photo of Awais Azhar

Awais Azhar

GRA - Paterson - PT2050 Urban Planning

Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning

Awais Azhar is a Community and Regional Planning Ph.D. student and his research focuses on how financialization and racial capitalism intersect to dispossess tenants of color in Austin. He is a Potter Rose Graduate Fellowship awardee and a teaching assistant for the Introduction to Visual Communication and GIS course. He was previously a teaching assistant for the Qualitative and Participatory Methods, Foundations of Planning Law, and Engineering Communication courses. 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 City of Austin Planning Commission, Austin Housing Coalition Executive Committee, HousingWorks Austin Board, ECHO COC Membership Council, Leadership Team of Planning Our Communities, and ACSP Inclusion Interest Group Executive Committee. In the past he has also served on the Equality Texas Board, Community Advancement Network Dashboard Steering Committee, City of Austin LGBTQ Quality of Life Advisory Commission, City of Austin Community Development Commission and as a 2017 Central Health Community Health Champion.

photo of Shunhua Bai

Shunhua Bai

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

Shunhua Bai is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Community and Regional Planning (CRP) program at the University of Texas at Austin with a concentration in transportation planning and urban informatics. He is now a graduate research assistant in the Urban Information Laboratory (UIL) using Geographic Information Science (GIS), statistical modeling, and emerging big data-driven techniques to study human movement and urban transportation systems.

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. His graduation report identified critical policy and planning issues regarding the relationship between local transportation network companies(Uber, Lyft, etc.) and transit services, based on which he and his colleagues offered recommendations for local transit agencies in the Twin Cities area.

photo of Angeliz Encarnacion Burg

Angeliz Encarnacion Burg

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

RWJF Health Policy Research Scholar
Doctoral Candidate, Community and Regional Planning

Angeliz E. Encarnacion Burgos is a PhD student in Community and Regional Planning and a RWJF Health Policy Research Scholar from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. She completed her BS and Master’s in Planning at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. Before entering to the Program, she was working as Associate Director of Research Affairs at the University of Puerto Rico School of Dental Medicine, and as Executive Coordinator of the Caribbean Oral Health Initiative. Previously, she worked for two years as GIS Analyst and Community Planner in the Caño Martín Peña ENLACE Project through the AmeriCops Vista program. Her research agenda is centered on the city as a contested landscape; and is particularly focus on exploring social exclusions, inequalities, development, and health issues in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Region. Furthermore, is grounded outside the traditional planning discourse and relies, mainly, on critical urban theory.  Angeliz’s goal is to bridge planning reflective research practices with a different way of seeking social justice through active research interactions with diverse communities. This research practice aims to advance alternative planning frameworks to produce knowledge and reframe theories of action within the discipline through the inclusion of everyday life experiences of urban residents.  She genuinely believes these research interactions are crucial to achieve a democratic, just and imperishable form of urbanization. 

photo of Greg Griffin

Greg Griffin

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

Greg Griffin studies how planners and publics work together with technology, particularly through engaged scholarship in sustainable transportation and geographies of health. He completed his dissertation, called "Sociotechnical Co-production of Planning Information: Opportunities and Limits of Crowdsourcing for the Geography and Planning of Bicycle Transportation" in May, 2019, and started a tenure-track position in Urban and Regional Planning at The University of Texas at San Antonio in fall 2019.

Previously, Greg worked as a researcher with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, 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, and bicycles whenever possible. See what's new on his personal website or Twitter.

photo of Kaylyn Levine

Kaylyn Levine

GRA - Karner

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

Kaylyn is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in Community and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research combines transportation and disability justice. Her dissertation focuses on first and last mile access to transit for people with disabilities in Austin, TX and Seattle, WA. 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 participating in agility and dock diving with her dogs.

photo of Ziqi Liu

Ziqi Liu

GRA - Zhang - Snell

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

My research interests lie in the transportation planning and spatial inequality. I have been working as the graduate research assistant at the consortium of Cooperative Mobility for Competitive Megaregions(CM2), under the supervision of Dr. Ming Zhang. My current researches cover the development of global megaregions, regional inequality, as well as transportation infrastructure investment and transit economic impacts.

I'm also enthusiastic in the application of statistical modelling in the planning field, especially in the inequality measurement, the spatial analysis, and economic impact analysis. I believe that precision and accuracy in data analysis procedure helps make appropriate and efficient planning policies. While pursuing the Master Degree in Statistics, I incorporated what I learned in the Statistics Department in my research and focus on improving the method.

