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Welcome from the Alumni Board

The GSAPP Alumni Board welcomes all alumni, current students, and prospective students to be a part of its mission. We are dedicated to providing support with outreach, mentoring, and dedicated relevant programming to the GSAPP community. With all the challenges that we currently face, we are excited to be a part of a large and extensive network that can foster connections on so many levels. Please reach out to us with comments, suggestions, or opportunities to get involved!


Jennifer Romeo ‘12 M.Arch, President
Diane Branch '03 MSRED, Vice President


The Columbia GSAPP Alumni Board fosters engagement between alumni, students, potential applicants and the school by:

  • Encouraging lifelong opportunities for connections between alumni and students across programs, generations, geography, and demographics
  • Unifying the GSAPP community through welcoming, inclusive and innovative programming
  • Promoting excellence and dialogue focused on the global and evolving design and the built environment and GSAPP’s role as a leader in the field
  • Offering guidance and an alumni perspective to GSAPP leadership

The GSAPP Alumni Board was formed in July 2010 to represent alumni from all GSAPP degree programs: Architecture, Real Estate Development, Urban Planning, Urban Design, Historic Preservation, and Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual Practices.

The GSAPP Alumni Board is supported by the GSAPP Office of Development & Alumni Relations, which was established in 2005. The Office of Development & Alumni Relations is dedicated to building a strong framework for alumni communication, collaboration and networking, and to establishing a strong base of support for the School, its students, and its programs.

Interested in joining the Tuesday Talks program? If you have an hour to speak to a student and share your post-GSAPP experiences, please email gsappalumni@columbia.edu. Tuesday Talks are held bi-monthly throughout the year. Participate once or as many times as you wish.

Alumni Board

Jennifer Romeo ‘12 M.Arch

Jennifer Romeo '12 M.Arch
Senior Associate, Perkins Eastman

Jennifer Romeo’s work focuses on the planning, programming and design of complex institutional projects across a range of educational and healthcare clients. In particular, she draws upon her prior career as a User Experience Strategist to link space with user needs and create more meaningful spaces where outstanding, innovative and sensitive design can flourish. Jennifer is a committed mentor to students and emerging professionals and is an advocate dedicated to establishing a more diverse, equitable profession. A registered architect licensed in the State of New York, Jennifer led Perkins Eastman’s Women’s Leadership Initiative and has served on the GSAPP Alumni Board since 2017.

Vice President
Diane Branch ‘03 MSRED
Headshot of Diane Branch
Vice President
Diane Branch '03 MSRED
Vice President of Real Estate, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

As the Vice President of Real Estate at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Diane Branch manages nearly 400 parcels, representing more than 1,900 acres of developed and undeveloped land in the city of Williamsburg and the counties of James and York. Her experience includes senior vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle, where she handled leasing transactions for Fortune 500 clients, and associate vice president at Howard University, where she managed the universities real estate development. Before Howard University, Branch served as the District of Columbia’s project manager for The Gallery Place and Mandarin Hotel Increment Financing Bonds.
Hala Abukhodair ‘20 MSAUD
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Hala Abukhodair ‘20 MSAUD

Hala Abukhodair is from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She earned a Masters in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia GSAPP , following her Bachelor of Engineering focused in Architecture.

As an architectural engineer and now an Urban Designer with more than four years of experience working in the construction industry, Metro projects, and Municipal Urban Regulations across Saudi Arabia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. At Columbia, her efforts included being part of the Program Council, the School’s shift towards greater emphasis on sustainability in the curriculum, and was a wonderful ambassador for GSAPP and the University community and a recipient of the Campbell leadership award by Columbia Alumni Association.

Ruth Benjamin ‘10 M.Arch
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Ruth Benjamin '10 M.Arch
Architect, Industry City

Ruth Benjamin, RA, LEED AP, is the In-House Architect at Industry City – a massive manufacturing and distribution hub from the 1800s that is undergoing a large-scale adaptive reuse development in South Brooklyn. Since graduating from GSAPP, MArch 2010, she has worked on a variety of projects in New York City ranging from landscape design of an elevated park at the World Trade Center complex, affordable housing in the Bronx, institutional master planning studies for NYC DDC, commercial offices in midtown and is currently focused on working with an interdisciplinary team encompassing design, real estate development, and reformation. Ruth has been on the GSAPP alumni board since 2017.

