A Diverse Community

The interests and topics that our students choose to invest their time and energy in steers the program’s ever-evolving direction. Of course, our faculty interests are known by students before beginning, but these interests develop and interact with the scholarship of our students, which profoundly affects the program’s course over time. This is a vitally important aspect of our open and welcoming academic community, which supports working individually, in groups, and across cohorts.

Our students come from a wide range of undergraduate and graduate disciplines and from many parts of the world. Current students and graduates have prior degrees in the following fields:


Anthropology Interior design Urban planning
Architecture International relations Human behavior
Art history Landscape architecture Theater
Child development Political science Geography
Ecology Psychology Fine Arts
Education Resource management Sociology
Environmental studies Social work

Claire Cahen

Claire is a second year PhD student in Environmental Psychology. Her research centers on the role that “right-to-work” legislation and related encroachments on collective bargaining play in economic restructuring in the Rust Belt. Additionally, she is a part of the Housing Environments Research Group (HERG), where she works with a team on an NSF-funded study of two …

View page »


Sruthi Atmakur-Javdekar

Sruthi Atmakur–Javdekar is a research associate at the Children’s Environments Research Group (CERG) and a PhD candidate in Environmental Psychology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Sruthi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture, a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture, and is pursuing her Doctoral studies in the Environmental Psychology program at the …

View page »


Todd Levon Brown

Todd received his B.A. in Architectural Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2005. Following his undergraduate degree, he continued at the same institution to earn two graduate degrees: a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and Industrial Hygiene in 2007; and a Master of Architecture (MArch), with a focus …

View page »


Shelley Buchbinder

Shelley recently completed field work exploring narratives of economic revitalization and the impacts of unlikely promises of social and economic stability in a small economically restructured former mill town. Based on her research, she is currently turning her attention towards the intersections between community and waste in similar settings. She currently teaches in the Urban …

View page »


Hillary Caldwell

Hillary Caldwell is a PhD student in Environmental Psychology and the Women’s Studies Certificate Program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.  Her research focuses on collective struggles over social reproduction in the context of global capitalist development.  She is particularly interested in the development of knowledge and relationships through participatory …

View page »


Matthew Devine

Matthew Devine is working on issues related to sustainable community planning. In particular, he is interested in the possibilities and constraints associated with (re)localizing production and consumption through ecological design and bioregional governance. Matt holds a BA in liberal studies from the New School, and a Masters of Liberal Studies focused on Sustainability Science and …

View page »

Paula Di Stefano

Paula’s latest research investigated the relationship between place branding and place identity in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Using Critical Discourse Analysis, she analyzed residents’ perception of land use changes and the ways in which these changes influence neighborhood attachment and identity development. Paula works as the Global Brand and Research Manager for Enterprise Solutions at Bloomberg LP. …

View page »


Deshonay Dozier

Deshonay Dozier’s research is concerned with working and surplus populations alternative relations to policing, property, and land. Dozier’s dissertation research maps a blues geography by investigating alternative development and cultural forms of social critique against dominant and elite development in Downtown and South Los Angeles.  Her work with the Housing Environments Research Group evaluates alternative …

View page »

Curriculum Vitae
 Advisor: Dr. Susan Saegert

Kristen Hackett

Kristen Hackett is a researcher-scholar-activist living and working in New York City. She is pursuing a PhD in Environmental Psychology Program at the Graduate Center of the City of New York. Her research interests are in housing and community development in NYC, political and social responses to increasing insecurity and precarity and how art and technology can be used in …

View page »

Chris Hoffman

View page »

Laurie Hurson

Laurie Hurson

Laurie is a PhD Candidate in the Environmental Psychology program. Her research and work falls at the intersection of digital/physical space, pedagogy, and critical university studies.  She is interested in the role that technology plays within the university and how technology shapes student learning processes. Her dissertation is titled, “Mapping Learning Ecologies: Exploring the role of technologies and university resources in …

View page »

2015-03-17_Evie_0028 (2)

Eve Klein

Eve Klein is an architect and planner specializing in cultural institutions and higher education.  She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Environmental Psychology at CUNY with a focus on how spaces promote inclusion of diverse populations.  Eve received her B.A. from Vassar College, majoring in American Culture, with a focus on Art History and Geography.  …

View page »


Do J. Lee

Do is currently pursuing studies as an Environmental Psychology doctoral candidate at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center.  His research interests critically examine the connections of social justice, bicycling and sustainability.  His dissertation research will focus on a participatory action research project with food delivery cyclists in NYC to examine the cycling …

View page »


Pengfei Li

Pengfei holds a M.Phil and wraps up his PHD in Environmental Psychology from the City University of New York. He has been teaching psychology at New York City College of Technology since 2011. From June 2014 to August 2015, Pengfei conducted his field work in Beijing and taught classes “The History of Cities” and “Urban …

View page »


Erin Elizabeth Lilli

Erin is a third-year PhD student in the Environmental Psychology program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and holds a Master of Architecture and a Master of Science in Architecture with an emphasis on Sustainable Design from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Prior to joining the GC community, Erin …

