retreat for people in times of transition. 

Arlis Reynolds

Board member, America Walks; Costa Mesa Council Member

Arlis is in her first term as a city council member in Costa Mesa, California, representing the district where she grew up and spent her childhood exploring parks and neighborhoods with her friends on foot and by bike. Her council priorities include building meaningful engagement in local government, advancing active transportation and sustainability policies, and enhancing parks and community spaces. She serves as the Council Liaison to the City’s Bikeway and Walkability Committee and hosts monthly community bike rides and walks. Professionally, Arlis is a clean energy engineer focused on research and evaluation to decarbonize our energy grid. Her extracurriculars include environmental advocacy, rowing, and playing pickup soccer wherever she can find it. She has degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and UCI Paul Merage School of Business. Arlis participated in the Walking College in 2019.

Louise Lockett Gordon

Board member, America Walks; Director of Bike Walk RVA for Sports Backers

Louise is an avid runner and beholden to her two dogs’ walking whims. She believes that walking should be the foundation of healthy transportation networks and that all people should be able to get to where they want or need to go with dignity. She served as a senior epidemiologist for a local Virginia health district before transitioning to advocacy work to promote healthier built environments. As the director of Bike Walk RVA, she is responsible for advocating and mobilizing support to encourage the construction of more safe, convenient, and connected places for people to bike and walk. Louise has served as a run coach with Girls On The Run, Black Girls RUN!, and Sports Backers’ Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K training team. She is an active member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and has a masters in public health from Eastern Virginia Medical School, a degree in neuroscience from the College of William and Mary, and in 2019, was recognized by the WTS Advancing Women in Transportation – Central Virginia chapter as an Innovative Transportation Solution award recipient. She currently serves on the board of America Walks. 

Ashton Simpson

Board member, America Walks; Executive Director of Oregon Walks

Ashton is a community organizer, former U.S. Air Force civil engineering technician, a graduate of Portland State University’s Community Development program, and the executive director of Oregon Walks. As a progressive Black man who grew up in Houston, he has seen firsthand the unequal development present in our pedestrian infrastructure and the dangers this presents for vulnerable communities. Ashton has had the privilege of working on transportation justice in Portland. He is engaged with the City of Portland’s Pricing Options for Equitable Mobility Task Force, the Rose Lane Advisory Committee, and is the co-chair of the Fixing Our Streets Oversight Committee. Ashton also advocated for safer streets on the county level. He believes that transportation funding should be aimed at decreasing our dependence on auto-oriented mobility, promoting pedestrian connectivity and access, and achieving climate-action goals. He is a member of the America Walks Board of Directors.

Past Mentors

Wendy Landman

Board member, America Walks; Executive Director, WalkBoston, Boston, MA

Wendy has served as Executive Director of WalkBoston since 2004. She led the organization’s growth into a statewide advocacy presence and works with leaders in state and municipal government as well as the non-profit community. Ongoing initiatives include technical assistance to municipal staff and local advocates; design review of transportation, smart growth and development projects around the state; and Safe Routes to School programs. Wendy serves on the Board of America Walks and is a member of the Coordinating Committee for the national Every Body Walk! Collaborative.

Faye Paige Edwards

MBA & MA, Community Health Worker, GirlTrek Team Organizer, St. Louis, MO

Faye was a 2016 Walking College Fellow, where she advocated for the passage of a St. Louis traffic calming ordinance and continues to work to improve walking/biking infrastructure with an equity lens. Faye champions a built environment that promotes physical activity, spreading the joy of intergenerational play, walking and biking to African-American women, and anyone who wants to be active with them.

Ian Thomas

State and Local Program Director, America Walks

Ian served on the America Walks Board of Directors for seven years, until his appointment as our State and Local Program Director in September 2014. In 2000, he co-founded the PedNet Coalition of Columbia MO, and led the organization as its Executive Director for 13 years. He is a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council.

Michia Casebier

President, M.G. Tech-Writing, LLC, Cottonwood, AZ

A certified Safe Routes to School (SRTS) National Course instructor and a League of American Bicyclists League Cycling Instructor, Michia works as a consultant developing multimodal transportation programs across the U.S. and participated as a Key Informant on America Walks’ Inclusive Planning in Tribal Communities: Engaging People with Disabilities in Designing Safe and Accessible Transportation Systems white paper. 

Geraldolyn Horton-Harris

Social Equity Consultant, Geraldolyn Horton-Harris & Associates, LLC; Community Advocate, Chicago, IL

Geraldolyn was a 2016 Walking College Fellow. As a neighborhood advocate in Denver, she spearheaded an initiative to revitalize Mestizo Curtis Park, resulting in more than one million dollars in improvements, by managing a partnership including the Trust For Public Land, Denver Parks and Recreation, and Groundwork Denver. Geraldolyn was also a founding staff member of Americorps National Civilian Community Corps (Denver Campus).


State Walking Colleges

With the generous support of AARP Livable Communities, America Walks is expanding opportunities for community change agents to build capacity, learn about best practices, and develop a network of peer mentors, by rolling out new state Walking College programs.