Ethan McLeod Reflects on the Thomas J. O’Bryant Fellowship
Next week, Ethan McLeod will wrap up his time as the 2022 Thomas J. O’Bryant Fellow at the Eno Center for Transportation. The fellowship provides professional development opportunities for emerging transportation professionals and students.
Ethan will return to Morgan State University in the fall to complete his Master of City and Regional Planning degree and continue working as a research assistant and freelance reporter in Baltimore.
Now at the close of his time with Eno, Ethan provides some insight into his experience as a fellow and what’s next for his career.
What was the most valuable thing you learned during the fellowship?
I would say this role really brought my scope of transportation projects and delivery to a global scale and allowed me to look beyond my most immediate environments like Baltimore and Washington. The United States is certainly not the only nation facing challenges with getting major infrastructure built or resolving supply chain issues, and it’s been fascinating to look elsewhere around the world and see how other governments have tackled these challenges.
How will your experience at Eno inform your work moving forward?
I’m already far more familiar with grant funding streams and processes for federal approval of transportation projects, specifically for transit. I think I will bring that knowledge with me back to school as well as any future writing assignments, particularly covering local transit expansion plans and announcements of federal grants for local projects.
I would say this role really brought my scope of transportation projects and delivery to a global scale and allowed me to look beyond my most immediate environments like Baltimore and Washington.
What’s next for you?
I’m hoping to pick back up on my classes, start off the semester strong, and see if there’s a place that I can plug in and put some of this new knowledge I’ve acquired to use. I’m also planning to stay busy as a reporter if I can and, again, will be operating with a more expansive global mindset while covering transportation news.
What advice would you give to future Thomas J. O’Bryant fellows?
The role feels a bit heavy starting off in that it comes with a lot of responsibility, particularly given the legacy of the fellowship program. I would recommend connecting with everyone on the policy team that you can. That really allows you to take on new assignments, ask many questions, be a curious person, and I think the team appreciates that curiosity. So, in short, be very curious and open to different kinds of assignments.