Who We Are: Research Assistants
Olivia Craighead is a senior at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts majoring in Dramatic Writing with a concentration in playwriting. In addition to her work at the Rudin Center she is also the literary intern at Soho Rep, an off-Broadway theater, and the entertainment editor at NYU Local, a student-run online publication.
Ari Kaputkin is a Master of Urban Planning candidate (2018) at NYU Wagner, concentrating in Environment, Infrastructure and Transportation. He earned his BA in Geography from SUNY New Paltz in 2014 and then went on to study Mandarin Chinese at Chinese Cultural University in Taiwan. While in Taiwan, he worked on an open data initiative and a mental mapping project. He has also worked as a geospatial data analyst and a freelance cartographer. He is an avid cyclist and is interested in active and mass transit networks as a means of economic development.
Jenny O’Connell is a Master of Urban Planning candidate (2017) at NYU Wagner specializing in Environment, Infrastructure, and Transportation. She earned her BA in Political Economy from Tulane University in 2011. Before moving to New York City to begin the Master’s program, Jenny was living in Washington, DC. While there, she worked for three years as a transportation consultant at ICF International and one year as the Program Coordinator for Environment at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Jenny is specifically interested in the relationship between transportation systems, mobility, and community health, and is excited to explore that interest further at Wagner and with the Rudin Center.
Joanna Simon is a Master of Urban Planning candidate (2018) at NYU Wagner specializing in Environment, Infrastructure and Transportation. She earned a BA in Environmental Studies from Tulane University in New Orleans in 2013. Prior to her graduate studies, Joanna worked as a coordinator for an environmental and advocacy non-profit based in New York. She also has experience as a guide of community service and immersion focused travel programs in the United States and South America, working on infrastructure projects both in rural and urban areas. Joanna is interested in learning more about sustainability issues in cities and how to encourage future sustainable growth models.
Ashley Smith is a Master of Urban Planning student at NYU Wagner specializing in Environment, Infrastructure and Transportation. She completed her B.A. in English at University at Buffalo in 2012, writing her thesis on ecology in 20th century American literature. Following graduation, Ashley worked for the Elmwood Village Association, a community-development non-profit in Buffalo, NY where her role as communications coordinator increasingly involved her in urban planning issues. In 2014, Ashley participated in One Region Forward’s inaugural Citizen Planning School with a plan to develop a bicycle wayfinding signage system to dovetail with the city of Buffalo’s Bicycle Masterplan and took an active role on Buffalo’s Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Board to the Common Council.