PhD Student, Department of Geography & Planning
“It means a lot how involved and supportive the Irvings have been. It has made a huge difference knowing someone believed in my work and where I’m from”
Fredericton, New Brunswick native Carly MacEacheron holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in engineering from the University of New Brunswick, which she followed up with five years working as a transportation engineer in Halifax, then Ottawa.
“That work overlapped a lot with planning,” she says. “I worked on a lot of master plans on where to put walking and cycling infrastructure. And I noticed people are kind of unsure of how to actually consider equity in the field. I always liked academia, so I reached out to a few professors, and applied to U of T’s Department of Geography to contribute to Mobilizing Justice, a national project looking at implementing equity standards for transportation planning.
“I thought it was a really good opportunity to blend my experience with my passion.”
She hopes to generate the data that would help planners—specifically in cycling infrastructure. “My research isn’t fully hashed out yet,” she says, “but at this point my idea is looking at barriers to cycling. If people are missing out on job opportunities or medical appointments because they’re not able to access transportation, how can cycling specifically fight against that disadvantage?”
MacEacheron’s volunteer experience includes leading student clubs, helping with multiple fundraising runs, and a buddy partnership with a person with an intellectual disability. At U of T, she’s signed up for the grad life advisory committee, and sees being involved as a special Atlantic Canadian strength. “Anyone you meet from the Maritimes in Ontario—you understand each other, you’re kind of automatically friends,” she laughs. “I think it’s really valuable to have that sense of community.”
“It means a lot how involved and supportive the Irvings have been,” she says. “Sandra called to tell me I’d gotten the fellowship. They really have an interest in improving students’ lives, and understand how meaningful it can be to relieve worries about the cost of school. It has made a huge difference knowing someone believed in my work and where I’m from, and the fellowship has eased a lot of financial stress. Thank you so much for your generosity.”