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Awais Azhar

Graduate Research Assistant

Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning

Awais’s research focuses on strategies and policies that help achieve affordability goals at the local government level, with an emphasis on how the housing market responds to shifts in policy and production. He is a Potter Rose Graduate Fellowship awardee and Graduate Assistant to the CRP Graduate Adviser. He has a Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin. Previously, Awais worked as Program Manager for the Austin Community Investment Collaborative at HousingWorks Austin, focusing on affordable housing policy and research. Currently, he serves on the HousingWorks Austin Policy Committee, Community Advancement Network Dashboard Steering Committee, City of Austin LGBTQ Quality of Life Advisory Commission and is a 2017 Central Health Community Health Champion.

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Shunhua Bai

Graduate Research Assistant

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

Shunhua Bai is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Community and Regional Planning (CRP) program at the University of Texas at Austin with a concentration in transportation planning and modeling. He is now a graduate research assistant in the Urban Information Laboratory (UIL) and Cooperative Mobility for Competitive Megaregions (CM2) Center to quantify and visualize the concept of transit gap between demand and supply (transit desert) among cities in the United States using Geographic Information Science (GIS) and statistical analytic tools. Besides, his research interest also includes smart cities and shared economy via quantitative data analysis methodologies.

Prior to attending UT Austin, Mr. Bai acquired his Bachelor's degree in Geographic Information Science (GIS) at the School of Geography, Beijing Normal University in China and his Master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in the US. In his professional experience at the Humphrey School, he concentrated on promoting public transit service via spatial and statistical modeling and analysis. In addition, his graduation report identified critical policy and planning issues in the shared mobility business and provided recommendations for local transit agencies in the Twin Cities area.

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Greg Griffin

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

Greg's research explores crowdsourcing for participatory planning, particularly through cases in sustainable transportation and health. Currently, ​he is a Ph.D. candidate and member of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture's Urban Information Lab working on his dissertation, called "Sociotechnical Co-production of Planning Information: Opportunities and Limits of Crowdsourcing for the Geography and Planning of Bicycle Transportation". He also works as a researcher with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, leading projects such as Street Noise Relationship to Vulnerable Road User Safety.

Previously, Greg worked as a state park planner and regional transportation planner, and taught Transportation Systems at Texas State University. Greg is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, bicycles whenever possible, and sometimes tweets @gregpgriffin.

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Kaylyn Levine

Graduate Research Assistant

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

Kaylyn is a first-year Ph.D. student in Community and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on the equity and accessibility impacts of public transit service changes in U.S. cities. Kaylyn has a Master of Science in Applied Urban Science and Informatics from New York University and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. Previously, Kaylyn researched urban infrastructure vulnerability and transportation networks with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. Currently, she works as a graduate research assistant to Dr. Alex Karner quantifying the social equity of transportation projects. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Austin with her Siberian Husky, Khloe.

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Ziqi Liu

Graduate Research Assistant

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

Adam Ogusky

Teaching Assistant

Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning

Adam Ogusky’s research interests include the intersection of the philosophy of ethics and planning processes, as well as art and cultural planning. He received a B.A. in Geography from Dartmouth College in 2004 and an M.S. in Planning from UT Austin in 2010. After graduation, he moved to New Mexico and worked in arts education in Albuquerque, followed by stints as a planner for the local planning department and as a potter in Taos.

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Mohammad Rahman

Graduate Research Assistant

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

Mashrur Rahman is a first-year PhD student in the Community and Regional Planning program. His research focuses on strategies and policies that help to achieve sustainable transportation goals with an emphasis on public transportation planning. Currently he is working as a graduate research assistant in the USDOT Tier 1 UTC: Cooperative Mobility for Competitive Megaregions (CM2) in the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin.
 
Mashrur was awarded Fulbright Scholarship by the US Department of State in 2017. Prior to attending UT Austin, he achieved Master's degree in Transportation Science from the University of California Irvine. He also holds both Bachelor and Master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. Mashrur has more than two years of teaching experience in the field of planning in his home country. In his Master's thesis Mashrur identified key policy issues addressing the first and mile (FMLM) problem of the public transit commuters in Dhaka.
 

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Steven Richter

Graduate Research Assistant

Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning

I'm an experienced management consultant who decided to pivot my career towards building more sustainable cities and communities. I've attended two graduate programs, one in Sustainability and the other in Environmental Planning, and have applied my data skills to several projects that range from urban forestry indicators to a municipal GHG inventory to a spatial analysis of an urban water metabolism. I have an intellectual curiosity that embraces a wide range of topics because sustainability is, in my opinion, about understanding the integration between disciplines, not specialization.

