UPPSA takes planning school beyond the classroom.  
We provide opportunities for professional, academic, social, and philanthropic events, and serve as a vehicle for student input into the MUPP program administration.  In a planning program that's one of the largest in the nation, UPPSA helps students connect, interact, and engage. We're always looking for new opportunities, events, and volunteers -- contact us anytime!

Past UPPSA Board Representatives: 

2015-2016 Board Representatives

Paulina Martínez

Hometown: Hidalgo, México/Joliet, IL

Concentration: Economic Development

Planning Interests: social and economic equity, workforce development, tourism planning, local economic development strategies, citizen participation in the planning process

Hobbies: crossfit, pokémon, fútbol, traveling, biking


Paulina was born and raised until the age of 9 in a small rural town in central México, and then lived in Joliet, Illinois until finally moving to Chicago in January 2014. Her background is in Tourism Management, which led her to become interested in Urban Planning from a tourism perspective. She is interested in using community-based tourism as an economic development tool, as well as local economy strategies, and workforce development. She currently serves as a research assistant at World Business Chicago through UIC.


Billy Drew
Vice President

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Concentration: Transportation and Community Development

Planning Interests: Data visualiazation, community edevlopment, equitable transportation planning

Hobbies: running, swimming, basketball, music

Billy’s interest in urban planning comes his desire to see sustainable community driven development happen on the Southwest Side of Chicago. Growing up an area that was low income and predominately Latino he noticed the lack of resources and opportunities that were available in his community. Wanting to learn more about strategies and tools for development and improving the quality of live for disadvantaged communities is what lead him to seek a degree in planning, particularly from a research first program like the MUPP program.  His interests include GIS and data visualization, community development, and equitable transportation planning.  Billy received a B.A. in Latin American Studies and Spanish from the University of Iowa.  He currently lives in the McKinley Park neighborhood. Naturally, he’s a Sox fan.

Paul Needham

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Concentration: Spatial Planning

Planning Interests: Public transit, transit oriented development, complete street policy, public space

Hobbies: Hockey, traveling, stand-up comedy, movie nerd


Paul was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He moved to Chicago in 2013 to begin grad school at UIC. Travelling to countries around the world and observing each city’s unique qualities spurred his interest into the relationship between people and the built environment. Paul has a background in urban studies and architectural drafting and design. His interests include transit oriented development, public transit, land use planning, placemaking, and public space.

Katanya Henry
APA Representative, 2016

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Concentration: Spatial Planning

Planning Interests: Historic preservation, placemaking, building equitable communities, infrastructure development
Hobbies: Painting, sculpting, urban photography, network diversification

Katanya was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. Growing up in the big city encouraged her to investigate how cities work and nurtured her interest in infrastructure development and the role it plays in the communities of her hometown. She has an affinity for architecture and city design and looks forward to developing her career around advocating for equitable communities with attractive yet affordable and efficient design

Sophia Parr
Chief Activities Officer

Hometown: Elmhurst, IL

Concentration: Transportation Planning

Planning Interests: Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation, Transit Planning

Hobbies: Cylcing, Triathlons, Exploring Chicago


After graduating with a degree in business Sophia spent a few years working in Chicago's corporate world. Her daily commute along the Red Line (back in the days before the new Fullerton Station was completed and even getting to the platform was a commute) opened her eyes to the way people travel through the city. She decided to quit the corporate world for the time being and start talking transit. She hopes to spread the public transit love and educate people on its benefits as well as work on improving the way people travel through our city with the thought that one day no one will own a car.


Taylor Harrington
Symposium Coordinator

Hometown: Roanoke, Virginia
Concentration: Economic Development
Planning Interests: Equitable Housing Policy, Informal Economies, Community Participation in the Planning Process
Hobbies: Biking, Cooking, Backpacking.

Taylor grew up in the southern Appalachian mountains. She was drawn to planning after hoping to find a better way to balance urban and rural development in a manner that sustainably provides for disparate communities. During undergraduate study, she became passionate about social equity in planning processes that shape our world. At UIC, her studies focus on sustainable economic development practices as well as equitable housing policy.

Lynn Schneider

Hometown: Carmel, Indiana

Concentration: Economic Development

Planning Interests: Tactical urbanism practices, small-scale redevelopment efforts, the intersection of transportation and economic development

Hobbies: Cooking, reading, running, painting and Jeopardy


Lynn, a native Hoosier, began to think critically about the urban environment during her time living in Changsha China. Seeing the emerging issues of the rapidly expanding city helped her realize her passion for urban planning. Since that time she has continued to pursue her interest in urban planning at UIC and through various internships with the City of Evanston, IDOT, Integra Realty Resources, and Muse Community and Design. After graduation, Lynn hopes to work on neighborhood-based revitalization efforts in economically distressed areas.

Anthony Jones
Alumni Relations Officer

Hometown: Clarksville, Tennessee
Concentration: Transportation Planning, International and Globalization Planning

Planning Interests: Transportation Funding, Public Transit Accessibility
Hobbies: Running, reading, water sports, traveling, and foodie!!

Anthony is a child of the military and has lived across the southern United States. He realized his passion for urban planning while experiencing the deterioration of the downtown and low income areas of the city of Memphis, where business are diminishing, issues of unreliable transportation, plight, and various disparities have become the norm. His interests in urban planning are economic development, transit accessibility to employment areas, and how anchor institutions and transit interact with cities and citizens.

Rodolfo Moreno
Chief Marketing Officer
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Hometown: Elmwood Park, IL 
Concentration: Environmental Planning and Policy
Hobbies: Listening to all types of music, piano playing, drawing, visual arts, making stuff 

Rudy’s studies have been diverse and have included music, architecture, environmental science and urban planning. He found his excitement for the planning field in a sustainable planning seminar class where he learned that sustainable planning requires the ability to understand the ecological connections and tradeoffs of various elements including site and building design. Stemming from this, his interest in urban planning is a multidisciplinary approach in creating livable, healthy, and vibrant cities and towns.

Michael Cornfield
APA Representative, 2015-2016

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Concentration: Transportation

Planning Interests: Transit planning, transportation funding and finance, and transit oriented development
Hobbies: Chicago history, distance running, and amateurish carpentry

Michael grew up in and around Chicago and developed an intense interest in its neighborhoods, its management, and its eccentricities. During a summer job as a liquor driver, he saw the city from inside out and was deeply impacted by the effects of place, public investment, and the cultural capital of neighborhoods. Michael's interests are in the relationship between transportation and land use planning and their ability to benefit and improve one another.