Students

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

Manju Adikesavan

Manju Adikesavan is an architect-planner with multi-sectoral experience in urban planning and design, technology training, gender justice, and youth empowerment. Manju began her career working first as a planning consultant for regional development agencies and subsequently as an urban researcher of context and evidence-based planning and design practices in southern and western India. A wish …

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 …

Todd Levon Brown

Todd Brown is a doctoral candidate in Environmental Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center. Overall, his empirically focused psychosocial research lies at the intersection of race and architectural design, with a desired outcome of environmental justice and social equity in urban design and planning. His dissertation research seeks to explore the visual cues that generate …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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. …

Kristen Hackett

Kristen Hackett is an activist, scholar, and educator working towards decolonized, anti-racist, and just urban futures in New York City. She is an executive committee member of the Justice For All Coalition (JFAC), a volunteer-based community group comprised of neighbors advocating and organizing around just futures for all in western Queens. She is also a …

Chris LoBosco Hoffman

Christopher LoBosco Hoffman is a dual doctoral student at the Graduate Center at City University of New York where he studies environmental psychology and critical social and personality psychology. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the Wadham College Visiting Student Program, Chris studies ways to empower communities by equipping them with the resources to …

Laurie Hurson

Laurie is a PhD Candidate in the CUNY Graduate Center’s Environmental Psychology program. Her research and work weaves together ecological approaches to learning, digital/physical space, pedagogy, and critical university studies. Laurie’s dissertation explores students’ learning ecologies and how these resource networks shape student learning and engagement. Laurie also completed her Masters thesis at the Graduate …

Mahnaz Izadi

I studied Bachelor of Architectural Engineering and Master of Architecture, both at University of Art at Tehran, Iran. My main area of research interest is studying human-environment interactions, with a special focus on vulnerable populations like children, and my Master’s thesis was in this domain, Designing a Foster Group Home, with emphasis on the effects …

Sarah Kahl

Sarah graduated from Oberlin College in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Psychology. She received honors for her senior project, which addressed how biophilic architecture is more likely to increase ones sense of well-being and emotional connection with the natural world than regular buildings. Sarah was also a researcher for the Community-Based …

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.  …

Hayoung Jeong

Hayoung is a dual doctoral student at the Graduate Center at City University of New York where she studies environmental psychology and critical social and personality psychology. After completing BFA in Fine Arts, from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she worked on various community psychology labs studying homelessness, violence prevention, and substance …

Erin Elizabeth Lilli

Erin is a PhD candidate currently finishing the dissertation proposal. Her research will examine race, everyday resistance to neoliberalism, and the struggle for housing through a historical-materialist framework by using residential oral histories and archival data in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.  This work, in part, seeks to understand what the ubiquitous term gentrification means for Crown …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Javier Otero Peña

Javier Otero Peña is a PhD candidate in Environmental Psychology from Caracas, Venezuela. Javier is a GC Digital Fellow since 2016 and a member of the Public Space Research Group, and currently works as a research assistant for the PARCS study in the CUNY School for Public Health. His dissertation looks at park use, park …

Jah Elyse Sayers

Jah Elyse Sayers is a third-year doctoral student in Environmental Psychology. Their research centers on the ways queer and trans people of color make and maintain place and the factors that support QTPoC spacemaking. They frequently work with ideas of belonging, disposability, and temporality whether they are crafting clocks from scrap metal or researching the …

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. …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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. She …

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 …

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