Student Affiliates

Nathan Albert

Nathan Albert is an MPH student in the Sociomedical Sciences Department at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. His research focuses on understanding the effects of housing and transportation policy on urban health. He is working with Joyce Klein-Rosenthal to develop the American Lead Map Collaboratory, an online mapping tool that seeks to identify, map, and share data on the spatial location of lead hazards in American communities in order to reduce human exposure to the toxic heavy metal. Nathan received a B.A. in Urban Studies from Columbia University, and worked as a policy aide and community liaison in New York City government for six years prior to enrolling at Mailman.

Elaine R. Angeles

Elaine R. Angeles is a Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy student at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Columbia University. She is a SIPA Environmental Fellow, with a BA Political Science from the University of the Philippines Manila. Elaine has over 10 years of combined experience in the UN, nonprofit and private sector. Her recent engagements were with Habitat for Humanity – Asia Pacific, and UN World Food Programme (WFP). She has managed initiatives including Forecast-based Financing, Business and Peace, and Disaster Preparedness and Response / Climate Change Adaptation in high-risk provinces in the Philippines. She led the development of project proposals on shelter and urban development for low-income countries in Asia Pacific. Elaine is interested in increasing use of scientific data and innovation in building inclusive and disaster-resilient communities. Currently, she assists Anna Rubbo, Adjunct Senior Scholar, in developing the Agenda 2030 Design and Planning Studio: Local Project Challenge.

Jonathan English

Jonathan English is a doctoral candidate in Urban Planning at Columbia University. His research uses historical and other methods to examine the development of public transportation in North American suburban areas, and the effect of service levels on transit demand. He has an MA and MSc in International History from Columbia University and the London School of Economics. He has worked in government in Canada and the United States, as well as in the private sector. He also works as a consultant on transportation and infrastructure. His writing has been published in Citylab, Urban Omnibus, City+State, and other publications.

Lauren Ames FischerL_Fischer

Lauren Ames Fischer is a doctoral candidate in Urban Planning. Her research is broadly concerned with issues of urban governance, with recent projects focused on transportation and land use in American cities. Her dissertation uses institutional analysis to evaluate the implementation of modern streetcar investments and provides a qualitative and causal analysis of the mechanisms driving contemporary urban change. Lauren’s work employs a critical perspective that problematizes and seeks to improve technical solutions by analyzing how they function in different contexts. She is currently completing an innovative textbook project that approaches land regulation from an institutional perspective (Sclar et al. Routledge 2019), and working on a book proposal about the politics of transport and urban development in “legacy” cities. Lauren has a background in political organizing and public policy research which she uses to support the work of CSUD.

Nasser Hussain

N_HussainNasser is a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University. Prior to commencing his doctoral studies, he received his B.A. from Harvard College. Broadly, his research interests include migration, mobility and contemporary urban landscapes. The challenging, but most exciting part of his research is articulating the tools of anthropological critique—not least considering alternative measures of value—in relation to dominant narratives in transport and urban studies.

Sophonie Joseph

Sophonie Joseph is pursuing a Ph.D. in Urban Planning, her major fields of study are community development and transnational planning. She received her B.A. in Planning & Public Policy with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies from Douglass College at Rutgers University. She also received her Masters of Urban Planning from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Sophonie’s research focuses on transnational planning, specifically the role of immigrant transnational groups in community-based planning in their origin and destination countries. She hopes to incorporate social network analysis in future transnational research projects. Research she is working on includes fieldwork and representing CSUD in its work in Southern Haiti.

Fernando Ortiz Baez

Fernando Ortiz Baez is a recipient of the Earth Institute’s Collaborative Research Grant. His research titled Bronxitis: Exploring Green Spaces, Social Resilience and Environmental Justice in the South Bronx is a design-research project focused on the risk around public health associated with climate change and environmental justice and how building green spaces within communities can help build social resilience that in turn can mitigate climate change risk, public health concerns and environmental justice issues. Ortiz is a candidate for the Master of Science in Sustainability Management at Columbia University and the Earth Institute. Currently, Fernando works for a non-profit organization in the South Bronx as the Climate Preparedness and Resiliency Organizer and holds a Master of Design Studies in Sustainable Design. Fernando is collaborating with Jacqueline Klopp, Joyce Klein-Rosenthal and Nilda Mesa from the Center for Sustainable Urban Development on this research. The two focus communities for this research will be Port Morris and Hunts Point, both waterfront communities in the South Bronx. This past summer, Ortiz traveled to the Middle East with Columbia University studying regional environmental sustainability issues in the area.

Alexis Perrotta

Alexis Perrotta is pursuing a PhD in Urban Planning. Her research interests include the provision of public transportation and other fee-for-service public goods to income disparate populations; scalar effects of income segregation; and patterns of mode shift and trip generation in low- and high-income neighborhoods. Alexis has a B.A. from Wheaton College and an M.P.A. from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. She has over 10 years of professional experience in New York City, including as a policy analyst for Regional Plan Association and as an affordable housing developer for several nonprofit organizations.

Danielle Petretta

Petretta, DanielleDanielle is an Urban Planning Doctoral Candidate at Columbia University. Here, she is an NSF IGERT trainee and has participated in its multi-disciplined group of planners, engineers and architects focused on “Solving Urbanization Challenges by Design”. Her dissertation examines how public and private interests may or may not gain when implementing transportation finance policies including value capture schemes associated with large scale developments. Danielle’s work is supported by her background in planning, sustainable development, and commercial real estate research and forecasting. As a Ph.D. Student Affiliate at CSUD, she has participated in and helped to convene numerous workshops and international events seeking to advance the knowledge and understanding of transportation access and mobility issues.  Danielle holds an MS in Urban Planning from Columbia and a BA in Urban Studies from NYU.

Rosalie Singerman Ray


Rosalie Ray is a Ph.D. Candidate in Urban Planning, focusing on transportation. She received her B.A. in Economics from Smith College and her Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA. Rosalie’s research asks how London and Paris changed their transportation institutions to prioritize transit on city streets in the 1990s and 2000s. She has also explored the effect of transit construction on local businesses and on community displacement. At CSUD, she is helping to develop new courses for students in transportation planning.

Jason Wong


Jason Wong is a Ph.D. Student in Sustainable Development at Columbia University. Jason is interested in environmental, development, and transportation economics. His dissertation entitled “Aviation and Sustainable Development” investigates how aviation impacts economic, environmental, and social sustainability. His current work focuses on the impact of aviation connectivity on regional economies and innovation in the United States. He is also interested in how people make decisions about individual voluntary carbon offsetting. He also works on research related to rural and urban electricity access in India. While working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, he studied economic diversity as a vulnerability indicator among coastal communities.

Jason is currently a Transportation Research Board Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Graduate Research Awardee and a Research Affiliate at the Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.