2023-2024 Cohort

Adam Fertig

Ashlin Rakhra

is a 2nd year PhD population health student at the Vilcek Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at NYU Langone Health. Her research interests are implementation science, health equity, access to care, and community engagement. Her current work focuses on process evaluations of community health worker-led chronic disease programs among immigrant populations in New York City. Her ultimate research goal is to become an established implementation scientist with a focus on implementing contextually and culturally specific evidence-based interventions to achieve health equity. Ashlin holds an MPH from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. 

Ariadne Rivera

Austin Lukondi

is a doctoral student in the American Studies program. His research interests include spatial analyses of social issues, housing banishment / homelessness, and examining state-sanctioned carceral policies and practices through a critical lens. He has worked as a researcher on a variety of projects, including: monitoring New York’s State Prison system for abuses and advocating for incarcerated people; supporting harm reduction and alternative to prosecution programs based in New York City;  and providing insights on educational programs for homeless K-12 students. Austin holds a B.A. in Sociology and Education from Colorado College and a M.S. in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences from The Graduate Center (CUNY).

Caitlin Krenn

Beyza Kipe

is a Civil Engineering Ph.D. Candidate in the Civil and Urban Engineering Department at Tandon School of Engineering. With the guidance of Dr. Ergan at BILAB, her research focuses on automating the process of inspecting building façades by incorporating urban sensing technologies to gather data and utilizing computer vision-based methods to analyze and visualize the data. By doing so, she aims to improve our understanding of a city's building façade conditions on an urban scale and ensure public safety. Beyza holds an M.S. in Civil Engineering from Purdue University and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul.

Christina Wusinich

Callie Clark 

is an Urban Systems PhD Candidate in the Civil and Urban engineering department and a NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the Urban Intelligence Lab. She holds both a master’s in Systems Engineering and a bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley. Callie’s research evaluates spatial analysis of equitable infrastructure access and the resulting impact on community dynamics and resilience. She is currently partnering with City Harvest to analyze geospatial and temporal gaps in access to emergency food assistance across New York City. 

Anwar Khan

Diedre Brown

is a Brooklyn native interested in the interwoven and interdependent relationships between living things and their environment. As a designer and data scientist, she is interested in how data can express and reveal the correlations within this relationship. An interest that supports her research endeavors as a third-year Ph.D. Candidate in the Urban Systems program at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Working with Dr. Elizabeth Hénaff and the Laboratory for Living Interfaces, she applies earth observation techniques to assess area-level conditions of the environmental microbiome (the microorganisms that inhabit specific environments and are associated with beneficial and pathogenic public health effects) of the urban microclimate as they relate to microbial diversity.

Imani Radney

Elisa Wirsching

is a Ph.D. candidate at the NYU Wilf Family Department of Politics. Her work aims to increase our understanding of incentives and selection in city bureaucracies and their implications for public policy and accountability. She is interested in applying causal inference methods and computational data science tools to identify the causes and consequences of politically motivated behavior of public service providers, particularly police. In her current research, Elisa examines how police strategically adjusted their work effort following budget reductions in 2020 and seeks to explain why some city agencies are unrepresentative of their jurisdictions regarding partisanship, race, and gender.

Before graduate school at NYU, Elisa worked as a researcher in the Office of the Chief Economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Chair of Econometrics at the University of Mannheim, and the Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research. She holds an MSc in Political Science and Political Economy from the London School of Economics and a BA in Political Science and Economics from the University of Mannheim.

Jacob Hood

Ellie Lochhead

is a first-year PhD student at NYU Wagner and a Doctoral Fellow at the Furman Center. She spent the past two years as a Pre-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Furman Center where her work focused on housing policy issues including rental assistance programs, federal housing subsidy programs, and eviction. Prior to NYU, she received an M.S. in Economics and Urban Planning from Tufts University and a B.A. in Economics and Public Policy from the University of Denver. Her research interests include urban economics and housing policy with a particular focus on understanding policy responses that can alleviate housing challenges faced by the lowest-income renters.

Kristen Tauber

Fatima Mabrouk

is a social worker and equity advocate with a passion for empowering historically underrepresented Black/African American women professionals. She specializes in helping individuals who experience racial microaggressions in behavioral healthcare settings and is interested in studying the stressful effects of microaggressions. With a background in clinical practice and social science research, Fatima has taught courses at NYU, Hunter, and Columbia on mental health and policy issues related to social work and workplace discrimination, and institutional equity. She was awarded the 2nd Annual CUNY Women’s Recognition Award for her outstanding leadership and unwavering commitment to service. Currently, she is a PhD doctoral student at NYU Silver School of Social Work, Fatima is passionate about using her research to promote institutional equity and combat workplace discrimination.

Meg Wiessner

Imani Wilson

is a Doctoral student in the Sociology of Education program at NYU Steinhardt. She also works as a research assistant at the NYU Metro Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools. Her research interests include educational equity, community organizing, racial justice, and community-based education. Imani wants to specifically examine the function and importance of Black community-based educational spaces that serve as sites of empowerment and resistance for Black youth. Imani received her Bachelors of Science in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Additionally, Imani has experience as a community organizer in Chicago alongside working with youth both in classrooms and out-of-school settings. 

