Class of 2019
Brooke Amendola (MCP 2019)
BUCPUA has given me the opportunity to learn alongside people from a variety of backgrounds and professions. This sense of diversity is something that drew me to the MCP program at Boston University, and allowed me to learn core concepts and principals from many different viewpoints. As somebody who was new to the planning field when starting this program, I feel this interdisciplinary collaboration has been a benefit to my growth and success.
Brooke Amendola is a Staff Coordinator at the Danielsen Institute at Boston University. Her primary role is to manage the billing, insurance, and payment plans for the mental health clinic’s 250 clients, while also tracking, analyzing data, and preparing reports. In addition, she is a member of the research team where she manages expenses, event planning, and grant administration.
Brooke spent her undergraduate career at Loyola University New Orleans, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Forensic Science. After taking a Rebuilding New Orleans class and volunteering to rebuild houses after Hurricane Katrina, Brooke developed a passion for studying the after effects of disaster. Brooke views planning from a social lens, and sees its importance in not only planning the physical city, but also for the people living in that place.
Brooke is completing her Master of City Planning degree at Boston University, and would like to work in emergency management. Brooke values the opportunity that she had to travel to Puerto Rico to learn about the after effects of Hurricane Maria with fellow classmates and professors. She feels that her diverse background in Psychology and City Planning allows her to view planning from many different angles. She feels that often disaster mitigation focuses on rebuilding the physical infrastructure and providing relief, but sees the importance to bridge the gap in terms of bringing health (physical and mental) to the forefront in an attempt to create a multidimensional system of prevention, preparedness, and mitigation.
Theo Brossman (MCP 2019)
The MCP program has given me the opportunity to tailor my course of study in an interdisciplinary manner in order to address the most pressing issues faced by cities today. I have not only been exposed to frameworks of policy making and development processes, but have had the opportunity to work outside the department to gain skills in statistical and engineering analysis that strongly inform my work on energy and sustainability policy.
Theo is an architect and social scientist whose work and research focuses on energy use in the built environment. He has experience in applying novel technologies and design techniques that reduce energy use and intensity of residential and landscape projects, and has spent several years as a program manager in the human services. Theo earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in architecture from Hampshire College and since coming to Boston University has studied energy policy, renewable energy technology, and the socio-economic patterns of energy use in urban areas.
Cristián Casanueva (MCP 2019)
I have always been passionate about cities, and I came to Boston to learn how to develop policies to make an impact on cities. The Master of City Planning enhanced my knowledge and provided me analytical skills to analyze trends that facilitate the recognition of underlying urban issues. Furthermore, the level of the students and faculty is high, so it is possible to learn from their experience. It is a significant asset to have classmates and professors working as practitioners in the field. I will always be grateful for BUCPUA. I enjoyed every single class, event or gathering with all the members of BUCPUA. Thanks to all of you.
Cristián Casanueva is a political scientist with previous work experience in the public and private sector. Cristián worked in the Chilean Government coordinating the National Security Plan, Chile Seguro. He then spent three years as a public affairs advisor for the Spanish multinational company Gas Natural Fenosa, the largest energy company in Chile. In 2016, the Chilean Government awarded him with a scholarship, Becas Chile, to pursue a master’s degree in City Planning at Boston University. He began the program in January 2017, and he explored his interests in energy, housing, transportation, and research methods. Cristián wrote and successfully defended his thesis about how Airbnb impacts rents in the Boston Metro Area. Cristián completed an internship at the MAPC in Clean Energy in Fall 2018, where he supported the Newton Climate Action Plan, green communities annual reporting, and large-scale renewable energy projects.
Jean Charles (MCP 2019)
It’s been a pleasure these past three years to be in the MCP program. What I most appreciate about my time here is the professors’ interest in not just our in-class activities, but also in our professional goals. I’ve also watched from afar the quick growth of the Urban Planning Association Chapter’s responsibilities and activities. While led by my fellow students, I know that there is tremendous support from our program. Most importantly, I appreciate UPA/MCP’s flexibility and understanding.
Jean Charles was born in Port au Prince, Haiti and later moved with his family to Boston when he was 6-years-old. Jean was later raised in the Boston neighborhood of Mattapan. Upon graduating from the John D. O’Bryant School, he attended Bunker Hill Community College. Jean later graduated with an associates in General Education. He later enrolled at UMass Boston where he completed a degree in Environmental Science. During his undergraduate years at UMB, with assistance from a UMB professor, Jean conducted a research project on the feasibility of urban farming in Chelsea, Massachusetts.
After graduating from UMB, Jean joined the College Advising Corps in 2016. He worked as a college advisor at Boston Latin Academy where he assisted students in learning about how to apply to college. In the evenings, Jean enrolled and completed classes in the Master in City Planning program at BU. Jean now works as an Enrollment Service Advisor. After completing his degree, Jean plans to start a program for young people in the Boston Area and teach them about Urban Planning.
