Students

Christopher Polack PortraitChristopher Polack (GGFUP, 2019)

Christopher Polack is a Master’s of Urban Planning student at NYU Wagner, specializing in Urban Analytics. He received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in 2018 from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His past research has focused on the leveraging of digital interactive tools and collaborative community mapping spaces to encourage civic discussions around rapid urban change and displacement. He currently works as a graduate Research Assistant at the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management. This summer, he will be working with Right To The City – a national alliance of racial, economic, and environmental justice organizations – researching rent control policy and working to document the efforts and initiatives of the alliance’s core member organizations across the country.


Shanti Escalante-De Mattei portraitShanti Escalante-De Mattei (GGFUP, 2019)

Shanti Escalante-De Mattei is a third year student at Gallatin, studying Ecological Anthropology. She is the author behind “New Art for Archaeologists” at Embodied Magazine, where she comments on emerging climate change arts. She hopes to keep writing and researching her way through the Anthropocene.


Maria Jesus Mora portraitMaria Jesus Mora (GGFUP, 2019)

Maria Jesus Mora is a junior studying Sociology and History in the College of the Arts and Science. Last summer she interned in Mexico’s National Council to Prevent Discrimination in the division of Public Policy concerning Afro-Mexican rights. She was exposed to efforts to create collaborations between different governmental branches and civil society in order to sensitize the nation through mass campaigning about this largely politically and socially invisible population. She also volunteered as a research assistant for an NYU Sociology graduate student, whose dissertation focuses on the social factors behind the segregated high school system in New York City. This summer she will be working for a cooperative of Latin American migrant women in Madrid (SEDOAC) who are trying to combat labor discrimination. More specifically, they are trying to gain equal access to Spain’s social security and dignify paid domestic work. She is very excited to work alongside SEDOAC to promote consciousness about the vulnerability that these women face due to their disenfranchisement, ethnicity, and immigration status.

 


Jakiyah Bradley portraitJakiyah Bradley (GGFUP, 2019)

Jakiyah Bradley is a rising senior at Gallatin studying Urban Policy and Social Change, with a minor in Social & Public Policy. Her studies focus on policies around education, housing, justice reform, and the inevitable intersection of the three in the lives of racial minorities living in cities. For the past two summers, she has interned with The Legal Aid Society and The Bronx Defenders, respectively, where she advocated on the behalf of clients in civil cases. Jakiyah will be a fellow at Each One Teach One (EOTO) e.V. in Berlin, Germany this summer. There, she will work on EOTO’s community-based education and empowerment projects, including researching the history of African immigrant communities in the Berlin-Wedding neighborhood.


David Puente headshotDavid Puente (GGFUP, 2019)

David Puente is a Master’s candidate in Urban Studies, Tourism Management and Global Policy at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. His research focuses on how urbanization and travel trends are transforming the landscape of human settlement in the 21st-century, with significant implications for living conditions, leisure, the environment, development policy and social justice. He expects to use his experience working with the community-based organization Imagina Madrid, to better understand a bottom-up approach that promotes urban sustainability, social justice and citizen participation. Puente is an Emmy award-winning network news journalist and communications specialist who speaks English, Spanish, French and studies Arabic. He has received community service awards from his previous employers, Disney and Time Warner, for his work with public school students in Newark, New Jersey.


Sarah Aita portraitSarah Aita (GGFUP, 2018)

Sarah is a Master’s student in urban planning at Wagner, specializing in housing and economic development. She received her Bachelor’s degree in architecture in 2016 from Ain Shams University in Cairo and continues to work in architecture and urban development. Her research work focuses on inequality, gentrification, and the politics of space in the context of design and governance. Sarah will be working with the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco) to establish a community needs assessment for a current rezoning plan in the Bronx.


