Nnamdi IhemeluI love culture. I love humanity. I want humanity to reach its full potential. I live by the mantra of "pay it forward".
Alicia ParkerAlicia is a planner with the City of Oakland’s Strategic Planning Division. She assisted with three of the first specific plans in Oakland, contributing to each plan’s urban design framework, community engagement, and affordable housing and equity strategies and is currently the co-project manager for the Downtown Oakland Specific Plan. She is author of the plan's analysis of disparities in downtown's existing conditions, and is also a member of the department's internal Race & Equity Team.
Jessica Jobe SeaJessica is a licensed architect who has been with Noll & Tam Architects for more than four years, and in the industry for over six. Since then, she has worked on a range of projects: from research labs to hospitals, libraries to office renovations. Jessica has a passion for sustainable design and community-based design. She likes to get the perspective of people outside of architecture – they challenge her to look at things in a different way.
Yarden HarariWith 8 years of experience in specialty retail architecture from both client and firm side, Yarden is an account and project manager at CallisonRTKL Architects, and recently relocated from New York to the Bay Area. Through CallisonRTKL and its parent company, Arcadis, she’s found opportunities to work with peers from a range of backgrounds, aligned with the common value of ‘improving quality of life.’ These collaborations have refined her ability to bridge the gaps across disciplines.
Sandy MendlerSandy is a nationally recognized architect and planner focused on creating inspiring, healthy places for sustainable living. A principal with Mithun in San Francisco, she integrates complex technical requirements into elegant design solutions for architecture and planning projects, including educational buildings and campuses, offices and mixed-use EcoDistricts. Co-author of two books and numerous articles, her work is widely published in print.
Sarah LetsonSarah currently serves as Best Practices Manager for the New Americans Campaign at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, a non-profit organization in San Francisco. In this role, she helps over 500 staff at non-profits across the country continually iterate on their methods of providing citizenship application services to the community. Before joining the ILRC, Sarah worked in homeless services, training staff on how best to capture and use client data, as well as helping shape regional policies
Louise MackieLouise is a senior designer and project manager at Gyroscope Inc., design studio in Oakland. She specializes in interactive learning environments for informal educational spaces, such as museums, science centers, libraries and makerspaces. Notable recent projects include a mobile outreach vehicle for Oakland Public Library, a children's museum in Buffalo, NY, and a giant 'Laboratorio de ideas' in Mexico City. Louise grew up in England, pursuing her formal architectural education in London.
Kate SpacekKate amplifies the unique value of collective creativity by designing experiences that connect people and instigate relevant dialogue – across culture, class, sector, discipline, and geography. Kate aims to transform passive observers into eager co-creators via radical inclusivity, research-based play techniques, and mistake-celebrating experimentation.Most recently, Kate was a 2017-18 Public Imagination Fellow at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Brianne PhamBrianne is a licensed architect currently working at Perkins Eastman. She is passionate about helping better local communities and the environment through design. A Bay Area native, Brianne went to school in the Northwest. While in Portland, she co-founded the local chapter of Architecture for Humanity. Having moved back to the Bay Area, Brianne has worked on many large-scale commercial projects professionally and community-based projects pro-bono.
Samantha RoseI'm an interior designer originally from the Bay Area. I’m passionate about art, architecture & science fiction. I worked in museum education at Yale before going to RISD for graduate school. After RISD, I lived and worked at Arcosanti for a year before moving back to California.
Lindsey YuenEngaging with her surroundings through the lens of landscape architecture, Lindsey is passionate about resilient communities and the integration of people with their natural and built environments. She was born and raised in Hawaii, educated in the Pacific Northwest, and is professionally rooted in the Bay Area. Her work has focused on the local public realm - ranging from shoreline open space to urban streetscapes. Lindsey is currently a landscape designer at RHAA in San Francisco.
Lucia CastelloI am a community-inspired designer and artist at heart, with a passion for creating spaces that invoke collaboration, well-being and playfulness. With a degree from Cal Poly-SLO, I practice "architecture" (one exam away from licensure ;)) and manage projects at Flynn Architecture in Oakland while also offering vision, time & energy to a variety of community projects, ranging from an after school architecture program to playgrounds to a nature-based children's group.
Kion SawneyKion is an affordable housing real estate developer with Beacon Development. Currently, he is managing and supporting a development portfolio of over $100 million in Northern California. He enjoys working within the built environment and exploring how enhancements within it can create identity, advance equity, improve health and cultivate economic growth. He is the Board Chair of the nonprofit Street Works in Nashville,TN and an active member of ULI SF, Yimby Action, and more.
Jason SuJason is an urban designer and city planner passionate about creating vibrant cities through placemaking, public space investment, and community development. Raised in Los Angeles to immigrant parents, his firsthand experience on the impact of cities on economic opportunity and ethnic enclaves informs his work in city building today. Currently, he is the street life manager for the San Jose Downtown Association, where he implements art, construction, and activation projects.