Natalia Chavez (MCP 2019)
Boston University’s City Planning program gave me the opportunity to transform into a leader. The curriculum introduced me to the difficult issues that cities face and it made me realize the connection between residents’ well-being and the built environment.
Natalia Chavez is a co-founder of Urbanability, a non-profit organization that strives to build livable and equitable urban communities by focusing on research, project implementation, advocacy, and policy formation. With a background in data analysis, public policy, and community building, Natalia is committed to addressing social policy problems and increasing access to economic opportunities.
In addition to being a co-founding member of Urbanabiltiy, Natalia works as a Program Assistant at the Harvard Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation where she works on democracy programming and the legislative negotiations project. Previously, Natalia served as a Research and Policy Analyst at Covered California, the health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, where she conducted data management and quantitative analysis on consumer enrollment data. Natalia has also worked on state election campaigns and as a Press Aide for the Democratic Caucus of the California State Assembly.
Natalia holds a B.S. from Santa Clara University and is completing a Master in City Planning at Boston University. At Boston University, she serves as the Public Affairs Officer for the Urban Planning Association. She is a Net Impact Racial Equity Fellow, a StartingBloc Fellow, and New Leaders Council Fellow.
Kara Chisholm (MCP 2019)
I chose the BU City Planning program because it allowed me to keep my full-time consulting job and also complete my graduate degree in a reasonable amount of time. I appreciated the program’s focus on creating cities that can adapt to the rapidly changing needs of urban environments, while also pushing for equity for all city residents. My most memorable experiences were the visits to Boston neighborhoods and other New England cities to experience up close how urban planning decisions have influenced the built environment over time.
Kara is a Boston-area native with eight years of planning experience at both the local and federal levels. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in American Studies and a minor in Architectural History, and shortly thereafter, joined the City of Quincy, Massachusetts’, Planning Department to work on a number of city planning issues, including bicycle and pedestrian mobility, climate change preparedness, and historic preservation. In 2016, she became an onsite transportation planning contractor at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she writes long-range transportation plans for federal land management agencies and supports transit and highway asset management and capacity building.
She currently represents Metropolitan College on the BU Graduate Student Advisory Board. In the past, she has served on the Board of the New England Chapter of the Congress for New Urbanism, co-chaired the Inner Core Committee of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and founded an urban planning and place making collective that made temporary interventions in public space to catalyze lasting change.
Emily DaSilva (MUA 2019)
The Boston University Urban Affairs master’s program has groomed me to be an effective leader in the community. Its rigorous program has provided me with a robust understanding of the inner-workings of urban systems. It has empowered me to tackle the many issues affecting underserved communities through policy advocacy, analysis, and effective delivery-service programs.
Emily DaSilva is a Boston native and her parents are from the beautiful Island of Cape Verde. Emily graduated from the Lynch School of Education at Boston College with a B.A. in Human Development and a minor in Black Studies.
As an employee of the Boston Public Health Commission, Emily has devoted over a decade of service to the Mayor’s Health Line, a program that supports the socio-medical needs of Boston’s most vulnerable residents. As a project manager and a certified Massachusetts Health Navigator, Emily works to promote a more socially just community by educating, supporting, and connecting Boston residents to health and human services. While working at the Commission, Emily developed a passion for real estate. She also acquired her Real Estate License and currently works as a part-time realtor.
Emily will graduate with a Master of Urban Affairs in May 2019 from Boston University. She plans to create change by motivating others to take action and make a difference in their community, government, and society.
During her free time, Emily enjoys spending time with her family, volunteering, and reading.
Regine Desir (MCP 2019)
Why City Planning at Boston University? I originally started the program as an Urban Affairs major and then I switched to City Planning because I love it so much. It was an amazing experience to sit in a classroom with students that have the same passion as you.
Regine Desir was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. Regine has an undergraduate degree in Crime and Justice Studies from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Regine entered the Program originally as an Urban Affairs major, but she loved it so much that she switched to City Planning, and she currently holds a Graduate Certificate in Public Policy and Planning. Regine enjoys learning about cities and how they function and why they function. Regine’s planning interests are public policy, land-use, and anything that has to do with cities.
In her spare time, Regine serves as a board member for a non-profit organization called “Begin to Dream Again,” where she is helping homeless women in the City of Boston to actualize their goals and aspirations. As an advocate, she noticed that the single women in the City of Boston are under-serviced and she wanted to share her collective experiences in life to aid them on their journeys to achieve their goals. Currently, she is helping “Begin to Dream Again” to establish that vision by building a transitional home for these women to restore their dreams; one woman at a time.
