Ph.D. Students


Our Ph.D. students come from a variety of institutions and backgrounds. Read about them below.

Josh Bakin

Josh Bakin has worked as a chemist and engineer before joining the Urban Climate Lab. With a B.S. in Business from Colorado State University and a M.S. in Geosciences from Georgia State University, Josh is interested in efficient adaptive mitigation techniques as they relate to changing climates as well as the economic benefits and consequences of environmentally-minded planning decisions. He currently studies urban vs. rural warming rates using weather stations across the United States as well as the heat mitigation properties of urban tree canopies.


Camille Barchers

Camille Barchers is researching public participation, urban growth models, and technology. She has taught the department's undergraduate Introduction to City & Regional Planning course and works as a research assistant.

Before beginning the Ph.D. program, Camille worked as a city planning consultant with Kimley-Horn and Associates, where she focused on regional scenario planning projects for clients throughout the Southeast and mid-Atlantic. She is a Leadership Fellow at Georgia Tech and serves as a facilitator in the freshman Grand Challenges program. She also serves on the Provost's Creating the Next in Education Commission.

Camille earned a dual B.S. from Cornell University in 2005 in Natural Resources and International Agriculture and Rural Development and a Masters of Regional Planning from Cornell in 2007.


Tommy Douthat
Yunkyung Choi

Yunkyung Choi's research interests are centered on the interaction between transportation and land use, specifically on the relationship between transit-oriented development (TOD) and gentrification. She is currently working with Dr. Subhro Guhathakurta at the Center for Geographical Information Systems (GIS) as a research assistant, focusing on community resilience of mixed-use transit-oriented development.

Prior to beginning the Ph.D. program, Yunkyung worked at the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), and the Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements (KRIHS). She holds a master's degree in Urban Planning (2014) from University of Southern California, and a B.S. (2008) and a M.S. (2010) in Housing and Interior Design from Kyung Hee University in South Korea.


Jessica Doyle phd student
Jessica Doyle 

Jessica Doyle's areas of research focus on the links between transportation infrastructure and economic development with respect to labor mobility and globalization.

 Jessica currently works as a researcher at Georgia Tech's Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development under Dr. Catherine Ross. She presented at the ACSP annual conference in 2007) and the joint ACSP and AESOP conference in 2008, in addition to attending the Ph.D. Jamboree hosted by the University of British Columbia's School of Community and Regional Planning in 2007.

Jessica holds a bachelor's degree in History from Swarthmore College and studied at Université de Grenoble in France. Prior to coming to Georgia Tech, she worked as editor of Global Executive,'s section trends on business innovation and management education. She also worked as a correspondent for The Economist, covering the Southeast United States.


Jessica Doyle phd student
Florina Dutt

Florina Dutt is a PhD student in the School of City and Regional Planning. Her research interests are centered on smart cities, IoT (internet of things), human sensing environment and participatory design approaches. She is currently working with Subhro Guhathakurta for IMAGINE lab at Center for Geographic Information Systems. Her research projects are focused on Campus User Experience Modeling & Urban Data Modeling and Visualization.

She holds a Master's degree in Architecture (2010) from University of Pennsylvania and pursued Master's degree in City and Regional Planning at Georgia Tech. Prior to beginning her studies at Georgia Tech; she has worked as an architect and urban designer in Shanghai, China.


Jessica Fisch
Jessica Fisch

Jessica Fisch’s research interests focus on issues of sustainability, social equity, and green infrastructure in cities. Before coming to Georgia Tech, she worked in planning and neighborhood revitalization in New Orleans. She is currently working as a research assistant with Dr. Michael Elliott.

Jessica holds a B.A. in Geography and a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Florida (2008), and a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans (2014).