I am currently working on the Texas Urban Observatory research project with Dr. Katherine Lieberknecht. My focus is the development of an integrated database that scales up the Austin Area Sustainability Indicators across the state of Texas. 

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Leon Guiller Staines Diaz

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

Originally from Monterrey, México, León Staines graduated as an Architect in 2007 and holds a Master's in Sciences in Urban Affairs from the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon, where he has been a professor since 2012. From 2010-2012 he lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina studying a Master in History and Theory of Architecture where his view on Latin America broaden on the correlation that exists between the problems, differences, and similarities of the region. He also worked at the urban planning office in Monterrey where Leon’s research interests were clarified on spatial justice and participatory processes to improve informal communities. His research is focused on Latin America. 

In the Urban Design field, León has been distinguished with a National (Mexico) 1st Place with Morelos St. "XXIV CEMEX Award" category: Accessibility Congruence, and a 2nd Place internationally in the same category. 

His doctoral studies are funded by a scholarship from ConTex-CONACYT. 

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Andrea Wirsching

Long-session Sustainability Studies Teaching Assistant with MA

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

Andrea "Christina" Wirsching, is a PhD candidate in the Community and Regional Planning Program at The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), and a fellow in the National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (NSF IGERT) program at UT Austin in Sustainable Energy and Smart Grids.  She is also in the Graduate Portfolio Program in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at UT Austin. Originally from Laredo, Texas, Christina’s research examines the multilayered contexts in and of planning to critically inform community planning and scholarship. She holds a Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning degree as well as a BA in Geography from UT Austin, where she established a strong foundation in environmental resource management and secondary science education.
 
Her master’s research focused on historiographies in planning.  Her thesis examined the controversy within the historical context of the Holly Street Power Plant and surrounding Mexican American neighborhood, connecting to her deep familial ties in this East Austin, Texas neighborhood.  Christina’s passion for giving back to her community continues to be evident in her current interdisciplinary academic pursuits.  Christina’s dissertation research incorporates traditional impact assessments and spatial analyses of communities effected by the oil and gas industry with histories of governance and land development, with the goal of painting a more nuanced picture of what this looks like on the ground and how we got there.  She is conducting her study along the Texas-Mexico border in Webb County, Texas, where Laredo is the county seat.  
 
Christina served as a member of the UT School of Architecture Diversity Task Force, part of the leadership teams of student organizations focused on diversity, and, in her professional pre-graduate school life, worked in STEM academic student affairs and graduate recruitment for historically underrepresented student populations at UT Austin. She is qualified to teach a variety of courses related to planning and research methods, ranging from history and theory, research design and methods, critical cartography and practical applications of GIS, to courses similar to one she designed and taught, Latino Urban Studies, which integrates Mexican American and Latino Studies and planning.  Her course was the first of its kind at UT Austin designed and taught by a planning scholar.   

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Stephen Zigmund

Teaching Assistant

Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning

Stephen is a PhD student in Community & Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin. Currently, his research explores the effects of urban and regional neoliberalization on public transportation provision, specifically, how public transportation deployed as an urban revitalization strategy effects its use by the transit dependent. His research seeks to contribute to critical theoretical discussions around the "politics of infrastructure" and its impacts on urban governance strategies. Stephen previously worked as Comprehensive Planner for the City of Columbia, South Carolina. He holds a M.S. in Community & Regional Planning from UT-Austin and a B.A. in Political Science from Kent State University.

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Deidre Zoll

Teaching Assistant

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

I’m a third-year PhD student in Community and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin. My research examines the relationship between race, class and climate adaptation projects in U.S. cities.
 
Before landing in Texas, I studied Global Environmental Policy and International Development (M.A., 2008) at American University, and Environmental Policy and Planning (B.A., 2003) at Alaska Pacific University. I’ve taken big breaks between educational adventures to ground my classroom experiences in our beautifully messy world.  Work stints have included guiding sea kayakers in the wilds of Alaska, wearing a suit in DC while trying to conserve forests with the World Wildlife Fund, and managing a research institute amongst the rolling green mountains of Vermont.
 
In Austin, I’m desperately trying to be an urban biker while shunning spandex, fancy bikes, and clipless pedals. It is both a lovely disaster and a sweaty work in progress. Much like research and life. 
 

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Clare Zutz

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

Clare’s research is focused on local food policy and planning as a lens to create more equitable and sustainable lived experiences among citizens in urban communities. She currently lectures on civic engagement and leadership at UT Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs, where she received her master’s in public affairs. Most recently, she worked as a researcher and program coordinator at the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service. In her spare time, she enjoys playing with her chickens and Border Collies.

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Andrea Roberts photo
Andrea Roberts is investigating the heritage of early African American settlements. She is developing a planning practice that bridges present day asset building and descendants’ ongoing efforts to sustain a connection to ancestral communities.