Current Graduate Students


Chris Adkins

Chris Adkins_small


I obtained my B.A. in Social Work with a Minor in Women's Studies from Cleveland State State University in May 2006. I focused on LGBT courses and ran the LGBT student group on campus while at CSU. I received several recognition awards from Cleveland State for my student leadership activities on campus. After Cleveland, I continued my education at Boston University pursuing my MSW where I expanded on mental health and public health needs of Asian and Pacific Islander LGBT populations. I have more than 10 years of expertise in working in direct service with vulnerable populations, including caring for abused and neglected children in the foster care system, educating severely emotionally disturbed children, managing newly diagnosed and medically complicated people with HIV/AIDS, and helping women leaving prison to enter college using group work methods. In Baltimore, I've served on the board of directors for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland (GLCCB) while working on HIV and LGBT research projects, curriculum development, and community-engaged scholarship at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. I'm currently a social work doctoral student at Tulane University in the City, Culture, and Community program.

Ryan Albright



Originally from Coldwater, Michigan Ryan has lived in New Orleans for the past three years with his wife, Madison.  Most recently, he was Metropolitan Opportunity Program Officer at the Greater New Orleans Foundation where his work revolved around three major areas of focus; access to quality affordable housing, innovation in metropolitan land-use and access to economic opportunity including transportation.  As a funder Ryan managed a portfolio of grant funds from the Ford Foundation and invested more than $5 million in the Greater New Orleans region.  

He has more than ten years of city and community planning experience ranging from his time as a coordinator for economic development for a nonprofit to his position as planner with the City of Houston. Before coming to New Orleans Ryan was a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Fellow and an Island Institute Community Development Fellow.   Ryan has worked on Brownfield projects in Germany and has worked in Michigan, Maine, Ohio, Texas, and Louisiana to address a variety of community, economic, and environmental development challenges.  

His current research interests examine how civic engagement and the built environment impact urban regeneration in both policy and practice. Ryan has studied British Polity at the University of London and the University of Edinburgh.  He has also studied economic development and environmental planning at the Universität Dortmund in Germany.  He holds a BA in Public Administration & Public Policy and a Master of Urban & Regional Planning Degree, both from Michigan State University.  In his spare time he enjoys cooking, backpacking, traveling, fly-fishing, and learning to play the trumpet.

Danica Brown



Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Danica is right at home in Tulane's City, Culture and Community doctoral program. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics with a concentration in Secondary Education and minor in Spanish from Louisiana State University. While teaching in Baton Rouge, she received a Masters of Natural Sciences with a focus in Mathematics also from LSU.

After receiving her masters, Danica decided to return to the New Orleans area to be a part of the post-Katrina efforts to rebuild the city's educational system and to mentor youth in her home church's community. Danica has worked in New Orleans charter schools for six years as a mathematics teacher and, most recently, as a teacher leader. In her role as lead teacher, Danica provided instructional support and professional development to teachers. She was also involved in curriculum development and extracurricular activities for students.

Danica decided to apply to Tulane's CCC doctoral program to expand her understanding and ability to impact change among youth in urban communities. Danica's general research interests include empowering minority youth, community development and New Orleans charter schools. She is also interested in educational policy and the relationship among social justice, race, and education.

Outside of school, Danica enjoys personal style blogging with her mom and sisters and spending time with her husband, family, friends and her fellow CCC cohort members.

Karina Bull

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Karina is originally from Southern California, where she received her BA honors degree in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Most recently, Karina was living in Chicago after attending the University of Chicago's Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS). At the University of Chicago, Karina specialized in Social Psychology and Comparative Human Development. For her Master's thesis she implemented a study on the effects of social exclusion on an individual's personal and social needs as they relate to animal companionship. This study informed Karina's interests as a doctoral student in the City, Culture, and Community Program, and she hopes to continue research on marginalized communities and anti-poverty policy. She's especially interested in the pet-owning homeless population. Between her various academic commitments, Karina has studied abroad in Sweden, obtained her TEFL license in Greece, spent a year as an English teacher in the Czech Republic, and worked with a non-profit organization to rebuild a school in Haiti. When not traveling (she's been to over 30 countries!), Karina is seeking bodies of water to swim in or hanging with her cat Banjo.

