Weiss Urban Livability Program
2015-2016 Weiss Fellows
Andre Assumpcao, Public Policy
Andre Assumpcao holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and a Master's degree in Public Policy from Getulio Vargas Foundation (EAESP-FGV), both in Brazil. Prior to the Ph.D. program at Carolina, Andre worked for the Center for Politics and Public Economics at EAESP-FGV as a research associate. He worked on identifying corruption determinants in Brazilian municipalities, improvements of transportation policy in the city of Sao Paulo and of Sao Paulo State's public health. Andre has also worked for the United Kingdom Foreign & Commonwealth Office, where he oversaw UK-Brazil bilateral policy projects in finance and transparency. His broad research interests are health, education and crime policy. He is also very much interested in applying experimental research design in social sciences.
Victoria Castillo, Social Work
Victoria graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in Sociology and Political Science, and a minor in Social & Economic Justice. She served as the Latino/a Services Coordinator at the Community Empowerment Fund, a local non-profit leading efforts to foster financial literacy skills and job readiness among community members experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness. She also served as a community organizer through the "One, State, One Rate" campaign - an initiative focused on achieving in-state tuition for undocumented immigrant youth in North Carolina. She plans to apply her graduate school education to work with undocumented immigrant community members seeking mental health services.
Katherine Connolly, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Katie graduated from The Ohio State University in 2015 with a degree in environmental science. She is now pursuing a Master of Science in Public Health in the Environmental Sciences and Engineering Department within the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Over the next two years, Katie will be working with UNC's Water Institute on projects related to water and public health. She is currently involved with a research project aiming to assess the vulnerability of urban water utilities to climate change. During her time at UNC, Katie hopes to explore how climate change is likely to impact water and public health in developing countries.
Travis Crayton, Public Administration
Travis Crayton is a dual-degree master's student in public administration and city & regional planning. He has an academic and professional background in public policy and research, having worked for policy-oriented nonprofits, the U.S. government, and at research universities. He is particularly interested in transportation planning and land use policies at the local and regional governmental levels.
Isaiah Ellis, Religious Studies
Isaiah graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, in 2015, with a B.A. in religious studies and an urban studies minor. His interests in urban issues led to extensive volunteer work, as well as research projects engaging a wide variety of subjects including the practices of faith-based homeless outreach organizations in San Antonio and the architecture and design of Native American Casinos in Oklahoma. He maintains a personal and research interest in how religious communities and organizations engage vulnerable urban populations. Isaiah aspires to teach and write about the ways religious communities and ideas have shaped, and continue to shape, urban life.
Anusha Hariharan, Anthropology
Anusha Hariharan is a graduate student in Anthropology and works on issues of caste, gender and social movements in India. She is very interested in how caste shapes questions of livelihood and social justice.
Glenna Matteson, Information and Library Science
Taylor McAdam, City and Regional Planning
Taylor graduated from Stanford University in 2013 with a degree in Urban Studies. Following graduation she worked for the Alliance to Save Energy supervising college students across California who were working to make their college campuses more energy efficient. Energy planning intertwines nicely with Taylor's focus on transportation planning in her current program. Taylor is a masters student in City and Regional Planning and is particularly interested in making transportation systems jointly more sustainable and more equitable. She is a native Californian enjoying her first major geographic relocation; newly surrounded by greenery and unpredictable weather.
Shaily Patel*, Religious Studies, Senior Fellow
Shaily Patel is a PhD candidate in the Department of Religious Studies. Her intellectual interests vary widely from the analysis of magic as a discourse to postcolonial critique of New Testament texts. Shaily is currently writing a dissertation on the varieties of magical discourse found in several early Christian texts.