Henry Mulvey, a senior Sustainable Community Development major and prospective MRP/MS Civil Engineering dual-degree candidate, has been awarded the American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) Dr. George M. Smerk Scholarship for 2020, given to an applicant dedicated to a career in public transit management.
The APTF Board of Directors selects the scholarship recipients. The selection criteria include a demonstrated interest in the public transportation industry as a career, academic achievement, essay content and quality, the need for financial assistance, and an involvement in extracurricular citizenship and leadership activities.
In his essay about transportation planning Henry writes:
“I rode my first trolley at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine when I was three years old. It was pouring rain but that only made the ride more enchanting. It was the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway 4387. Aside from the ridiculously loud whistle, I loved everything about it. This was the start of my infatuation with trolleys, streetcars, and transit in general; I was hooked!
"Ever since that first ride, I habitually visit most of the trolley museums in New England on a yearly basis. I even volunteer for some of these museums online. As of January 21, 2019, I am also now an Executive Assistant to the Executive Director at the Seashore Trolley Museum. I help the Director with research projects for the Museum.
"In my last semester at UMass, I hope to complete a feasibility study of building a light rail system in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts as part of my Master’s project. The Merrimack Valley is a growing region that includes the cities of Lowell, Lawrence, and Haverhill. The city of Lowell already has a streetcar system which they have wanted to expand for the last decade. I will use Lowell’s streetcar lines as the beginning for the light rail system. I will conduct research with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering to ascertain if the main line could be built as a single-track line with passing sidings and still maintain a schedule of ten minutes between light rail trains… It would be my hope that this project would help, and perhaps drive, transit planning in the Merrimack Valley into the future.
"My passion for trolleys and streetcars has truly become part of my identity over the years. I intend to become an urban transit planner to help restore streetcars and light rail to America’s cities. My career focus has never wavered from my desire to improve public transportation in the United States.”