Clare Cannon



Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Clare loves to rock climb, bike, and have coffee with friends. She received her B.A. from Scripps College of the Claremont Consortium. While there she earned Honors for her thesis, "American Nightmare, Twilight of Dreams", for which she also won the Edward A. White Award for excellence in American Studies.

Clare continued her academic career at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where she earned her M.A. in Social Ethics, Depth Psychology and Religion. While at Union, she helped to found the Edible Churchyard, developing an urban garden and accompanying curriculum of food justice and ecological sustainability. Currently, her research areas include environmental justice, political economy, globalization, feminist and queer theory, domestic violence, and garbage.  

Jesse Chanin

Jesse Chanin


Jesse Chanin is a doctoral student in Tulane University's City, Culture, and Community department in the Sociology track. She received a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology from Barnard College where she earned departmental honors for her thesis "Memories of Protest: Remembering and Misremembering the Columbia Strike of 1968." While at Barnard, she also served as news director of the radio station where she founded and directed a youth media project for teens in the surrounding Harlem/Washington Heights area.

She went on to earn her Master's in Teaching from Fordham University and work for 5 years in the New York City public school system as a classroom teacher. At the Facing History School, she facilitated the English and ESL departments, co-founded the GSA, and participated on the visions and leadership team.

After moving to New Orleans in 2012, Jesse continued her work in education through teaching remedial education classes at Delgado Community College and working as a teaching artist with Kid SmART. She also collaborates with Families & Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) and helps organize the annual Nola to Angola solidarity bike ride. Her research interests include the intersections between traditional and non-traditional sites of education, family, agency, and incarceration.

Wesley Cheek



Originally from Destin, Florida, Wesley received his B.A. in Community, Culture and the Built Environment from the University of Alabama's New College program in 2001. He immediately moved to Japan and spent the next decade teaching junior high school, being a radio DJ, writing for a magazine, surfing, playing in bands, losing as much as he won on the amateur mixed-martial arts circuit, and working as a photo journalist. It was photojournalism that brought him to the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Tohoku area of Japan on March 11th, 2011. Wesley's photographs were featured in various outlets including the Wall Street Journal. He also covered the disaster as a correspondent for the Majority Report radio program.  

Wesley returned to the U.S. in the fall of 2011 to enter the Tulane School of Architecture's Master of Preservation Studies program. For his thesis, "Rebuilding Tohoku: Historical Preservation and Disaster Reconstruction", he returned to Tohoku and met with both experts in the field and local people who were affected by the disaster. This work lead to Wesley being invited to present his research to a panel of international professionals at Ritsumeikan University's UNESCO Chair Program on Risk Management of Cultural Heritage and to his ongoing involvement with that program. He received his Master's Degree from the Tulane School of Architecture in December of 2012.  

In addition to his academic work, Wesley is a founding member of the non-profit organization Appalachian Institute for Creative Learning. His wife Natsuki and son Musashi are being very patient throughout this whole post-graduate process, but are willing to put up with it  means more second-lines and shrimp boils.

Lucas Diaz



Since 2000, Lucas has worked in the non-profit and public sectors. He holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of New Orleans and a BA in English for Loyola University.

His professional development includes fundraising and community development. Between 2000-2007, Lucas worked as a professional fundraiser for various institutions; including Dillard University, the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, the African American Museum of Art, Loyola University New Orleans, and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra.

He co-founded Puentes New Orleans in 2007, serving as the founding executive director through 2011, during which time he developed community-based initiatives and coordinated advocacy-based strategic planning and action work that addressed Latino social justice issues in the Greater New Orleans area. Programs he designed and implemented focused on home ownership, voter registration, pro-immigrant advocacy training, community organizing, cultural trainings, and more.

In 2011, Lucas joined Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu's team, serving as the first director of the Mayor's Neighborhood Engagement Office for the City of New Orleans. While in City Hall, from 2011-2013, Lucas helped establish the City's first-ever public participation office. He developed a city-wide public participation policy and implemented new public participation initiatives within various city agencies.

