2010 Awards Ceremony
Continuing Student Awards
Graduating Student Awards
Deirdre Pfeiffer has received a prestigious Haynes Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. Her dissertation which is entitled "African American Migration to California's Inland Empire: A Springboard to Social Mobility?" aims to better understand why African Americans are leaving Los Angeles County and moving to Riverside and San Bernardino County and how living in the Inland Empire affects their housing and job conditions, children's school quality, and sense of safety. An estimated 130,000 African Americans moved to the region between 1980 and the mid-2000s (with most coming from Los Angeles County) and virtually no information existed on why families are moving and whether moving enables their access to safer, lower poverty neighborhoods, higher performing schools, and homeownership--conditions critical in attaining upward social mobility. Although urban scholars have shown that African Americans who move within cities and their nearby suburbs live in communities worse off than whites and others of the same socioeconomic status, it is unclear whether similar patterns are playing out in newly built suburbs on the urban fringe. Pfeiffer is using a multi-method approach to address these issues, which includes interviews with African American community leaders and people who've made the move from Los Angeles County to the Inland Empire, as well as an analysis of existing survey data. In addition to the dissertation, she will produce a public report that summarizes the research findings.
Papers by Urban Planning M.A. students Jessica Bremner and Caroline Sora Park and doctoral candidate Laura Russ were among the 14 finalists selected out of 150 entries by graduate students from various disciplines in the "Places We Live" research paper competition. Winning papers were judged outstanding by experts from five major research and development organizations: The Cities Alliance, the International Housing coalition, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the World Bank and USAID.
"Shifting Power: Scaling-Up Self Management" is the title of the paper by Jessica Bremner and Caroline Park. This paper evaluates Vila Viva, a slum upgrading program in Belo Horizonte, Brazil and proposes strategies for scaling up self-management from the community to the municipal level.
Laura Russ wrote on "Misaligned Expectations for Participatory Slum-Upgrading: Lessons for Sustainability fo the Ahmedabad Slum Networking Project. Based on interviews conducted in Ahmedabad, India, this paper explores differing expectations program stakeholders have of Community-Based Organizations under the internationally-lauded Slum Networking Project.
The Grand Prize, Honorable Mention and Finalist papers are posted on the World Bank's Urban Program website .
The Center for Community Partnerships has announced the winners of the first Rishwain Social Justice Entrepreneurship Award: Ava Bromberg and John Scott-Railton, both doctoral students in Urban Planning. The primary goal of the prize is to publicly acknowledge UCLA students who work in collaboration with non-profit organizations to address social justice issues.
Ava Bromberg created a Mobile Planning Lab, a converted camper designed to take urban planning issues to low-income residents in South Los Angeles. Working with the Figueroa Corridor Coalition for Economic Justice and the United Neighbors in Defense against Displacement, she created the project “Visions for Vermont,” which helps to engage residents in land use plans by providing a mobile, neutral, and local setting for neighbors and city planners to go over models, maps and data, and to discuss the future development and growth of their communities. Her project has given a voice to residents to show city planners the concerns and comments of the neighborhood in order to create sustainable development.
Halfway across the world, in Dakar, Senegal, John Scott-Railton has been working to solve “collective action” problems in villages as they seek to deal with unseasonable rains and devastating floods that are related to climate change. Using inexpensive handheld technology, John has partnered with Senegalese universities, climate scientists and their students, non-profit organizations, and community members to apply sophisticated mapping techniques, hybridized surveys, and linked satellite mapping to the village level toward developing more effective, long-term parcel-based solutions. As Railton continues his fieldwork, he plans to redouble efforts to steer local officials towards a pilot program in which community members and the government share responsibility for mitigating flooding.
Urban Planning design and development student Daniel Caroselli, a former production coordinator and marketing specialist, is one of three SPA students selected as a David Bohnett Fellow of the Los Angeles Mayor’s Fellowship Program. Other recipients are Susanna Curry, a joint Social Welfare/Public Policy student studying social policy advocacy and Karissa Yee, a Public Policy student studying education and urban policy.
