Our Team

  • Felicia Akerele

    Felicia Akerele is a Masters of Urban Planning candidate, specializing in economic and housing development. Before pursuing her master’s degree, Felicia worked as a preschool teacher and later at two non-profits focused on empowering low-income communities of color. She graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a B.A. in Psychology and is passionate about creating safer and stronger predominately African American neighborhoods and cities – especially for children. 

  • Omar Al Faleh

    Omar Al Faleh joined NYU for a masters degree in Integrated Digital Media (IDM) at the Tandon School of Engineering in 2018 to work on urban data and location-based media using augmented reality and virtual reality. Omar has been working as a senior interactive developer and creative technologist for over 16 years, during which time he built multiple web and mobile applications in addition to interactive media installations. He has consulted for international and multi-national clients and agencies like adidas, Bombardier, Phizer, Garnier, Ogilvy, Sid Lee, and JWT. Omar holds a Bachelors degree in architecture from the University of Damascus, a second Bachelors degree in computer science with a major in computation arts from Concordia University, a Master’s degree in virtual reality from the University College London, UK. Omar published papers in many conferences on art, media, technology, and architecture, and was a graduate researcher at the Topological Media Lab at Concordia University, a part time faculty at the Design and Computation arts department at Concordia University, and is currently a graduate researcher at the NYU Furman Center.

  • Lilian Aluri

    Lilian Aluri is in her first year of NYU Wagner's Master of Public Administration program, specializing in International Policy and Management. While completing her B.A. in Business Administration at the University of Southern California, Lilian served as a program director and a co-executive director for Troy Camp, student-run youth development nonprofit. She currently works as a Communications and Policy Graduate Researcher at the Furman Center and is focused on promoting human rights through equitable policies, particularly for people with disabilities.

  • Tristessa Arthur

    Tristessa Arthur is a first-year Masters of Urban Planning candidate, specializing in Economic Development and Housing. She received her Bachelors of Business Administration from the University of Florida. She spent most of her time at UF working in Multicultural and Diversity student affairs, growing a passion for social justice and advocacy for under-represented populations. Tristessa is interested in furthering social equity with intentional urban development, and hopes to research issues of gentrification, economic inequality, land use/zoning regulations, and private-public partnerships.

  • Alexis Captanian

    Alexis Captanian is a graduate student at the NYU Wagner School of Public Service,pursuing a Master of Urban Planning with a specialization in International Development Planning. Previously, Alexis worked at Prevention Institute, where she coordinated the organization’s Mental Health Team, focused on promoting mental wellbeing and preventing substance misuse through comprehensive population-level approaches. In her role, she facilitated Making Connections for Mental Health and Wellbeing Among Men and Boys, a national initiative to transform community conditions that influence wellbeing, especially among boys and men of color, veterans and their families. She has contributed to research at the Public Health Institute identifying opportunities for action at the intersection of climate change, health, and equity, and has worked with a variety of other organizations in areas such as youth leadership, environmental education, and homelessness. Alexis studied as a Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholar at the University of California at Berkeley, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Health.

  • AndrĂ© Ceccotti

    André Ceccotti is a first-year student at NYU School of Law and a Root-Tilden-Kern public interest scholar. Before law school, André worked with nonprofits in North Carolina to provide the unemployed and homeless communities of Orange County with financial coaching, better access to housing and employment, and public benefits. At NYU, André hopes to learn more about the complex needs of the financially insecure, and how legal services in conjunction with financial, educational, and social services can most effectively serve and empower these communities.

  • Mili Chapado

    Mili Chapado is a second-year student pursuing an MPA in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy from NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, with a specialization in Public Policy Analysis.

  • Maia Cole

    Maia Cole is a second-year student at NYU School of Law and a Root-Tilden-Kern public interest scholar. Maia is passionate about housing justice and would like to work on issues of affordable housing, gentrification, and desegregation. She graduated from Amherst College in 2014 with a degree in Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought. After graduating, she worked as a civil rights paralegal at Relman, Dane & Colfax, working with attorneys on fair housing and fair lending cases. In this capacity, she saw the variety of barriers from government organizations, banks, and private individuals that her clients faced when trying to find and maintain their housing. Following two years as a paralegal, Maia moved to London to pursue her M.A. in comparative literature at SOAS, focusing primarily on African and African-American literature about slave narratives. 

  • Damilola Dauda

    Damilola Dauda is in her first year of NYU Wagner's Master of Public Administration program, specializing in international policy and management. Before coming to New York for the program, she worked as a secondary school mathematics teacher in Lima, Peru, and in London before that. Damilola is interested in education policy and development in her home country Nigeria. She holds a Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cambridge.

  • Scott Davis

    Scott Davis is a second-year student at NYU School of Law. A native of the mountains of western North Carolina, Scott graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he studied English and Creative Writing. After college, Scott worked for a voting rights nonprofit, worked in publishing, and later spent a year as an AmeriCorps Vista member serving at a shelter for families experiencing homelessness in Durham, NC. Scott is interested in civil legal services - especially around the issues of eviction prevention and foreclosure prevention - and affordable housing policy.

  • Jiaqi Dong

    Jiaqi Dong is a first-year Master of Urban Planning student, with a specialization in Urban Analytics. She graduated from NYU Shanghai in 2018 with a B.S. degree, double major in Business and Finance and Interactive Media Arts. Her prior research focused on street food vending and urbanization in Shanghai, as well as bike sharing system data visualization and operation analysis. She is interested in economic inequality associated with urban planning practices.

