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, space and place with a desired outcome of increased environmental justice and social equity in architecture, urban design and planning. His dissertation research explores the sensory cues that generate spatial …

Claire Cahen

Claire is a PhD candidate in Environmental Psychology. Herresearch interests center on austerity and urban disinvestment, public sector labor movement decline and revitalization, and efforts to institute community control of public institutions such as social housing and schools. Her dissertation examines how parents, students, and teachers negotiate cuts to public education in Newark. More broadly, …

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 …

Nicolette Dakin

Nicolette Dakin is a dual doctoral student in the Environmental Psychology and Critical Social/Personality Psychology programs at the CUNY Graduate Center.  After graduating summa cum laude with her BA in Psychology from Purchase College, Nicolette went on to complete a Master of Social Work at NYU. Prior to beginning her doctoral education, Nicolette worked as …

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 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

Mahnaz is a graduate of Architecture from Tehran University of Art in Iran. For her master’s thesis, she focused on the ways children and youth interact with their environment in foster group homes, and proposed a design for a foster group home in Tehran based on the developmental and environmental psychology studies and theories. She …

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 working on her dissertation examining race and place, 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 situate gentrification processes as an ongoing form of racial capitalism. In addition to her doctoral …

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 the Student Advisor for the M.S. in Data Analysis and Visualization at The Graduate Center, CUNY. He is also a research associate at the Public Space Research Group, and a research assistant for the PARCS study in the CUNY School …

Shokran Rahiminezhad

Shokran Rahiminezhad is a Ph.D. student in the Environmental Psychology Program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has a background and professional experience in Urban Design, with a Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning and Design, and a Masters in Social Studies. He mainly works on public space, the …

Jah Elyse Sayers

Jah Elyse Sayers (they/them) is a fourth-year doctoral student in Environmental Psychology. They use poetic and participatory methods to study the ways queer and trans Black, indigenous, and people of color (QTBIPOC) make and maintain place and the factors that support QTBIPOC placemaking. They frequently work with ideas of belonging, disposability, histories, and futurity whether …

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. …

Irina Shirobokova

Irina Shirobokova is a PhD student at the Environmental psychology program. She is specializing in political anthropology, urban geography and transdisciplinary research with the focus on spatial justice, uneven development, collaborative methods and embodied knowledge production. She holds BA in sociology and MA in political geography from Saint Petersburg State University. She started her career …

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 is a PhD Candidate in Environmental Psychology, at The Graduate Center, CUNY. With an interdisciplinary background and perspective bridging human development and urban environment, she advocates for young people’s meaningful participation and exercise of self-determination rights in everyday life, familial and local decision-making processes, education and play. She also contributes to an international research …

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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