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Team and Affiliates

Giulia Gualco-Nelson, JD, Associate Research Scholar

Giulia’s research focuses on environmental law and land use, urban planning, housing, and local government law. Her work examines the impact of local land use entitlement processes on residential development and the role of the state-level environmental regulation in securing environmental health outcomes for low-income communities living in proximity to highly trafficked freeway corridors. Giulia received her juris doctor, Order of the Coif, from the University of California, Berkeley Law in 2018 with a Certificate of Specialization in Environmental Law. Giulia was awarded the Thelen Marrin Prize for the highest academic standing at graduation, the Ellis J. Harmon Writing Prize in Environmental Law and Policy, and numerous Jurisprudence awards for academic excellence. Prior to law school, Giulia worked in affordable housing development in San Francisco.

Abby Anderson, Researcher

Abby Anderson is interested in exploring the intersection of sustainability, ecology, and urban planning. She wants to combine these disciplines to address climate change and promote human and environmental health in metro areas. She graduated from UC Berkeley in May 2017 with a degree in Molecular Environmental Biology and a minor in Sustainable Design. She has participated in and led research projects on the genomics and ecology of insects and spiders in Berkeley, Virginia, and Costa Rica, as well as researched deep-water sharks in the Bahamas. She wants to continue working both domestically and internationally, and develop equitable global initiatives that encourage environmental and economic sustainability. She hails from Shelburne, Vermont.

Raine Robichaud, Researcher

Raine is interested in how school lunch programs can address food insecurity and increasing food access in low-income communities. Raine graduated from UC Berkeley in 2018 with a dual degree in Urban Studies and Latin American Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. She has previously completed mapping and reporting projects at Catalytic Communities and supported programs at Oasis Legal Services and Metro Blooms. In addition, she has years of experience teaching and working at art studios and community gardens.

Alique Berberian, Urban Community and Health Equity Student Fellow

Alique Berberian is a dual degree student at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and Mailman School of Public Health pursuing a Master of International Affairs with a concentration in Environmental Policy and Resource Management and Master of Public Health with a concentration in Environmental Health Sciences. Alique has a B.A. in Diplomacy and World Affairs and Minor in Spanish from Occidental College in Los Angeles. She has professional experience in government, development consulting, as well as international project work in renewable energy and environmental protection. Alique is pursuing a career in the field of urban sustainability policy, with a focus in climate change and health.

Rachael D. Cico, Urban Community and Health Equity Student Fellow

Rachael is a dual degree student, pursuing a Master of Public Health at the Mailman School of Public Health and a Master of Science in Urban Planning at GSAPP, concentrating in Sociomedical Sciences and Community and Economic Development. She holds a BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania. Following her undergraduate studies, she stayed in Philadelphia as a teacher and eventually worked for a real estate company before coming to Columbia University. Through this work, Rachael was able to blend her interests in urban and economic development, education, social justice and civic engagement. Rachael’s interest in anchor institutions is grounded in her belief that these institutions, which are magnets for economic development, can have a large impact on urban development initiatives. Her Master’s thesis looks at how the collaboration between anchor institutions and communities is vital to building a more democratic, equitable and just society.

Emilio Flamenco, Urban Community and Health Equity Student Fellow

Emilio Flamenco is a Master’s student in Columbia GSAPP’s Urban Planning program, concentrating in Community and Economic Development. His work experience includes internships at the San Mateo County Transit District- Planning Dept., City of Brisbane (CA)- Community Development Dept., and as a Legislative Aide for the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Emilio’s interests include affordable housing, regional planning, land use, planning law, and metropolitan governance. Emilio traveled to Chile last semester with Prof. Hutson and his team and looks forward to building on the successes of the last visit and setting the framework for the partnership to thrive moving forward.

Alex Moscovitz, Urban Community and Health Equity Student Fellow

Alex is a dual degree Masters candidate in Public Health and Urban Planning at Columbia, concentrating in Built Environment and Environmental Health Sciences. Alex’s interests lie in how to adapt the built environment – including street, food and waste systems – in our cities to equitably serve human and environmental health in the face of climate change impacts. She received a BS/BA from Boston College in Environmental Geoscience and Sociology and throughout her undergrad worked on a project to implement a circular clean cookstove system in the Dominican Republic. After graduating she went on to be a Fulbright Scholar, researching barriers to food security in the DR. Since starting at Columbia, she has worked at the Regional Plan Association as a health and spatial planning intern and is currently writing her thesis on flood risk and adaptation investment in relation to social vulnerability.