  • Daphna Ezrachi

    Daphna Ezrachi is a Master of Urban Planning candidate at NYU Wagner. Originally from Jerusalem, she relocated to the U.S. during the summer of 2016. Before moving, Daphna was a community educator, working with teens and young adults from all over Israel. While working, she interned at Member of Knesset Tamar Zandberg's office, and volunteered as a medic at a local HIV clinic. Daphna has a B.A. in History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

  • Rachel Flaherty

    Rachel Flaherty is a second-year student at NYU Wagner. Rachel graduated magna cum laude from the University of Rhode Island in 2016 with a B.A. in Political Science. During her undergraduate career she focused on American Politics and completed a Capstone Project on Voter ID laws and their ability to disenfranchise minority voters via modern day voter suppression techniques. Rachel is passionate about civic engagement, criminal justice, social welfare, and minority rights. Prior to joining the NYU Furman Center, Rachel worked on Capitol Hill for U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse as his Deputy Scheduler.

  • Michael Freedman

    Michael Freedman is a third-year student at NYU School of Law. Before law school, he worked as a research assistant at New Leaders for New Schools – studying public education – and as a federal policy associate on issues of affordable housing and fair lending at Minnesota Housing Partnership and Minnesota 2020. He is interested in the intersection of urban space and racial and economic inequality, and his research at the Furman Center focuses on the relationship between residential and school segregation. He graduated from Macalester College in 2011 with a B.A. in Political Science.

  • Gabe Friedman

    Gabe is in his first year of NYU Wagner's Master of Public Administration program, specializing in Public Policy. Gabe began his career as a Fulbright Fellow in Brazil. He returned to the United States to work on former Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s education policy team, then served as Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Education in the Office of New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Since then, Gabe has served in various education nonprofit organizations, most recently as Turnaround for Children’s Director of Strategic Initiatives. Gabe holds a B.A. in History from Yale University.

  • Luis Hernandez

    Luis Hernandez is a Master of Urban Planning candidate at NYU. Before joining the NYU Furman Center, Luis worked on the policy and communications team at Airbnb for three years overseeing the East Coast and Canada team operations. He has also worked on several political campaigns, including the 2013 mayoral campaign of Mayor Bill de Blasio, as the targeting director, and held several positions on the 2008 Barack Obama campaign for President. Luis has also worked in Cleveland, OH as a community organizer where he helped create a neighborhood recreation league and worked on other economic development initiatives. He has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Dayton. 

  • Anastasia Lopatina

    Anastasia Lopatina is a Master of Public Administration candidate at NYU Wagner specializing in Policy Analysis. She holds an M.A. degree in International Economic and Political Studies from Charles University in Prague. Before moving to New York, she worked on international development projects at the Institute for Capacity Development and Eurasia Foundation in Washington, DC. Anastasia is interested in exploring the relationship between geospatial and sociological factors and the effectiveness of public policy initiatives.

  • Anna Nathanson

    Anna Nathanson is a Development, Operations, and Events Graduate Researcher at the NYU Furman Center and a Master of Social Work candidate at NYU Silver. From 2013-2015, Anna worked as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon, focusing on issues around food security, gender equality, and community development. After returning to the U.S., she worked as an eviction-prevention case manager in the South Bronx for BronxWorks HomeBase and developed a passion for urban policy. During her first year at NYU Silver, Anna interned at the International High School at Union Square, a public high school for recently-arrived immigrants and English Language Learners; during her second year, she is interning at the Children’s Day Unit at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, an intensive outpatient program for adolescents. At NYU, Anna conducts research on the experiences of people who are experiencing street homelessness with a Silver professor, and research on sexual and gender based violence with a professor at the College of Global Public Health. She holds a B.A. in International Development and Economics from McGill University. 

  • Alisa Nurmansyah

    Alisa Nurmansyah is an undergraduate student at the College of Arts and Science double majoring in Economics and Urban Design & Architecture Studies. She is an office assistant at the NYU Furman Center. She is interested in studying and researching affordable housing, zoning laws and their effects, accessible public transportation, and economic development.

  • Bill Reisman

    Bill Reisman is an office assistant at the NYU Furman Center and a fourth-year undergraduate student at NYU College of Arts and Science, majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Mathematics and Creative Writing. Previously, Bill has worked as a Research Consultant for the Environmental Grantmakers Association and a GIS Consultant for NYU Data Services. Before joining the NYU Furman Center, Bill worked for Changing Our World, Inc., Pierogi Gallery, and NYU's Action Research Internship. Bill is interested in research focusing on food justice, sustainable urban planning, and urban hydrology. 

  • Chris Shenton

    Chris is a rising second-year student at NYU School of Law. Chris graduated from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Literature/Creative Writing in 2014, and continued working at the university before coming to NYU. Chris is interested in how land use policy affects affordable housing, fair housing, and racial inequality, and hopes to work on housing justice and sustainable development after law school.

  • Xingzhi Wang

    Xingzhi Wang is a Master of Public Administration candidate at NYU Wagner, specializing in financial management and public finance. In addition to his research position at the NYU Furman Center, he is working with Professor Bialek as a teaching assistant of public finance at NYU Wagner. Growing up in one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, he is passionate about financial reforms and sustainable growth, as well as research focusing on fiscal policies and financial stability. Xingzhi holds a B.A. in Finance from Shanghai International Studies University.

  • Catherine Zinnel

    Catherine Zinnel is a Master of Urban Planning candidate at NYU Wagner. She also works in the Office of NYC Council Member Brad Lander in Brooklyn, where she develops new ways to broaden participation in government decision-making and neighborhood-based planning. Prior to joining the City Council, Catherine was an Urban Fellow in the NYC Housing Authority’s Department for Real Estate Development. Her interests include innovative models for affordable housing development, the design and maintenance of public spaces, and the spatial distribution of public infrastructure. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from CUNY Hunter College.