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. 

  • Tristessa Arthur

    Tristessa Arthur is a Masters of Urban Planning candidate, specializing in Economic Development and Housing, and the Fall 2019 NYU Furman Center Wagner Fellow. 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.

  • Max Brueckner-Humphreys

    Max Brueckner-Humphreys is currently a MS candidate in Applied Urban Science and Informatics at NYU CUSP. He is interested in how cities can better leverage technology and data to influence equitable, resilient policy for the rapidly changing urban landscape. Max graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a BA in Geography.

  • 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.

  • Maia Cole

    Maia Cole is a third-year student at NYU School of Law, a Root-Tilden-Kern public interest scholar, and the 2019-20 Herbert Z. Gold Fellow at the Furman Center. 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. 

  • Scott Davis

    Scott Davis is a third-year student at NYU School of Law and the 2019-20 Frances Moelis Fellow at the NYU Furman Center. 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 second 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.

  • Gabe Friedman

    Gabe is in his second 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.

  • Emily Golchini

    Emily Golchini is a rising senior at NYU Gallatin's School of Individualized Study and office assistant at the NYU Furman Center. Her area of study combines elements of economics and psychology to understand the influencing factors behind human behavior. Before working at the Furman Center, Emily worked as a legal assistant at both Varghese & Associates, P.C. and The Margolis Law Firm. She is interested in how gentrification affects affordable housing across the city and how individuals can advocate for those in need of more affordable options.

  • Kiyana Grimes

    Kiyana Grimes is a second-year student at NYU School of Law and a Fellow in the Moelis Urban Law & Public Affairs Program. She is interested in urban economics, land use, and housing policy as it related to the legal field. Kiyana earned her B.A. in Economics from Howard University in 2018. 

  • Benjamin Heller

    Benjamin Heller is a first-year Master of Public Administration student, specializing in Policy Analysis. Before moving to New York, he worked for Ernst & Young and for London's Metropolitan Police, focusing on organizational culture, ethics, and accountability; he also volunteered with the UK Restorative Justice Council. Ben graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in political science. He is interested in using research to understand and address neighborhood change, urban poverty, and crime.

  • 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. 

  • Joy Kim

    Joy Kim is a third-year student at NYU School of Law, a Moelis Fellow for Urban Law and Public Affairs, and a Derrick Bell Scholar for Public Service. Though interested in many areas of urban policy, she is particularly interested in tenant protections, affordable housing, and cities’ criminalization of homelessness. Joy received her B.A. in Urban Studies and Classical Studies from Trinity College in 2017.

  • Olivia Lee

    Olivia is an office assistant at the NYU Furman Center. She is currently a sophomore at NYU Stern School of Business, pursuing double concentrations in Finance and Computing and Data Science with a minor in English Literature. She is interested in learning about sustainable business practices and more specifically, how they address the needs of low-income residents and foster communities.

  • 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.

  • Sean Martin

    Sean Martin is a Masters of Urban Planning candidate, specializing in the environment, infrastructure and transportation. He received his Bachelors of Science in Environmental Sustainability from Michigan State University in May 2016. Before pursing his master's degree, Sean worked at a nature center, a recycling center, a brewery and completed an AmeriCorps service term involving community gardens. This AmeriCorps experience demonstrated to him the multi-facted benefits that planning, specifically environmental planning, can have as urban spaces transform. He is passionate about open space equity, sustainability and creating safer and greater spaces for urban residents to access nature. 

  • Brittany Mazzurco Muscato

    Brittany Mazzurco Muscato is a Master of Public Administration candidate at the NYU Wagner School of Public Service, specializing in Public Policy Analysis. Prior to joining the NYU Furman Center, Brittany ran her own marketing, digital media, and public relations consultancy for non-profit organizations. In addition to working on the Furman Center's Policy & Communications team, Brittany serves as a Teaching Assistant for two Wagner classes (Intro. to Public Policy and Public Economics) and as Co-Chair for the Wagner Policy Alliance. She is interested in using research to better inform public policies aimed at solving economic inequality and access to opportunity. 

  • Kayla Merriweather

    Kayla Merriweather is a junior at New York University in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, concentrating in Race, Politics and Spanish. On campus, she is a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar, the Chief of Staff for the Black Student Union, and the Chair of the Student Government Assembly’s Student Success Committee. Passionate about social justice, advocacy, and public service, Kayla plans to attend law school after graduation with hopes to become a lawyer and eventual politician.

  • Abe Nelson

    Abe Nelson is a Master of Public Administration candidate at the NYU Wagner School of Public Service. Prior to enrolling at Wagner and joining the Furman Center, Abe interned on the cultural engagement and research teams at Everytown for Gun Safety and worked as a program associate in the NYC Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice. In the Mayor's Office he worked on the crime reduction strategies team and primarily focused on implementing and managing programs that were part of the Domestic Violence Task Force. In addition to working at the Furman Center, Abe is a board member of the Wagner Advocacy and Political Action student group. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Kenyon College. 

  • Andres Rivero

    Andrés Rivero is a second-year student at NYU Law. A native of Miami, Florida, Andrés is interested in how land use policy shapes the economic, environmental, and cultural viability of urban communities. Andrés spent his 1L summer working on major public financing deals for affordable housing as a legal intern at New York City Housing Development Corporation. Prior to law school, Andrés worked on the staff of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, where he engaged with issues including climate resiliency, affordable housing, and economic development. He also served as a Teach For America corps member, teaching seventh grade civics at a low-income middle school in Miami. Andrés graduated from Emory University in 2014 with a B.A. in Political Science.

  • Annmarie Rodriguez

    Annmarie Rodriguez is a Master of Urban Planning candidate at NYU Wagner specializing in economic development and housing. Previously, she worked as a housing navigator and case manager at a nonprofit aimed at alleviating homelessness. In her role, she worked hands-ons with homeless individuals helping them find and retain stable housing and collaborated with the organization's data team to produce timely reports on clients from their recuperative care center. She holds a B.A. in English from Westmont College. In addition to working on the Furman Center's data team, Annmarie serves as a member of the Wagner Policy Alliance. She is interested in the role of affordable housing in providing low income households social mobility and a higher quality of life. 

  • Chris Shenton

    Chris is a 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.