Nora Doherty (MCP 2019)
The BU City Planning program has introduced me to a whole new network of individuals who care deeply about improving urban areas. As a City employee, I am always interested in hearing about best practices on improving city services, and brainstorming creative ways to make cities more vibrant and lively.
For future students- if you are new to the Boston area, I would suggest taking one of Professor O’Connell’s classes. He has a deep knowledge of Boston’s history and offers a variety of classes. If you are interested in municipal financing, I would suggest taking Professor German’s class. She is an expert in the field and has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the fiscal health of a city. Good luck to future students!
Nora Doherty grew up in Milton, Massachusetts, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in English from Fordham University in the Bronx, New York. Throughout her college years Nora always had an interest in politics, interning for various campaigns. Upon graduation, Nora returned to Boston to begin her career in Boston working for Mayor Marty Walsh in his office of Scheduling and Advance. Since starting in Advance, Nora moved into the Operations Cabinet where she focused heavily on improving Boston City Hall, working to make the historically cold, Brutalist building more welcoming and accessible. Recently, Nora has moved into the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, as a Program Manager, doing marketing and events planning. In her spare time, Nora enjoys cooking, exploring new areas of the City, and has spent the winter training for the 2019 Boston Marathon.
Carl A. Donaldson (MCP 2019)
The MET Program opened my eyes to policy and political issues surrounding Urban Planning. I enjoyed my time during the MET program trip to Puerto Rico, where I learned a lot about urban planning after a natural disaster. It was the most educational eye-opening trip I’ve ever been on!
Hello BU! My name is Carl Donaldson, the only child of Diane Barnes and Reverend Sidney Donaldson, two wonderful parents that moved me from Philadelphia to Boston in the 1970’s. I grew up in Brockton Massachusetts, “The City of Champions”, were I attended Brockton High School and was a standout student athlete. Later in 2006, I was inducted into the Brockton High School’s Athlete Hall of Fame. After graduating from Brockton High in 1992, I accepted a track scholarship to Central Oregon, but my student college athlete life was cut short and I joined the United States Army in 1998. I proudly served my country for a total of 13 years until my end of service in 2013. At the end of my army career I served as Common Core Military Training Instructor and Observer Controller at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. After leaving the military, I decided to go back to college and graduated from Suffolk University with majors in Business Management and Marketing with concentrations in Business Analysis and Media Intervention. I also received a minor in Real Estate Development. I am currently working as a Claims Specialist for the Department of Social Security Administration.
In 2017, I was accepted into the Boston University MET City Planning program. I am very proud to be among the great students and professors that helped me achieve my academic goals. After graduation, I hope to work as a planner for a small town or city. My dream job is to be a developer and builder that creates holistic projects that are not just about ROI or making the biggest profit, but are a place that my wife and children would be proud of me for creating.
Dongliang Feng (MUA 2019)
“Love and Honor” is the motto at my undergraduate school, and I’m so honored that I could earn my master degree at Boston University. The combination of theory and practical projects made me deeply understand how urban planning works in our daily life. The program helped me to accumulate various experiences to be a professional planner.
Dongliang came from China and earned his undergraduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. With his strong interest in globalization and urban development, he chose urban planning as his undergraduate major. His specialization was sustainable development and regional planning. He previously conducted research on the utilization of urban planning in different cultures through a comprehensive comparison between China and United States.
To chase a better understanding of urban planning, he chose to earn a master’s degree. With the aim of seeking more specific career skills, and understanding exactly the utilization of urban planning in our daily life, he chose to attend the program of Master of Urban Affairs at Boston University. He has various internships from his hometown’s corporation, and has accumulated enough experience to be well prepared as a professional urban planner. He is also interested in affordable housing, suburban development, and green city development. In terms of data analysis, he knows how to use various software such as ArcGIS, SketchUp, AI, and PS.
Tyler Gabrielski (MCP 2019)
I think the MCP/MUA program is one of BU’s best kept secrets. The faculty are so very intelligent, helpful, and friendly, always willing to go that extra mile to explain a concept or provide a resource. The students themselves are such a great group of diverse talents and perspectives, all trying to make our world a better place with informed and equitable planning. I am going to miss the interesting class debates and the sense of community that comes from learning alongside people that care about the same important issues that you do.
Tyler grew up in suburban New Jersey before shipping up to Boston to attend BU as an undergraduate, studying English and Psychology. He stayed in the City after graduation in 2014 and worked for a time as a paralegal before joining the administrative staff at BU School of Law in 2016.
