Fei Deng, PhD is currently the Program Leader for the East Asia and Pacific Region in the World Bank’s Infrastructure and Sustainable Development Practice Groups. Her position covers digital development, energy and extractives, transport, agriculture, climate, disaster risk management, environment, social, urban and water sectors.
Deng earned three degrees from the University at Buffalo, including two from the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering. Deng earned her master’s in civil engineering, with a concentration in construction management in 2000, and her PhD in civil engineering, with a concentration in construction management and project financing in 2004. Deng earned an additional master’s degree in economics in 2003.
Prior to her current position with the World Bank, Deng served as the country program coordinator for Afghanistan and Pakistan, where she represented each country management’s teams and portfolios from Washington D.C. Deng also served as the senior operations officer at the Operations Policy and Country Services (OPCS) Vice Presidency Unit, and served as a senior transport specialist in the East Asia and Pacific Region, while also providing cross support to the Africa Region. As a senior transport specialist, Deng led regional road safety, gender equality, HIV/AIDS initiatives and transport projects.
“For me personally, my job needs to be meaningful, challenging, exciting, and has to constantly make me a better and more capable person while making contribution to the bigger society." Deng says. "It sounds very demanding, and yet, the World Bank fulfilled every single dream that I had about that perfect job.”
Deng credits her time at UB as one of the catalysts for her interest in the World Bank. “One day when I was talking with Prof. Andrew Whittaker during my final year of the PhD program, he said to me ‘I think the World Bank will suit you well given your background of civil engineering and economics.’ It was like when Newton was hit by an apple – I immediately went back to my seat and browsed the World Bank’s website for job application information. It looked like a program called ‘young professional’ would be the best way to start my career at the Bank.”
Deng had missed the deadline to apply for the young professional program that year, and applied for the program the following year. In the meantime, Deng applied for a few jobs within the private sector and took a position with the Charles River International Consulting Firm in Boston. The following year, Deng was 1 of 40 professionals selected into the World Bank’s Young Professional program.
“We all started at the Bank thinking to revisit our choice in five years. Here we are, 16 years later and 95% of us are still going strong, and are crazy about what we do,” Deng says, “There is no single day that we are not feeling motivated to go to work and make either big or small impacts to some other lives.”
CSEE AT A GLANCE
Chair: Alan Rabideau
Full-time Faculty: 33
41 Nations represented
• 689 Undergraduate
• 168 Graduate
• 59,688 square feet of teaching and research labs across two buildings
Research areas in:
• Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Materials
• Environmental and Water Resources Engineering
• Transportation systems engineering
• Geosystems Engineering