Jessica Betz Abel ‘17 MSHP
Jessica Betz Abel Portrait

Jessica Betz Abel '17 MSHP
Conservator, Penn Museum

Jessica Betz Abel is a conservator at the Penn Museum working on the reconstruction and reinstallation of the Egyptian architectural collection . She was previously the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in  Conservation at The Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University. She has also worked as a conservator at the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Additionally, she has served as the archaeological conservator at Gordion, Turkey and Samothrace, Greece. Jessica was selected as the runner-up recipient for the 2018 Murtagh-Graham Prize awarded by US/ICOMOS. She earned an MS in Historic Preservation from Columbia University, specializing in architectural conservation, as well as a BA in Art History and a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Colorado.

Angela Cavaluzzi '86 MSAUD
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Angela Cavaluzzi '86 MSAUD
President, Hudson Yards Development Corp.

Angela Roberts Cavaluzzi is President of Hudson Yards Development Corporation. In this position, Ms. Cavaluzzi leads design teams as well as public and private stakeholders to design, fund, and construct the public amenities and infrastructure at Hudson Yards including Bella Abzug Park and the #7 Subway extension. She is currently overseeing the design of Phase II of the public park. Angela received a MS in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University. She has been an adjunct assistant professor at GSAPP and taught a course titled “All Development is Local”. Throughout her career, she has used her training and experience as a registered architect to implement public design and land use policy. In her roles as NYC Planning Commissioner, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Capital Project Development, and Director of Land Use for the Manhattan Borough President, she builds consensus on issues of innovation and equity in the design of public space, housing and economic development.

Alex Hudtwalcker ‘20 MSAAD
Alex Hudtwalcker Rey Portrait

Alex Hudtwalcker Rey '20 MSAAD
Principal Architect, Alex Hudtwalcker Arquitectos

Alex Hudtwalcker is a licensed architect and professor, graduated from UPC School of Architecture in Lima, Perú (2011). In 2020 he obtained a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) at Columbia University in New York, where he received the Honor Award for Excellence in Advanced Architectural Design. Alex has been involved in the practice of architecture for nearly 10 years, where he has collaborated with peers locally and internationally, as it is the case of Bernard Tschumi Architects in New York.

Since 2016, he has co-instructed different architecture studios and material workshops at both UPC and the University of Lima School of Architecture in Lima, Peru. He is currently leading the Seminar of Urbanism and Territory at the Master in Architecture and Advanced Projects (MAPP) at the Graduate School of Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. He has participated as panelist in academic events and lectures in NY and Lima. He has been invited jury at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Alex is currently based in Lima where he allocates his time between his private practice, teaching and doing research.

Cecily King ‘15 MSRED
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Cecily King '15 MSRED
Founder, Kipling Development

Cecily King is the founder of Kipling Development, a real estate development and consulting firm. Since graduating from GSAPP’s MS in Real Estate Development program in 2015, the majority of her work has been centered in Detroit, MI.

Throughout her real estate career, Cecily has held roles in the public, private and non-profit sectors that have given her a varied perspective of the deal table, including serving as a Development Director for the City of Detroit’s Housing & Revitalization Department. As a consultant, her clients have included non-profits, private developers, institutions, and universities around the country. She began her career as a structural engineer with a set of clients that ranged from high-net-worth individuals to universities.

Cecily earned her BSE in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Princeton University and her MEng in Structural Engineering from Lehigh University. She also holds her MS in Real Estate Development from Columbia University where she is now an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the program.

James Kolker '86 M.Arch ‘84 CC
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James Kolker '86 M.Arch ‘84 CC
President Emeritus and CAA Representative
Senior Director of Facilities and Planning, St. Paul’s School

James Kolker, FAIA, LEED AP, is Associate Vice Chancellor and University Architect at Washington University in St. Louis, responsible for stewardship of the university’s campuses, leadership of campus planning, and for the design and development of all capital projects. Prior to his position at WashU, he was a Principal at Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, where he worked on a wide range of academic and civic projects, including Dartmouth College, the University of California Santa Barbara, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Beth Sholom and Storm King Art Center. He is a board member of Columbia Alumni Association and a member of the Missouri Botanical Garden Visitor Center Steering Committee. In 2018, Kolker was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

Tzen-Ying Jenny Ling ‘88 MSAAD
Portrait of Tzen-Ying Jenny Ling

Tzen-Ying Jenny Ling ‘88 MSAAD
Co- founder, Origo Workshop
Associate Professor in Resilience Thinking, Tamkang University