As a Tulane CCC doctoral fellow, Lucas is exploring the connections between academia and practice in civic life, with research interests that focus on state-building processes, inclusionary and exclusionary political practices, urban and national political participation activities, democratic structures, identity-based social movements and outcomes, and civic engagement practices and outcomes.

Annie Freitas 



Originally from Oakland, California, Annie has lived in New Orleans since 2011. Annie received her B.A. from Scripps College in Claremont, CA where she double majored in Psychology and Theater. In college, she spent her time teaching writing and theater in correctional facilities for women and children and developing college preparatory courses for her former high school. She also completed and received honors for two senior thesis projects. In theater, Annie directed a version of Othello in a juvenile hall. In psychology, she used quantitative and qualitative methods to research transgender students' experiences of coeducational and single-sex universities. Her psychology thesis was awarded the Lois Langland Award for Excellence in Psychological Research of Gender.

Upon graduation, Annie moved to New Orleans and worked for four years as a teacher in Orleans and Jefferson Parish. As a teacher, she was particularly interested in the intersections of prison and schools, especially the ways in which education reform in New Orleans mirrors the institutionalization of juvenile prisons. She decided to pursue a Ph.D. to explore the intersections of the education and incarceration systems in order to develop programs that support rehabilitation and expanded opportunities upon release.

Her current research focuses on higher education in prison and she is interested in developing accredited college programs for prisons in Louisiana. She is also interested in juvenile incarceration, the school to prison pipeline, arts education in prison and gender and sexuality in institutional settings.

Isaac Freitas



Isaac Freitas is currently a second-year doctoral student in the sociology track of the City, Culture, and Community program at Tulane University. He has lived throughout the United States, but considers Longmont, Colorado as his hometown. He earned bachelor degrees in Sociology and in Economics from Colorado State University, located in the beautiful city of Fort Collins. Isaac continued his studies by finishing an M.A. in Sociology at Colorado State University. Isaac uses both qualitative and quantitative methodologies in his research. In his master's program, he used interviews and participant observation to study the role of poetry slams as sites of resistance. He also works to develop technical skills in using the R and Python programming languages for quantitative analysis. His research interests have continued to evolve and include communication, social media, community, and disaster research.

Jocelyn Horner



Jocelyn Horner is a third-year doctoral student in City, Culture and Community at Tulane University, with an emphasis on social work. Jocelyn's research focuses on the relationship between youth development, civic and social engagement, and creative self-expression. She is also interested in the social dimensions of learning; gender & sexuality; action research; community development; and educational policy and practice.

A proud native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jocelyn holds a Bachelors degree in sociology and urban studies from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Masters degree in urban geography and environment from the London School of Economics. Jocelyn was a 2004 Truman Scholar and most recently a graduate fellow at the Arts Council of New Orleans.

Prior to returning to school, Jocelyn worked for over five years in the non-profit sector, focusing on organizational development, youth/community engagement, and project design and evaluation. She held positions at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, The Sprout Fund and Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE Lab.  She has volunteered for numerous organizations, including the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

In 2012, Jocelyn moved to New Orleans to pursue her PhD and has been trying to figure out a good way to stay cool ever since. When she isn't working, Jocelyn loves running, reading, cooking, and taking her dog for walks.

Cate Irvin


Cate Irvin is a doctoral student in Tulane University's City, Culture, and Community department, in the Sociology track. She received a bachelor's degree in Sociology from Emmanuel College and a master's in public health from Tulane University, with a focus in international health and development. Before attending Tulane University she gained experience working as a family planning and HIV counselor in Western Massachusetts, as well as Nairobi, Kenya.

During her time at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropic Medicine, she cultivated a research interest in lifestyle movements, specifically urban agriculture, studying the impacts of these movements on youth groups in the Viwandani settlement in Nairobi, Kenya. She continues to pursue this interest in her doctoral work in the City, Culture, and Community department, under the instruction of Professor Yuki Kato. Cate has recently published an article in collaboration with Professor Kato examining the flow of food and people to a food market in a low-income area across the metropolitan area of New Orleans in order to reevaluate the assessment of the construction of food deserts. Currently she is working on a research project with Professor Kato examining the links between urban agriculture and strategic blight reduction in New Orleans, LA. Additionally, her own research project is concentrating on the emerging culture of the New Orleans food trucks, as well as the impacts these food trucks are having on the spatial develop of the City of New Orleans.

