The NYC Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA) is proud to announce our inaugural cohort of NYC-EJA Fellows! Funded by the generous support of the Rockefeller Foundation (and recruited from Pratt Institute's Graduate Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development), the NYC-EJA Fellows will work on our Waterfront Justice Project, a research/advocacy campaign seeking to increase the community resiliency of waterfront communities beset by clusters of heavy industry and polluting infrastructure. The clustering of heavy industrial uses are most prominently felt in areas designated as Significant Maritime and Industrial Area's (SMIA's) by NYC's Waterfront Revitalization Program. The negative environmental impacts generated by the SMIA designations are further compounded by their vulnerability to storm surges, flooding, sea level rise and other effects of climate change - with severe local weather events expected to increase in both frequency and intensity in the coming decades. Each NYC-EJA Fellow will be assigned to a NYC-EJA member group for a year, where they will work with their host group to study waterfront policies, research local conditions and work to identify strategies to increase their community resiliency. Below are the 2012 NYC-EJA Fellows:
Ankita Rathi is an Environmental Planner currently pursuing her graduate study for M.Sc. in Urban Environmental Management Systems at Pratt Institute. Her educational background includes Bachelors in Civil Engineering and Masters in Environmental Planning from India and she has gained work experience as an Environmental Planner while
working with Feedback Ventures - India's leading Integrated Infrastructure Services Company and CEPT Research and Development Unit, CEPT University for two years. She started out as an associate, working as a part of a larger team and gradually shouldered independent responsibilities as a Project Manager, responsible for multiple projects and teams, while working on government projects, research projects, stakeholder/community consultations and business development.
Catalina Parra obtained a degree in architecture in her home country, Colombia in 2006 and for the last five years she was part of design teams dedicated to creating, renovating and constructing projects that ranged from art pieces to large-scale architecture. Working on such a variety of projects as art exhibits, housing projects or public buildings gave her the opportunity to gain valuable experience and understanding of architectural impacts and scopes within a community or a city. Currently she is pursuing a M.S in Environmental Management Systems at Pratt Institute in NYC, to expand her knowledge and focusing in communities for creating better life-quality conditions.
Daniel Lim was born in Yangon, Myanmar, and grew up in Brooklyn. Daniel attended the University of Vermont, where he received a degree in Ecological Design and Community Development, co-founded the Honors College Diversity Task Force to make the curriculum and student body more culturally inclusive, and designed a 1/4-acre edible garden for the student center as his Honors Thesis. Daniel is pursuing a Master's degree in City & Regional Planning at Pratt Institute, where he worked as an Equitable Development Fellow at the Pratt Center for Community Development (co-leading the publication of the Jackson Heights Green Agenda sustainability plan), and participated in a studio that developed a community resiliency plan for UPROSE and its Sunset Park neighborhood. Daniel will help UPROSE launch a new body of work on green infrastructure, as well as help them in several city-and-state-wide NYC-EJA campaigns.
Leonel Lima Ponce is an architectural professional, graphic designer, and photographer from Rio de Janeiro. His exposure to Rio's failing infrastructure motivates a search for solutions to urban plight through sustainable design and planning. A graduate of The University of Texas in Austin's School of Architecture, he looks to be involved in a greener, healthier planet through design and advocacy. Leonel writes for inhabitat.com, has volunteered with Oxfam Action Corps NYC and the US Green Building Council, and participated in design competitions through Architecture for Humanity and The Archive Institute. He hopes to incorporate this experience, and his graduate studies in Urban Environmental Systems Management at The Pratt Institute into a career in renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure.
Michael A. Catalano is currently a graduate student studying Urban Environmental Systems Management at Pratt Institute and is an adjunct faculty member at the New York Institute of Technology, NYIT, School of Architecture & Design, were he co-created and teaches the course Ecology for Architects since 2008. Michael has worked with Ciardullo Associates, an architecture firm in NYC, where he took part in the design of New York City Public Schools as both new construction and retrofit projects from 2006 to 2010. He has recently completed a Masters Degree in Sustainability in the Urban Environment at City College, CUNY and completed his professional Bachelor of Architecture degree in 2006 from NYIT where he received the Alpha Rho Chi medal. In 2005 he helped Design and build one of America's First Solar Powered Hydrogen Homes as team leader for NYIT/USMMA within the Solar Decathlon Competition, sponsored by the United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Rosa Munar has a degree in architecture that she earned at Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Barcelona on 2010. While studying, she worked as part of the design team at Undo Architects, collaborating with them in the organization of an architectural festival, called eme3, centered around the theme of collapse. Recently Ms. Munar's design 'Re-Plant Furniture' was selected winner of the GreenHomeNYC's Design Challenge and she has become involved in other competitions making NY more environmentally sustainable. Currently she is a candidate for MS in Urban Environmental Systems Management at Pratt Institute PSPD in NYC and works as a graduate assistant to the program director.