Tzen-Ying Jenny is a licensed architect who combines her position as Co- founder of Origo Workshop,  the leader of the CReS Lab and Associate Professor in Resilience Thinking at Tamkang University. She practiced in New York after graduating from Columbia University before moving to Taiwan, Tzen-Ying worked with the central government and held position as the client rep in various large-scale development projects. Following this she founded her practice AJL which explored and designed small to large scale projects. She has been invited as a jury critic, lecturer and tutor in numerous institutions. Tzen-Ying is currently based in Taipei where her practice and research received several design awards and accolades.  Her work focused on the resilience integration in the design process. She is best known for projects, 921 memorial and “Green Elf” vertical green modular units series; as co-founder of ‘Origo Workshop’, Jenny has developed a “Living lab” modular system for housing and temporary events. The Origo system has received shortlisted design merit in several design and pitch competitions; in 2022, Jenny has been selected as a member of Academy of Women Entrepreneurs by the US State Department.

Larry Padilla ‘94 MSRED
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Larry H. Padilla '94 MSRED
Regional Vice President, Caribbean office for The Michaels Organization

Mr. Padilla is currently the Regional Vice President of the Caribbean office for The Michaels Organization, one of the nation’s largest multi-family developers and operators, responsible for overseeing all aspects of development activity, including acquisitions, planning, land-use approvals, and development financing for Puerto Rico the US Virgin Islands and Southeast Florida.

Throughout his career, Larry has held roles in the private, public, and non-profit sectors, giving him a unique perspective on the multi dynamic forces that impact any project. Over the years, he has led award-winning development, investment, acquisitions, management and construction initiatives averaging over $4 billion dollars in multi-asset and mixed-use projects. Prior to joining Michaels, Larry served as the Senior Director of Real Estate and Development Finance for the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, responsible for the agency’s property dispositions, land development, affordable and work force housing initiatives, and community finance functions. Larry also served as the Chief Operations Officer at the Charlotte Housing Authority, Chief Development Officer for Transom Development/SunTrust Bank, Chief Operations Officer for a real estate development and construction conglomerate in Puerto Rico, and as Director of Development for a community builder in Harlem, New York. He has also consulted as a Special Assistant to the HUD Secretary, and contributed to national housing strategies to the National Economic Council, office of the Vice President of the United States.

Larry holds a Master’s in Real Estate Development and Finance from Columbia University and a BA in Architecture and Environmental Design from the University at Buffalo, as well as certifications in Project, Property and Construction Management.

He currently serves on the Puerto Rico Homebuilders Board, the US territory’s most influential construction, builder and development advocacy group and is an active member of ULI’s South East Florida and Caribbean committee.

Sonal Shah ‘08 MSUP
Sonal Shah Portrait

Sonal Shah '08 MSUP
Executive Director, Centre of Sustainable and Equitable Cities
Founder, The Urban Catalysts

Sonal Shah is the Executive Director of the Centre of Sustainable and Equitable Cities and the founder of The Urban Catalysts, advising multiple stakeholders – governments, development banks, philanthropic organizations and think tanks on sustainable, equitable city planning and transport.

Over the last 15 years, Sonal has worked across 10 states in India, South and Central Asia, Middle East, and the United States focusing on sustainable, gender equitable cities and transport. Sonal was responsible for introducing India’s first gender sensitive urban planning guidelines and revising India’s national urban street design guidelines (IRC codes) to make them people-oriented.

Sonal has led projects supported by the World Bank, AfD, UK Aid, ADB, IKI, Oak Foundation, Gates Foundation, GIZ and Bloomberg Philanthropies. She has taught at numerous institutions such as the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Anant National University, KRVIA, Academy of Architecture and the JJ School of Architecture.

Sonal graduated from the MSc Urban Planning program from Columbia University. She was featured in the Alumni Spotlight in Fall 2013-14, and in the Remarkable Women in Transport 2020 by the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative. She was also part of the NITI Aayog’s WEP-UNDP program on Innovative Finance.

Parul Sharma ‘15 MSAUD

Parul Sharma '15 MSAUD

Parul is an architect and urban designer with a decade of experience in urban development, mobility, architecture and placemaking in India and the US. She is passionate about creating inclusive and equitable cities through community participative design and simplified communication.

This year she founded City Scanner, a startup developing a mobile app and tech platform based on AI and crowdsourced data, to improve the navigation and mobility experience of cyclists and other vulnerable road users. City Scanner was selected as a finalist for Columbia Venture Competition’s Urban Works India Challenge 2021; was part of the StartMeUP Bootcamp by Columbia SEAS; and was selected for Columbia Venture Community’s female founders incubator, Project Two.Eight.