Tait Kellogg



Originally hailing from Pensacola, Florida, Tait is delighted to find herself back on the Gulf Coast. Her research interests are rooted in the sociology of higher education. Tait earned her M.A. in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Columbia University, Teachers College and while there she worked and lived at The Jewish Theological Seminary. After graduating, Tait worked for NYC's International House with graduate students from 100+ different countries. She earned her B.A. in Religious Studies with a minor in Sociology at Millsaps College.

Tait moved to the Crescent City after spending two years in rural Mississippi where she worked as the East Mississippi Outreach Director and Data Analyst for the non-profit Get2College. In this role she traveled the state to speak to underserved students and parents at their public high schools about how to navigate the roadblocks to college. Tait loves hanging out with her giant, fluffy dog Maeby and eating too many double stuffed Oreos.

Tait’s research interests include the sociology of higher education, or more specifically: college access, the pipeline from charter schools to college, the relationship between universities and place, and community engagement. 

Arianna King 

Arianna King


Arianna King was born in Ithaca, New York but spent the majority of her formative years in a rural area in the central part of the great state Maine. After receiving her B.A. from Brandeis University as a double major in Fine Arts and Philosophy, Arianna left the bitter cold of the Northeast once and for all and headed to San Francisco, California to work first as an elementary school art teacher and then as a critical member of a small jewelry design firm.  

When she discovered that it never really gets warm in San Francisco, Ms. King set out for a hotter climate in West Africa, joining the United States Peace Corps.  Serving as a community development volunteer in a rural village in the Central Region of Ghana, Arianna gained first hand experience with the merits and challenges of development in the Global South and became especially interested in food studies.  

After returning from the Peace Corps, Ms. King worked as a milkmaid and cheese monger at a goat farm in Southern Maine before moving to Louisville, Kentucky for service as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer with the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. This lead to more work in community development with particular focus on food and community empowerment.   

Disappointed by the snow-filled winters in Kentucky, Arianna migrated south to New Orleans to begin graduate study. During her studies, armed with a preliminary knowledge of social research, she found her way back to Ghana for three months where she conducted research on informal food vendors and markets.  In May 2015, Ms. King was awarded a Master's of Science in Urban Studies from the University of New Orleans. Arianna's research areas continue to reside at intersection of informal economic opportunities and food in the Global South. 

Dena Lagomarsino

Dena Lagomarsino

Dena Lagomarsino is a first-year resident of New Orleans and doctoral student in Tulane's City, Culture, and Community doctoral program. Previously, she taught high school language arts for two years in her home state, New Jersey, before completing a Master's degree in the Sociology of Education at New York University. For her thesis, "Living in the Contradictions," she conducted semi-structured interviews and engaged theories of change and resistance to elucidate the school-based experiences of middle and high school educators who openly identify as both LGBT and/or queer individuals, and as social justice educators.  

While teaching, then studying, full-time, Dena has also: interned as a youth issues writer for GLAAD; worked as a place-based organizer for The Institute for Democratic Education in America, leading "Innovation Tours" of incredible New York City schools that serve as sites of liberatory, youth-led learning; and served as an Associate Board member of Generation Citizen, a non-profit that provides action civics education programming to major city schools nationwide. She was lucky enough to experience her student teaching in South Africa in 2011, returning in 2013 with Professor Teboho Moja (NYU) for a summer program, during which she completed a group interview study with secondary school students from three integrated schools around Johannesburg to learn about the importance of culturally relevant, arts-based language arts curricula in a post-Apartheid context. That year, she also attended the Criminal Justice Initiative's Social Justice Training Institute on participatory action research, mass incarceration, and the school-to-prison pipeline, and completed a PAR project with her AP Language and Rhetoric students in which they studied their school's unfair treatment of students and presented suggestions for change. 

Her research interests include gender and sexuality, sites of power and resistance, social stratification, comparative education studies, and cultural trauma.