Vaclav Masek portraitVaclav Masek (GGFUP, 2018)

Vaclav Masek is a Guatemalan graduate student at NYU’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS). In 2017, Vaclav completed his undergraduate degree also at NYU, where he pursued a triple-major in Sociology, Spanish, and Global Liberal Studies with a concentration in Politics, Rights, and Development. He is currently working on his Master’s project, which focuses on Guatemala’s multiparty system after its return to democracy after a 36-year armed conflict. Understanding that the Guatemalan armed conflict also ignited a sustained mass migration to the United States, Vaclav expects to use his experiences in Madrid with Servicio Doméstico Activo (SEDOAC) to understand the nuances of transatlantic migration. Additionally, he hopes to explore how Latin American migrants in Madrid challenge local governments for more representation in the legal realm.


Stephanie Rountree portrait

Stephanie Rountree (GGFUP, 2018)

Stephanie Rountree is a rising junior at Gallatin studying technology and justice, particularly examining questions around ethics of design, decolonization of digital interaction, and how organizers use digital presence to draw attention to offline efforts. In the past, she has shown commitment to infusing social justice into tech as an intern at DoSomething.org, a tech nonprofit that connects over 5 million young people with volunteer and civic action opportunities, and a national volunteer for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential primary campaign, and will be continuing this work at the Right to the City Alliance in Brooklyn. There, her primary focus will be collaborating with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project to create dynamic geographic visualizations of RTC’s eviction data using ArcGIS, with an ultimate goal of being able to predict evictions over 5 years, identify motivations behind housing trends, and humanize statistics by integrating the stories of those affected by gentrification into the final product. 


Jesse Bernhart portraitJesse Bernhart (GGFUP, 2018)

Jesse Bernhart is a rising Senior at Gallatin studying a Humanities Based Approach to Environmental Studies, with a special emphasis on Environmental Justice, with a minor in Spanish. Her area of concentration is focused on the way climate change disproportionately impacts underrepresented communities of the world. Jesse’s extracurricular activities are centered around her involvement as Events Director for NYU’s Women and Youth Supporting Each Other (WYSE,) where she provides mental health, empowerment, and sexual education resources to middle school girls around the city. This summer, Jesse is working with the Loisaida Center, a Latinx cultural preservation center that focuses on retaining the Lower East Side’s cultural integrity and Latinx background. She will be working primarily with the Loisaida Center’s current artist residents who are involved in a project dealing with the local community gardens, recounting their history, their impact as social sites, and the ways that they are being threatened both indirectly and head-on.


Dylan Garcia portraitDylan Garcia (GGFUP, 2018)

Dylan Garcia is a Junior at Gallatin studying Sociology and Urban Sustainability. He is focused on studying how cities function efficiently and can work as sustainable and healthy communities. He is an Education Coordinator at the Office of Sustainability at NYU, where he works on the EcoReps peer to peer environmental education program, and has worked in the past for The NYC Park Department Sustainable Facilities Division, and for the NRDC. For the Fellowship, Dylan is working with the Loisaida Center, a Puerto Rican and Latinx cultural center that focuses on cultural placemaking and placekeeping. Over the summer, Dylan is helping Loisaida with a number of the many projects in the works. The center is working on building a “maker spac”e to serve the community and provide useful tools and technology as a way to help members of the community in job training and artistic endeavors. The center is also in need of collateral reports on some of their recent and current projects including the Loisaida Festival and the artist residencies. Dylan will also be continuing work at NYU’s Office of Sustainability this summer.


Siobhan Allen portraitSiobhan Allen (GGFUP, 2018)

Siobhan Allen is a senior at Gallatin who is studying the intersection of the Spanish language, culture, and politics in Spain and Latin America. For the fellowship through Urban Democracy Lab, Siobhan is working with SEDOAC (Servicio Doméstico Activo) in Madrid, Spain, to help them with their online presence and international outreach. In New York, Siobhan has worked with DWU (Domestic Workers United), an American organization with a similar founding and focus. Her work focuses on the colonial roots and cultural differences in Spain and the United States that lead to different problems and solutions for domestic workers, as well as the impact outside influences can have on grassroots organizations.