Parul holds a Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from GSAPP, Columbia University, where she received the Kinne Traveling Fellows Prize. She has a Bachelor of Architecture from Indraprastha University, New Delhi, India.

Peter (Ned) Stoll '77 M.Arch ‘74 CC
Peter (Ned) Stoll '77 M.Arch ‘74 CC
Partner, Stoll & Stoll
Meghan Taylor-Steshyn ‘20 MSRED
Portrait of Meghan Taylor-Steshyn

Meghan Taylor-Steshyn '20 MSRED
Senior Program Officer, Mission Real Estate Development

Meghan Taylor-Steshyn serves as a Senior Program Officer for the Mission Real Estate Development initiative with the Philanthropies team at Trinity Church Wall Street. In this role, she works with international and domestic partners from the Anglican Communion and faith-based communities to identify opportunities to develop income producing properties that would increase financial capacity and further their social impact. She has been an adjunct assistant professor at GSAPP for Pre-Development Analysis.

Before joining Trinity, Meghan worked in commercial interior design and architecture in Austin, TX, where she was the lead designer Boys & Girls Club “Home Club” and Oracle’s Waterfront Campus interiors. She holds a Bachelor of Design in interior design from the University of Florida and an MS in Real Estate Development from Columbia University and is a licensed Interior Designer.

Rachel Villalta '12 M.Arch

Rachel Villalta '12 M.Arch
Senior Associate Principal, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

Rachel Lima Villalta is a Senior Associate Principal at Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF). Over the last 13 years she has worked on some of KPF’s signature projects both globally and locally - from Sao Paulo’s Infinity Tower to the more recently inaugurated and highly acclaimed One Vanderbilt in New York City. Currently she is the Senior Designer for the Detroit Center for Innovation - bringing world class research and education facilities into the heart of Detroit. As a co-founder of the Young Designers Forum as well as KPF+ - an initiative dedicated to advancing gender equity in leadership positions - Rachel is deeply invested in developing the next generation of architectural voices at KPF. She received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Michigan, and her Master of Architecture from Columbia University

Michelle Young '12 MSUP

Michelle Young '12 MSUP
Founder and Publisher, Untapped Cities, LLC,

Michelle Young is the founder of Untapped New York, a web magazine about New York City’s secrets and hidden places. She is a graduate of Harvard College in the History of Art and Architecture and holds a master’s degree in urban planning from Columbia University GSAPP where she is an Adjunct Professor of Architecture leading the Urban Studies studio.

Gustavo Berenblum ’91 MSAAD
Deborah Bhatt ’05 MSRED
Heidi Blau ’83 M.Arch
Amy Boyle ’08 MSUP
Stanford Britt ’72 M.Arch
Barbara Campagna ‘86 MSHP
Lori Cardeli ’07 M.Arch
Dean DiSimone ’99 M.Arch
Jonie Fu ’06 MSAUD President Emerita
Phillip Gesue ’96 MSRED
Kate Gillespie ’88 MSUP
Hannia Gomez ’84 MSUD
Matthew Gross ’05 MSRED
Richard Handler ’08 MSHP
Sara Hart ’84 M.Arch
Naomi Hersson-Ringskog ’09 MSUP
William Kenworthey ’00 MSAUD
Michael Latham ’00 M.Arch
Tiffany Lau ’09 MSRED
Elizabeth Leber ’95 M.Arch
Dominic Leong '03 MSAAD
Ryan LeVasseur ’11 MSRED
Sharon Liebowitz ’91 M.Arch CAA Representative, Ex Officio
Carol Loewenson ’79 M.Arch
Allison Lyons ’10 MSHP
Julie Maddox ’06 MSHP
Pierpaolo Martiradonna ’05 MSAAD
Donald Matheson '03 MSRED
Belen Moneo ’91 M.Arch
Angela O'Byrne ’87 MSRED
Deike Peters ’95 MSUP
Joseph Peters ’03 MSRED
Dan Shannon ’86 MSAAD President Emerita
Andrea Sreshta '11 M.Arch
Sharon Sutton ’73 M.Arch
Daniel Sze ’76 MSAUD
Troy Therrien ’09 M.Arch
Stephen Yablon ’82 M.Arch
Hisham Youssef ’89 M.Arch