Having always had a great interest in politics, public policy, and social justice, Tyler started taking CPUA classes at night in Spring 2017 and had officially enrolled in the Program by that Fall. He will graduate with a Master in City Planning and a Graduate Certificate in Urban Policy and Planning. His primary areas of interest are transportation and transit-oriented development, seeing the auto-oriented status quo as being inefficient and unsustainable.
Tyler likes to bike everywhere, eat spicy foods, and keep a critical eye on the latest movies and TV shows. He currently resides in Brighton and is looking forward to having the time and energy to read again.
Alayna Graham (MCP 2019)
The BU City Planning and Urban Affairs program awarded me the opportunity to learn from a variety of experts with many different backgrounds. I most appreciated the sustainable lens through which we view urban development, ensuring a better future for generations to come.
Alayna received her bachelor degree in Sociology with a minor in Environmental Studies from Eastern Illinois University. She joined AmeriCorps St. Louis and served on the Emergency Response Team doing conservation work for two terms. She is passionate about the ways people connect to the environment, and hopes to use her Master of City Planning degree, Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability, and Graduate Certificate in Urban Policy and Planning to create a more sustainable future. Alayna is currently the Events Coordinator graduate assistant for #BUCPUA.
Kaiying Gu (MCP 2019)
The MCP program at Boston University provided me with a bright future in the city planning workforce. This program offered me professional urban planner knowledge and skills. I am glad to have joined this program and I am grateful the Program provided me with many great opportunities in the past two years. This program’s students and professors are not only from Boston or from the U.S., but from around the world.
Kaiying came from China. She graduated from Arizona State University earning a degree in Business Sustainability in 2016. But she was also interested in city growth with sustainable development. She applied for the Master of City Planning program at Boston University. She also applied for the Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability which she completed in May 2019. This new field is a big challenge. She is interested in land-use planning, sustainable development, and smart growth.
During her time in the Program, she had an internship in the City Planning Department in China during the summer of 2018. As a planning assistant, she participated in two planning projects, the city walkway and bike way plan, and the city beautiful countryside plan. She is also skilled in using design software such as Photoshop, Sketch UP, CAD, and GIS.
Jacob Harrington (MUA 2019)
The Boston University Urban Affairs master’s program introduced me to a variety of fields within Urban Affairs (urban food systems, transportation studies, urban economics), broadening and deepening my understanding of the discipline. Through a foundation in theory and history and an emphasis on applicable skills, I was able to learn in a hands-on way and take away from this experience a determination to create positive, enduring change in my community.
Jacob is the Undergraduate Program Administrator for the Boston University Department of Computer Science, where he coordinates academic scheduling and planning, enrollment and curriculum management, and assists with student advising. Having grown up in Wallingford, Connecticut, Jacob moved to Boston in 2012 and received a Bachelors and Master’s in Economics in 2016 from BU. Through his interest in regional economics and small- to medium-sized cities, Jacob hopes to work toward a more sustainable urban future in New England. In his free time, Jacob enjoys hiking, camping, and going on runs around the city of Boston.
Christina Honeycutt (MCP 2019)
The BU City Planning & Urban Affairs program provided a great amount of flexibility and a broad range of courses with opportunities to engage in stimulating class discussions around complex issues. I am grateful to have benefited both from the knowledgeable and dedicated faculty in the program as well as from classmates with a variety of backgrounds and experiences sharing their diverse perspectives.
Christina is originally from Texas and received a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire. Not long after graduation, she served a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Connecticut Campus Compact at the University of Hartford where she helped mobilize volunteer efforts and partnered with local organizations working to alleviate poverty in the region. Christina has held positions within the nonprofit sector and in student and academic affairs at several higher education institutions where she has continued to seek out opportunities to further her educational interests. She was drawn to the BU City Planning and Urban Affairs program because of its interdisciplinary nature and is interested in issues related to environmental justice, equity, and sustainability. She is currently the Graduate Program Specialist for the Biology Department and MCBB Program at Boston University where she is inspired by the students and faculty whose scientific findings will play an important role in helping decision makers form health related policies and tackle environmental challenges confronting cities. Christina will graduate with a Master of City Planning in May 2019 and with a Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability.
Chuck Intravaia (MCP 2019)
I began the City Planning program having the impression that the beauty and strength of cities was in their architecture, infrastructure, and history. While those aspects are important, I now know that the real vibrancy of cities comes from their residents, service to the community, and sustainability for the future.
I lean conservative on the political spectrum. I enjoyed listening to and conversing with my progressive classmates and professors. I appreciated the different perspectives and experiences that I learned, especially from the diverse international student community. I hope you also learned a different perspective from me. Let’s keep the conversation going and solve some difficult problems together!
Chuck began the Master of City Planning program upon completion of the Boston University Certificate of Real Estate Finance program. He received an undergraduate degree in Economics-Accounting from the College of the Holy Cross, where he also played on the rugby team. In addition, Chuck holds the Housing Credit Certified Professional (HCCP) designation from the National Association of Home Builders.