Miriam Juarez

Jasmin Choi

is a PhD candidate in Social and Behavioral Sciences track at NYU School of Global Public Health. Her research interests are harm reduction approaches to mitigate the effect of stigma and address barriers to healthcare access for individuals with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. Previously, she worked as a federal policy analyst and coordinator for Massachusetts’ Medicaid program. She received a dual-degree Master’s in Social Work (MSW) in group therapy work specialization and Master’s in Public Health (MPH) in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Boston University.

Moiyattu Banya-Keister

Joshua Coven

is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in Finance at the NYU Stern School of Business. He studies the relationship between who owns housing and how that matters for affordability, access to geographies, and access to wealth building opportunities. His current focus is on the purchasing of single family homes by institutional investors in cities including Atlanta, Phoenix, Tampa, and Charlotte. Past work focused on COVID-19 in NYC, including a paper about urban flight and a paper that studied how disparities in housing crowding and sheltering in place were associated with disparities in COVID-19 exposure.

Nnamdi Jogwe

Kam Waugh-Gordon

is a  Ph.D. student in the Urban Education program at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She has been an educator in NYC public schools for fifteen years. She has served as a Special Education Teacher, Assistant Principal, and, most recently, the Founding Principal of Bronx Legacy High School (BXL). Rooted in equity, inclusion, anti-racism, and belonging, the BXL community strives to actively address systemic inequalities, dismantle oppressive structures, and promote inclusivity at all levels.

As a Bronx native, Kam has dedicated her life to positively affecting academic outcomes for students in the Bronx community. With a focus on empirical and ethnographic research, she is committed to dismantling barriers that hinder the equitable distribution of social and economic resources for adolescents in urban communities. Kam is interested in the impact of algorithms and artificial intelligence on wealth distribution within urban communities. Her research examines how these technological advances can foster opportunities for wealth creation but also critically analyzes how they can inadvertently perpetuate systemic oppression in specific communities. Her research pursuits also include exploring the effects of algorithms and artificial intelligence on mental health among adolescents and vulnerable populations.

Ryan Brenner

Katherine (Kate) Thomas

is a PhD student in Sociology at New York University. Kate’s work uses quantitative and computational methods to address the causes and consequences of spatial inequality. Two of her current research projects address how residential sorting patterns respond to natural hazards and the impacts of discrimination in historical mortgage lending on contemporary racial inequality and segregation. Prior to graduate school, Kate was a Research Analyst at the Urban Institute. Kate received her B.A. in Statistics and Sociology from Rice University. 

Maria Teresa

Maria Teresa Herrera 

is a 3rd-year doctoral student in the Population Health Program at the Vilcek Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. Her research interests lie at the intersection of environmental justice and maternal child health in NYC. She has been involved in a wide range of research studies, from examining the role of historical redlining on air pollution in NYC to the impact of heat on emergency department visits.  She aims to ground her work in community interests and hopes to inform the creation of evidence-based policy strategies that protect human health from environmental hazards. 

Zoe Haskell-Craig

Simin Hua

Sohini Das

Susana Amaral

Payton Johnson

is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at New York University. His research centers on black studies, urban studies, and the sociology of culture. More specifically, his work explores how cultural production, political economy, and racial inequality shape urban spaces. He has previously contributed to research studies at Columbia University and the University of Colorado Denver and is contributing to research at NYU Sociology and The Institute of Human Development and Social Change. Payton is currently conducting two research projects. The first project examines how gentrification impacts how urban residents from different racial backgrounds interpret neighborhood space. The second project explores how hip-hop artists collectively produce alternative spatial epistemologies in their music that reimagine city space.

Simin Hua

 is a doctoral student in Epidemiology at the Vilcek Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at NYU Langone Health. She is interested in chronic disease epidemiology, particularly diabetes prevention and control. In her doctoral research, she is delving into the upstream factors, including social determinant of health and built environment, that may contribute to diabetes outcomes as well as the risk of diabetes. Before joining the PhD program at NYU, Simin worked at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and collaborated with researchers studying chronic diseases among Hispanic/Latino population and women with HIV. Simin obtained her master’s degree in Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University.

Sohini Das

(she/her) is a 3rd year doctoral student in the Psychology and Social Intervention program, elementary art teacher in the South Bronx, and community organizer for educational justice in New York City. She currently uses participatory action and community-engaged research methods to explore the theory of change of grassroots community organizing and advocacy within the movement for education justice led by Black, Latine, and working-class youth, families, and communities of color. In her research, she collaborates with youth, community organizers, and caregivers to develop and evaluate community-based workshops and programs that support organizing training, critical consciousness development, healing, a sense of community, with build organizational and community political power for communities of color. Sohini approaches research as a tool to support the development and sustainability of anti-racist, healing, abolitionist educational spaces with and for Black, Latine, and working-class youth, families, and communities of color. 

Susana Costa Amaral

is an interdisciplinary researcher working at the intersections of the fields of performance, politics, critical theory, and queer-of-color critique. Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Susana lives and works in New York since 2018. She holds an MA in Performing Arts from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, where she also completed her BA in Cultural and Film Studies. In Spring 2022, she was a Visiting Graduate Student Fellow at the Global Research Institute in Berlin. Her upcoming dissertation, “Open Bodies: Brazilian Contemporary Art in the Age of the Far Right,”  offers a meditation on the aesthetic and intellectual practices of young performing artists from Brazil.