Shoshana Sheinfeld, Urban Community and Health Equity Student Fellow

Shoshana is a dual degree candidate for Masters in Urban Planning and Public Health, concentrating on the Built Environment and Population and Family Health. Shoshana is interested in learning how to optimize the health and resilience of urban communities. She is motivated to address the inequitable distribution of and access to critical services in the urban environment, particularly during times of crisis. Shoshana graduated from Cornell University with a BA in Biology and Society and minors in Spanish and Inequality Studies. Her education emphasized community engagement, and she devoted considerable time to the Ithaca community. Shoshana studied abroad in Santiago, Chile, studying Spanish and examining the dual nature of the Chilean healthcare system. Upon graduation, Shoshana worked as an administrative assistant in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, coordinating patient care and other services. Her work at MSKCC continues to inform her interest in her planned course of study at Columbia University.

Alexandros Balili, Urban Community and Health Equity Student Fellow

Alexandros Balili is a candidate for Masters in Urban Planning at GSAPP, Columbia University, with a concentration in Built Environment. Prior to joining the GSAPP School, Alexandros earned his B.A. in Computer Applications in Human-Environmental Analysis at Binghamton University and interned as an Advisor in the United Nations. During this time, he dedicated his independent research on studying the impact of institutionalized developments within communities, working closely on the Johnson City Revitalization Project as part of the Binghamton University Health Science Campus expansion. In his honors thesis, he analyzed the socioeconomic and cultural associations with property restorations in historic districts and the methods through which they impact communities. Within the same time frame, Alex engaged in water sustainability research in the outskirts of Cusco, Peru, expanding on his knowledge of resource accessibility and planning within rural areas. His passions revolve strongly around progressive and equitable planning methods, with resilience, sustainable development, and political engagement for underrepresented communities at the forefront.

Grace Dickinson, Urban Community and Health Equity Student Fellow

Grace is a dual degree Masters candidate in Public Health at the Mailman School of Public Health and Urban Planning at GSAPP, with concentrations in Environmental Health Sciences and International Planning and Development, respectively. Grace completed her undergraduate studies at Colby College earning a B.A. in Human Development and Environmental Science. Prior to Columbia Grace served for two and a half years as a rural health volunteer with the Peace Corps in Paraguay, where her work focused on environmental conservation, youth life skills, maternal health and sanitation projects. She also has work experience in Ghana and rural Thailand, which inform her interests in sustainability and health equity in international development, particularly in relation to climate change.

Andrea Partenio, Urban Community and Health Equity Student Fellow

Andrea is a first-year master’s candidate in the Columbia GSAPP Urban Planning Program with intended concentrations in the Built Environment and International Development. She is a fellow for the Fund for the City of New York Community Board Fellowship Program for the 2018-2019 academic year. Andrea graduated from the University of Michigan in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture. In her senior project, she focused on topics of spatial equity and the conditions within squatter communities in Caracas, Venezuela. She built upon these interests when she studied abroad in Mumbai, India to engage directly with informal settlements in the city. Before beginning her graduate studies at Columbia, her professional experience included three years of design work for multiple architecture firms in Seattle, Washington. Andrea’s current interests include community development in emerging nations, participatory planning practices in informal settlements, and designing for more sustainable and resilient cities.

Caroline Thompson, Urban Community and Health Equity Student Fellow

Caroline is a Master’s candidate in Urban Planning, concentrating in Community & Economic Development and Urban Analytics. Caroline graduated from McGill University with a BA in Geography (Urban Studies) and minors in GIS and Art History. During her time at McGill, she co-founded the Open Mapping Group of McGill, which engaged in multiple humanitarian crowdsourced mapping initiatives. Originally from the Boston area, she has interned with the City of Portland, Maine, LOCUS/Smart Growth America, the Town of Stoneham, Massachusetts, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), among others. She is interested in ways to inclusively engage communities, to foster equitable involvement in planning processes and in governance.

