Allison Phillips (MA/MSCRP 2007)

Allison, who calls New Mexico home, earned a B.A. in biology from the University of Oregon in 1997. From 2001-2003, Allison traveled and worked in South America where she conducted ecological research in the Ecuadorian cloud forest as well as taught English in Cuzco, Peru and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. During her studies at the University of Texas at Austin, Allison focused on urban development, public space, and sustainability in Brazil. She is now working as a planner at SvR Design Company on projects related to bicycle facility design and low impact development in the Seattle metropolitan area. She hopes to work in the future on similar projects in Brazil.

Colleen McGue (MA/MSCRP 2011)

Colleen earned her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame with a minor in Portuguese/Brazilian Studies. As an undergraduate student, Colleen spent several months as an intern with Maryknoll Laymissioners in São Paulo, Brazil and as a student in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. During her graduate studies at UT, Colleen volunteered as a visitor with the Hutto Visitation Program, an immigrant detention visitation program at the T. Don Hutto Facility outside of Austin. Her Master's thesis project incorporated a combination of field interviews and GIS analysis to examine the intersection between transportation equity and race in São Paulo. Colleen currently resides in Sarasota, Florida where she directs the Community Data Initiative at SCOPE, a local nonprofit focused on community engagement. She is also teaching a course called "Community & Regional Development in Latin America" as an adjunct professor at New College of Florida.

Danielle Rojas (MA/MSCRP 2013)

Originally from Colorado, Danielle obtained a B.A. in International Affairs with a focus in Latin American Studies from Florida State University. During her undergraduate study, she spent several months teaching in Lima, Perú, and she also conducted research in Popayán and Bogotá, Colombia. Currently, Danielle’s M.A. studies focused on housing, environmental justice, and social relations in previously informal, now consolidated, areas around Lima’s original urban center (San Martin de Porras, San Juan de Miraflores, and Independencia.) She completed her thesis on self-help renting in Lima and continues to work on issues of social housing and empowerment.
 

Edward Hammond (MA/MSCRP 1995)

Edward was born in San Antonio, TX and raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He came to the joint program from the University of Richmond (History, 1990) and two years' work in Washington, DC and Peru on land rights and Amazonian indigenous peoples. As a Master's Fellow of the Inter-American Foundation, he completed an MA/MSCRP thesis on pharmaceutical bioprospecting in northeastern Peru in 1995. Since graduating, Edward has worked for international non-governmental organizations in research and advocacy. With the Rural Advancement Foundation International (now the ETC Group), he worked on agriculture, genetic resources, and related aspects of intellectual property. He later led the Sunshine Project, an NGO focusing on biological weapons, where his research on "non-lethal" weapons and the growth of biodefense projects was profiled in Science (DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5685.768) and spawned several national news stories. Based in Texas, Edward now works as independent researcher and writer. His interests are agricultural genetic resources, infectious disease policy, intellectual property, and freedom of information laws. His clients include the World Health Organization, Third World Network, Greenpeace International, and the African Centre for Biosafety.

Ethan Colaice (MA/MSCRP 1998)

 

Ethan joined the joint program from Beloit College, where he majored in Spanish and English Literature with a minor in Journalism. His main interest at UT was Latin American urbanization and the particular issue of urban primacy, which also was the focus of his thesis research in Ecuador. Ethan very much enjoyed his three years at UT, he says, where he found the academic environment intense yet collegial, and the program filled with smart and talented people from around the world. Since UT, he has worked in the urban planning and economics consulting field in Boston and in 2003 he joined Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse, Inc. as a Development Director in his hometown of Providence, RI. SBER specializes in urban adaptive re-use projects and Ethan has been involved in the acquisition and redevelopment of several underutilized and abandoned historic mill properties. He says that the benefits of the dual degree have extended beyond technical skills. His work puts him in constant contact with residents from Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador, and his Spanish skills and understanding and appreciation of their cultures create a level of trust that others would not be able to approximate. The experience in the joint program has made him a more well-rounded and effective professional.