Kat Phillipson portraitKate Philipson (GGFUP, 2018)

Kate Philipson is a graduate student in NYU’s Archives and Public History MA Program. She works in the Media Preservation Unit of the NYU Library’s Barbara Goldsmith Conservation and Preservation Department, and is passionate about archival and information access, as well as working with communities to collect and preserve underrepresented histories. As a fellow at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Humboldt Park, Chicago, Kate is helping to formulate an archive for long-term preservation of materials within the organization’s rich history, and materials documenting the collective history of the Puerto Rican community in the surrounding neighborhoods. The PRCC is a 45-year-old hub of Puerto Rican anti-colonial activism and community building in Humboldt Park, and this foundational archive will anchor a larger public history initiative with plans to include an oral history program, educational partnerships, research and outreach efforts, public events, and the training of local community archivists.


Mariyamou Drammeh portraitMariyamou Drammeh (GGFUP, 2018)

Mariyamou Drammeh is a fourth-year student at NYU studying sociology and minoring in social public policy. Her interest in advocating for marginalized communities of color has led to her work with grassroots social justice-based organizations, particularly those focused on anti-poverty and women’s rights. She has also served as a facilitator for NYU’s Peer Impact Program, engaging in education and outreach around diversity, inclusion and social justice. Mariyamou plans to continue her work in the space of advocacy and social justice as she pursues a Master’s in Public Administration through the NYU Wagner School of Public Service. As a fellow with African Communities Together, Mariyamou will focus on collecting demographic data of the African immigrant community in NYC as well as oral histories of community members, in an effort to elevate the stories and existence of a vibrant community.


Victoria Carter

Victoria Carter (GGFUP, 2017)

Victoria Carter is a first year Masters candidate at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University. She moved to New York from London last September, where she spent several years working as a digital and innovation consultant. During that time she began to consider how design and innovation could be used as tools for sustainable social change.  As a GGFUP, she is working with El Patio Maravillas. El Patio is an organization that has occupied various sites in Madrid, building community centers in these unoccupied sites and actively campaigning for affordable housing and anti-gentrification. In parallel to her work with El Patio, she is researching her Masters thesis, which focuses on participatory design and social innovation in Madrid.


Jonathan Marty

Jonathan Marty (GGFUP, 2017)

Jonathan Marty is a rising Junior at the NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study where he is pursuing a concentration in Urban Studies. As a GGFUP, he is working in Humboldt Park, Chicago with the Puerto Rican Cultural Center. His interests range from housing rights and gentrification to the politics of public transit and other civic amenities. He is also interested in the processes of architectural design and urban planning, and how the two shape the urban environment in distinctive manners.
 
 


Sophie MaesSophie Maes (GGFUP, 2017)

Sophie Maes is a fourth-year student at NYU Gallatin studying Urban Problem Solving and Sustainable Design. Growing up in coastal Santa Barbara, California, an ethos of environmental responsibility was instilled in her from early on. As a college student, experiences in New York City and Buenos Aires have informed her perspective on urban life—its many wonders and challenges. She is eager to explore the intersection of sustainable design practices and social justice. As a Gallatin Global Fellow in Urban Practice, she is spending the summer in Madrid working with Paisaje Transversal, an urban design office that emphasizes community engagement and democratic participation in their initiatives.


Bremda AcostaBremda Acosta (GGFUP, 2017)

Bremda Acosta is a rising senior at New York University in the College of Arts and Science majoring in Sociology and Global Public Health with a minor in Spanish. She was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to New York City at the age of 12. She has found her niche in sociology. The sociological imagination has helped her make sense of her positionality as a woman, a Hispanic immigrant and a first generation college student. More specifically, she is drawn to sociological research because she occupies spaces that have systematically excluded people like herself in the past. This summer, Bremda is working with Latin American migrant women who are domestic workers in Madrid and who have come together to learn about their rights, visibilize their community and to empower themselves. They created an organization called “Servicio Domestico Activo” (SEDOAC– Active Domestic Service) that organizes workshops, festivals and meetings to get more women in this informal labor sector involved in their work.