View page »


Scott Lizama

Scott Lizama’s research focuses on the visual representation of urban space-specifically visual information dissemination structures and methods in relationship to neoliberal urban spatial organization. Additionally, his research interests are in the development of critical visual research methodologies that use digital technology to better understand and define the social construction of space. He has led workshops for the …

View page »


Eleanor Luken

Eleanor holds a Master of Science in Architecture from University of Cincinnati where she studied the cultural geographies of children’s play space. She served as the Research Coordinator for Cincinnati’s laboratory and Head Start preschool, Project Manager for the Cincinnati Playscapes Initiative, and a grant writer and Project Manager for a multi-year National Science Foundation …

View page »

einat bio pic

Einat Manoff

In addition to pursuing her doctorate in Environmental Psychology, Einat is also an urban designer (Masters of Urban Design from the City College of New York) who works with participatory methods to study the effects of neoliberalism and colonialism on the production of space. More specifically, her research deals with material realities associated with urban …

View page »


Mariya Marinova

Mariya’s Master thesis explores the intertwining between environmental destruction and social transformations due to mountaintop removal in Southern West Virginia. She conducted field research and in-depth interviews with residents near mountaintop removal sites about their lived experiences and perceptions of their changing environment. As part of the Housing Environments Research Group, Mariya is co-authoring a …

View page »

Erit headshot (1)

Erit Maor

Erit Maor is currently pursuing her doctoral degree at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center in the area of Environmental Psychology.  She earned her BA in Psychology and Social Behavior (Magna Cum Laude) from the University of California, Irvine’s School of Social Ecology.  She went on to pursue a Masters in Urban and …

View page »

javocolor (1)

Javier Otero Peña

Javier Otero Peña is a student of the PhD program in Environmental Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, he studied a “Licenciatura” (5-year-degree) in Interpreting and Translation at the Universidad Central de Venezuela. In 2003, parallel to his studies, he founded and directed an NGO called PlazaFest, with the purpose of …

View page »


Jennifer M. Pipitone

Jennifer M. Pipitone is a doctoral candidate in the environmental psychology PhD program.  Her research explores the human-environment relationship within the broader contexts of learning, growth, and experience. Jennifer’s work challenges displaced and disembodied views of the human-environment relationship by considering the interaction between physical, psychological, and sociocultural contexts of being and knowing. Jennifer completed …

View page »


Jourdan Sayers

Jourdan Sayers is a first-year PhD student in Environmental Psychology. Prior to starting at the Graduate Center, Jourdan earned his B.A. in Urban Studies, specializing in Anthropology at Columbia University. His undergraduate thesis focused on spatial contestation between residential and non-residential members of communities, specifically examining use of Greenwich Village public space by queer and transgender youth of …

View page »


Jakob K. Schneider

Jakob is a doctoral student at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center in the Environmental Psychology. He began his career as a bricklayer before becoming a construction manager for firms working in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. He completed his BA at Northeastern Illinois University in Sociology (summa cum laude) in 2013. …

View page »


James Sevitt

From an early stage in James’ undergraduate studies in critical theory and modern history at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Canada he sought to apply the ideas and concepts he studied to the concrete realities and challenges of broader society. This led him to direct ‘Reading Hebron’, a play about the complexities and …

View page »
 Advisor: Dr. Melissa Checker

Troy Simpson

Troy Simpson studies human-environment relationships, largely in the context of sustainability initiatives in urban settings. His current research is on the design of public green spaces and their relationship to urban sustainability and redevelopment. His previous research includes the study of social dynamics and environmental services associated with community gardens, household energy use in mixed-income “green” housing, and feedback …

View page »


Bengi Süllü

Bengi received her BA degree in Sociology from Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey and her MSc degree in Urban Studies from University College London, with her master’s dissertation entitled “Geographies of Children’s Play in the Context of Neoliberal Restructuring in Istanbul”, in which she analyzed the transformation of geographies and content of play in line …

View page »


Jen Tang

Jennifer Tang is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Environmental Psychology program, working on issues related to the promotion of children’s participation and participatory democracy. She holds a Master’s Degree in Human Security and Peacebuilding from Royal Roads University in Canada. Currently, her work is focused on children’s participation in community and municipal level governance. She …

View page »


Tellisia Williams

Tellisia Williams is a doctoral candidate in the Environmental Psychology Program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Tellisia received her Bachelor’s degree, Summa Cum Laude, in Sociology, a Master of Philosophy degree in Environmental Psychology, and a Master’s degree in Psychology. She currently works as a Graduate Coordinator at Stella and Charles Guttman Community College and …

View page »


Reilly Wilson

Reilly is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and research associate at the Children’s Environments Research Group. She was awarded a Masters by Research with Distinction in Geography from the University of Leeds for her thesis, Who Owns the Playground: Space and Power at Lollard Adventure Playground (1954-1961), funded through a US-UK Fulbright Commission …

View page »

 OpenCUNY » login | join | terms | activity 

 Supported by the CUNY Doctoral Students Council.