Vicky Lattone



Originally from Paterson/Clifton, New Jersey, Vicky has been a resident of New Orleans since 2007. Vicky obtained her B.S. from Cornell University in Animal Science, and though the plans for a veterinary career fell through, she still indulges in her love for animals through her two dogs and five cats, all of whom are rescues. After a career in oncology billing and management, Vicky returned to graduate school at Tulane and completed both a Masters of Social Work and a Masters of Public Health.Within the Social Work program, Vicky also obtained Certificates in Disaster Mental Health and International Social Work.

Prior to joining the CCC program, Vicky was the original Program Manager for the Tulane Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy (DRLA), where she was integral in the development of several projects including their new Master's program in Disaster Resilience Leadership and an innovative evaluation of humanitarian aid following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The DRLA is an interdisciplinary program dedicated to strengthening global humanitarian leadership, with one of their areas of focus being psychosocial and behavioral leadership issues. It was the lack of global action in this area that propelled Vicky into enrolling in the CCC program to pursue her PhD. Vicky's research interests focus on the psychosocial impact of disasters and collective trauma on communities, and finding non-traditional ways of supporting community recovery in those contexts. It is her hope that she can forge a research agenda that will help to shape future policy in community recovery planning that will be sensitive to the social, mental and emotional realities faced by communities devastated by trauma, and that will expand the concept of psychosocial well-being to be more culturally and contextually appropriate in such settings.

Jessica Liddell



Originally from Logan, Utah, Jessica Liddell completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Reed College, in Portland, Oregon. Her undergraduate research thesis focused on the role gender norms have on perceived competence and hirability in higher education. Jessica also worked as a domestic violence and sexual assault crisis hotline operator in Portland. After completing her B.A., Jessica spent two years traveling and working in South America, the Middle East, Europe and Southern Asia. During her time abroad Jessica volunteered for 88bikes, an organization that provides bikes to sexually trafficked girls and women.

Jessica attended graduate school at Tulane University where she completed a Masters in Public Health, with a focus on program design and implementation, and a Masters in Social Work, with a focus on disaster mental health. For her MSW, Jessica conducted a needs assessment on the importance of community learning coursework in social work. For her MPH, Jessica participated in collecting and conducting analysis of data from the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance project and investigated the association between knowledge of one's Hepatitis C status and injection drug use risk behavior. In addition to volunteering for the New Orleans Syringe Access Program, Jessica worked for NO/AIDS task force while in New Orleans. She continues to volunteer as a HIV counselor and tester for NO/AIDS.

Prior to joining the CCC program in 2014, Jessica spent a year working and interning for USAID and MSH in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and for the Population Council in Mexico City, Mexico. Her current research interests include making health services more responsive to community needs and input, in addition to general interests in sexual and reproductive health, reproductive justice, and harm reduction service models. Jessica has a passion for travel and has visited 27 countries, and lived and worked in 8.

Estilla Lightfoot

Estilla Lightfoot


Estilla is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico.  She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico in Theater Performance.  She is a double threat, but cannot dance.  Estilla spent some time in Japan after graduation, and at the earliest opportunity moved to New Orleans.  She taught high school Special Education for three years at Walter L. Cohen High School.  For two of those years she was the Department Chairperson.

In 2010, Estilla matriculated into the Master of Social Work program at Tulane University, where she served a year internship in the Mayor's Office of Constituent Studies, and received her Master of Social Work degree with a Disaster Mental Health Certificate.  She also volunteered at Hollygrove Farm and Market.   

She then returned to New Mexico, where she spent three years as a bilingual child, adolescent, and family therapist, and earned her LCSW.  During this time she taught the Psychological First Aid classes for the American Red Cross in various locations across the state.   

Estilla moved back to New Orleans in 2015 to study on the social work track in the City, Culture, and Community program.  She recently served as a panelist at a professional development conference about Early Warning Systems for school dropout, hosted by Johns Hopkins University.  Her area of interest is special education in the charter school movement.

