Women in Design



panelist bios

// pedagogy

Abby Spinak 
Lecturer, Urban Planning + Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Abby Spinak is a Lecturer in Urban Planning and Design at the GSD, where she teaches environmental planning and environmental history. She received her PhD in Urban Studies and Planning at MIT and has held fellowships at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard and the Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences at Rice University. She is currently writing a book about electricity and economic citizenship in the early twentieth century United States.

Sonja Dumpelmann
Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Sonja Dümpelmann is a landscape historian and Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Her work focuses on urban landscape history in the Western world and the intersections of landscape, science, and technology. Her publications include Seeing Trees: A History of Street Trees in New York City and Berlin (Yale University Press, 2019), Flights of Imagination: Aviation, Landscape, Design (University of Virginia Press, 2014), a book on the Italian landscape architect Maria Teresa Parpagliolo Shephard (VDG Weimar, 2004), the edited Cultural History of Gardens in the Age of Empire (Bloomsbury, 2013), and the co-edited Women, Modernity, and Landscape Architecture (Routledge, 2015), and Greening the City: Urban Landscapes in the Twentieth Century (UVA Press, 2011).

Hansy Better Barraza
Professor, RISD Dept of Architecture, Co-founder BR+A+CE: Building Research + Architecture + Community Exchange, Founder, Studio Luz Architects

Hansy Better Barraza's research focuses on the intersection of design methods, social practices and equity. In 2002. Barraza founded Studio Luz Architects based in Boston in partnership with Anthony Piermarini and in 2010 she co-founded BR+A+CE: Building Research + Architecture + Community Exchange, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to creating new spaces through community partnerships. Barraza earned her BArch from Cornell University and MAUD in Urban Design from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She joined RISD’s faculty in 2002 and served as graduate program director from 2014–17.

Sai Balakrishnan
Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Sai Balakrishnan is an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. She has also worked as an urban planner in the United States, India, and the United Arab Emirates, and as a consultant to the UN-HABITAT in Nairobi, Kenya. Through her research and teaching, Balakrishnan focuses on institutions for governing rapid urbanization, and on the spatial politics of land-use and property. Her work has been published in Pacific Affairs, Economic and Political Weekly, and in edited book chapters. Her book, titled “Shareholder Cities: Agrarian to Urban Land Transformations along Economic Corridors in Liberalizing India” is forthcoming from University of Pennsylvania Press.

Andrea Merrett
PhD Candidate in Architecture, Columbia University, Co-curator, Architexx

Andrea J. Merrett is a PhD candidate in architecture at Columbia University writing her dissertation on the history of feminism in American architecture. Her research has received support through a Buell Center Oral History Prize, a Schlesinger Library Oral History Grant, and the Milka Bliznakov Prize from the International Archive of Women in Architecture. She is co-curator, along with Sarah Rafson, Lori Brown, and Roberta Washington, of Architexx's travelling exhibition Now What?! Advocacy, Activism, and Allies in American Architecture Since 1968.

Ang li
Architect, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Northeastern University

Ang Li is an architect and Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture at Northeastern University. She has participated in exhibitions at the Echo Art Fair in Buffalo, New York, the 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale, and Storefront for Art and Architecture. Her writing and work has been published in Log, Clog, Thresholds, Manifest, Abitare, Wired, and Blueprint.

// power

Stephanie Lee
Co-founder/CEO Spaceus M.Arch Candidate MIT

Stephanie Lee is the co-founder and CEO of Spaceus, which transforms vacant storefronts into collaborative & creative workspace. She is currently finishing her M.Arch degree at MIT.

Amber N. Wiley
Assistant Professor of Art History, Rutgers University

Amber Wiley is an Assistant Professor of Art History at Rutgers University. She specializes in architecture, urbanism, historic preservation, and African American cultural studies. Her research interests are centered on the social aspects of design and how it affects urban communities - architecture as a literal and figural structure of power.

Chandra Rouse
President of GSD African American Student Union, MUP Candidate Harvard Graduate School of Design

Chandra Rouse is an urban development strategist who works to reimagine and redesign space including physical, social and virtual to make cities more just and sustainable. Her research focuses on relations between infrastructure & economic development, sociospatial inequality, and race and gender politics. She holds a BA in Environmental Sciences & Policy from Duke University and is currently pursuing a master's degree in urban planning with a concentration in real estate finance at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Meral Ekincioglu
Scholar and Fellow at MIT

Trained as an architect, Dr. Ekincioglu began her Ph.D. dissertation research at Harvard University and Columbia University before obtaining her degree at Istanbul Technical University in 2011. Following this, she pursued her academic research at the MIT History and Critical Theory Program and has presented her research at various conferences internationally. Dr. Ekincioglu created and developed the first collection of Turkish women architects for Archnet, an online resource at MIT, and more recently has conducted short documentaries and is a contributor to two international publications focusing on women architects.