Imani EdwardsImani Edwards (GGFUP, 2017)

Imani is a second-year Gallatin graduate student studying Cultural Preservation through Storytelling. She creates projects and writes stories in order to highlight the cultures and histories of marginalized communities. In the past, she has produced projects within the urban education, healthcare, and university sectors to fill voids in cultural representation. This list includes the “Blackness” Project at the Churchill School and Center, Continuing the Conversation: Black Women Activism in Flint booklet with Diplomat Pharmacy, and the “Self-Care Take Care” Black Women Social at NYU. As a Gallatin Global Fellow in Urban Practice, Imani will be working with community partner City Lore to create stories that contribute to their mission to preserve marginalized culture.


Rachel SternRachel Stern (GGFUP, 2017)

Rachel Stern is going into her third year at Gallatin with a concentration in Environmental Studies and Human Rights, particularly interest in Indigenous land rights and environmental practices, food justice and climate change adaptation.This summer, she is working in Oakland, California with Rooted in Resilience, an environmental justice and climate resilience organization. In her work with them, she will be developing their communications strategy for existing and new initiatives, as well as conducting research on environmental communications and developing a training program around environmental and community-based organization communications for externs and other organizations. In the future, she wants to continue her studies in the field of environmental justice and human rights, and work to involve and learn from communities when it comes to environmental problems and solutions. She believes that an approach rooted and designed around community is crucial rather than a top-down approach which can marginalize communities and infringe on human and environmental rights.


Anamika JainAnamika Jain (GGFUP, 2017)

Currently a senior in Gallatin, Anamika is developing a concentration in human rights and minoring in gender and sexuality. She is particularly invested in studying the intersection of human rights and urban development. Having previously done “right to the city” work in Brazil as a Gallatin Global Human Rights Fellow, she is continuing this work over the summer at the Right to the City Alliance in New York. At Right to the City, she will primarily be doing research for a paper about alternative housing models and community control, as well as helping organize some major upcoming events. As a human rights activist and scholar, she is incredibly excited to spend this summer as a part of mass-based, bottom-up formation led by people of color, immigrants, and working class communities that has been at the forefront of the struggles against gentrification, displacement and police terror in US cities.


Arielle HirschArielle Hersh (GGFUP, 2017)

Arielle Hersh is a rising junior at Gallatin studying Urban Development, Policy, and History, and is a Gallatin Global Fellow in Urban Practice in New York City with WHEDco this summer. She has just completed the Liberal Studies Core Program and spent her first year studying away in Washington, DC. Academically, Arielle is interested in sustainable community development, affordable housing, and interdisciplinary urban practice. In collaboration with WHEDco, she will be working on community development along Southern Boulevard in the Crotona Park East neighborhood of the South Bronx, specifically helping to create a Commercial District Needs Assessment (CDNA) for the corridor. During the past year, she completed an independent research project on Via Verde, a sustainable affordable housing complex in the South Bronx, and volunteered with the Lowline. Arielle will also be working with the Van Alen Institute this summer.


Sara Nuta (GGFUP, 2017)

Sara Nuta is a rising senior at NYU. She is concentrating in journalism/media criticism and metropolitan studies at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Despite growing up in the suburbs of New Jersey, she has always been fascinated by cities—from urban planning to public policy to subway maps. She is interested in the ways in which a city’s identity is defined by its arts and culture, with a particular emphasis on music.  As the daughter of immigrants, she has always been curious to learn more about the interaction between immigration, urban demographics, and local politics. This summer, she wil develop a better understanding of Albanian, Yemeni, and Bangladeshi musicians and artists in the South Bronx—which spaces they occupy, what kinds of performances they put on, and how their music impacts the community’s sense of place. She will be doing research in the South Bronx with The Bronx Music Heritage Foundation.


