Ph.D. and master's students in seminar course

Meet Our Ph.D. Students

Meet Our Ph.D. Students

Our Ph.D. students come from a variety of different academic and professional backgrounds. Each student goes on to a fruitful career in either academia or professional practice.

Yunkyung Choi

Yunkyung Choi's research interests are centered on the interaction between transportation and land use, particularly for the impact of innovative/disruptive technology on the transportation sector. She is currently working with Dr. Guhathakurta at the Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization (CSPAV) as a research assistant, focusing on the relationship between public transit and ride-sourcing in the age of shared mobility.

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

Florina Dutt

Florina Dutt’s research interests are centered on smart cities, internet of things (IoT), human sensing environment and participatory design approaches. She is currently working with Dr. Subhro Guhathakurta in the IMAGINE lab at the Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization. Her research projects are focused on Campus User Experience Modeling & Urban Data Modeling and Visualization.

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

Uijeong Hwang

Uijeong Hwang's research interests lie in the fields of urban and economic geography, spatial data analytics and urban informatics. He hopes to deepen the understanding of a link between the built environment and travel behavior through the lens of urban sustainability. As a research assistant at the Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization, He is currently working with Dr. Subhro Guhathakurta on a research project on On-Demand Multimodal Transit Systems focusing on its infrastructure and network connectivity.

Before joining the doctoral program, Uijeong worked at the Seoul Institute and the Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements in South Korea. He holds a B.S. and a M.S. in Urban Planning and Design, both from the University of Seoul.

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 Master of City Planning degree 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

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 Ph.D. will be his last degree.

Heon Yeong Lee

Heon Yeong Lee’s research interests are in regional economic performance and planning 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 Ph.D. program, he worked at the Korea Environment Institute from 2013-2015 where he engaged in several studies on community development planning and policy evaluation. Heonyeong earned both a bachelor’s (2011) and master’s (2013) degree in Urban Planning and Engineering from Yonsei University.

Xiaofan Liang

Xiaofan Liang's research interests revolve around understanding how human movements and activities at a micro-scale give rise to the spatial and network structures that characterize cities on a macro-scale (inequality, culture, economic structure, etc). Her ongoing projects include measuring the urban environments conducive to chain restaurants and analyzing how a city's position in urban networks explains its industrial compositions in China. She is also the Data Lead at MaxLab. Liang is advised by Dr. Clio Andris under the Friendly City Lab in CSPAV. 

Before joining the Ph.D. program, She received a B.A. in Sociology from UC-Berkeley (2015) and a B.S. in Computational Science from Minerva Schools at KGI (2019). 

Meaghan McSorley

Meaghan McSorley is interested in the intersection of urban planning and public health. Specifically, she focuses on how the built environment and planning processes can be conducive to mental health and wellbeing. Prior to starting her PhD at Georgia Tech, she received a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Anthropology and French, and two master's degrees from the University of Minnesota in Urban & Regional Planning and Public Health. She also worked at a software company for four years in a variety of implementation and management roles. At Georgia Tech she currently works with Dr. Nisha Botchwey, and the Healthy Places Lab.

Katie OConnell

Katie OConnell is a certified data nerd with a focus on community empowerment through data democratization.  As project manager of the Communities Who Know (formerly Westside Communities Alliance) Data Dashboard, Ms. OConnell developed an online platform that translated complex data to diverse audiences and communicated the relevance of data as a key decision-making tool.

She has worked on other digital data projects including the International Human Trafficking Institute Dashboard, and the Neighborhood Quality of Life and Health Project. As part of a collaborative team, she researched and developed the Measuring the Dream Index, which tracked changes in racial equity between 1950-2014 across multiple measures.

Ms. OConnell is a doctoral student in the School of City and Regional Planning at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her current research interests include historical dominant and counter-narratives around citywide development projects, the social injustices inherent in traditional data ownership structures, and tools to bridge the gap between quantitative and qualitative data. Ms. OConnell has Bachelor degrees in Environmental Economics, Spanish, and Anthropology from the University of Georgia and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology. 

Mark Sloan

Mark Sloan’s research interests center on creating 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 U.S. Air Force at the Pentagon, and on command staffs at U.S. 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).

Chisun Yoo

Chisun's research interest lies in various fields, including social influence of the built environment, sustainability, regional planning, and urban history. He has bachelor’s (2014) and master’s degrees in Urban planning from Hanyang University, Korea.

Before joining the Ph.D. program, he worked at a government-affiliated research institute, Gyeonggi Research Institute in Korea. Currently he is working at the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development for Dr. Catherine Ross. 

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