Nolan Levenson

Master of Urban Planning

Program Manager
Nolan Levenson

Please describe why you chose NYU Wagner for graduate school?

I think the curriculum, the faculty, and being located in New York City  were the most important draws for me.  I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to do post grad school, which was get a job in transportation. Because I had this in mind early on I was able to focus on that issue area and take full advantage of what NYU had to offer in this area. One of the biggest advantages here in the transportation area was the work that the Rudin Center is doing. I was able to work at the Center and get hands-on research experience while pursuing my degree. With the curriculum, I was very interested in the emphasis on policy in addition to the ability to learn technical skills that would be directly applicable to my career, including urban design and transportation engineering courses offered at NYU Poly (now Tandon).

Can you tell us a bit about your job responsibilities?

After NYU, I worked for 7 years at NYCDOT working on implementing pedestrian, bicycle, and transit priority projects. In my previous work with the MTA, I bolstered my experience in  operations and policy. Now, as a Program Manager in Amtrak’s Capital Delivery group, I am able to utilize my technical, operational, and policy expertise to help deliver the Intercity Trainset Program, a megacomplexity program resulting from a nearly $8 billion investment by the Federal Government to purchase and integrate a new railcar fleet for Amtrak.

Please describe how your experiences at NYU Wagner prepared you for your career?

As I mentioned, working at the Rudin Center was critical for me and my career, both in terms of the things I got to work on and the connections I made. The kinds of people the Center was able to bring together, even just for lunchtime talks, were invaluable to me in terms of networking. By the time I was ready to enter the workforce, I felt I had a large network of people that I could reach out to. It's really hard to replicate that advantage and it's impossible to overstate how important that is. Still to this day, I have strong relationships with a lot of the people I met through Wagner and the Rudin Center.