Maggie Mahoney



Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, Maggie left the blizzard-prone, post-industrial stronghold to pursue her undergraduate degree at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. In the years she spent earning her B.A. in Sociology, Maggie was deeply influenced by the contrast in rhetoric surrounding her "dying" hometown and her "green" and "progressive" new home. She felt compelled to explore the creation and consequences of the Rust-Belt narrative and discourse of progress in her thesis, Complicating the Rust Belt: Negotiating Meanings of Industrial Decay with Ghost Stories and Ruin Porn.

Maggie moved to New Orleans in 2011 to work as an Americorps volunteer with City Year New Orleans. During her two service years, she worked as a full-time tutor and mentor of over-age students at an alternative high school, and then as the leader of a team of volunteers at a local elementary school.

One of the important partnerships Maggie created in Americorps was with the local non-profit, Resurrection After Exoneration (RAE). RAE's mission is to assuage the challenges faced by our wrongfully-convicted and formerly incarcerated people, engage local youth, and raise awareness of miscarriages of justice. Maggie's interests still lie in discourse, in the intertwining of knowledge and power, and her experience with RAE has led to current research in wrongful convictions, socio-legal discourse of innocence and guilt, constitutional theory, critical theory, and state power and legitimacy.

Maggie spends her leisure time biking around town, going to rock shows, and planning Mardi Gras costumes.

Katie Lauve Moon



Originally from Alexandria, La., Katie graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Louisiana Tech University in May 2007. In August 2007, she began a Master of Divinity (M.Div.)/Master of Social Work (MSW) dual degree program at Baylor University's School of Social Work and George W. Truett Theological Seminary. In 2009, she was an intern in the counseling department at Bill Logue Juvenile Detention Center in Waco, Texas, and her concentration internship was with Touching Miami with Love in Miami, FL as a community development intern. She earned her MSW with a concentration in Community Practice in May 2010 and later graduated with her M. Div. in December 2011.

In general, Katie’s research focuses on the sociology of gender, macro social work education, and the intersection of religion and broader society. In particular, Katie examines gender inequality in the workplace through the lens of the theory of gendered organizations. In her time in the CCC program, Katie has also studied the political economy of U.S. volunteerism and worked with local organizations in developing educational models for volunteers.

Katie’s dissertation research focuses on women’s work in religious organizations and churches. She is also principal investigator of a study examining the integration of interdisciplinary education into macro social work graduate curricula.

Katie is married to Timmy Moon who is also a graduate of Truett Seminary.

Alicia McCraw



Originally from Austin, Texas, Alicia has lived in New Orleans since 2006. Alicia obtained a BA in Sociology from Tulane in 2010, where she focused primarily on studying marriage and childrearing. Upon graduating Alicia spent a year working in human resources, volunteering at the local children's hospital, and working as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). It was during this time that she began to recognize the unmet needs of alternative family styles in receiving policy and legislative help. Recognizing this as a major social problem, she applied and was accepted the City, Culture, and Community program where she now focuses on alternative family styles childrearing with a focus on how to better protect those families legally while also investigating how their parenting styles could help all parents create homes that rear positive and self-confident families.

Megha Patel



A native of Philadelphia, Megha received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University in 2000 and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008. She spent several years working in the non-profit sector in Philadelphia and Johannesburg, South Africa in the areas of HIV/AIDS and child welfare before moving to Kigali, Rwanda in 2010.

Prior to joining the City, Culture and Community doctoral program in 2014, Megha spent four years managing and overseeing the social workforce strengthening efforts for the Tulane University Rwanda Country Program. Her role involved collaborating with Rwanda's local university systems, US and Rwandan government and non-government agencies, and Tulane's Payson Center for International Development and School of Social Work. Megha's work in Rwanda focused on capacity development supporting Rwanda's child care reform efforts aimed at enhancing the country's child protection system. Megha's research interests focus on the intersection of international social workforce development, child protection, and higher education.

Megha is married and has two high-spirited dogs.

Brad Powers



Raised in Princeton, N.J, Brad has lived in New Orleans for the past 12 years with his wife and three daughters. His research interest is in exploring the ways in which various market forces and civic institutions can be cultivated, improved and integrated to help restore communities.