Chuck has significant experience in financial analysis, workout, and real estate asset management, particularly in the affordable housing field. After his undergraduate studies, Chuck went on to work as an auditor for a regional accounting firm that specialized in the service of multi-family Low Income Housing Tax Credit and HUD properties, as well as nonprofit clients. Chuck then served as Asset Manager for a syndicator of historic tax credit investments managing a nationwide portfolio of properties. Currently, Chuck performs a similar role, specializing in workouts and financial restructurings for Boston Capital, one of the largest national syndicators and owners of affordable multifamily housing.
Chuck resides in Medfield, Massachusetts, with his wife and his three young sons.
Joanne Lee (MUA 2019)
The BU MET Urban Affairs program allowed me to learn and grow alongside professionals of various fields. I was able to share how innovative best practices of city planning enhance the Boston experience in conversations with students and families. I look forward to using what I learned in the program to further support Boston youth and families.
Joanne is a lifelong resident of the South End neighborhood of Boston. She is a graduate of the Boston Public Schools (BPS) and holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Boston University. Upon graduation, she worked full-time with BPS high school students at Urban Science Academy through its partnership with the College Advising Corps – Boston University. Her passion is in urban development enforced through community youth and family engagement.
Ronnie Lizardo (MUA 2019)
I am grateful for all the professors and faculty within BU’s Urban Affairs program. From the topics of housing, gentrification, economics, and food insecurity, I have learned how complex urban areas are, and just how far along cities like Boston have come. However, much more work is needed to make urban areas a truly equitable and sustainable place for every resident, no matter what path in life they may come from. This program has given me the tools to go out and make a positive difference in the world!
Ronnie was born and raised in the City of Boston and has seen first-hand how larger policies play out in the lives of residents. A proud graduate of America’s first high school, Boston Latin School, Ronnie later attended UMass Boston for his undergraduate degree in Psychology. His experience growing up in Roslindale, a neighborhood of Boston, sparked a passion for him, one that he hopes to turn into a career that gives back to communities like the one he grew up in. Boston University’s Urban Affairs program has given him the know-how and a starting point for those ideas. His first-hand experience with governmental programs such as Section 8 and food stamps gives him a unique perspective into the issues that affect city dwellers. He has volunteered extensively for local organizations including Cradles for Crayons, the Prison Book Program, and the Run to Home Base. He is currently a personal banker at a community bank in Boston and hopes to one day go into local politics and run for city council. He lives with his wife and two cats in Quincy.
Kendyl Maher-Trumble (MUA 2019)
Boston University’s Urban Affairs program gave me the opportunity to engage in a broad range of subjects necessary for a successful career in the fields of planning and community engagement. The Urban Affairs program helped me to identify and improve upon relevant skills and provided me with a dynamic and interdisciplinary learning environment.
Kendyl Maher-Trumble was born and raised in Cambridge and completed her undergraduate degree in Journalism with a focus in Government and Public Relations. Her planning interests include the creation and stabilization of affordable housing, access equality, and successful density growth. Additionally, Kendyl has a deep interest in navigating the impacts of growth and development of local institutions, as her background includes nearly 8 years of public affairs and community relations work within higher education. Currently, Kendyl works at MIT as a Communications Officer with a branch of the Vice Chancellor’s Office. Prior to her role with MIT, Kendyl worked for six years as a Coordinator in Harvard’s Public Affairs & Communications Office. Kendyl plays an active role in local politics within her community and has worked as a project manager on several Cambridge City Council campaigns.
Claire Moss (MCP 2019)
BU provided me an accessible Master in City Planning program that allowed me to prioritize higher education while simultaneously pursuing my career in public works. The program’s emphasis on collaborative and presentation-based learning, gave me an opportunity to be apart of a passionate student body and hone in on my public speaking skills. These peer relationships and skills culminated in a gratifying project with community members in order develop sustainable solutions to real challenges municipalities are faced with, be it climate change, public outreach and collaboration needs, infrastructural deficits, zoning and bylaw changes, or adapting to new technologies.
Claire Moss is the Stormwater/Project Manager for the Town of Wakefield, Massachusetts, where she serves as the Town’s point person on stormwater related tasks; budget, asset management, outreach and education, conservation, and water quality management. Just last year, Moss facilitated the largest rain barrel program in the state, promoting the use of rain barrels as a way to conserve and reuse water and mitigate stormwater runoff.
In addition, Moss facilitates public outreach regarding the Town’s recycling program by initiating tours of the regional recycling plant, oversees the update of the Town’s Hazard Mitigation Plan and the introduction of the Town’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program, participates in the Main Streets Corridor plan, facilitates high school classes, participates in STEAM events, and she sits on the Public Works Awareness Committee and the Newsletter Committee for the New England American Public Works Associating (NEAPWA).
