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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI graduate student earns scholarship from Women’s Transportation Seminar

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 28, 2005 -- Providence resident Tiffany Smythe, a graduate student at the University of Rhode Island, was recently awarded the 2005 Ann Hershfang Graduate Scholarship by the Boston chapter of the Women’s Transportation Seminar.

The scholarship provides Smythe, a student in URI’s Department of Marine Affairs, with a financial award of $1,500 toward graduate studies and enters her into a national competition for the $6,000 Helene M. Overly Memorial Graduate Scholarship.

“I’m excited about this scholarship,” said Smythe, who grew up in Danbury, Conn. “I appreciate the confidence that the Women’s Transportation Seminar has in my abilities, and it’s a great opportunity to begin developing a career in marine transportation and coastal development.”

The Women’s Transportation Seminar is a national organization dedicated to the professional advancement of women in the transportation industry

Smythe, 31, is a Coast Guard-licensed ship’s captain and former competitive sailor at Columbia University who led Outward Bound wilderness trips and was a history and English teacher in New York and Maryland schools before enrolling at URI.

“After college I started off working for a maritime museum, but I thought the ships were more interesting than the exhibits, so I went to sea for a few years. That’s when I really got interested in marine affairs,” Smythe said.

As part of her graduate studies, she is helping conduct a feasibility study of a proposed ferry terminal and mixed-use waterfront development in the Quonset-Davisville Port and Office Park in North Kingstown. She is researching ferry terminals in other regions of the country to find out how to make ferry service a viable alternative when so many other transportation options are available.

“Tiffany is immensely deserving of this scholarship. Not only is she an extremely good student, she has worked exceptionally well with people in government and the private sector while working with me and Professor Burroughs on marine transportation research,” said Robert Thompson, URI associate professor of marine affairs. “As a licensed captain and a researcher in the field of marine transportation, Tiffany is a role model for other women who might want to enter this traditionally male field.”

After earning her master’s degree from URI in 2006, Smythe plans on a career in coastal zone management and marine transportation, probably working for a government agency or consultant.