To advance the goals and objectives of LASC’s initiatives, exceptional graduate students at local universities are provided with research fellowships to support their targeted and solution-oriented research focused on complex but discrete sustainability and environmental challenges facing the Los Angeles region. Below are profiles for our current and former fellows, including their research focus and report.
2014-2015 FellowRead BioRachel is pursuing her Master in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) from UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs with a dual concentration in Design & Development and Transportation Policy and Planning. As a LASC Fellow, Rachel authored “Los Angeles’ Untapped Resource: Assessing the Potential to Implement Green Alleys Citywide.” The research project focuses on understanding the city-level institutional challenges and opportunities to implementing green alleys in Los Angeles and other cities. Green alleys offer an innovation solution to decreasing open space, managing water quantity and quality, supporting active transportation, and enhancing an underutilized, yet ubiquitous element of the transportation network. The report offers four case study models from across the U.S. that highlight the range in green alley outcomes, findings from interviews with personnel from eight city agencies in Los Angeles, and policy recommendations to encourage standardization. The goal of the research is to showcase the range in green alley standardization and and jump start inter-departmental collaboration in the City of Los Angeles to support citywide green alley implementation.
2014-2015 FellowRead BioDave Jaeckel completed his undergraduate coursework at UCLA with a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in Urban and Regional Studies. He is currently pursuing a Master of Environmental Management (MEM) degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies with a focus on urban water management and water scarcity issues. Specifically, he is interested in how Los Angeles can draw lessons from Australia’s ‘Millennium Drought’ to best respond to its current drought and changing climate. As an LASC fellow, Dave is helping TreePeople, a Los Angeles based non-profit, to summarize urban water management lessons for Los Angeles from a recent study tour to Australia.
2014-2015 FellowRead BioSharona Sokolow is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Environmental Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Her research focuses on the human health impacts of California’s water systems to combat drought, specifically urban water conservation and urban recycled water use. She received her Masters in Public Health in Environmental Health from UCLA in 2010, and her Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry from UC Santa Barbara in 2006. Prior to entering graduate school, she worked as a health policy advisor to a United States Congressman, which is where she first realized the importance of effectively communicating science to policy makers; this realization became the foundation for her graduate school career.
Stacie Fejtek Smith
2013-2014 FellowRead BioStacie is currently working towards her doctorate at UCLA within the Environmental Science and Engineering (ESE) program, where she is developing a manager’s guide for restoration of SoCal’s coastal wetlands in the face of climate change. The study, “Best Practices for Southern California Coastal Wetland Restoration and Management in the Face of Climate Change,” focuses on developing a guidance document that suggests best practices and restoration strategies for wetlands managers and those engaged in the restoration of wetlands. Stacie holds a Master of Science degree in Biology/Ecology from San Diego State University and a Bachelor of Science in Aquatic Biology from the University California at Santa Barbara.
2013-2014 FellowRead BioDaniel completed undergraduate studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a degree in Mathematics and Economics, along with a Technology Entrepreneurship Certification. He went on to spend 4 years with a dynamic startup revolutionizing automation and energy efficiency in the IT industry. Daniel returned to academia in 2012 for a joint MS/PhD program in Environmental Engineering at UC Irvine, and has spent the last 2 years working as a graduate researcher in the Advanced Power and Energy Program. His research projects include biogenic energy pathways and renewable energy integration optimization in emerging energy infrastructures.
Clare Dwyer Eberle
2013-2014 FellowRead BioWhile pursuing her Master of Planning (MPL) at the University of Southern California, Clare Dwyer Eberle co-authored the report “Green Alleys in South Park: Bringing the ‘Park’ Back in South Park.” On working on the project Clare explains, “South Park has become a vibrant hub of residential, commercial and cultural activity, but creating much-needed parks is challenging in the urban core.” The report focused on envisioning strategies and concepts for implementing a green alley network in South Park to help the neighborhood reap a variety of economic, environmental, health, safety, and aesthetic benefits.
2013-2014 FellowRead BioAlex is currently working towards his Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. As an LASC fellow, Alexander co-wrote the report Green Alleys in South Park: Bringing the ‘Park’ Back in South Park.” The project focused on envisioning strategies and concepts for implementing a green alley network in South Park to help the neighborhood reap a variety of economic, environmental, health, safety, and aesthetic benefits.
2013-2014 FellowRead BioRachel is pursuing her Master in Public Policy (MPP) from UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. During her fellowship with the LASC, Rachel worked closely with the Los Angeles Food Policy Council to address issues relating to sustainability in the Los Angeles foodshed and the regional food system. Her work is entitled “Los Angeles Food Policy Council 2014 Food System Report” was released in the fall of 2014.
2009-2010 FellowRead BioAs a Master’s in Urban Planning student at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Alexis was a LASC Fellow and wrote the report Cycling in Los Angeles; Findings from a Survey of Los Angeles Cyclists. She explains: “as an urban planning student interested in active transportation (bicycling and walking) I focused my research on cycling in Los Angeles”. Her research explored what motivates bicyclists; what were their travel patterns; their knowledge of cycling safety and rules; and lastly the obstacles they face while cycling and “their preferred strategies to improve the cycling environment in Los Angeles”. Lantz’s data built upon data collected through the Census and National Household Travel Survey. Her research intended to provide recommendations to City policymakers to better accommodate current bicyclists and encourage those willing to bicycle given better infrastructure and programs. Additionally, Lantz’s research formed recommendations on methods for county and regional planning agencies to create “regionally supportive bicycle policies and allocate funding to support cycling as a viable and sustainable transportation solution”.
2010 FellowRead BioWhile at the University of Southern California (USC) completing is his doctoral degree in Policy, Planning and Development, Clement wrote the report Urban Freeway Cap Parks Policy Briefing Paper as a LASC fellow. His paper was directly connected to his studies at USC where his focus was on meeting the recreational needs of underserved communities in Los Angeles County. His research on cap parks proved to be helpful as he now works as a facilities planner with the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation.
2010 FellowRead BioDuring his time as an Urban Planning graduate student at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Jacob Veverka wrote the report Keeping Water Conservation Afloat: Sustainable outdoor water conservation through progressively tiered pricing as a LASC Fellow. Jacob’s research focused on how water utilities could sustainably finance water conservation technologies instead of depending on limited state and federal grants. As Jacob describes, “the topic fit well with my focus of study which was on financially and environmentally sustainable policies for urban infrastructure”.
2013 FellowRead BioDuring her academic of pursuit of a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Lila Burgos co-wrote The Urban Alleys Project: Identifying Best Practices to Creating a Pedestrian Friendly Urban Alley.
About the report, Lila discusses, “revitalizing alleyways and the alley network in Los Angeles is one of the many ways that a city, neighborhood or business improvement district can combine the goals of creating a more aesthetic and environmentally-friendly built environment”. She further explains, “the results can be range from economic development to more creativity and a higher quality of life for residents and visitors. My interests as a UCLA MURP graduate student were on land-use, innovative economic development strategies and participatory community development”. Lila continues to build on these interests. She works on the Watts Community Studio through Los Angeles Council District 15 where she and her team work with the community to shape planning and development policies for the area’s future. This work directly shapes the structure and final product of her LASC research, “as local government has the power to take the lead on greening the city’s alleys. Nowadays I see alleys throughout Los Angeles as opportunities rather than unseen or unimportant space”.
2010 FellowRead BioWhile pursuing her Master’s in Urban Planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Lisa Hilde co-wrote the report Implementing Parking Reform in Los Angeles Policy Briefing. Lindsey Hilde is a transportation planner at Fehr & Peers with experience working on major transit projects in both Northern and Southern California. Her specialties include CEQA and NEPA analysis, transportation demand management, parking, transit operations/service planning, and community outreach. She is a double bruin, holding a M.A. in Urban Planning and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
2012-2013 FellowRead BioCurrently, Lisa is pursuing her MURP in Urban and Regional Planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. As a LASC Fellow Lisa conducted research and wrote Minimizing Air Pollution Exposure through Urban Design and Traffic Management Strategies. Lisa is a LASC fellow and Project Manager at UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation. Her field of concentration is focused on evaluating and mitigating the environmental impacts of transportation. She has conducted research on air and noise pollution along LA’s METRO lines and studied air pollution exposure related to travel activity patterns for residents of Boyle Heights. She is currently studying the affects of the meta-built environment, traffic flow, and meteorological factors on air pollution dispersion in order to create a policy toolkit for best practices and guidelines for up and coming transit-oriented developments.
2011-2012 FellowRead BioAs an LASC fellow Maggie Riley produced Crude Awakenings Ten Years Later: The Continued Threat of a Major Oil Spill in Southern California (Chapter 2 – Oil Spill Regulations and Policies). Maggie Riley studied maritime law as a visiting J.D. candidate at Tulane University Law School during the 2008-2009 academic year. Having grown up on the ocean, she was always passionate about protecting the marine environment. In writing the report, Maggie was able to combine this passion with her knowledge of maritime law. Maggie now works in international environmental policy at the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, DC. She received her JD in 2009 from the American University, Washington College of Law, and a BA from University of Miami in 2006.
2011-2012 FellowRead BioDuring his academic pursuit of a Master’s degree in Planning at the University of Southern California (USC), Matt Christensen was a LASC fellow and produced Soak it Up!: A briefing paper on the impacts of oil spills and leaks from recreational boating and strategies for sustainability. Matt describes, “the research for this project involved conducting a thorough literature review, interviewing experts in the marine biology and maritime fields, and analyzing best practices for managing small-scale oil waste from around the world”. Protecting the marine ecosystems is a passion Matt’s starting since he began surfing in Southern California’s beaches as a ten year-old. Further, creating strategies that address urban and environmental issues has been a focus in his academic and professional careers.
2011-2012 FellowRead BioWhile a Urban and Regional Planning graduate student at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Roy Samaan was a LASC fellow and conducted research that became the report entitled Implementing Parking Reform in Los Angeles: Considering the Benefits and Burdens of Parking Policies. The report was a briefing paper that was a product of “policy-based research and analysis and grew out of coursework from Dr. Donald Shoup’s courses in Parking Policy”. Roy further explains that the briefing paper that he and another LASC Fellow, Lindsey Hilde, created focused on a very specific subject area, but that they “hope that our research will become part of a larger conversation on how smart planning can be mobilized to solve the most vexing ills associated with urban living – environmental degradation, snarled streets, and a lack of funding for streetscape improvement and maintenance”.
2013 FellowRead BioWhile pursuing her Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Tamar Sarkisian co-wrote the LASC report The Urban Alleys Project: Identifying Best Practices to Creating a Pedestrian Friendly Urban Alley. As Tamar explains, “the report aims to serve as a how-to guide for alley revitalization in Los Angeles. Despite the decline of alleyways, within the past decade, city governments and organizations around the country have begun undertaking projects that improve, repurpose, ‘green’, and revitalize alleys with the objective of improving the environmental and aesthetic quality of the urban form. The report will provide a thorough case-study of the EaCa Alley revitalization project in hopes to better understand the full benefits and challenges of how public and private institutions can move forward in these type of urban infrastructure improvements”. As a student and in her professional career, “smart growth” strategies including green design and land use innovations that stimulate economic development are integral interests for Tamar.