Geoff Valdés (MA/MSRCP 2000)

 

Geoff Valdés is originally from Wisconsin and received a B.S. in Latin American Studies from the University of Wisconsin in 1994. He was a student in the dual degree program in CRP and Latin American Studies from 2000-2003 and completed his thesis on the intersection between food sovereignty and indigenous organizing in the Tehuantepec Isthmus region of Mexico in the fall of 2007. He spent extended periods in Mexico conducting his research. Geoff has lived in Austin for 8 years and currently runs a small garden-related business with his family. He also continues to work with gardening and food sovereignty projects in the US and Mexico.

George McQueen (MA-LAS/MSCRP 2011)

 

Growing up on the US/Mexico border in Arizona, George has always been drawn south — whether to "lunchear" on tacos or to travel overland to Argentina, and back. Since earning BA's in English and Spanish (minor in Music) at Northern Arizona University, George has worn several caps, including those of journalist, activist, carpenter, teacher, camping guide and traveler. He hopes to combine his years of preservation experience with his observations as a municipal reporter (and education at UT) to understand planning issues affecting historic districts, particularly in Latin America.

Gina Casey (MA/MSRCP 2011)

 

Gina earned her B.A. degree in Latin American Studies and Spanish at the University of Texas at Austin. During her undergraduate program, she spent semesters in Valparaíso, Chile and Salvador, Brazil. Upon graduation, she traveled through Central America and worked as an English professor at Bluefields Indian and Caribbean University in Nicaragua, before she moved to Washington D.C. to conduct research on human rights issues in Mexico and Central America for the Washington Office on Latin America. During her graduate research, she conducted interviews in an informally settled community in Santo Domingo to examine the effects of transportation mega-projects on vulnerable populations in the region. Gina now works for a nonprofit in Boston, Massachusetts, where she advocates for the housing rights of low-income people, including political refugees and undocumented immigrants, who are currently residing in emergency shelters in Boston.

Heather Lamboy (MA/MSCRP 1998)

 

Heather (Pierson) Lamboy, AICP, joined the Joint Program due to her positive experience in the undergraduate honors Latin American Studies Program at UT. She was familiar with the challenges of the program and enjoyed the dialogue and educational opportunities, both book-learned and hands-on. Heather says her most important learning experience was a housing policy project in the Colonias of Texas and Mexico, which showed her that Latin American issues were not isolated to Latin America. Heather has worked in different public and private sector planning positions in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Seattle, Washington, and Denver, Colorado before her current position as Principal Planner with the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission in Tampa, Florida. She finds her tenure with the LAS/CRP program serves her well in her day-to-day work, from being able to counsel on zoning and comprehensive planning matters in Spanish, to developing local government legislation sensitive to the needs and desires of Hispanic groups within the community. Heather is grateful for the experience and knowledge she gained at the University of Texas as it helps her to be a more effective planner.

Jeremiah Carew (MA/MSRCP 2000)

 

Jeremiah came to UT-Austin with undergraduate degree in architecture from Yale University (1991). As a student in the joint degree program, he focused on affordable housing and substandard residential subdivisions (colonias) on the Texas side of the Texas-Mexico border. His three years at UT were a lot of hard work, but the education here provided him with strong quantitative, research and program evaluation skills that he uses every day in his current job. The Latin America coursework gave him a tremendous leg up on understanding country context and development issues he encounters every day as a deputy program officer for the US Agency for International Development Mission in Peru (USAID/PERU). His job responsibilities include strategic planning and program evaluation to ensure that funds are spent on projects with the highest development impact. He says it is exciting to be involved in making such important decisions, and playing a major part as a donor in a country's development. Read more about Jeremiah's work at the United States Agency for International Development.

Lindsey Engelman (MA/MSCRP 2011)

 

Lindsey grew up in Houston and then Austin, and obtained a B.A. in Legal Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2004. As an undergraduate, Lindsey worked as a health promoter in HIV prevention and harm reduction. After college she spent three years working as a legal assistant in an environmental law firm in Austin. She also spent a year working as a human rights accompanier in rural Guatemala, assisting victims who are participating in a national criminal-case against the intellectual designers of the country's genocide. Lindsey's research interests are focused on sustainability and human rights as they relate to environmental justice, especially in Latin America.

