22 Harvard Students Receive Research Funding & Summer Internships


This summer, 22 fellowships and research projects are being funded by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, which has greatly expanded its support for student work this year.

The students are being funded through the Center's Gramlich Fellowship in Community and Economic Development, the Harvard Graduate School of Design's (GSD) Community Service Fellowship Program, the GSD’s Summer Research Fellowship in Housing and Community Development, and a Fellowship in Housing and Community Development for Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) students. Additionally, two students will spend the summer as Research Assistants for the Center. 

“We are pleased that we were able to double the support we provide to students this year,” said David Luberoff, Deputy Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies, who oversees the Center’s fellowship programs. “The fellowships allow these talented students to work with an array of public-sector and nonprofit organizations that are responding to housing-related challenges around the country, many of these challenges associated with the pandemic.”

The Gramlich Fellows in Community and Economic Development who will be working on research projects overseen by the Joint Center for Housing Studies and NeighborWorks® America are:

  • Ben Demers, a Master in Urban Planning and Master in Public Policy student, who will be researching culturally-sensitive ways that leading community organizations in the NeighborWorks network are responding to COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Kyler Yoder, a Master in Public Policy student, who will be examining NeighborWorks’ longstanding efforts to strengthen the boards of the more than 240 community groups in its network.

The GSD Community Service Fellows are:

  • Clara Amenyo, a MUP student, who will work on a neighborhood data portal for the Pratt Center for Community Development in Brooklyn.
  • Nupur Gurjar, an MDE student, and Yidan Hu, an MDes student, who will both work for Greater Grove Hall Main Streets on research related to creating a Green Innovation Zone in that neighborhood of Boston.
  • Cecley Hill, a MUP student, who will help Powerful Pathways, a public interest consultancy in Boston, research creative media tools and design thinking methods to facilitate social change.
  • Elena Ion, a MUP student, who will research and write content for the National Housing Council’s COVID-19 Housing Resource Center, a comprehensive online resource for housing policymakers, practitioners, and advocates.
  • Asher Kaplan, a MUP student, who will work with the City of Providence’s Department of Planning and Development on COVID-19 responses for the department’s “EveryHome in Providence” program.
  • Anne Lin, a MUP/MHP, who will work at The Urban Institute to help implement the High Line Network Equitable Impacts Framework pilot project, which is bringing together individuals involved with a variety of infrastructure reuse projects to ensure the social, environmental, and economic benefits of the projects reach as many people as possible, especially longtime residents of neighboring communities. 
  • Lillian Mensah, a MUP student, who will help develop and maintain a COVID-19 small business policy and resource guide for the Emerald South Economic Collaborative in Chicago.
  • Kanchan Wali-Richardson, an MLA student, who will work with the Kounkuey Design Initiative in Los Angeles on design issues for affordable housing, particularly a project primarily serving migrant farm workers in California’s Coachella Valley.
  • Wenzheng Wang, a MUP student, who will work with the Asian Community Development Corporation in Boston on community planning for a park near Chinatown, and on research into how COVID-19 is affecting Asian-owned small businesses in Quincy, Massachusetts.

The GSD Student Receiving a Summer Research Fellowship in Housing and Community Development is:

  • Martin Quiroga Barrera Oro, a MUP student, who will do research for the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge on the extent of, and responses to, COVID-19 outbreaks in informal settlements found in many Latin American cities.

The HKS Fellows in Housing and Community Development are:

  • Geraud Bablon, an MPP student, who be doing research for the City of Boston’s Housing Innovation Lab on how Boston and other cities are responding to housing issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Jerren Chang, a joint MPP/MBA student, who is developing GenUnity, a civic leadership startup for youth in Boston. 
  • Grady Deacon, an MPP student, who will work with the Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance to evaluate the state’s Rental Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program. 
  • Sam Gilman, an MPP/JD student, who will work with COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project at The Community Firm, a Denver-based nonprofit where he will assist with lawsuits related to illegal evictions in Colorado, research the economic impact of the pandemic on the housing crisis, and provide non-legal support to families facing eviction. 
  • Sietse Goffard, an MPP student, who will work with the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) to help evaluate and expand the Expanding Choice in Housing Opportunities (ECHO) pilot program, which provides technical assistance and information to individuals who receive rental housing vouchers-from BHA. 
  • Samuel Shaffer, an MPP student, who will work at the Basics Learning Network (BLN), a Cambridge-based nonprofit focused on early childhood education, primarily on an initiative to improve early education at family-based daycare centers in Massachusetts.
  • Diana Tian, an MPP student, who will help Enterprise Community Partners’ Opportunity Zone Fund  make investments in inclusive housing developments located in federal Opportunity Zones.

The Joint Center for Housing Studies Summer Research Assistants are:

  • Emily Klein, a GSD MUP student, who will research COVID-19 related housing policies, particularly those focused on renters.
  • Mary Taylor, a GSD MUP student, who will work with JCHS to assemble housing related data and information on housing policies, including those related to COVID-19, in New England, that will help inform the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s next Affordable Housing Lending Plan.

For more information, visit our Fellowships page or contact [email protected]