Meet the next generation of transportation advocates: our interns!
This week, the League is thrilled to welcome two new interns to the team, Adekemi Ademuyewo and Cecily Foote, who will be contributing to the League’s upcoming work on federal policy, the National Bike Summit, and communications. With so much opportunity ahead in the League’s efforts to make biking better for everyone, Kemi and Cecily bring perspectives and experience that will complement our ongoing work in DC and across the country. Kemi and Cecily sat down across from their webcams with casual beverages to get to know one another and have typed up bits of their conversation to introduce themselves to you, too.
What are you drinking?
Cecily: Oolong tea my friend got me in Taiwan.
Kemi: Just a bottle of water.
Tell me about yourself.
Kemi: I’m Nigerian-American from Cincinnati, Ohio. My name is Adekemi, many friends call me Kemi for short. I believe that my upbringing contributes to my curiosity and desire to seek knowledge about the world around me. I am a first-year graduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago where I study Urban Planning and Policy. I’ve attended a few other universities including The University of Toledo, Arizona State University, and La Salle University where I studied topics ranging from public health to education and instructional technology. I enjoy finding learning experiences within and outside of the classroom. Throughout my academic journey, I’ve worked as a flight attendant and served as an AmeriCorps VISTA.
Cecily: I grew up in Austin, Texas, and moved to the Bay Area to attend Stanford, where I studied Product Design and then stayed for a master’s in Environmental Communication. During college, I identified as passionate about farming and food systems but I found myself quietly falling in love with mobility and urbanism. I joined a spring break trip studying transportation in Portland, Oregon, I spent a summer in Seoul, living the magic of great public transit and thoughtful urban design, and, throughout my six years on campus, traveled almost exclusively by bike and foot. This past year I served as an AmeriCorps fellow and in August I finally moved back to Austin.
You are both AmeriCorps alumni, what was your AmeriCorps experience like?
Kemi: I served as an AmeriCorps VISTA in High Point North Carolina through North Carolina Campus Compact. In the role, I worked with High Point University students, mainly those who were a part of the Bonner Leader program, cultivating their leadership potential within local nonprofits. I also served off-campus with the historic Washington Street community, increasing food security through gardening programs and K-5 educational engagement. I thoroughly enjoyed serving High Point and learning from a community in which I was unfamiliar.
Cecily: It was great and it’s the reason I’m here! I did a program in the Bay called Climate Corps and was placed at a public transportation demand management (TDM) agency, working to shift commuters out of single-occupancy vehicles. It was my first exposure to TDM and it completely hooked me. I lived right by a BART station, the regional rail system, too, and rode a free shuttle to work, so I almost never drove. I loved it.
Do you have a memorable biking story?
Cecily: For spring break one year, I went on a biking tour down the California coast with a group of friends. We started in Palo Alto and rode to San Luis Obispo over the course of a few days that enchanted my senses and humbled my understanding of what my body was capable of. I still go soft at the memory of Big Sur, of making my way up and down the lush and craggy hills with the wild, trusty Pacific at my side.
Kemi: Your lack of driving in the Bay reminds me of my past few years of biking throughout New Jersey. I often spent time biking throughout Newark parks and ending my rides by running errands and picking up groceries. Many trips provided scenic waterfront views of the Jersey Shore, Passaic & Hudson Rivers. I recall riding through New Jersey cities learning about neighborhoods and communities on annual ward and community tours. I volunteered with Girls on Bikes and had the opportunity to encourage and teach children how to ride bikes. Living and biking throughout New Jersey ignited the fire of my interest in active transportation.
|Cecily and friends near Big Sur on the Pacific Ocean in California.||Kemi exploring the boardwalks in New Jersey along the Atlantic Ocean.|
How would you describe a great biking day for you?
Kemi: When considering a great day in biking I first consider the weather, I prefer the sun and a tree-shaded route. I’d like for the land to provide for a safe and scenic ride, with protection from vehicles and obstructions. I’d want a route that allowed me to complete daily activities such as work, groceries, and entertainment. A great day in biking is synonymous with a great day in living.
Cecily: I wouldn’t need to wear a helmet because the roads would be designed to prioritize the safety of cyclists and pedestrians. I would own panniers and load them up with all kinds of fun things. I would see lots of other cyclists on the road—reflective of the age, gender, racial, and economic diversity of the city—and exchange wide grins with them. I would spontaneously go off-route and discover new things. The weather would be cool and breezy and the sun would glint in and out of my eyes from above the tree canopy.
Kemi: Your great biking day sounds idyllic.
Outside of mobility and transportation work where can you be found?
Kemi: My passions lie in movement and joy. That is why I am a Zumba instructor and a Karaoke DJ. I want to live a life full of bliss, and being able to move freely while encouraging performance, provides me with the opportunity to share my joy with others.
Cecily: I love drawing. I love the attention it requires of me, I love the way it consequently expands my empathy, and I love the emotions I can capture in subject and elicit in viewer. I also love the way it brings me closer to friends and family, who blanket me in support and solicit commissions.
Have you read any good books recently?
Cecily: I really enjoyed Streetfight by Janette Sadik-Khan but I have to admit I’ve been feeling more of an allegiance to novels, and my favorite I’ve read so far this year is We the Animals by Justin Torres.
Kemi: How’d We the Animals compare to the movie? Earlier this year I read Little Fires Everywhere so that I’d be prepared to watch the show. I tend to stick with nonfiction myself, I recently read Market Cities, People Cities, by Kevin Smiley and Michael Emerson.
What do you hope to gain from this internship?
Cecily: I hope to gain the confidence and competence to leverage our political infrastructure in service of improving mobility in our cities, to make them more equitable, livable, and sustainable. Of course, I’d like to do this for Austin but if I can contribute to federal work that reaches more communities in other states too, even better.
Kemi: I hope to gain skills for the modern working environment. This remote internship encourages collaboration and outreach, and in doing so I will come to know of organizations and professionals in the field of active transportation. I’d like to understand the work that is currently being done so that I know how I can best continue my contribution.