He has lived and worked throughout the United States fighting for access to housing, health care, education, and legal representation for those in need. Brad obtained a BA in English from St. Lawrence University and studied for a year in East Africa. He then earned a law degree (JD) cum laude from Vermont Law School (with a summer program at Trinity College, Dublin). After five years as a criminal defense attorney both in state and federal courts, Brad earned a Masters in Law (LLM) from the University of Washington School of Law. Brad was the founding Executive Director of Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative from January 2006 until his admission into the Tulane CCC program. Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative is a community faith-based revitalization organization working in a low wealth neighborhood of New Orleans. Jericho Road develops high quality, green and physically accessible housing, supports growth of resident led neighborhood associations and uses legal tools to reduce blight. Jericho Road was formed after Hurricane Katrina. In 2010 Brad completed graduate work as a Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Center Urban Redevelopment and Excellence and in 2011 completed Stanford Business School's International Non-profit Leadership Program for Social Innovators. Brad was named one of New Orleans top social entrepreneurs. Recently, New Orleans City council honored Brad twice as one of New Orleans "Men on the Move".

Heidi Schmalbach



Heidi Schmalbach was born in Stockbridge, MA, and spent her formative years in Minneapolis and San Antonio. Before moving to New Orleans in 2012, she spent the last 10 years in Austin with a temporary relocation to West Virginia and Kentucky. Heidi received a Masters Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, where she focused on community and economic development and non profit studies. For the past eight years she has worked in various professional positions in planning, community development, and community arts. Currently, Heidi is the Civic Design Fellow at the Arts Council of New Orleans where she manages a program called Youth Solutions, which integrates grief and trauma intervention with a design/build curriculum for young people in New Orleans.

Heidi's academic interests surround the intersection of urban planning and social justice, ethical placemaking, the social role of the arts in communities, housing and gentrification. She also teaches yoga 3-4 times per week and enjoys hanging out with friends, her fiance, and dog, Tucker.

Emily Starr



Emily Starr is originally from Claremont, California where she received her bachelor's in Sociology at the University of La Verne and her Masters in American Studies at California State University Fullerton. Currently in the CCC sociology track, her general areas of interest are in gender, sexuality, and race. She recently co-published a book chapter on female-initiated domestic violence and has two additional articles out for review. The first is a quantitative study on females sentenced to a batterer intervention program and the second is a qualitative content analysis on international dating website content with an emphasis on unpacking the globalization of intimacy through the Western nuclear family. Additionally, she is currently working on a quantitative study of female domestic offenders in New Orleans and a qualitative study on female bartenders.

Jordan Stewart

Jordan's background is in architecture with a focus on sustainable designs and adaptive reuse in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a graduate student, her area of focus within urban studies is the social and community component of innovation in buildings, landscapes, towns, cities, and metropolitan areas towards sustainability and equity. Part of this interest includes developing methods to assess the relationships between communities and these environments.   

Sarah Woodward



Sarah Woodward is a proud New Orleans native. Her research interests include the intersections between art, technology, and education in improving outcomes for youth and their communities. Sarah earned her B.A. in Psychology with a Minor in Art from Stanford University. She served as a Research Assistant in the Mind, Culture and Society Lab, analyzing ways that race, ethnicity, culture, gender, and social class affect perception, attitudes, motivation, and behavior.

Before joining the CCC program, Sarah worked for five years for the Mural Music & Arts Project, an innovative youth development organization in the San Francisco Bay Area. She developed health-based arts curriculum, trained instructors, established program evaluation toolkits, and led community-based mural projects. She also managed the organization's portfolio of foundation, corporate, and government grants, securing significant new funding and establishing partnerships with tech companies including Google, Twitter, and Spotify.

Her experiences in youth development also include working with KIPP New Orleans, partnering with an art therapist to serve children with trauma post-Katrina, and advocating for novel approaches to urban education at several conferences. Finally, an accomplished visual artist, Sarah served for four years as Co-Owner and Director of a member-driven gallery and studio space in San Francisco. Sarah joined the City, Culture, and Community Program because she believes that addressing the complex factors that affect urban youth, particularly in a community like New Orleans, requires intellectual rigor, a breadth of skills, an interdisciplinary approach, and a commitment to cross-sector coalition building.