Emily BellorEmily Bellor (GGFUP, 2016)

Emily Bellor is an intersectional feminist poet-activist and a B.A. candidate concentrating in the history and practice of artistic activism at the NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Her art and activism focus on the (de)construction of gender and authority and the exploration and celebration of queer identity. Her mediums of choice include writing, theater, and performance. She is working with CAA to bolster publicity, social media presence, and outreach for the Center and for Actipedia.
 
 


Sarah HalfordSarah Halford (GGFUP, 2016)

Sarah Halford graduated with honors from the New School University, where she earned a BA in theater and politics. At Gallatin, she has narrowed her focus to the study of art in activism and works closely with the Center for Artistic Activism as a research fellow. In 2016, she was awarded the Gallatin Global Fellowship in Urban Practice from the Urban Democracy Lab and was sent to Berlin, Germany, to conduct research on artistic activism and its practitioners’ metrics of success and failure. She is currently working on a podcast miniseries called Creative Affect: The Podcast for her Master’s thesis, which combines much of the field research, theory, and critical analysis that she has collected during her time at Gallatin.


Ivy OlesenIvy Olesen (GGFUP, 2016)

Ivy Olesen is a senior at Gallatin (as of Spring 2017). For the fellowship, Ivy worked with The Schwules Museum*, an LGBT archive and museum in Berlin. Her research centered around the queer history and landscape of Schoenberg – the historically gay district in which the SMU* is situated. She created and led Queer Art walks out of the museum into the neighborhood, and back again. Through collaborative and ephemeral multimedia art projects, participants wove connections between their present perspectives and lives with the historical and art historical past of the SMU* and Schoenberg. These walks were queer in content as well as form, both based off of her research, and an extension of it, constituting a series of unconventional, verbal and visual interviews.


Chloe Grey SmithChloe Grey Smith (GGFUP, 2016)

Chloe Grey Smith is a senior at Gallatin (as of Spring 2017), studying artistic activism and urban spatial studies. Her artistic and academic work focuses on using mapmaking to represent urban ecologies, histories and futures. Chloe spent her fellowship in Buenos Aires, Argentina, working for both the Center for Artistic Activism and the Argentinian Photojournalists’ Association (ARGRA). In Buenos Aires she attended queer activist events, conducted interviews and studio visits with queer and Indigenous artistic activists, and helped digitize archives of photos from the Falklands War (La Guerra Malvinas). She collected her photos, observations, and audio recordings, along with a hand-drawn map, into a searchable archival website called Porteñomanteau. Chloe’s fellowship work serves as both a survey of the intersections between artistic activism and archivism in Argentina, and an individual reflection on the pitfalls and beauties of being a foreign cultural researcher.


Taylor BrockTaylor Brock (GGFUP, 2015)

Taylor Brock is a senior at Gallatin (as of Spring 2016) studying social justice and art activism. Her studies focus on oppressive power relations and the ability of art to be a viable tool for consciousness raising, empowerment, and subversion. For the fellowship, Taylor worked with The Laundromat Project, a New York-­based nonprofit that works to nurture creativity within its three flagship communities, Harlem, Bed­Stuy, and Hunts Point/Longwood. Through the LP, Taylor was connected with the Kelly Street Community Garden in the Bronx. On Kelly Street she researched how a shared history and the use of arts and culture can foster powerful and resilient communities within an urban environment. Her research culminated in a WordPress site that documents many of her findings and experiences.


