Evita Chávez

Co-President

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Academic Background: Occidental College, B.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy

Favorite City/Place: California. But I also deeply love Mexico City, Mexico, Medellin, Colombia and a lot of other major Latin American cities.

What were you doing before Harvard? I spent three years working as a Legislative Assistant for a California State Senator, where I worked primarily on housing and transportation policy. I spent most of my time there working on California’s accessory dwelling unit (ADU) law.

What aspects of planning are you most interested in? Innovative solutions to housing; community investment and development; the impact of tech on communities; and finding answers to the questions: How do we invest in communities without displacing them? How do we resolve the injustices we’ve done to communities impacted by redlining and environmental injustice?

Emily Klein

Co-President

Hometown: Montclair, NJ

Academic Background: Barnard College, Urban Studies

What were you doing before Harvard? I previously worked as a research analyst and executive assistant at HR&A Advisors, an urban planning and public policy consulting firm in NYC.

Ayesha Mehrotra

Co-President

Hometown: Brookline, MA

Academic Background: University of Michigan: Sociology & Sustainability 

Favorite City/Place: Lisbon, Portugal What were you doing before Harvard? I was working at a human rights center, studying ways to design more effective community-based child protection programs in India.

What aspects of planning are you most interested in? Age-friendly planning, public health, active transportation, and civic participation in planning.

Sarah Zou

Treasurer

Hometown: Westlake Village, California

Academic Background:  University of California, Berkeley, B.S. in Business Administration and Environmental Economics and Policy

Favorite City/Place: Berlin, Germany

What were you doing before Harvard? I was working in commercial real estate finance and consulting. 

 

Safeer Shershad

Communication

Hometown: Calicut, India

Academic Background: Newcastle University, Architecture and Urban Planning

What were you doing before Harvard? After completing my MSc in Urban Design and City Planning from the Bartlett at the University College London, I worked as an urban designer in England. I moved around a lot growing up, having lived in Oman, America, India and Dubai before moving to London and eventually Cambridge.

Amaya Bravo-France

GSD & Loeb Liaison 

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Academic Background: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.S. in Environmental Science

Favorite City/Place: Mexico City–I love all the greenery and vibrant colors!

What were you doing before Harvard? I came to Harvard right after undergrad.

What aspects of planning are you most interested in? The intersection of planning and tech, environmental resilience and disaster planning, and housing affordability

Tony Castaneda

GSD & Loeb Liaison

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Academic Background: University of New Mexico, B.S. in Architecture

What were you doing before Harvard? School, school, and more school. I came to the GSD straight from undergrad.

 

Saul Levin

GSD & Loeb Liaison

Hometown: Bloomfield Township, Michigan

Academic Background: University of Chicago, Environmental Studies & Geography

Favorite City/Place: Puritama River, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

What were you doing before Harvard? Living at an urban farm in Detroit and working in reducing energy use in industrial and commercial buildings

What aspects of planning are you most interested in? Climate activism, building consensus, ecological planning, walkability and bikeability

Gal Kramer

MUP Class Liaison

Hometown: Andover, MA

Academic Background: McGill University, Geography and International Development Studies

Favorite City/Place: Montréal!

What were you doing before Harvard? I was working in academia doing research.

What aspects of planning are you most interested in? I’m interested in how physical space intersects with different social issues, specifically surrounding interventions related to transportation and mobility.

Sarai Osorio

MUP Class Liaison

Hometown:North Hollywood, California

Academic Background: UCLA, Sociology Major and Urban and Regional Studies Minor

What were you doing before Harvard?I was completing my undergraduate degree at UCLA.

 

Sury Dewa Ayu

Community Outreach Liaison

Emily Duma

Community Outreach Liaison

Hometown: Ottawa, Wisconsin

Academic Background: University of Wisconsin – Madison, Political Science and International Studies, with certificates in African Studies and Environmental Studies

What were you doing before Harvard? I did all sorts of things before coming to the GSD! At various points I worked as an urban farmer, helped start an intentional community focused on social justice, organized with immigrant parents fighting for education justice, thought about how to resource movement organizing throughout Chicago, and helped design an international revolving loan fund to support women and indigenous-led projects in the global south. I mostly hung out in the Midwest and perfected my use of the phrase “uff da!”

Nevena Pilipovic-Wengler

Community Outreach Liaison

Hometown: Winnetka, Illinois; The Woodlands, Texas; Now, wherever I am

Academic Background: Cornell University, Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies

What were you doing before Harvard? Community engagement & organizing (AmeriCorps VISTA in the Mayor’s Office of the City of Austin, TX; Michael
& Susan Dell Foundation; Austin Interfaith; Chicago’s Communities United) / tax preparation (Chicago’s Center for Economic Progress) / food preparation (Starbucks anyone?) / commissioned art / administration (Tufts University)

Brett Merriam

Alumni Liaison

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Academic Background: Vassar College, B.A. in Urban Studies

Favorite City/Place: Jacob Riis Beach in NYC

What were you doing before Harvard? Before Harvard, I was a project manager for a placemaking firm in NYC. We worked with city governments, private developers, and non-profit groups to design and operate public spaces – like parks and plazas – in cities around the country.

What aspects of planning are you most interested in? I’m drawn to the intersections between physical planning and community development. For me, urban planning is inherently material, so I focus on how urban design interacts, mutually supports, or potentially conflicts with capacity-building for communities.

Anna Carlsson

Joint Center for Housing Studies Liaison

Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

Academic Background: UC Berkeley, German and Political Science

What were you doing before Harvard? I worked at a law firm in San Francisco that advised cities, public agencies, and nonprofits on labor, employment, and development issues. Then I moved back to my hometown of St. Louis, where I worked in the city’s sustainability office and at a college access nonprofit.

 

Moira McCrave

Joint Center for Housing Studies Liaison

Hometown: Boston, MA

Academic Background: Boston College, B.S. in Sociology

Favorite City/Place: Boston!

What were you doing before Harvard? I was working in India, D.C., and Tennessee, primarily in the GIS field.

What aspects of planning are you most interested in? Urban analytics and informality