Student Affiliates

Kayleigh Campbell

Kayleigh Campbell is a doctoral student in sustainable development at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. In her dissertation research she is analyzing the impact that bike sharing has had on subway, bus, and taxi ridership and efficiency in New York City using a differences-in-differences research design. The goal is to learn more about how bike sharing interacts with other modes of transportation.  She is also studying transportation access in Nairobi. Using data from the Digital Matatus Project, she and her collaborators are trying to understand where and to whom transportation access is provided and how to appropriately measure access in a developing country context. Finally, in her master’s research she found that U.S. cities that had urban rail transit before the automobile age, have lower per capita carbon dioxide emissions today than cities built entirely around the automobile.  She loves exploring new ideas and playing with data. Her biggest research challenge has been tracking down the data she needs for those ideas!


Lauren Fischer

L_FischerLauren Ames Fischer is a Ph.D. candidate in Urban Planning. Her major fields of study are transportation, and economic and community development. She holds a B.S. in Sociology, Political Science and a M.S. in Public Policy. Lauren’s research interests center around the relationship between transportation infrastructure investments and urban development, the role of informal transport systems in developing and declining urban areas and the impact of transport systems on neighborhood development. She has also conducted considerable research documenting the development of the curbside bus industry in the United States. Lauren has a background in political organizing and public policy research which she hopes to leverage to support the work of CSUD.


Eric Goldwyn

E_GoldwynEric Goldwyn is a doctoral candidate in Urban Planning.  He is working on his dissertation which examines non-traditional forms of transit, such as jitneys and unlicensed taxis in New York.  Thanks to the generosity of the Volvo Research and Education Foundations (VREF) and the Earth Institute’s Center for Sustainable Urban Development at Columbia University, he will study transit networks in Cape Town, South Africa this Winter. He has a B.A in history from Bowdoin College, an M.U.P. from New York University, and an M.Phil from Columbia University.


Avantika GoswamiAG_Pic

Avantika Goswami is a Graduate student in the M.S. Sustainability Management program at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. She has a background in Economics and has worked in management consulting in Mumbai, prior to pursuing her graduate studies in New York City. Her research is focused on mobility and sustainable transportation, resiliency of critical urban infrastructure to climate change effects, and the factors influencing public sector efficacy in furthering a city’s sustainability goals. She has worked with the Chief Economist of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey researching sustainability metrics for large multi-modal transportation agencies. She is interested in examining best practices in sustainability planning by agencies in urban centers in the developed world and exploring their adoption in the context of emerging economies in Asia and beyond. She has a B.A. in Economics (with Honours) from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.



Jonas Hagen

Jonas_IMG_0754Jonas Hagen has worked on urban planning and transportation projects, both as an academic and practitioner, in New York City, Bogota, Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, among other cities. He has worked at the United Nations, the New York City Department of Transportation, and was Deputy Brazil Country Director for the Institute for Transport and Development Policy (ITDP) from 2007-2011. Jonas has a BA in International Relations and an MS in Urban Affairs from Hunter College (City University of New York), and began his Ph.D. in Urban Planning at Columbia University in 2012. His research focuses on environmental and public health outcomes of transportation systems and his dissertation will examine the effects of automobile speed in urban areas. Jonas hopes to contribute his work experience and research skills to 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.


Amiel Melnick

Amiel Melnick is doing a Ph.D. in Anthropology, with a focus on the politics of infrastructure. She did her undergraduate degree in Comparative Literature at Columbia College, studying francophone West African theater. Her current research is an investigation of the social and political dimensions of roads, traffic, and accidents in Kenya. She’s interested in the ambivalent position of roads and mobility in postcolonial contexts, in which mobility is at once required, desired, and risky.


Anna Oursler

Anna is a graduate student at Columbia University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), working towards a duel degree in Urban Planning and Architecture.  Anna joins us with five years of experience working on the development and installation of small scale renewable energy technologies in East Africa.  Anna spent two years working as a research analysis for Global Footprint Network, using the Ecological Footprint to evaluate human development projects in Africa.  Anna has worked to develop waste-to-energy technologies in Nairobi, Kenya and to install photovoltaics, biogas and energy efficient cook stoves in Tanzania. She managed the design and implementation of a series of community centers that allowed local residents to learn about, construct and purchase a wide range of appropriate technologies and alternative fuels.  Anna holds a Bachelors degree from UC Berkeley and has studied as a post-graduate fellow at the University of Nairobi.  In her spare time, Anna enjoys outdoor activities such as mountain climbing and camping.


Xiaohong Pan 

Xiaohong Pan is a Ph.D candidate in Urban Planning at the Columbia University.  She holds dual Master’s Degrees, one in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the other in Transportation Engineering from National University of Singapore.  Prior to joining the urban planning doctoral program at Columbia, she worked as an assistant development engineer/policy analyst at the Institute of Transportation Studies of the University of California, Berkeley, and a graduate research assistant at the Department of City and Regional Planning and the Highway Safety Research Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Xiaohong is particularly interested in areas related to sustainable transportation and planning such as Transportation and Land Use Integration; Travel Behavior and Transportation Policy; GIS Applications for Transportation and Planning.  Her dissertation research will explore aging American’s travel preferences and transportation options from a behavioral analysis perspective.


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 Petretta is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Urban Planning. Her research interests include transport finance and infrastructure investment and the potential for value capture mechanisms to sustainably fund transport.  Danielle has a background in planning and research having acted as Assistant Director for Technology Transfer for the University Transportation Research Center for USDOT Region 2 and as Vice President of the Research Group at Landauer Associates, a national commercial real estate consulting firm. She  has also spent time at regional non-profits and public agencies. She holds an MS in Urban Planning from Columbia and a BA in Urban Design from NYU. At CSUD, she has supported Professor Sclar’s research on “Economically Sustainable Transport” as part of his contribution to the 2013 UN -HABITATGlobal Report on Human Settlements.