Maria Fernanda CepedaMaria Fernanda Cepeda  (GGFUP, 2015)

Maria Fernanda Cepeda is a Master’s candidate at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University (as of Spring 2016). She has a B.A. in Anthropology from the National University of Colombia and five years’ experience working with citizenship culture, social justice, women’s rights, multicultural studies, and community work. Her overall research focuses on domestic work, Latin American migrant women, and the intersections between social sciences, theatre, and politics for social change. As a fellow, Maria worked in Madrid with the grassroots organization SEDOAC around issues of domestic work, migration, and narratives of leadership experienced by Latin American migrant women. Her final project, a web page for SEDOAC was called “Domestic Workers in Spain, A Laboratory Project for Urban Democracy.”


Robert ClintonRobert Clinton (GGFUP, 2015)

Robert Clinton is a senior at Gallatin (as of Spring 2016) with a concentration in urban agriculture and a minor in Sustainable Urban Environments through the Tandon School of Engineering. Throughout his undergraduate career, Robert has sought to enrich his understanding of environmentalism, development, politics, and sociology in municipalities. His project for the Gallatin Global Fellowship in Urban Practice explored the intersections of religion, environmentalism, and national identity as expressed in the sustainability practices of ethnic Germans and Turkish Muslim migrants in Berlin. Robert’s research has been synthesized into a WordPress site that begins to investigate whether the Christian undertones of German environmentalism, an integral component of internal and external conceptions of Germanity, impede outsiders’ participation, thus preventing their full integration into Deutschland.


Erin JohnsonErin Johnson (GGFUP, 2015)

Erin Johnson earned her Master’s degree in January 2016 from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. At Gallatin, Erin studied urban agriculture and community development with coursework covering urban economic development, community organizing, sustainable food systems, environmental justice, community advocacy and public health. Erin’s thesis research centered on the strategies and programming of urban farms in low-income neighborhoods in New York and their community development efficacy. She also serves as a volunteer coordinator with the Gowanus Canal Conservancy and is an active member of a community garden. As a fellow, Erin spent the summer of 2015 in Madrid working with Paisaje Transversal, a collective of architects that specializes in developing innovative and transformative urban projects.

Sophie LasoffSophie Lasoff (GGFUP, 2014)

Sophie Lasoff is a senior at Gallatin (as of Spring 2015) studying the intersections of environmental and social justice, specifically through the lens of the climate crisis. She is actively engaged in student organizing, leading her to found the fossil fuel divestment campaign at NYU. As a Global Fellow in Urban Practice, she studied the relationship between community and climate resiliency at UPROSE, a local environmental justice organization in Brooklyn. Through an ethnographic study of their Climate Justice and Community Resiliency Center, she explored how UPROSE is providing a space for genuine, active participatory citizenship, and how the development of “social infrastructure” can be considered a climate adaptation and mitigation measure. Her research has culminated in an interactive video project that illustrates how the Center could be used as a grassroots model for climate resiliency.


Idan SassonIdan Sasson (GGFUP, 2014)

Idan Sasson is a senior at Gallatin (as of Spring 2015) studying Sustainable Development and minoring in Environmental Studies. His academic interests include political economy, urban development, environmental discourse, and theories of social change. While in Berlin, Idan focused on the development of open green space as an indicator of public urban development priorities. The research was focused on Tempelhof Field, an airport turned public park, which was most recently a space of contestation between urban developers and a widespread public resistance movement. Idan argues that the master plan proposed by the city represents an entrenched neoliberal development agenda. The successful resistance to the city’s master plan manifested itself in a public referendum, demonstrating that a majority of Berliners wished to put an end to top-down development projects. Idan hopes to create a short documentary using footage of the space, interviews, and photos from his time in Berlin.


Henry TopperHenry Topper (GGFUP, 2014)

Henry Topper is a senior in Gallatin (as of Spring 2015) studying Urban Studies and Philosophy. He is particularly interested in gentrification, the meaning of authenticity, and New York history. For the Global Fellowship in Urban Practice, Henry worked at an urban garden in Berlin and researched the emergence of “bottom-up” green spaces in the city. For his final project, he will create a digital storytelling narrative about his experience at the garden and its relationship to the burgeoning international population in Berlin.