Adam Ogusky

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.

photo of Lynn Osgood

Lynn Osgood

AI Summer - Anchor

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

Lynn trained and practiced as a landscape designer and urban planning in Charlottesville, VA and Austin, TX before she began her doctoral studies at UT. She holds a M.L.A. in Landscape Architecture and a M.U.E.P. in Urban Planning from the University of Virginia. Before starting her studies at UT she worked at the United Nations in New York and in Morocco where she focused on the issue of sustainability education. Her current research focuses on the creation and maintenance of public spaces through various social, political and artistic processes. Within the City of Austin Lynn has served with various panels, boards and workgroups including the Art in Public Place Panel, the Waller Creek Citizen’s Advisory Committee, the CreateAustin Task Force, and most recently she was appointed as Council Representative to the Austin Parks and Recreation Board.

photo of Mashrur Rahman

Mashrur Rahman

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

Mashrur Rahman is a PhD student in the Community and Regional Planning program. His research focuses on the complex relationships among travel behavior, travel attitudes and the built environment, particularly the impacts of transportation and land use systems on travel behavior, and on the strategies for reducing automobile use and promoting equitable, healthy and sustainable transportation options. 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.
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. 

photo of Steven Richter

Steven Richter

GRA - Felkner - Energy Institute

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. 

photo of Leon Guiller Staines Diaz

Leon Guiller Staines Diaz

TA Summer - Anchor

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. 

photo of Raksha Vasudevan

Raksha Vasudevan

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

Co-organizer, Spaces of Struggle

B. Arch, Minor in Industrial Design: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, VA
M.S. Urban & Regional Planning: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), Alexandria, VA

I am a phd candidate in the Community and Regional Planning Program.  I am interested in social justice, youth geographies and urban design, and I hope to contribute to radical planning theories and methodologies. My dissertation work is an ethnographic project with young adults in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, examining their mobilities and imaginaries.

Prior to arriving at UT-Austin, I had a variety of work experiences, including working as an intern architect, teaching small children, and managing the sustainability program at the National League of Cities, where I worked with sustainability directors and local elected officials to progress city sustainability efforts in the United States.

photo of Andrea Wirsching

Andrea Wirsching

Editor II

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

Andrea "Christina" Wirsching is trained as both a planning practitioner and interdiscplinary social scientist, specializing in social and environmental justice in planning. She just received her Doctorate in Community and Regional Planning Program at The University of Texas at Austin in May (2020), and was one of only two planning doctoral students in the National Science Foundation IGERT Trainee in Energy Grids and Sustainable Energy (2014-16).  She earned a Graduate Portfolio in Mexican American Studies. She recently completed a year-long appointment as Visiting Instructor for 2019-20 in Urban Studies at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, where she taught The Urban Experience, Research Methods: GIS, Latinx Urban Planning and Justice and the City

Originally from Laredo, Texas, Dr. Wirsching’s research examines the multilayered contexts in and of planning to critically inform community planning and scholarship. She also 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 degree 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.  Dr. Wirsching's passion for giving back to her community continues to be evident in her current interdisciplinary academic pursuits.  Her 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 conducted her study along the Texas-Mexico border in Webb County, Texas, where Laredo is the county seat.  

Dr. Wirsching is interested in teaching from the intersections of critical pedagogical studies, planning, and social science scholarship, incorporating topics in urban planning and governance, Latinx border studies, energy and the environment, and research methods. She aims to create an empowering academic and experiential student learning environment that recognizes and celebrates students’ personal and geographic backgrounds while equipping students with knowledge and tools to ultimately give back to their own communities. 

Dr. Wirsching has served as a member of the UT Austin School of Architecture Diversity Task Force, part of the leadership teams of student organizations focused on diversity and inclusion, and, in her professional pre-graduate school life, worked in undergraduate admissions and academic student affairs, and graduate recruitment for historically underrepresented student populations at UT Austin. Christina also worked as a planner and/or researcher for the City of Austin, State of Texas, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service (Texas Housers), and the Center for Sustainable Development at UT Austin. She currently teaches community development and justice oriented planning courses at The University of Texas San Antonio, and is a community development policy and compliance manager. 

photo of Stephen Zigmund

Stephen Zigmund

TA - Paterson

Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning

Medicare For All. 24$ Minumum Wage. Cancel Student Debt.

photo of Deidre Zoll

Deidre Zoll

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

I’m a postdoctoral fellow in Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin. I finished my Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin in 2021. My research investigates the connections between city-led climate adaptation planning and environmental racism in the United States. I use mixed methods including plan evaluation, spatial statistics, and case studies to identify the ways structural racism influences exposure to climate risks and proximity to adaptation interventions, and how urban planners and community activists navigate these dynamics.

Before landing in Texas, I studied Global Environmental Policy and International Development (MA, 2008) at American University, and Environmental Policy and Planning (BA, 2003) at Alaska Pacific University.

photo of Clare Zutz

Clare Zutz

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

Clare’s research is focused on regional food system resilience as a lens to create more equitable and sustainable communities. She currently works on the Health Portfolio at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, where she manages food-related grants. Previously, she lectured in UT Austin's Geography Department and at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Leon Staines shares his research with community members.JPG

Leon Staines shares his research with community members
Leon Staines shares his research with community members