Graduated in 2016
Armed with a Master’s in Urban Sociology, Elizabeth Williams was looking for a PhD program that was affiliated with policy-based research centers, and she found her home at The Dukakis Center in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. From day one, she took advantage of the various teaching, research, and project opportunities she had at her disposal and her experience resulted in a fruitful career in transportation equity work after graduation. She still looks back fondly at her time at Northeastern as the institution that gave her the resources and skills that led her to where she is now.
Related Schools & Departments
Elizabeth wanted to pursue her PhD at Northeastern because it was home to the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy. She admired its vast research affiliations and innovative faculty network.
She took an intro foundational urban sociology course with Professor Liza Weinstein, and appreciated how it delved deep into various issues and expanded her interest in the field.
She was a research analyst for five years, tackling multiple projects on education, housing, and workforce development. She also worked extensively with Dukakis Center staff on transportation policy.
In her first year, she worked with Shelley Kimelberg on a project that got published in Growth and Change: A Journal of Urban and Regional Policy – her first time getting published in a scholarly journal.
She was a teaching assistant in the College of Professional Studies for a year, working with mid-career professionals from a wide range of backgrounds, an experience that she says inspired her own work.
She worked on “The Toll of Transportation,” a participatory research project that addressed transportation equity. This ultimately crystalized what Elizabeth wanted to pursue as a career.
Through connections from her time at Northeastern, she landed jobs in transportation equity work at UMass Donahue Institute and the MBTA. She is currently the Director of Data and Policy at MassDOT.
“It’s funny, because we’re often on calls, and we realize at some point that every single person on the call is a Northeastern person, either across MassDOT or the T. Northeastern casts a wide net. When I say that you have a built-in network because you went to Northeastern, it’s your students, your co-workers, but also your professors and other colleagues that you’ve worked with. Most of my professional experiences in Boston have been offshoots of Northeastern.”
More Student Paths
- Savita is from Boston and is a graduate of the Boston Latin School.
- Originally a Cultural Anthropology major, Savita later became an English major with minors in Africana Studies and Writing Studies.
- Through the service-learning course, Boston in Literature, Savita volunteered with 826 Boston to tutor in English. She is now a service-learning teaching assistant.
- For her final project in Post-Colonial Women's Writers with Professor Aljoe, she researched Carnival and its cultural significance to Trinidad and Tobago.
- Inspired by Professor Aljoe, Savita joined the Early Caribbean Digital Archive, working on an exhibit about Caribbean Carnival and creating and gathering teaching materials.
- In 2020, she began a co-op with the Africana Studies program to learn more about the field of Black Studies.
- Savita wants to work to better her own community. In the future, she hopes to become a high school teacher or a college professor. ..
- Andrew grew up in Japan, and decided to pursue his undergraduate degree back in the U.S.
- Andrew applied to Northeastern as a Business major. As his high school career came to a close, he became more interested in Japanese politics, history, and social issues.
- When thinking about what truly engaged him, Andrew felt that Asian Studies and Political Science was a better fit and switched his major to Asian Studies.
- Andrew connected with Professor Daniel Aldrich after meeting him at a presentation of his book at the institute for social sciences at Tokyo University.
- From his first day of classes, Professor Aldrich encouraged and helped Andrew get involved in research projects.
- During his first semester, Professor Aldrich paired Andrew with Tim Fraser, a PhD candidate in Political Science with strong interests in disaster resilience in Japan.
- With Tim, Andrew collected biographical information on the committee members on all the reconstructional committees on municipal, prefectural, and national level. ..
- Emerson wanted a contextualized Political Science degree, and applied to Northeastern specifically for the PPE (Politics, Philosophy, and Economics) program.
- "Introduction to Economic Justice" with Professor Serena Parekh was one of Emerson's favorite courses, allowing her to study economic justice from a philosophical lens.
- Emerson was accepted by the Roosevelt Institute to do financialization research at Northeastern, examining economic priorities.
- Emerson also started a research thesis her freshman year to look at the link between modern dystopian literature and the the rise of female-led political movements.
- When Emerson found out about the HCL (History, Culture, and Law) major, she was immediately interested in adding the major to enhance her PPE studies.
- The Culture & Colonialism concentration allowed Emerson to double-credit and to develop the breadth of knowledge needed for someone who wants to work at the State Department.
- In January 2020, Emerson founded NU's Interdisciplinary Women's Collaborative (IWC) with the help of mentor and advisor Heather Hauck...
Charles T. Wallace-Thomas IV
- Charles chose to attend Northeastern because he was intrigued by the signature co-op program and wanted a curriculum that combined real-world experience without compromising thorough academic rigor.
- Initially an engineering student, Charles switched to a combined major in Economics and Mathematics to build upon his interest in economic and social justice work. He also has a minor in psychology.
- In his first year, Charles took Sustainable Renewable Energy Development in the Global South with Professor Shalanda Baker, which taught him to question systems as they exist, no matter how established.
- As part of the Ujima Global Leaders Program through the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute, Charles did community service, working on the Timebank team which helped him give back to Boston.
- For his first co-op, Charles split his time between the Center for Economic Democracy and the Boston Ujima Project, where he analyzed studies on community needs, like infrastructure and childcare.
- As Campaign Coordinator and Director of Northeastern’s Students Advancing Intersectional Dreams, Charles had spoken to people like Patrisse Cullors, Richie Reseda, Michelle Alexander, and Angela Davis.
- Over the summer of 2020, Charles was one of the co-creators of the #BlackAtNU campaign where he advocated for racial literacy courses and for a restorative and transformative justice center on campus...