Mark Lundy (MA/MSCRP 1995)

 

Mark Lundy graduated from the joint CRP / LA in 1995 after completing a BA in International Relations at American University. During his time at UT he spent a year in Ecuador working for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fundación Natura and wrote his thesis on the Community Development Corporation model promoted by the Fundación Carvajal in Cali, Colombia. Mark currently works as a Senior Researcher at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, CIAT, in Cali, Colombia. His work focuses on rural enterprise development with smallholder farmers and includes topics such as the establishment of learning networks to increase NGO and farmer capacities for enterprise development, how private companies can better partner with smallholder farmers, the role of public and donor agencies in supporting market linkages and how to establish and sustain effective trading relationships between buyers and smallholder farmers that add business value while reducing rural poverty. Mark is lead author of a series of guides on participatory rural enterprise development and an active participant in the Sustainable Food Lab and other multi-stakeholder forums focused on sustainability and smallholder inclusion in Latin America and Africa.

Matt Beyers (MA/MSCRP 1997)

 

Matt Beyers has been an epidemiologist at the Alameda County Public Health Department since 2003. Coming into the UT program, Matt had five years experience as an electrical engineer in quality control. While at UT, Matt was primarily interested in economic and community development, taking courses in sociology, geography, and economics. He made three trips to Nicaragua studying urban agriculture for his professional report. His work since receiving his master's degrees in Latin American Studies and in Community and Regional Planning in 1997 has included stints as an economic development consultant and as a research director at a nonprofit.

Meredith Bossin (MA/MSCRP 2009)

 

Meredith, originally from Houston, Texas, received her B.A. in the History of Art and Architecture from Rice University. After a six-month trip to South America, she decided to pursue a degree in Latin American Studies and chose the University of Texas because of the opportunity to get a joint degree in Planning and Latin American Studies. The focus of her research is gender issues in the context of international development. She volunteered with ProyectArte, a non-profit art program in Buenos Aires, during the summer of 2006 and completed the Civil Society Institute Program in Mexico in the Summer 2007 semester. Meredith is currently a Senior Planner for the City of Austin Planning & Development Review Department. Meredith's M.A. Thesis can be viewed online.

Monica Bosquez (MA/MSCRP 2009)

 

Monica, native of Corpus Christi, Texas, earned a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Texas at Austin before working as an analyst and legislative aide at the Texas Legislature, where she focused on natural resource and Border policy. Monica then served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Panama as an Environmental Conservation Volunteer from 2002-2005. She is currently employed as a Program Specialist with the Office of Rural Community Affairs. Future goals include development work in Latin America.

Omar Díaz (MA-LAS/MSCRP 2011)

 

Omar comes from the El Paso/Juarez border, where border politics and social issues have no indication of slowing down. He received double BA’s in Electronic Media and Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso. During his undergraduate program, Omar had a variety of jobs such as substitute teacher, baker, television camera man, writer, and food/wine taster, all of which influenced and fed his hunger for perspective. Two of Omar's main concerns are the lack of communication and threats to sustainable culture in border city communities. The focus of Omar's research is to support and sustain border communities by implementing community regional planning methods to help sustain border cultures. Upon graduation he will seek a way to expand his studies and practice globally.

Peter Almlie (MA/MSCRP 2010)

Peter, originally from Seattle, completed his BA in Latin American Studies at San Diego State University, where he focused on housing issues in Mixtec communities in Oaxaca, Mexico. After extensive travels throughout Latin America, he worked for a non-profit agency which focused on providing housing in the peripheral colonias of Tijuana. Seeking a greater understanding of the built environment, Peter entered the dual degree program at UT Austin where he completed his thesis on infrastructure development in colonias in Mexico.

Polly Morrison (MA/MSCRP 1994)

 

Polly, originally from Washington State, came to UT after volunteering and working in Monteverde, Costa Rica for nearly four years. A graduate of Pacific Lutheran University (1986) in history and international studies, Polly entered the joint degree program in 1991 and, during her three years at UT, focused on community development and conservation efforts in Latin America. After graduation, Polly moved to Paraguay as a Population-Environment Fellow (a program managed by the University of Michigan), where she worked with a local NGO to study the perceptions that local people had of protected areas. Now in the U.S., she has worked for The Nature Conservancy, Georgetown University's Center for International Education and Development and, currently, at Conservation International. Her interests and career remain focused on the importance of healthy ecosystems for economic development and human well-being and she credits the joint program with providing the skills, knowledge and exchange of ideas that have allowed her to pursue her interests.

Rachael Die (MA/MSCRP 2012)

 

Rachael is a Texas native who earned her B.A. degree in Anthropology and Sociology at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. During her undergraduate experiences, she studied abroad in Valaparaíso and Temuco, Chile. Her research in Chile focused on indigenous land rights issues with the Mapuche. Rachael's thesis research focused on neoliberal tourism development and its social and economic consequences in Bocas del Toro, Panamá. Currently, she is working as a planner with the Parks Department in Houston, Texas.

ROLF PENDALL (MA/MSCRP 1989)

 

Rolf is Director of the Metropolitan Housing & Communities Policy Center at the Urban Institute. His research expertise includes land use planning and regulation; federal, state, and local affordable housing policy and programs; and metropolitan planning and development. Between 1998 and mid-2010, Rolf was a tenure-track and tenured professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University. In 2007, Rolf was appointed to a National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board panel on links between land use, transportation, energy, and greenhouse gas emissions; the committee's report, "Driving and the Built Environment", was released in September 2009. Rolf holds a PhD (1995) in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley, an MS in Community and Regional Planning and an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin (1989), and a BA in sociology from Kenyon College in Ohio (1984).

Sean McKaughan (MA/MSCRP 1996)

Sean earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from UT's Plan II program before he entered the dual degree program in CRP and Latin American Studies. As a graduate student, he was particularly interested in sustainable development, resource management and issues surrounding drought in Brazil. When he was in the joint program, the field of sustainable development was just opening up. Sustainable development is multi-disciplinary by nature, he says, and UT offered him an amazing diversity of quality programs, from natural sciences, to business, to public policy and economics. The joint-degree program allowed him to put together all of those elements in a "build-it-yourself" approach, and the result was a strong base for his subsequent work with sustainable development in Mexico, Brazil and other parts of Latin America. Sean is now the CEO of Fundación AVINA and responsible for its 22 offices, 150 employees and portfolio of 1000 partners in 11 Latin American countries. AVINA contributes to sustainable development in Latin America by supporting leaders from business and civil society, and promoting productive alliances among them. He lives with his family in Rio de Janeiro, but travels frequently throughout South and Central America.

Stephen Ramos (MA/MSCRP 2000)

 

Stephen enrolled in the joint degree program at UT-Austin with a B.A. in English and Spanish Literature from Gettysburg College. After graduating from Gettysburg he worked for three years as director of the Project Gettysburg-León Sister City group in León, Nicaragua, where he focused on housing and urbanization projects in informal settlements. His thesis research at UT explored urban social movements for public infrastructure by comparing the colonias movement in Guadalajara, Mexico with the COPS experience in San Antonio, Texas, advised by Dr. Michael Oden and Dr. Bryan Roberts. After graduating, he moved to Spain to work for the Fundación Metrópoli urban research center in Madrid, where projects included a new city competition for Shanghai, a waterfront development for Casablanca, and a proposal to convert the Madrid ring road into a boulevard. Stephen is presently a doctoral candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a Dubai Initiative Research Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, where his research focuses large-scale trade infrastructure as mechanism for territorial organization in rapidly urbanizing contexts. He is a founding editor of the journal New Geographies, which focuses on contemporary issues of urbanism and architecture.

Vanessa Martinez (MA/MSCRP 2012)

 

Vanessa grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she received B.A. degrees in English and Music from Nebraska Wesleyan University. Her undergraduate studies focused primarily on literary translation from Spanish to English, and clarinet performance. After college, she spent time working for Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest as the State Coordinator for "Nebraska Is Home," a community-led initiative to create a sense of shared values around the topics of immigrants and immigration. Her current research involves U.S.-Mexico migration as it relates to participatory planning, and the economic well being of migrants and their families. She also hopes to develop research aimed at utilizing music as a tool for social justice, especially in marginalized communities.