The Los Angeles Mayor’s Fellowship Program was created to train the next generation of public servants in Los Angeles by bringing graduate-level policy research fellows onto the Mayor’s staff. Bohnett fellowships provide educational fees and summer stipends, to hardworking graduate students for the benefit of the City of Los Angeles. Fellows will be matched to a senior member of the mayoral staff and their project-based work may include policy research, design and application of a program, and various writing assignments.
David Bohnett, a philanthropist and technology entrepreneur, is the founder of GeoCities, an Internet-based media and e-commerce company. The mission of the David Bohnett Foundation is to improve society through activism.
Ashley Westman, Master's Candidate 2010, was awarded the Paulette Duve Memorial Graduate Scholarship from the San Diego Chapter of the WTS, an organization dedicated to the professional advancement of women in transportation. She also received a scholarship from the Los Angeles section of the California Planning Foundation. One such scholarship is allocated to each of the accredited planning schools in the Los Angeles area (Cal Poly Pomona, UCLA, and USC). The award includes a one-year student membership in APA.
Doctoral student Eric Morris was featured in a piece entitled "The Traffic Whisperer"  in the UCLA Style section of the January 2010 issue of UCLA Magazine. Morris, a regular contributor to the New York Times Freakanomics  Blog, was also recently interviewed on NPR discussing his position on high speed rail .
Konstantina Soureli has been awarded an Ulmer Dissertation Year Fellowship. The fellowship is awarded to students, American or European, who are related to the Ulmer, Dehaene, Dalbera, or Berenguer families. If no relatives apply, then the fellowship is awarded to students who are European citizens.
As a result of immigration, the non-Greek citizen population of Athens, Greece, has grown from about 2% to more than 20%. Konstantina Soureli, a doctoral student in urban planning, asks: How has this immigration changed the geography of social exclusion? How has that geography affected the lives of immigrants and the meaning of citizenship? And what is the impact on political activity for and against immigration, and how does that influence urban and national policy?
Konstantina has an undergraduate degree in architecture from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and a master’s of urban design from the University of Michigan. In the future, she hopes to conduct comparative research on urbanization in Europe, which can help address the major contemporary challenges facing cities and regions.
Doctoral student John Scott-Railton was the only student from the School of Public Affairs to receive an Institute for Social Research Graduate Student Research Grant this last cycle. He will present the preliminary results of his study "Ground Zero for Climate Change: Slums, Climate Change Risk and the Revolt of the Imams in Dakar, Senegal" at the ISR Graduate Student Research Symposium, October 20.
Scott-Railton, who has traveled extensively in Cambodia and throughout Southeast Asia, was recently featured in Harper's Magazine  answering six questions about the political situation and the role of the international community in Cambodia.
Colleen Callahan, MA candidate 2010, is the recipient of a Switzer Foundation Fellowship. The Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation identifies and nurtures environmental leaders who have the ability and determination to make a significant impact, and supports initiatives that will have direct and measurable results to improve environmental quality. Callahan's interdisciplinary studies focus on transportation planning and environmental policy. Through her role as Manager of Air Quality Policy for the American Lung Association, she advocates for policies that reduce air pollution and global warming emissions from the transportation and energy sectors. More information can be found at http://www.switzernetwork.org/fellowships.taf 
Ph.D. student Anna J. Kim received an ACSP Planners of Color Interest Group travel scholarship to attend the October ACSP conference in Arlington, Virginia to present her paper on "Investigating the Formal/Informal Divide: Blended Labor Market Participation in an Ethnic Enclave."
Linda Samuels was awarded the Graduate Research Mentorship Fellowship for 2009-2010 to work with Dana Cuff at cityLAB, an urban think tank in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design, on a competition, symposium, and web exhibition called WPA 2.0: Working Public Architecture. WPA 2.0 is an open design competition seeking innovative, implementable proposals for twenty-first century public works. A symposium at the National Building Museum will take place in November where design teams, jurors, and policy makers meet to discuss the finalists' proposals and opportunities for implementation. More information can be found at http://wpa2.aud.ucla.edu/ .