Conor Allerton, Urban Community and Health Equity Student Fellow

Conor grew up in Manhattan and Brooklyn until attending Vassar College, where he majored in Urban Studies. His undergraduate thesis looked at how ideologies of homeownership find their roots in European American narratives of individualism, Manifest Destiny, and nationalism, and how these concepts manifest in contemporary Detroit’s complex and tumultuous housing landscape. His interests include community organizing, cooperative housing strategies, and planning to support New York’s most precarious and marginalized communities. He now pursues a Masters in Urban Planning at Columbia GSAPP, concentrating in Community Development.

Aline Estefam, Urban Community and Health Equity Student Fellow

Urban Planner committed to the creation of environments where different groups feel belonging, identify themselves and feel able to contribute to the city. Worked as Cultural Heritage Coordinator in the City Hall of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Now completing her master’s degree in Urban Planning at Columbia University. She holds a postgraduate degree in Management and Revitalization of Cities from Universidad Castilla La Mancha, Spain and Undergraduate degree in Architecture and Urbanism from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Maya Ephrem, Urban Community and Health Equity Student Fellow

Maya is a first-year Master’s student in Columbia GSAPP’s Urban Planning program with an intended concentration in Community and Economic Development. She holds a B.A. in Public Policy from NYU, where she was a Development Impact Research Fellow at Africa House, NYU’s leading interdisciplinary institute devoted to the study of contemporary Africa. Her research focused on a low-income housing scheme commissioned by the Ethiopian Ministry of Urban Development and Construction. This experience encouraged Maya to pursue study in planning with broad interests in housing and resiliency. Aside from research, she also has experience working for nonprofits based in San Francisco and New York City that focus on uplifting vulnerable communities. She is a current FCNY Community Planning Fellow for Brooklyn Community Board 13.

Jade Watkins, Urban Community and Health Equity Student Fellow

Jade is a dual degree Masters candidate in Public Health at the Mailman School of Public Health and Urban Planning at GSAPP, with concentrations in Built Environment, Urban Analytics, and Environmental Health Sciences. Jade graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Health and Society. Her undergraduate thesis examined the effects of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas on water quality and quantity in Texas. She was a passionate resident assistant for four years at UT, who planned, organized and executed several projects with hundred in attendance. Jade has volunteered in a variety of health environments such as the Veterans’ Administration in Dallas, TX, St. David’s Medical Center in Austin, TX, and rural locations around Managua, Nicaragua. Jade’s interests focus on how critical urban planning can be used as a tool for preventative medicine to reduce the prevalence of chronic disease and support resilient cities.

Pauline Claramunt Torche, Urban Community and Health Equity Student Fellow

Pauline is a Master´s in Urban Planning candidate at Columbia University with concentrations in urban analytics and international development. She graduated with honors from the University of Chile in 2013 with a professional and bachelor degree in Architecture. Her expertise includes architectural and participatory design projects, appraisal and urban development feasibility studies and applied research in climate adaptation strategies and disaster risk mitigation. Pauline has worked with multiple NGO´s to ensure access to architecture and services to vulnerable communities. In September 2018 she was awarded one of the Best Papers in International Conference Sustainable Development in New York with research related to intercultural education strategies for Pehuenche communities in Chile. Last summer she joined the Inter-American Development Bank to support research in coastal adaptation focusing on resilient planning and social vulnerability. She is currently interested in the applications of urban spatial analysis to enhance community services and strategies to implement resilient planning.

Carolyn Swope, Urban Community and Health Equity Alumni

Carolyn graduated with a Masters of Public Health in Sociomedical Sciences, with a focus on social determinants of health. Her work at Columbia examined the relationship between housing and health equity, including smoke-free housing policy implementation in affordable housing and the health impacts of displacement. She has also worked with New York City government, including the Center for Health Equity and a community board, on the planning and implementation of community health initiatives in neighborhoods with a high burden of health disparities. Prior to graduate school, Carolyn served as a health care consultant on population health strategic planning topics.

Maria Garces, Urban Community and Health Equity Alumni

Since her early years in high school, she was influenced towards art and architecture related subjects together with economics, which led her to study Architecture at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica in Santiago, Chile. Six years of undergraduate studies helped her achieve high academic results and develop many skills she uses today together with expanding her interests towards the urban environment. After graduating and obtaining her professional degree, she dedicated myself to work alongside her parents in their architecture studio developing several housing projects and international competitions. After three years of professional work, she decided to pursue a Master’s degree and entered Columbia University in the city of New York to study Urban Planning at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Her expected graduation date is May 2018.

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