About

Rachael Thompson Panik, AICP

PhD student at Georgia Institute of Technology

The way we move through space unequivocally shapes our lives. Rachael wants to make sure it’s for the better.

Rachael grew up northern Alabama, but she fell in love with urban places while visiting Tokyo as a student ambassador. Since then, she’s spent the rest of her education learning about urban places and the challenges they create. Rachael attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham for a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and Japanese. Her team of mentors encouraged her to embrace a broadened education, directing her volunteering, advocacy, and service in the Birmingham community. Those experiences compelled her to obtain an urban planning degree from Clemson University, where she learned about the planning and policy decisions that make places great.

After graduating with her master’s degree, Rachael practiced as a multimodal transportation planner and engineer, working in communities all over the U.S. This work clarified for her the inequities built into the transportation system, especially in terms of safety outcomes for vulnerable travelers. She decided to return to school to pursue research that will ultimately help address systemic transportation problems.

Now, Rachael contributes to the body of research that reshapes that narrative that traveling must be a dangerous endeavor. Her various areas of research share the common thread of safety outcomes in the context of complex systems. See her most recent work on the publications page.

Graduate Research Assistant

Research Topics: Safe systems; Safety education in engineering programs; Vulnerable road user safety; Non-motorized traveler data; Mobility during COVID-19 pandemic; Multimodal travel behavior

Graduate Teaching Assistant

Classes: Multimodal Transportation Engineering (Instructor of Record) | Sustainable Transportation Abroad

Past Education

Clemson University
(2016 – 2018)
Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning | Transportation Planning Focus |  Magna Cum Laude | Edward McCallum Scholar

University of Alabama at Birmingham
(2012 – 2016)
Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering | Minor in Japanese Language and Culture | Structural Engineering Focus | Magna Cum Laude |  Experiential Learning Scholar |  Magna Cum Laude

Work Experience

Toole Design Group
(2017 – 2020)
Progressed from intern to full-time position as a Planner II and Engineer in the firm’s Spartanburg, SC office.

Macknally Land Design (2016)
Engineering and CAD intern with the prominent landscape architecture and design firm in Birmingham, AL.

Advertisement
%d bloggers like this: