Student ambassadors

Meet Our 2022 Student Ambassadors

Meet Our 2022 Student Ambassadors

Would you like to ask a student questions about attending Georgia Tech for graduate school? Our 2022 Student Ambassadors volunteer to serve for the year and are a resource for prospective students. Please feel free to contact any of the below students with questions about life in the School of City & Regional Planning or Atlanta.

Ivee Baral

Headshot of Ivee Baral

Hometown: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Undergrad: Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology
Degree(s): Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP), Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MS-CE)
Specialization: Transportation (MCRP), Transportation Systems Engineering (MS-CE)
Talk to Me About: Student Planning Association, being an international student.

Ivee Baral moved to Atlanta in the fall, of 2021 to join the MCRP & MS-CE program. She is from Dhaka, Bangladesh which is the most densely populated city in the world, and living there made her very interested in city planning, particularly in transportation. She is interested in public transit, active transportation modes, and road safety. In her free time, she enjoys playing board games, hiking, talking about planning issues, watching movies, and exploring new places in Atlanta with her friends.

Regan Buchanan

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Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina
Undergrad: UNC Chapel Hill
Degree(s): Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP)
Specialization: Transportation & Environment and Health
Talk to Me About: Coming from a field unrelated to planning, transitioning from working to graduate school, GRA's, being an out of state student, moving logistics, exploring a new city, financial aid.

Regan grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina and graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with degrees in Global Studies and Geography. After undergrad, Regan worked as a College Adviser in rural North Carolina high school for 2 years, where she witnessed first hand how car-dependent communities often excluded her low income students from educational opportunities. Her time studying geography and working in education taught her that the built environment has a major role in either advancing or delaying equity. She was inspired by her students to apply to City Planning programs, and hopes to be a part of expanding access to alternative modes of transportation in the South. 

Kortney Cena

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Hometown: Denver, Colorado
Undergrad: Valparaiso University
Degree(s): Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP)
Specialization: Economic Development
Talk to Me About: Deciding whether to go for an MCRP, Moving to Atlanta from another State, Carless in Atlanta Lifestyle, Funding the Masters.

Kortney grew up in Denver, where she saw all forms of economic development and growth in the communities around her. Looking to explore different cultures, societies, and qualities of life she studied Global Service, Spanish, and Mechanical Engineering at Valparaiso University in the Midwest. Her studies led her to Costa Rica where she served at Habitat for Humanity’s Office of Central America and the Caribbean. After graduation, Kortney accepted a Fulbright Grant that led her to teach and program in a rural school in peninsular Malaysia. Considering all the different places she had lived, and seeing the way that planning impacted local quality of life, Kortney started growing an interest in urban planning. Finally, she sold her car, bought and electric bike, and moved to Atlanta to join the MCRP program at Georgia Tech, choosing a specialization in economic development. At the moment, she is quite interested in brownfield redevelopment & social infrastructure, as she looks to write her option paper on adaptive reuse of vacant mall space. In her free time, she likes to craft, go hiking, learn more about the east coast, discuss planning issues, and dream about the urban farm she one day will have (there is at least 5 chickens in this plan).

Megan Conville

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Hometown: Mountain View, California
Undergrad: Seattle University
Master's: SOAS University of London
Degree(s): Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning
Talk to Me About: Moving to Atlanta, virtual learning, coming from a non-planning background, transitioning from a Master's degree from abroad.

Megan has a focus on housing, specifically access to and the affordability of housing. After finishing undergrad in Seattle, she stayed in the very rainy city a bit longer to work for a non-profit which worked to prevent individuals from becoming unhoused. She then moved to London and received her Masters in Global Economic Governance and Policy, focusing her dissertation on welfare systems in transition. In her program, Megan continues to explore access to affordable housing. In her free time, she enjoys terrible reality TV and hiking.

Nathan Davis

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Hometown: Lawrenceville, GA
Undergrad: Florida State University
Degree(s): Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP) 
Specialization: Urban Design
Talk to Me About: Atlanta, advocacy for equitable planning, giving back to the community

Nathan Davis is a first-year Master of City and Regional Planning candidate at Georgia Tech, with a concentration in urban design. His planning interests lie in the intersection of transportation, land use, and urban design, particularly with how the built environment can facilitate non-auto trips. He first became interested in planning through SimCity and later, Cities Skylines. During his time at Florida State University, he minored in Urban and Regional Planning while majoring in Political Science, exploring how public policy affected the built environment and our day-to-day lives. Through his academic and professional careers, Nathan aims to advance racial and LGBTQ equity, reduce car dependency, and retrofitting existing sprawled development. Beyond planning, Nathan enjoys traveling, cycling, hiking, visiting historic sites, and experiencing new cultures.

Kurt Heischmidt

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Hometown: Cape Girardeau, MO
Undergrad: University of Missouri
First grad: University of South Carolina
Degree(s): Master of Science in Geographic Information Science & Technology (MS-GIST)
Talk to Me About: Pivoting professionally, returning to college after a few years working, biking in Atlanta

Kurt grew up in a college town in southeast Missouri. After his undergrad at Mizzou, Kurt studied public health at the University of South Carolina with an eye towards reducing chronic disease through physical activity. Following a brief stint at a bike/ped advocacy group in St. Louis, Kurt moved to Tennessee to serve as a resource promoting healthy community development across 14 rural counties. He came back to school (one last time, he hopes) to bolster his GIS skills, particularly as relate to city planning issues. In his free time, Kurt enjoys cooking, pickup soccer, and exploring the city and public lands by foot or bike.

Mira Kaufman

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Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Undergrad: Georgia Institute of Technology
Degree(s): Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP) and Master of Science in Public Policy (MSPP)
Specialization: Housing and Community Development
Talk to Me About: MCRP + MSPP dual degree, program studies and sustainability at Georgia Tech

Mira Kaufman is an Atlanta native who is participating in the Dual Master's for City and Regional Planning and Public Policy. Growing up she worked on an urban farm which sparked her interest in food systems and city planning. Mira is currently participating in the Housing and Community Development concentration, and she hopes to one day work in local government.

Yasamin Khorashahi

Headshot of Yasamin Khorashahi

Hometown: Cumming, Georgia
Undergrad: Georgia Institute of Technology
Degree(s): Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP)
Specialization: Urban Design
Talk to Me About: Coming straight from undergrad; getting involved with local government; Graduate Research Assistantships (especially outside of SCaRP); things to do in Atlanta; getting to know Georgia Tech

Yasamin is a metro Atlanta native who is passionate about public service and giving back to her community. Her first foray into city planning was in high school, where she interned at a local community development department. She has a B.S. in Public Policy, also from Georgia Tech. During her time as an undergraduate student, Yasamin worked across all levels of government, helping policymakers and planners identify and implement meaningful and sustainable policy to better the lives of Atlantans. Yasamin is a graduate research partner with the Center for the Study of Women, Science, and Technology (WST); her research areas of interest lie at the intersection of planning, gender studies, and sustainability. Outside of class, Yasamin enjoys spending time with friends, doing trivia and playing tabletop games, and nerding out on local politics.

Xiaofan Liang

Headshot of Xiaofan Liang

Hometown: Guangzhou, China
Undergrad: University of California, Berkeley and Minerva Schools at KGI
Degree(s): Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning
Specialization: GIS, Urban Networks, Civic Media/Civic Data Science 
Talk to Me About: PhD program; Moving to Atlanta; International Student; Graduate Research Assistantship; the technical aspect of planning

Xiaofan Liang grew up in Guangzhou, China, and is now a third-year Ph.D. student at SCaRP. Before coming to Georgia Tech, she completed a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology degree at UC-Berkeley and then pursued a second Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science at Minerva University. She went to Ph.D. straight from undergrad degrees. Her research interests are in urban analytics, spatial social networks, and digital civics. Now she is working with Dr. Clio Andris at Friendly Cities Lab. She will be resources for international students and students interested in urban analytics, GIS, PhD, and GRA.  

Michaela Master

Headshot of Michaela Master

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Undergrad: Ohio State University
Degree(s): Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP)
Specialization: Environment and Health
Talk to Me About: working between undergrad and grad school, coming to Atlanta from out of state, Graduate Research Assistantships, Americorps alumni/stipends

Michaela was born and raised in Columbus, OH, where she also received her undergrad from the Ohio State University. After getting her degree in Environment, Economy, Development, and Sustainability (EEDS for short), she joined Americorps VISTA to work at an affordable housing agency in their community building and engagement department. She's now an MCRP student specializing in environmental and health planning. She also works as a GRA for Dr. Stone's Urban Climate Lab, supporting research efforts exploring connections between climate change and the built environment. She is committed to the idea that all people, regardless of their zip code, deserve healthy air, water, land, homes, and communities - and hopes to leverage her career to achieve this end. Outside of school, Michaela loves channeling her inner grandma with knitting, taking care of her plants, and taking a walk on the Atlanta PATH on a sunny day.

Bianca Mers

Headshot of Bianca Mers

Hometown: Marietta, Georgia
Undergrad: University of Delaware
Degree(s): Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP)
Specialization: Land Use
Talk to Me About: Coming straight from undergrad; Graduate Research Assistantship; having lots of different planning interests

Bianca is passionate about creating more resilient and just places for people. Informed by her work with a community development corporation, she believes that the communities must always be at the center of the discussion. She is an advocate of local solutions that work toward addressing global problems and is always looking for an excuse to talk about the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Outside of the classroom, Bianca loves all things food-related and is always open to trying a new place!   

Malavika Murali

Headshot of Malavika Murali

Hometown: Toronto, Canada
Undergrad: Queen's University
Degree(s): Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP) and Master of Science in Geographic Information Science & Technology (MS-GIST)
Specialization: Transportation
Talk to Me About: adapting to the US culture and graduate school, joining grad school straight from undergrad, dual degree in MCRP and MS-GIST

Malavika was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario in Canada. Her family has lived here in Atlanta for several years and after completing her ungraduate degree in Geography from Queen's University, she decided to re-locate in order to attend Georgia Tech. She thoroughly enjoyed her undergraduate experience as that is where she first discovered her love for transportation planning and GIS. She has lived in many cities which exposed her to varies transportation networks, some which were very car-dependent and some with efficient and effective public transportation. In her free time, she loves to explore hidden food joints in the city, play board games, play the piano and is a huge movie and tv buff!

Roxanne Raven

Headshot of Roxanne Raven

Hometown: Starkville, Mississippi
Undergrad: Mississippi State University
Degree(s): Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP)
Specialization: Land Use
Talk to Me About: Land use specialization; going to grad school after a few years working; coming from a non-traditional planning background

Roxanne graduated from Mississippi State in 2017 with a degree in Political Science with a Pre-law concentration and minors in French and History. At Mississippi State, she had a chance to work with the local planner and has been interested in the field since. Before joining the MCRP program in 2021, Roxanne worked at an international development NGO called the ONE Campaign in Washington, DC, which works to alleviate poverty and preventable disease with an emphasis on Africa. Roxanne’s combined past experiences sparked a passion for bringing a social justice lens to issues in city and regional planning. In her free time, Roxanne likes to read, binge Netflix and hang out with her cat, Magnolia.  Roxanne is currently working as a GRA at CQGRD helping Dr. Catherine Ross with her upcoming book on Megaregions.

Miles Rawlins

Headshot of Miles Rawlins

Hometown: Dunwoody, Georgia
Undergrad: University of Georgia
Degree(s): Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP)
Specialization: Urban Design
Talk to Me About: Livining in Atlanta without a car/biking around Atlanta, Starting grad school almost immediately after undergrad, info on the Atlanta area, long-distance relationships

Miles grew up in Dunwoody, a suburb just North of Atlanta. He attended the University of Georgia for his undergrad and received a Bachelor of Arts in Geography. During this time he received an introduction to the intricacies of cities and planning became his passion. After undergrad he spent a gap year reading, hiking, and hiding out from the pandemic. His planning interests include the use of urban design and transit in creating compact, walkable, and liveable urban places. Outside of school he triesto climb or hike every once in a while and he is always on the lookout for a new recipe to try out.

Matteo Saracco

Headshot of Matteo Saracco

Hometown: Bologna, Italy
Undergrad: Università di Bologna
Degree(s): Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP), Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MS-CE)
Specialization: Transportation
Talk to Me About: Coming straight from undergrad; Graduate Research Assistantship; having lots of different planning interests

Matteo is originally from Italy, and moved to Atlanta to pursue a dual degree in Civil Engineering and City and Regional Planning. He has a BS in Civil Engineering and came to Georgia Tech pretty much straight out of undergrad. Matteo decided to pursue an MCRP thanks to a course he took in urban planning during his undergrad degree, and decided to marry engineering and planning by applying straight away for a dual degree (MCRP-MSCE). Matteo is an avid biker and promotes cyclist mobility as a volunteer at Starter Bikes, a Georgia Tech student-lead organization. In his spare time Matteo enjoys the outdoors, sports (football, but not the American one), board games, and complaining about public transit. Once he graduates, he hopes to find a job that can help improve access to public transit and multimodal transportation.

Jun Wang

Headshot of Jun Wang

Hometown: Wuhan, China
Degree(s): Ph.D. in Architecture - Urbanism
Specialization: Transportation and Urban Design
Talk to Me About: Dual degree in MSGIST, transportations and urban design related question.

Jun Wang is a Ph.D. student at Georgia Institute of Technology specializing in Urban Design and Transportation. She gained a dual degree in MS GIST in 2021. She is interested in how Autonomous Vehicles will change our cities physically and institutionally. With a mixed background in city planning, geography, and transportation, Jun is now expanding her horizon to the frontier of vehicle autonomy and the impacts of advanced transportation technologies on human dwellings.

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