Prior to her position in Wakefield, Moss attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she earned a B.S. in Public Health and Environmental Science in 2017. Moss’ senior thesis titled “The role of green space in urban planning, a case study: management of stormwater using green infrastructure” sparked her interest in City Planning and brought her to BU’s Masters in City Planning program a year later.
Her interests include: water management, facilitating community engagement campaigns, resilient infrastructure, the intersection of people and the built environment, and an espresso in the form of an americano.
Xu Peng (MUA 2019)
The BU MCP/MUA program really broadened my horizons. What most struck me was how much people here value equity and community engagement. The professors and students here are really awesome. I have learned a lot from them which I couldn’t have learned elsewhere.
Originally from China, Xu came to Boston and received his bachelor degree in Economics with a minor in Mathematics from Boston University. After working in the game industry for some time, he decided to try something new and was drawn to city planning. He then returned to Boston University and joined the Master of Urban Affairs program.
Daniel Polanco (MCP 2019)
The Master of City Planning program at Boston University has not only provided me the opportunity to have a bright future in my career in government, but has also given me the necessary and unique set of skills to make the City of Boston a better place to live for future residents.
Born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Daniel moved to Boston with his family when he was 7-years-old. Raised in Brighton, Daniel grew up with a passion for sports, having been involved in local sports teams playing baseball, soccer, and swimming for the Allston-Brighton Little Leagues. Aside from sports, Daniel began Latin dancing at a young age was part of several dancing teams and performed dances such as salsa, merengue, and mambo. He attended John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science where he continued his involvement in sports; however his interest in government and politics began when he took part of his class’s student body and participated in the schools first AP Government and Politics class. He also had the opportunity to work on humanitarian projects as part of Amnesty International. After getting accepted to Syracuse University, he eventually decided to attend the University of Massachusetts Boston where he studied Communications, Political Science, and Spanish.
Daniel is currently the Director of Zoning and Development for District 9 City Councilor Mark Ciommo. Former intern and Director of Constituent Services for District 7 City Councilor Tito Jackson, Daniel now works with Councilor Ciommo overseeing legislative affairs projects and working with large development projects that are emerging in the Allston & Brighton area as well as working with developers, constituents, and business owners who are looking to connect with the rest of the City of Boston and State agencies.
Working for the neighborhood where he lives, Daniel continues to have a deep passion for public service and hopes to run for a seat one day. Daniel is involved with the Democratic Latino Caucus.
Cynthia Sanchez (MUA 2019)
I always wanted to really understand Boston, and the Master in Urban Affairs helped me to comprehend not only Boston, but also how cities are made in general. I knew that I wanted to be in a program that would give me the skills and perspectives to further comprehend the unexplained issues that affect cities. The Masters of Urban Affairs program has offered me strong classes and hands-on projects that have prepared me for the future.
Cynthia is a lifelong resident of Boston. She earned a bachelor’s degree at UMass Boston. Upon graduation, she wanted a career in law/code enforcement. She joined the City of Boston and became a Housing Inspector at the Inspection Service Department.
Cynthia there realized her passion was in developing and maintaining livable, enjoyable cities. After completing the program in May, Cynthia hopes to continue to work on constituent services and neighborhood issues such as development, housing, and community engagement on a deeper level. When not inspecting homes, Cynthia enjoys event planning and watching basketball.
Joyce Sanchez (MUA 2019)
Pursuing a Master of Urban Affairs degree under the BUCPUA program has been an unforgettable experience. I’ve learned so much about community, real estate, and sustainable development. During these two years, I’ve become more confident in my potential impact as a future Urban Planning Professional and how effective leadership can unlock untapped opportunities in urban communities.
Joyce Sanchez joined the Humphrey Fellowship Program at Boston University in July 2018 as a Senior Program Coordinator. Previously, Joyce worked to increase the number of low-income, first-generation college, and underrepresented high school students who complete higher education as a College Adviser at the Boston Day and Evening Academy under the CACBU partnership.
Prior to joining Boston University, Joyce was the Citizen Engagement Coordinator for American Promise, an organization dedicated to passing a 28th Amendment and getting big money out of politics. In her professional and personal life, she remains active in the civic, social, and non-profit industries, volunteering for local campaigns in Boston along with teaching a women empowerment class at a high school in Spring 2018.
Joyce obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a Minor in Journalism from Georgia Southern University. She was an ambitious undergraduate student who served in several leadership roles such as Service-Learning Facilitator, Alternative Break Student Board Member, Model United Nations Student Organization (Model UN) Delegate, and Founder/President of The 100 Collegiate Women of America, a women empowerment organization devoted to creating leaders, economic development, and serving the community. She also zealously gave her time to volunteering domestically and abroad, graduating with over 250 hours of community service.
