2019 Summer Fellows

The Boston University (BU) Initiative on Cities is proud to share the 2019 class of Summer Fellows. Chosen from a group of competitive BU graduate and undergraduate students, the 2019 Summer Fellows will closely with local governments on projects that demonstrate a commitment to urban leadership.

Imani Roberson — Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Racial Equity

Imani is a rising senior at Boston University majoring in Public Relations and Political Science. She’s also a proud Detroiter.

On campus, Imani is heavily involved in the Inner Strength Gospel Choir and is the incoming president of Boston University’s Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).  Imani is an Resident Advisor for Upper Bay State Road and enjoys helping students find their grounding at BU. In her free time, she enjoys photography and videography. Imani has been passionate about equality since a very young age and aims to be an agent of change for her community.

Natalia Chavez — Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics

Natalia Chavez is the Communications and Outreach Director at Urbanability, a Boston-based non-profit organization that focuses on empowering underserved communities from an urban planning perspective. She recently worked at the Harvard Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation where she worked on democracy programming and the legislative negotiation 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. With a background in data analysis, public policy, and community building, Natalia is committed to building healthy communities by addressing difficult policy problems. She is interested in increasing economic opportunities, health and well-being, access to education, and political representation for underserved communities.

Natalia holds a bachelor’s degree from Santa Clara University, is completing the Master in City Planning (MCP) Program at Boston University, and will begin the Master in Public Administration (MPA) Program at the Harvard Kennedy School in the fall of 2019. At Boston University, she served as the Public Affairs Officer for the Urban Planning Association from 2018-2019. She is a Net Impact Racial Equity Fellow, a StartingBloc Fellow, and New Leaders Council Fellow.

Kevin Flakes – City of Providence, Department of Innovation 

Kevin is currently pursuing a master’s in Urban Affairs with special interest in urban inequalities and capacity building. Before entering the program, he consulted for Banking clients focusing on projects to mitigate risk, eliminate inefficiencies and improve customer experience.

Kevin graduated from University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth with a BS in Accounting.

Tori Amy Douglas, City of Manchester, England, United Kingdom

Tori is a rising senior at Boston University majoring in Political Science and minoring in Philosophy. She has previously worked for WaterFront Center in New York, where she worked with children to teach them the importance of environmental conservation. She interned at Environment America, where she worked on a campaign focused on committing college campuses to transitioning to renewable energy. More recently, Tori interned for the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, a government agency that investigates discrimination complaints related to employment, housing, and other sectors. This past semester, she has been interning for MLM Strategies and the Novus Group, a campaign consulting firm where she has worked with clients on campaign compliance and fundraising.

Tori’s urban interests include urban segregation, displacement, and inequities in services provided in lower income neighborhoods. As a dual citizen of the US and the UK, she is excited to be a Manchester Fellow where she can further explore her family’s history and culture, as well as understand urban studies from a more international perspective.