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Paul Steely White

Paul Steely White

Director, safety policy/advocacy | Bird scooter sharing company | Class of 1995

Glamorous work, it was not. But two decades later, the UI memories that Paul Steely White cherishes most took place in Professor Hugh Robertson’s molecular biology lab.

“Sometimes, I did more cerebral tasks but I was usually the one who had to cook the Drosophila fly food. I can still smell the Tegosept. Rank,"  says White (BS '95, biology).

“The work was never as engaging as one of Hugh’s lectures, but I was getting paid. Looking back, I remember Hugh and the post docs treating me like one of the team.

“It felt like I was being inducted into some special nerdy society,” White says from New York, where he directs safety policy and advocacy at the scooter sharing company Bird.

White joined Bird in 2018 following a 15-year run as executive director of Transportation Alternatives, New York City’s top transportation advocacy organization. During his time in that role, he was awarded the Rockefeller Foundation’s Jane Jacobs Medal, which recognizes “those whose creative uses of the urban environment build a more diverse, dynamic and equitable city.”