Sam Morrisey, principal transportation engineer for the city of Santa Monica, is one of four Southern California residents who have been awarded the American Marshall Memorial Fellowship for 2011.

The Marshall Memorial Fellowship annually educates emerging American and European leaders on the importance of the transatlantic relationship, and encourages them to collaborate on a range of international and domestic policy challenges.

During the 24-day fellowship to Europe, the Southern California fellows will join 44 other leaders representing 16 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, to develop extensive knowledge of political, economic, and social institutions and issues facing the United States and Europe.

“This is an important opportunity for Southern California leaders to develop international, and particularly transatlantic, perspectives on major policy issues,” said Kevin Cottrell, executive director of the Southern California Leadership Network. “Having among the most fellows selected from Southern California than any other U.S. region is validation of this region’s importance in global issues.”

Fellows are selected through competitive nationwide and regional processes and have backgrounds in politics, government, media, business and the nonprofit sector.

Morrissey has served as Santa Monica’s principal transportation engineer since January 2009. He is responsible for overseeing all transportation engineering aspects of the city, including traffic signals, signs, and markings. Morrissey has more than 10 years of experience in the design, planning, forecasting, analysis, and operation of a variety of transportation facilities.

The three other Southern California fellows include Gilbert Gonzales, senior director of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Office of Economic and Business Policy; David Roberts, associate director for local government relations at the University of Southern California; and Ref Rodriguez, president and CEO of Partners for Developing Futures.

American fellows will travel to five cities across Europe, learning about the institutions and people that drive Europe’s cities, regions, countries and multilateral systems through meetings with local counterparts.