Teresa Gali-Izard
Principal of Arquitectura Agronomia, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Teresa Gali-Izard, Associate Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and principal of Arquitectura Agronomia, defines herself as a translator of the hidden potential of places. Her research and projects focus in the integration of living systems into the logics of design looking for new beauties and contemporary new languages. She is author of “the same landscapes. Ideas and interpretations.”

Bryony Roberts
Architect, Founder of Bryony Roberts Studio, Visiting Professor at Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Bryony Roberts is an architectural designer and scholar. Based in New York, her practice Bryony Roberts Studio integrates methods from architecture, art, and preservation to respond to complex cultural sites, and has been awarded the Architectural League Prize and the Rome Prize as well as support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Graham Foundation, and the MacDowell Colony. Roberts teaches architecture and preservation at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation in New York.

// activism

Jeana Dunlap
Loeb Fellow 2018-2019, Director of Louisville Metro Government Redevelopment Strategies

Jeana Dunlap is a 2019 Loeb Fellow and public servant who has engaged with public and private interests to direct initiatives supporting placemaking, community development, sustainability, and historic preservation since 2004. She appreciates the need for multidisciplinary approaches when tackling disruptive redevelopment efforts to improve quality of life and place. While facilitating change through the built environment is critical, she also believes that changing mindsets is paramount to achieving vibrant communities.

Jen Grosso
Senior Architectural Professional at SOM, Board Member of ArchiteXX

Jen Grosso, AIA is a licensed architect at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill with expertise in New York City Large-Scale Mixed-Use projects including 35 Hudson Yards and 11 West 61st Street. She is a founding Board Member of the gender equity non-profit Architexx and serves on the Urban Land Institute’s Young Leaders Programming Committee. She holds a B.Arch from Cornell University.

Jess Myers
Writer, Strategist, Editorial consultant, Creator of Here There Be Dragons podcast

Jess Myers is a writer and strategist focusing on urban planning and architecture. Based in New York, she currently works for LaPlaca Cohen, an arts and culture consulting firm and is the editorial consultant for the Service Employees International Union book series on social justice, Taking Freedom, which will be published in collaboration with MIT Community Innovators Lab and Sage Publications in 2019. Her podcast Here There Be Dragons takes an in-depth look at the intersection of identity politics and security politics in public space through the eyes of New Yorkers and Parisians.

Peggy Deamer
Founder and Content Coordinator of Architecture Lobby, Architect, Professor of Architecture at Yale University

Peggy Deamer is Professor of Architecture at Yale University and an architect practicing in New York. She is the editor of Architecture and Capitalism: 1845 to the Present and The Architect as Worker: Immaterial Labor, the Creative Class, and the Politics of Design; she is the co-editor with Phil Bernstein of Building in the Future and BIM in Academia. She is the founder and Content Coordinator of the Architecture Lobby through which she explores the relationship between subjectivity, design, and labor in the current economy.

Maya Harakawa
PhD candidate at CUNY, delegate in CUNY Professional Staff Congress union

Maya Harakawa is a PhD candidate in the Art History Department at the Graduate Center, CUNY where she is writing her dissertation on Harlem in the 1960s. From 2015 to 2018, she taught architectural history at the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at City College. She is a member of and elected delegate in the Professional Staff Congress, the union that represents CUNY faculty and staff.

Sasha Costanza-Chock
Scholar, Activist, Mediamaker, Associate Professor of Civic Media at MIT, Creator of MIT Codesign Studio

Sasha Costanza-Chock (pronouns: they/them or she/her) is a scholar, activist, and media-maker, and currently Associate Professor of Civic Media at MIT. They are a Faculty Associate at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, Faculty Affiliate with the MIT Open Documentary Lab and the MIT Center for Civic Media, and creator of the MIT Codesign Studio (codesign.mit.edu). Their work focuses on social movements, transformative media organizing, and design justice. Sasha’s first book, Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets: Transmedia Organizing and the Immigrant Rights Movement was published by the MIT Press in 2014.