As an undergraduate student, Joyce also spent every summer working internships in the education, business, or government field. These internships include being a Camp Counselor/Journalism Instructor at Camp Mariah with The Fresh Air Fund, the Business and Innovation Office Manager for Envision EMI, and working as the Technology and Operations Intern in the Presidential Personnel Office at The White House.
While at Boston University, Joyce is pursuing her Master of Urban Affairs at Boston University and serves as 2018-2019 President of the Boston University Urban Planning Association. She is very excited to work with the Humphrey Fellowship Program and looks forward to meeting the Fellows this year.
Matt Smith (MCP 2019)
Boston University’s focus on social justice issues drew me to their MCP program. The challenging core courses and wide range of electives allowed me to tailor my education to Housing and Community Development. The knowledge and skills I gained in the MCP/MUA program will allow me to transition into a new career in affordable housing. Additionally, the diverse group of talented students and faculty made BU an excellent choice.
Matt grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts, but spent seven years living in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon. He is an architectural designer and LEED AP with over a decade of experience working on a variety of different project types. His professional work consists of commercial, residential, and community-focused projects. Matt is also the graduate assistant for UA 704: Urban Economics.
He is actively involved in the community as a weekly volunteer at the Arlington EATS Market food pantry and a member of their advisory committee. When not tinkering with designs or thinking about innovative ways to address Greater Boston’s housing crisis, he enjoys exploring art museums and walking around the City. As an urbanist, he fully embraces his inner flaneur.
Matt holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Connecticut College, a Master of Architecture from California College of the Arts, and a professional Certificate in Real Estate Finance from Boston University. He will graduate with a Master of City Planning degree focused on Housing and Community Development along with a Graduate Certificate in Urban Policy & Planning.
Karey Statin (MCP 2019)
I am a returning student after a thirty-five year break. This program has fully prepared me for my next academic goal. The professors, faculty, and classmates all work together so that everyone can be the best that they can be. Thank you City Planning and Urban Affairs Program. See you at the top!
Karey Statin is an entrepreneur with certifications in tax preparation and paralegal studies. A native Houstonian, he originally began his academic path in 1978 as a freshman majoring in Political Science, minoring in Sociology at Boston University. Karey left BU in 1983 before completing the degree requirements. During the next thirty-five years, the former State Democratic Party Delegate, Congressional Director of Constituent Services, and realtor initiated several small business ventures all meeting with some success. Also active in his church, Karey gave leadership and participated in several ministries, currently serving as an Usher at his local church in Newton, Massachusetts.
Karey returned to academia in 2017 completing a Master Certificate in Paralegal Studies from Rice University, and completing the requirements for the bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Sociology from Boston University 2018. While completing the requirements for the Master of Urban Affairs and Graduate Certificate in Urban Policy & Planning at Boston University, Karey is completing a Master Certificate in African American Studies online at University of Houston, and is a candidate for Enrolled Agent designation with the IRS enabling practice before the U.S. Tax Court and U.S. Claims Court.
Yidan Wang (MCP 2019)
I’m honored I joined the BU Master of City Planning program. The program really gives me a rough sketch of what planning is and how to plan by combining theory with practical projects. Also, I feel excited that I’m studying in Boston and Boston University. Many practical problems about city planning exist this city that we can discuss in class. It is so much fun!
Yidan came from China and got her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from The Ohio State University. Her specialization was environmental economics development and sustainability. As an exchange student, she once went to Costa Rica to explore how sustainability works in agriculture. Then she realized that she could make cities become more sustainable. While choosing BU’s City Planning as her master degree program, she had an internship in her hometown’s Urban Planning and Design Institute trying to figure out what does a city planner do and why planning is so important. She is also interested in energy use and green business and has developed proficiency in data analysis, using ArcGIS, Google Sketchup, SPSS, Tableau, and SQL.
Deborah Weinberg (MUA 2019)
The BU Urban Affairs Program has given me the opportunity to explore a new field of interest and engage with many professionals in the field. The hands-on nature of the projects and classes have proven to be a great way to gain knowledge on many aspects of urban planning.
Deborah Weinberg is a Quincy, Massachusetts, resident and was raised in a suburb of Boston. She attended BU as an undergrad, earning a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Spanish. During this program, Deborah studied abroad in Madrid as a participant in the Internship Program, with the exciting opportunity to work at a women’s center. Deborah considers the time spent abroad in Madrid and visiting other European countries to be have been the experience that opened her eyes to just how fascinating cities can be. She has since lived in Los Angeles, California, but returned to Boston for this program. She has worked professionally as an immigration paralegal and loves to travel, see new places, and try new food and restaurants.
