Doctoral Student Profiles


Aabiya Baqai's headshot

Aabiya Baqai

Aabiya’s research focuses on the ways marginalized groups, such as Christian women from informal settlements, use the built environment to confront the national government’s claim to a single imagined national identity in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan. Aabiya has a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design from Dar Al Hekma University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. During her free time, she likes to swim, discover new halal spots, and read Harry Potter fanfiction.

Samira Bashar Headshot

Samira Bashar

Samira’s research interests lie at the intersection of equitable waterscape planning and informal urbanism in the context of South Asia. She is committed to shaping her academic and professional work around the knowledge and lived experiences of marginalized communities, and, in doing so, seeks to explore the tensions between local knowledge production and traditional development approaches and how that shapes discourse. Samira received her MSCRP degree from UT and her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). She has more than two years of teaching experience in the field of architecture and planning in Bangladesh, leading studios focused on activity-space relationships, urban design, and housing.

Yefu Chen Headshot

Yefu Chen

Before coming to UT Austin, Yefu Chen received a Bachelor of Science from Sun Yat-sen University and a Master in Urban Planning from the University of Washington. Yefu's primary research interest is transportation infrastructure and location affordability. He focuses on applying statistical models and machine learning algorithms to explore the impacts of changes in urban form and transit services on travel behavior and residential property values. Additionally, he is interested in environmental and public health outcomes such as particulate matter concentrations and obesity.

Seung Jun Choi Headshot

Seung Jun Choi

Seung Jun’s research focuses on the urban informatics field, with a specific interest in transportation, equity, and machine learning. Seung Jun serves as a Lead Teaching Assistant in the Computer Science Department at UT Austin. Before entering the Ph.D. program, he received his Master’s in Community and Regional Planning at The University of Texas at Austin. Since then, he has worked closely with the Urban Information Lab as a Graduate Research Assistant.

Taylor Cook

Taylor’s research focuses on housing, specifically how local politics, urban regime theory, and decision-making processes affect local homeless service systems. Before joining the CRP program, Taylor was a Program Manager for the City of Austin’s Innovation Office and where she led a team responsible for designing projects and services for people experiencing homelessness in Austin. Previously, Taylor was an IT system design consultant for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the founding Director of Farmshare Austin. Currently, she serves on the board of the Texas Homeless Network and is an active volunteer with local mutual aid organizations.

Shayna Goldsmith

Shayna researches the production of socio-technical systems through the prisms of
planning history, transportation, infrastructure, and municipal finance. By particularizing the contingencies involved in producing urban space—speculative investments, implementation failures, ideologies, technologies, and real or perceived threats to order—she examines the circumstances, institutional arrangements, and subjectivities that frame the 'public interest' and dictate the terms of collective action. She looks for new ways to imagine the future through this historiographic approach. Shayna is a native of the Washington, DC area, where she earned her Master's in Urban and Regional Planning at Georgetown University.

Jiaxuan Huang Headshot

Jiaxuan Huang

Before coming to UT Austin, Jiaxuan worked as a strategic consultant in Shanghai and as an urban designer in Atlanta. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in architecture, a master’s degree in architecture, and a master’s degree in urban design. She is also currently graduating from a master’s in computer science program at Georgia Tech (Summer 2023). Besides her hobby of collecting degrees, she is interested in studying shared micro-mobility in a spatial context and understanding the built environment from machine eyes. Growing up in the compact urban environment of Shanghai, Jiaxuan is enthusiastic about creating an amicable commuting environment for walking, biking, and skateboarding.

Kaylyn Levine Headshot

Kaylyn Levine

Kaylyn’s research focuses on the mobility justice implications of active and public transportation planning decisions. Her dissertation analyzes first- and last-mile access to transit for people with disabilities in Austin, TX and Seattle, WA. Kaylyn has an M.S. in Applied Urban Science and Informatics from New York University and a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. She was a Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellow in 2020. In her free time, she enjoys participating in agility and dock diving with her dogs.

Haijing Liu Headshot

Haijing Liu

Haijing’s dissertation focuses on exploring and understanding the geographical distribution and growth trends of green jobs over the past 20 years in the United States while analyzing their relationship with local policy factors and assessing their equity impacts. Haijing also has an interest in entrepreneurship and innovation. Her recent paper titled “Bridging Healthcare and Entrepreneurship: Examining the Collocation of Public Tertiary Hospitals and Biotech Startups in Chinese Cities” has been awarded as the AAG’s 2022 Runner-Up to the Best Paper for Geography and Entrepreneurship.

Yueying Ma

Yueying Ma

Yueying’s research interests focus on the environmental planning field, especially topics about climate change, ecosystem services, and urban resilience. Before entering the Ph.D. program at UT, she had experience using quantitative data to analyze the relationship between water quality and related factors at the Healthy Urban Stream Interdisciplinary Research Lab at the University of Michigan. She received her Master’s degree at Tongji University.

Adam Ogusky

Adam’s primary research interest is how planners make use of the terms ‘equity’ and ‘justice’ and how they are operationalized in planning practice. His dissertation involves an evaluation of contemporary comprehensive plans in the United States for the quality and extent of their treatment of equity, in addition to an analysis of the meanings of equity found in the documents using theories of justice to discuss and classify them. Prior to entering the Ph.D. program, Adam worked as a planner and a potter in Taos, NM and received his MSCRP from UT and a BA in geography from Dartmouth College.

Connor Philips

Connor Phillips

With an educational background in public health and urban planning, Connor has studied tobacco cessation programs, micro-mobility and health, and most recently, artificial intelligence in urban infrastructure. As an NSF NRT fellow, Connor’s work will integrate ethics into AI research for smart cities. More specifically, Connor hopes to lead conversations around fairness, justice, and safety in terms of the technological future of our urban environments.

Mashrur Rahman Headshot

Mashrur Rahman

Mashrur’s research focuses on social and spatial dimensions of transportation issues, including travel behavior, land use-transportation interactions, and the associated implications for health and the environment. His dissertation examines the causal nature of relationships within the built environment and travel behavior relationships, with a particular focus on behavioral and psychological factors, including attitudes, residential preferences, habits, and lifestyle. Mashrur has an M.S. in Transportation Science from the University of California Irvine and both B.S. and M.S. degrees in Urban and Regional Planning from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.

Minyu Situ Headshot

Minyu Situ

Minyu’s research interests focus on incorporating critical identity elements (such as gender and race) and individual experiences into the existing travel behavior modeling framework. Before UT, Minyu worked as a project manager/research associate at Tufts University and had experience using qualitative data to analyze technical interventions for walking behavior and statistical and geospatial data to analyze public transport-related policies. Previously, Minyu received an M.S. in Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University and a B.S. in Public Affairs/Environmental Management from the Indiana University of Bloomington.

Huhai Wang Headshot

Huihai Wang

Huihai’s research interests include robotics, computer vision, and deep learning in transportation and the evaluation of the built environment. His research involves the integration of computer vision algorithms and autonomous robotics in evaluating and mapping the urban built environment and recognizing traffic flows and behaviors via 2D traffic videos and 3D Lidar sensors. Learn more >