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Paskett is Mountain-Plains Consortium Student of the Year

Posted: Jan 2, 2024

Aleks Paskett, a master's degree student in civil engineering at Utah State University, has been named the 2023 Student of the Year for the Mountain-Plains Consortium. He will be honored with other award winners from across the country during an awards ceremony January 6 in Washington, D.C.

Paskett's primary research has focused on the adoption of battery electric buses, specifically the experiences of transit agencies adopting the technology. He is also assisting Ziqi Song, MPC researcher and Utah State University associate professor of transportation, with research on the resiliency of electric bus networks and better integrating persons with disabilities into regional transportation planning models. Paskett plans to pursue a Ph.D. in transportation systems on completion of his master's program. After completing his Ph.D., he plans to pursue a career either in academia or the public or private sector.

Paskett was invited to present his initial research on transportation electrification at the annual meeting of the 2023 Transportation Research Board, which attracted thousands of transportation professionals from around the world. Paskett's thesis, "Barriers and Drivers to Bus Electrification: The Transit Agency's Perspective," describes research to understand the barriers faced by transit agencies as well as the driving factors motivating their adoption of battery electric buses. Through a series of interviews conducted with transit agencies across the United States, agency leaders indicated that, although they understand the potential environmental and financial benefits of battery buses, they face significant financial and technical challenges in implementing this technology.

Paskett was selected for the award based upon his accomplishments in technical merit and research, academic performance, professionalism, and leadership. The $1,000 award is part of a nationwide effort to recognize and encourage outstanding achievement in students involved with the U.S. Department of Transportation's University Transportation Centers (UTCs). The Mountain-Plains Consortium Outstanding Student of the Year Award annually recognizes an outstanding transportation student at one of the MPC member universities: Colorado State University, North Dakota State University, South Dakota State University, University of Colorado Denver, University of Denver, University of Utah, University of Wyoming, and Utah State University. The MPC is one of 10 competitive UTCs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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