Nene Igietseme

Nene Igietseme’s research interests focus on the intersection of “new/alternative” economic development, culture change/dominant narrative shift, and youth/multigenerational organizing.  Before beginning the Ph.D. program, Nene worked as a trainer with Center for Story-Based Strategy (formerly Smart Meme). She also worked with the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative to build a political/popular education “economic democracy” curriculum for membership based organizations to use to mobilize their membership to build new economic institutions, and was the Leadership Development Director for Project HIP-HOP, a youth social justice arts organization. Nene earned a B.A. in Government from Harvard University and a Masters in City Planning  from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Bonwoo Koo

Bonwoo Koo's research focuses on measuring various dimensions of the built environment and how those measurements relate to human behavior and health. He is particularly interested in using emerging technologies and data to fine-tune the measurements of the built environment and its implications to the urban residents. He currently works as a research assistant with Dr. Nisha Botchwey and Dr. Subhro Guhathakurta.

Before joining the Ph.D. program, he worked at the Architecture and Urban Research Institute in South Korea. He holds master’s degrees in City and Regional Planning (Georgia Tech) and Landscape Architecture (Seoul National University), and a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design.


Benjamin Kraft
Benjamin Kraft

Ben Kraft studies approaches to local and regional economic development and how they may (or may not) be able to promote lasting and equitable improvements in the quality of life of individuals and communities. 

Ben's professional experience includes working for the Washtenaw County (Michigan) Treasurer's Office and Office of Community and Economic Development, where he managed auctions of tax foreclosed property and Community Development Block Grant-funded housing and infrastructure projects. Previously, he helped build and locate wetlands while working as a land surveyor in Northern Virginia.

After earning a B.A. in English from The College of New Jersey in 2002, Ben went on to receive a M.A. in the Humanities from the University of Chicago in 2004, and then a Master's in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan in 2007. Ben has promised everyone who knows and loves him that this PhD will be his last degree. 


Kevin Lanza
Kevin Lanza

Kevin Lanza's research interests focus on environmental planning, specifically the urban heat island effect and its public health implications. He is currently a research assistant at the Urban Climate Laboratory under Dr. Brian Stone. 

Prior to beginning the PhD program, Kevin worked as an analytical chemist at a newborn screening laboratory at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA. Kevin earned a B.S. from Emory University in 2011 in Environmental Science. 


John Lee
Heonyeong Lee

Heonyeong Lee’s research interests lies in regional economic performance and planning and policy for improving regional economic resilience. He is currently participating in an NSF funded project, Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Processes and System (RIPS) as a research assistant. Prior to joining the PhD program, he worked at the Korea Environment Institute from 2013 to 2015 where he engaged in several studies on community development planning and policy evaluation. Heonyeong earned both a bachelor (2011) and master (2013) degree in Urban Planning and Engineering from Yonsei University.


John Lee
John Lee

John Lee began his studies at Georgia Tech in 2013 as part of Georgia Tech’s first class in the Master of Geographic Information Science and Technology program. John's research interests include understanding the significance and interrelationship of the multiple criteria that influence current and future land use within urban spaces. He envisions the development of a framework of ‘Best Practices’ methodologies for planners to follow in modeling urban change that will facilitate more accurate predictions of its impact on traffic congestion, the environment, and quality of life for a municipality regardless of their stage of growth culminating in a self-learning, self-adjusting system.

Since 2007, John has been an instructor at Southern Polytechnic State University in the Department of Civil Engineering Technology. While there one of his recent research projects included a quantitative assessment of wall stress and deformation and the collection techniques used to measure the data. The goal of the project was to validate the use of a rapid housing reconstruction technique which proposed using concrete rubble to rebuild temporary housing within the earthquake affected regions of Haiti.

Prior to joining Georgia Tech and Southern Polytechnic State University, John spent 21 years in telecommunications research and development at BellSouth in Atlanta GA, at EIRCOM in Dublin, Ireland and at AAPT in Sydney, Australia. He has degrees in Computer Science (BS ’85), Economics and Finance (MBA ’98), Surveying and Mapping (BS ’13) and Geographic Information Science Technology (MS ’14. He is currently leading a special projects team that is developing the Storm Preparedness Guidelines for the City of Atlanta. 


Yongsung Lee
Yongsung Lee

Yongsung Lee's research focuses are the relationship between urban form and travel behavior, and its implications to energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission. In his Master's Thesis, Yongsung wrote about the price elasticity of automobile gasoline and its variation depending on different urban forms and policies; all else being equal, the more compact urbanized areas are, the more sensitive to gasoline price their residents are. Recently, Yongsung is analyzing the impact of high energy price on urban form.

Before joining Georgia Tech, Yongsung worked as a research assistant at the Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements (KRIHS) from 2008 to 2010. Yongsung earned a MUP (2012) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a M.E. in Architectural Planning (2008) and a B.S in Architecture (2003) from Seoul National University in South Korea.


Sian Llewellyn
Sian Llewellyn, AICP

Siân Llewellyn joined Georgia Tech as a PhD student in 2018 after two decades of practice with an international design and engineering firm.  Her experience in cities around the world predicated her research interest in the intersection of cities, technology and infrastructure investments in 21st Century cities.

At Georgia Tech, Siân is a graduate research assistant in a National Science Foundation funded study of the U.S. Robotics industry. She holds a master’s degree in City Planning (1998) from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Bachelor of Science in Finance (1985) and a Bachelor of Arts in History (1985) from the University of Florida.


Evan Mallen
Evan Mallen

Evan Mallen's research interests focus on climate adaptation planning, specifically though bridging the communication gap between climate scientists and planners, risk management, and use of climate analogs in adaptation planning. He currently works as a research assistant in the Urban Climate Lab with Dr. Brian Stone.

Prior to joining the Ph.D. program, Evan worked as a research associate for the Graham Sustainability Institute's Great Lakes Adaptation Assessment for Cities and the University of Michigan School of Public Health studying inter-urban communication in climate adaptation and heat vulnerability. He also organized and participated in community skill-sharing events through the Ann Arbor ReSkilling Festival and other local-scale service and education organizations.

Evan holds a BS in Physics and a Master's in Urban and Regional Planning, both from the University of Michigan.


Elora Raymond photo
Mark Sloan

Mark Sloan’s research interests involve the quest to create more sustainable urban living environments through study of the influence of space (the occupiable voids between buildings) on human social and consumptive behaviors. He seeks to find “tipping points” for new models, codes, and assessments that create better exterior spaces for people, that improve economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

Mark is a recently retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, who served as an Air Force Civil Engineer, with assignments at Headquarters US Air Force at the Pentagon, and on command staffs at US Air Forces in Europe and Air Force Global Strike Command.  He is a two-time squadron commander, including Base Civil Engineer and Commander of a civil engineer squadron in the Middle East, and later Commander of the Air Force’s civil engineer technical school.  He most recently served as Deputy Director for the Air Force’s worldwide design and construction directorate at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center in San Antonio, Texas. 

After earning a B. Design in Architecture from the University of Florida in 1991, Mark then earned his M. Arch professional degree from the University of Florida in 1993, and an M.S. in Strategic Leadership from the Air Force Institute of Technology in Dayton, Ohio in 2006.  He is also a graduate of Air War College (distance learning program).


Alyas Abibawa Widita

Alyas Abibawa Widita’s research interests focus on understanding the influence of built environment on travel behavior. He is particularly interested in exploring this subject in cities in developing world, especially his home country Indonesia, where the built environment characteristics are arguably different from the industrialized-world cities.

Before beginning the Ph.D. program at Georgia Tech, he worked as a lecturer at the Department of Architecture and Planning, Gadjah Mada University where he taught undergraduate courses and design studio. He currently works as a research assistant at the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development under Dr. Timothy Welch.

Alyas completed his master’s studies in urban planning at the University of Iowa as a Fulbright scholar from 2013 to 2015. One of the highlights of his Fulbright journey was his participation traversing the US by train from Portland to New York in 10 days as part of Millennial Trains Project. He earned a B.Eng. in Architecture from Gadjah Mada University (2012) and did a one-year undergraduate exchange program at Escuela Tecnica Superior Arquitectura y Geodesia, Universidad de Alcala, Spain as an Erasmus Mundus scholar that allowed him to travel extensively across Europe.