Her planning interests are sustainable development, environmental policy, and resiliency planning. Her biggest aspiration after this program is to be involved in sustainable development and climate policy planning. Deborah considers the future generations of the world and how they deserve the same access to health, resources, transportation, and well-being as we are fortunate enough to enjoy in the present.
Wengpeng Yin (MCP 2019)
The City Planning program at Boston University offered me a great opportunity to learn a variety of aspects of knowledge related to urban planing. With the education of urban planning at Boston University, my thinking model transferred from an architect’s thinking model, which focuses on a small area in a city, to a city planner’s thinking model, which thinks larger and dreams bigger. My focus on a project changed from aesthetics, function, and spatial patterns to economy, politics, and development. I enjoy this new outlook and I am also interested in urban sustainability, urban research and urban development.
Wenpeng Yin grew up in Xi’an, which is a city in the middle part of China and has a history of 2000 years. In ancient times, this city was the capital of China for around 1000 years. Before Wenpeng came to Boston University, he received a bachelor’s degree of Architecture in Xi’an. After 5 years of studying in undergraduate school, Wenpeng acquired the basic skills and thought of a career in architecture designing. He learned the principles of designing a variety of buildings, which includes small scale villa design to the large-scale regional urban design. When he was in his senior year, he participated in an actual large-scale project about regional urban design and learned many practical skills in this project. Besides acquiring knowledge related to architectural design, he also studied the history of architecture. During those 5 years during undergrad, he also had two time internship experiences as an architect.
Yue Yu (MCP 2019)
I enjoy the feeling of turning my plans into reality step by step. I am glad that the experience in BU both increased my ability in planning and executing. I hope that you may have an equivalent feeling in the future.
Yue came from China searching for an opportunity to promote himself. Before coming to Boston, he completed a master’s degree in Public Policy at University of Minnesota. Driven by the ambition to make some change in the world, he is willing to fight through difficult situations.
Yue has experience working with a media company and NGO. Particularly interested in development issues, he also completed programs in transportation, employment, and land-use for Progressive Public Affairs (Chicago, Illinois) and Sawiris Foundation for Social Development (Cairo, Egypt) respectively. His education in research methodology and practice in real-life cases helps him in achieving his goals.
Michael Zayas (MCP 2019)
I’m happy that I opened my eyes after what I experienced in Puerto Rico to see what I really want to do with my life. I want to be in a position that the decisions made will have a positive effect on the well-being of a targeted population. But also, do the work and choose the right choices to try to overcome future problems. I’m glad that I decided to pursue the Master of City Planning at Boston University because through the Program I developed the skills and the knowledge needed to pursue my goals. I’m graduating with a vault filled with knowledge, happy memories, anecdotes, educational trips, skills, a chain of networks (made by classmates, speakers, and professors), but also and more importantly, the hope to be able to change the life of numerous people.
Michael Zayas came to Boston University a few months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the Island of Puerto Rico. He is originally from a city called Ponce, just located in the south of the Island. At that time, he was working as an Application Analyst serving as a project manager for a project between the government of Puerto Rico and the private sector. He developed analytical and statistical skills during his time in that position that was used later to further his academic career while enrolled in the Program.
He is particularly interested in environmental planning and how to develop skills for disaster recovery management, community engagement post-disaster, renewable energy to prevent economic troubles, education, the public and private sectors, and how the public health of the communities at risk by climate change have been affected.
Michael holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from The Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico with a dual concentration in Commerce and Finance, where he obtained the highest GPA in his concentration. Also, he has a Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Finance from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. Lastly, he is enrolled in the Master of City Planning program, where he serves as the International Student Officer for the Urban Planning Association and is also pursuing three graduate certificates in Urban Policy & Planning, Applied Sustainability, and Fundraising Management.
Jiaqi Zhang (MCP 2019)
The City Planning program at Boston University provided me with opportunities to gain various planning knowledge from both theory and practical experience from professional experts with different backgrounds. I am glad to be in the Program spending fantastic periods with excellent professors and classmates from all over the world.
Jiaqi Zhang is originally from China and received a bachelor degree of Engineering in Landscape Architecture from Northeast Agricultural University in Harbin, China. In the summer of 2016, she had an internship as an assistant landscape designer in the Ministry of Transportation, China, where she was in the program of Tourism Highway responsible for the design of courier stations and data gathering-analysis with different computer skills, such as Auto CAD, Photoshop, and ArcGIS. Her desire for further study in urban planning started to flourish. Now her primary areas of interest are transportation, urban design, and environmental sustainability. She will graduate with a master’s degree in City Planning and a Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability.