PhD Student Profiles
The following is a list of students in the doctoral program at the Bloustein School
Michelle Mayer – MPP
Michelle Mayer is pursuing a Master in Public Policy degree. She currently works at Transportation Alternatives, a bicycle, pedestrian and public transit advocacy nonprofit in Manhattan. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature and Societies in German and Hindi from Columbia University. Following receipt of her undergraduate degree, Michelle spent time as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Austria and studying in India as an American Institute of Indian Studies Fellow. Her studies at Bloustein have focused on Urban and Social Policy through the lens of Bicycle and Pedestrian issues. Michelle was elected as the Vice President of Public Policy for the Rutgers Association of Planning and Policy Students (RAPPS).
Patrick Clark – MCRP
Patrick is currently pursuing a Master of City & Regional Planning and a Master of Public Policy. His concentration areas include Housing & Real Estate, Budget & Finance, and Transportation. He currently works for New Jersey Community Capital as a Mortgage Finance Fellow. As a Mortgage Finance Fellow, Patrick works to increase sustainable homeownership opportunities for low-and-moderate income households. Prior to attending Rutgers, Patrick served as a Planning & Community Development Specialist for the City of Joplin, Missouri where he supported the city’s disaster recovery efforts. He developed long-term recovery plans in addition to managing various community planning and disaster recovery programs. Patrick holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and served as the 2015 President of Rutgers Association of Planning and Policy Students (RAPPS). Patrick loves exploring cities especially in New Jersey, and in addition to pursuing his dual degree, he gets excited about any opportunity to expose others to New Jersey’s unique and eclectic collection of urban communities.
Ganlin Huang – MCRP
Ganlin Huang is an international student in his second year pursuing a Mater in City and Regional Planning degree at Bloustein. He works for the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, assisting with researches related to improve the walking and cycling environment around New Jersey, developing Complete Streets implementation, and evaluating the New Brunswick Ciclovia. He also has been instrumental in providing GIS, website management, and graphic design to many projects at VTC. Concentrating on Transportation Planning, Ganlin is passionate about sustainable transportation, and its role in urban redevelopment. With his bachelor of engineering degree from Nanjing University, Ganlin was previously involved in several GIS analysis projects, and comprehensive planning in Chinese municipalities. Those experience solidified his interest in bringing vitality into urban areas through transportation.
Gabi Kappes – MCRP
Gabi is currently a second year MCRP student at the Bloustein School. She is concentrating in Transportation Planning, and has additionally taken classes in and is very interested in physical design and GIS. Gabi has a Bachelor of Science from Penn State University in Community, Environment and Development, which was focused in international development. She is passionate about social justice and environmental sustainability, and as a career would like to work towards developing sustainable infrastructure projects and policies that enhance public transit, bike and walking options and transform streets into attractive, efficient public spaces. While completing her Master’s, Gabi has worked for the Voorhees Transportation Center doing bicycle and pedestrian research, for NJ TRANSIT’s Capital Planning Department, and most recently as a Design and Planning Intern at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff in Manhattan.
Ai Yamanaka – MCRP
Ai Yamanaka is pursuing a Master of City and Regional Planning degree with a dual concentration in Transportation and Land Use. As a Bloustein student, she had the opportunity to intern in Paris as a Louis Berger fellow, where she worked on feasibility analyses of various transportation port projects in Africa and South America. Last spring, Ai interned at the NYC MTA as an Enterprise Asset Management intern, where she worked on database and asset management for the Division of Car Equipment. Her interests in transportation stem from a passion for environmental planning and policy. She began her studies at Bloustein as a researcher for the Environmental Analysis and Communications Research Group, where she authored a paper on the risks of climate change for seniors in NJ using GIS data analysis. Currently, she works as a researcher for the Voorhees Transportation Center and John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development where she works primarily with transportation policy. As a Posse Foundation scholar, Ai earned her bachelor’s degree from Colby College double majoring in International Studies and East Asian Studies. She has past experience as a community coordinator for a non-profit in Vancouver and as a team leader for a multi-national real estate firm in Japan
Jacob is a third year undergraduate in the Health Administration program at the Bloustein School. He was one of the first students enrolled in this new program, and is thrilled to get to learn from the administrators of major central Jersey healthcare organizations. Jacob has interests in Operations and Information Technology, and spent this past summer as a consultant on an Electronic Medical Records Implementation project in upstate New York.Outside of the classroom, Jacob is the Vice President of the Future Healthcare Administrators, the professional organization of the healthcare administration program, and is also the Treasurer of Demarest Hall, the Special Interest Housing Program at Rutgers, and an active member of the technical crew of the Livingston Theatre Company.
Nezar is a senior at the Bloustein School majoring in Health Administration. He is currently the President of the Future Healthcare Administrators; a student-led organization dedicated to developing future healthcare leaders by promoting networking, academics, and community involvement to the students at Rutgers University. Nezar has long been interested in the field of healthcare and had plans of attending medical school but fell in love with the business and operational aspects of healthcare and decided to switch things up. Also minoring in Labor Studies, he will use his management and leadership experience to pursue an entry-level healthcare operations or management position after graduation within a healthcare facility or clinic.
Planning and Public Policy
Abby Thompson is a sophomore double majoring in Planning and Public Policy at the Bloustein School and Communication with a specialization in Public Relations and minor in Economics. She is especially interested in environmental policy and community development. This summer she is interning at City Green, a non-profit in Clifton, NJ. The company’s vision involves creating livable, green, sustainable farms and gardens in urban communities through engaging youth and adults in a variety of programs. She will be involved with creating a video series about their Growing Strong Program, a summer camp for school children. She plans on getting her Masters of Public Affairs after receiving her undergraduate degree from Rutgers. Abby hopes to pursue a career that will combine her passion for public relations with public policy.
Alef Tadese is passionately studying for a Planning and Public Policy degree in and outside the classroom. He is one of early recruits to join the Edward J. Bloustein School undergraduate program, and he has gone beyond expectations. He has been enhancing his degree by studying Geography and acquiring a certificate in Geographic Information System & Cartography. Also, Alef is working on two more certificates in Urban Planning and Community Sustainability as part of his degree program. He has shown exemplary academic standing and community involvement since his freshman year. He has been actively involved in leadership roles surrounding grassroots activism efforts by coordinating voter registration drives, facilitating environmental campaigns, and increasing political consciousness across the campus. His educational background and skills have led him to intern as a planning aide with the Hudson Square Improvement District in Lower Manhattan during his summer. He is now working as a planning intern in the Middlesex County Planning Board to update the Open Space & Recreation Element of the Master Plan during his school year. However, Alef is soon to graduate in May 2016, and he awaiting to work in areas of community development, transportation, and the environment in a large metropolitan city and later abroad, specifically in Ethiopia.
Kyle is a Public Policy major with a minor in Political Science. He has been awarded the PNC top performer for student athletes for the past two semesters. This spring, he was accepted to the five year combined Bachelor of Science and Masters in Public Policy program.
His campus involvement includes participation in the Rutgers University Student Assembly, Board of Trustees for the Daily Targum, SCREAM Theater and Scream Athletes (stands for students challenging realities and educating against myths; student run improv group to educate and prevent interpersonal violence), the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (executive board), and a scholarship athlete for the division one Men’s Track and Field Team (400 hurdler). His community service involvement includes Embrace Kids Foundation, New Brunswick Good Neighbor Welcome, Special Olympics NJ, Read Across America, Dancing with the Deans, and Franklin High School Spanish club tutor/mentor.
Kyle interned in his home district congressional office (Rodney P. Frelinghuysen) and expects to get more involved in government and politics as his career progresses. After Rutgers he hopes to work with legislators and influence policy in the field of education and/or social justice.
One of Danielle’s favorite quotes is “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it ”- Lou Holtz. Danielle is a Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Niece, Friend, Veteran, Data Collector, Assistant College Basketball Coach, Peer Educator and so much more. With the three jobs she maintains and the many hats she wears, she believes being a student always comes first no matter what. Danielle said “Education is giving me the knowledge I need to one day help influence change in the world, which is why I choose Public Health as my major”. After she Graduates in 2017, she aspires to own a non-profit organization which will be focused on improving the health and overall wellness for underprivileged families. She knows that Rutgers will provide the educational tools she needs to reach her goals.
Cora is a rising senior with a major in Public Health. Her two main interests within the field are epidemiology, and environmental health, specifically relating to water pollution. She interned with the Middlesex County Environmental Health Division, where she was responsible for water sampling tests and data analysis. Cora is also a student in the five-year BS/MPH program, where she will further her public health studies and interests at the Rutgers School of Public Health.