Kelly GregoryKelly is a social architect based in Oakland, CA. Her practice is rooted in socially-engaged work: affordable housing projects, exhibitions, reimagining spaces of incarceration, democratic public space, and in-depth community-driven research. Her projects fold current communities and future solutions into functional, beautiful spaces for collaboration and engagement.
Jillian SolomonJillian is a graduate of Cornell University who is currently doing management consulting in the Bay Area. She's currently helping with asset management for a Northern California transit agency. She is interested in public transportation, urban planning, and economic development.
Karen CoronelMy name is Karen and I am originally from Queens, NY. I currently live in Oakland and work on business development coordination for a consulting firm. I am very passionate about civic engagement and the inclusivity of women of color in political spaces. I like to try new foods and experiences and enjoy dancing.
Gina BugiadaGina is a project designer at brick. who believes that we can all tell when care and quality are put into a product, building, design, or idea. Gina has been a project manager and designer for residential, retail, and non-profit projects with firms in New York and California. She is early adopter of sustainable strategies, and an award winning community leader. While studying architecture at CCA, her graduate research included technology’s current and future role in design and construction.
Allison EckertAllison became interested in expanding food access for immigrant communities while at Brown University, where she majored in Hispanic Studies. After graduating, she worked on a few small, organic farms, growing everything from melons to shiitake mushrooms, and ultimately relocated to the East Bay to pursue mission-driven work. In her role as the Associate Director of Development and Communications at 18 Reasons, she explores her passions for teaching, learning, and food.
Bridgett SimmonsBridgett is a housing advocate and attorney, hailing from Texas but calls Washington D.C. home. Bridgett is a proud 2017 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and a 2011 graduate of Florida A&M University who has a background in policy and advocacy. Bridgett is a lover of music and is a fake world traveler. If she could have one superpower, Bridgett wishes she could sing (well).
Baram (Ramy) KimI am a public health practitioner focusing on environmental justice issues. I have a deep interest in exploring how groundedness in place and our built environment affects our health in obvious and subtle ways. Currently, I am activated in various groups ranging from technology for public interest, to a biohacking space and am informed by an equity lens to qualify if these communities are being inclusive or instrumental in mitigating inequities.
Shruti NagarajanMs. Nagarajan is an Investment Analyst at Illumen Capital. Prior to joining the Illumen Capital team, she held various roles in for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Ms. Nagarajan holds a B.A. in Public Policy and Education from Brown University. Recently, she also received a full scholarship from Salve Regina University to complete a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Social Entrepreneurship to explore her interest for social impact through cross sector collaboration.
Alex AndersonAlex has combined advanced studies in business, wall street experience and his community values to deploy several economic empowerment platforms over the past two decades. Alex recently co-founded AAEE, a non-profit vehicle providing innovative solution to long standing social ills which would benefit from business development solutions. Mr. Anderson currently serves as a member on a number of advisory boards including PG&E and Royal Business Bank.
2018/19 Instructors (so far)
Carlee AdamsonEquity Coach, Oakland Unified School District; Somatic Training and Trauma Literacy Coach
Carlyn currently coaches teachers and facilitates groups of educators in reflective inquiry work. She is also a somatic practitioner and facilitates caregivers, parents, and teachers in trauma-informed practice.
Carlyn began her 15 year career in education as a middle school teacher in Oakland. She spent 10 years teaching and coaching teachers in the Fruitvale community.
Ms. Margaret Gordon1990s, Ms. Margaret Gordon, a housekeeper, single mom in West Oakland, was cleaning the home of eco-activist Michael Herze the of founder of Baykeeper, when she start reading environmental magazines, about pollution and effects on health. Gordon had assumed the green movement was about "kissing birds and whales," where she connected the protecting human beings.
James RojasJames Rojas is an urban planner, community activist, and artist. He is one of the few nationally recognized urban planners to examine U.S. Latino cultural influences are transforming the American landscape. He has also developed an innovative public-engagement and community-visioning method for underrepresented communities, which uses storytelling, art-making and play as its medium. He has facilitated over 500 Place It workshops across the globe engaging hundreds of immigrants, refugees, women,
Carl Anthonyarchitect, author and urban / suburban / regional design strategist, is co-founder of the Breakthrough Communities Project. He has served as Acting Director of the Community and Resource Development Unit at the Ford Foundation, responsible for the Foundation’s world wide programs in fields of Environment and Development, and Community Development. He directed the Foundation’s Sustainable Metropolitan Communities Initiative and the Regional Equity Demonstration in the United States.
Susana MoralesSusana Morales has over 15 years of experience in evaluation, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, workforce development, education policy, community participatory planning and research, community economic development, community health, and youth development. Prior to her work with Communities in Collaboration, Susana led economic development and youth workforce development projects at a local non-profit organization. Her work on youth-led action research.
Angela ZusmanAngela Zusman is the founder and Executive Director of Story For
All. An award winning author and oral historian, Angela founded Story For All to advance storytelling as means for healing, narrative change, leadership development, and promoting policy change in historically marginalized communities.