UIC Urban Planning and Policy Student Association, 2018
 

About

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: 

2018-2019 Board Representatives

Blake Grigsby
President

Hometown: Lexington, KY

Concentration: Environmental Planning & Policy

Planning Interests: Green design, sustainability, environmental and economic justice, spatial analysis, and equity planning

Hobbies: Cycling, gardening, reading, cooking, rugby, various outdoor activities, photography, and enjoying a good cup of coffee.

 

A native of Lexington, KY, Blake was exposed to the workings of the urban environment in historic preservation and code enforcement. At the University of Kentucky, he served as a treasurer for his collegiate rugby club and served on the Student Sustainability Council to help promote green initiatives on campus. Majoring in Forestry and Sustainable Agriculture, he then started his career working arborist and eventually working on urban farming initiatives in his hometown and in Chicago. He decided to jump career paths to two years with AmeriCorps at City Year Chicago, where he worked as a mentor for high school students and organized community service initiatives in many neighborhoods around the city. With a resurging love of the flows and structures of the urban environment, he decided to enroll in the MUPP program at UIC where he has helped put together the 2018 Urban Innovation Symposium and worked with researchers and community members in Blue Island, IL on brownfield redevelopment. He has also had the privilege to intern with the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, working on formulating economic development plans around the Belmont Theater Distict and working with developers on the newly conceived Low-Line project under the tracks of the Brown Line. Outside of work, you can catch him exploring breweries, attending various music and comedy shows, and cycling to the nearest beach front to read a book. 

Deepika Vadrevu
Secretary

Hometown: Buraidah, Saudi Arabia 

Concentration: Transportation Planning

Planning Interests: Mass-Transit, Transit-Oriented Development, Community Engagement, Equity 

Hobbies: Cooking, sketching, calligraphy, dancing and exploring new places. 

As an Indian raised in Saudi Arabia, Deepika considers herself to be a part of both cultures equally. She has an undergraduate degree in Architecture and went on to work in the field for four years. At her first job, she was involved with the drafting of architectural details of the Metro train stations in New Delhi, India. During this time she grew more curious about the route planning and placement of their transit stations. By her fourth year in the field, she decided to expand her professional horizons by becoming an Urban Planner. Enthralled by the architectural and cultural diversity of Chicago, Deepika was compelled to pursue her interest in transportation planning by enrolling in the MUPP program at UIC. Through this program, she hopes to provide faster, safer, more efficient and equitable transit options to those who rely heavily on public transportation like herself. 

 

Jeff Wozencraft
Alumni Relations Officer

Hometown: Arlington Heights, IL

Concentration: Housing, community development, economic development, planning and health, global cities

Planning interests: Affordable Housing, taxation and housing policy.

Hobbies: Soccer, basketball, dancing, exploring Chicago neighborhoods, languages, amateur birding and trying to improve my Excel skills 

Jeff graduated from Knox College in 2010 with degrees in Spanish and Economics. After graduating, he immediately joined the Peace Corps in Cape Verde working and local youth center and co-founding a small environmental conservation group. Once back in Chicago, he worked in the sports-based youth development sector, managing a leadership development program in almost 25 schools across the city. This sparked his interest in urban planning and led him to the Masters in Urban Planning and Policy program at UIC. He's super excited to be working at the Voorhees Center supporting neighborhood development work across Chicago. 

Andrew Brown
Symposium Co-Coordinator

Hometown: Woodstock, IL

Concentration: Economic Development

Planning interests: Sustainability, local economic development, BRAC/T, economic mobility

Hobbies: Brewing, fitness, traveling, cooking, coffee and beer

 

Andrew grew up in Woodstock, Illinois and earned his bachelor's degree in Supply Chain Management and Operations Management at the University of Minnesota. He spent five years in the United States Army as an Engineer Officer traveling the world in different capacities. He's come back to Chicago to learn his Army experience can translate in the planning world. He is still in the United States Army Reserve while he pursues his degree. He has had the privilege of taking advantage of the MUPP Student Exchanges to Ireland, France and Switzerland and recommends them all. His current interest is in sustainability and incorporating more sustainable goals into city planning. 

Alexis Stein
Chief Marketing Officer

Hometown: Denver, CO 
Concentration: Spatial Planning

Planning Interests: Community engagement, urban design, urban agriculture, placemaking, international development, affordable housing
Hobbies: Hiking, traveling, creating art, cooking, gardening and yoga

 

Alexis grew up in Denver, Colorado, but her love for urban environments brought her to Chicago to study at DePaul University. There she studied International Studies and Geography, concentrating in Political Ecology and focusing on international politics and planning issues. As an undergraduate, she became interested in community and environmental planning through work as an ESL teacher and an intern at Heartland Alliance and Environment Illinois. After graduating, she moved to Germany where she gathered inspiration from the European city planning tradition. In 2017, she moved back to Chicago to pursue her Masters and currently works as an assistant for community planning, programs and research at Great Cities Institute where she helps create community plans for neighborhoods throughout the Chicago area.

Evan Clements
APA-IL Representative

Hometown: Boston, MA
Concentration: Environmental Planning & Policy

Planning Interests: Land use planning solutions to environmental problems and preparing communities for climate change challenges
Hobbies: Cooking, board games, storytelling, CrossFit, traveling, juggling around the various animals in his life

 

Evan was born and raised right outside of Boston, MA. He attended Lesley University in Cambridge, MA and graduated with a bachelor's in World History and Secondary Education. After several years or pursuing various paths, the growing threat of climate change encouraged him to seek a career in finding solutions to the impending challenges cities would face. He moved to Chicago in 2017 to attend UIC's MUPP program and receive a cutting-edge planning education. He is most interested in municipal land use planning and how his education in environmental issues and systems can aid local government in making resilient and sustainable decisions that will have long-term benefits for both the community he works for and the surrounding region. He is currently the Planning Intern for the Village of Glen Ellyn, IL and is working on various projects including a 68-property annexation, site plan review for an incoming commercial business, and the Village's Comprehensive Plan Update. If he had free time, it would be used for exploring the amazing city of Chicago and playing games with friends. 

Sara Haney
Vice President

Hometown: Albuquerque, NM 
Concentration: Environmental Planning & Policy

Planning Interests: Equitable access to greenspace, geospatial analysis, urban ecosystems, and environmental modeling
Hobbies: Soccer, CrossFit, exploring outdoors, traveling, trying exotic foods, cooking and identifying/collecting rocks 

Sara has lived in many places around the country but mostly grew up in the Southwest. She moved to Illinois in 2013 and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor's in Environmental Science. She decided to pursue graduate school the following academic year as her passion for environmental and societal health continued to grow. She is interested in equitable access to greenspace within the urban environment and how it affects mental and physical health, as well as understanding the economic effects of environmental systems through modeling methods. Sara is currently a Strategic Planning Intern at the Regional Transportation Authority working with GIS and data analysis to help solve the first mile/last mile problem in Chicago and nearby suburbs. On her free time you can find her at the gym, cycling, trying new coffee shops, or at music shows and events.

Asher Kohn
Treasurer

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Concentration: Economic Development 

Planning Interests: Urban finance, equity planning, migrations

Hobbies: Soccer, reading, eating chickpeas, walking & biking around the city

Asher grew up in the Chicago area and studied southeast European history in the early 20th century at the University of Maryland. He went to law school at Washington University in St. Louis and worked as journalist in Turkey before coming to UIC, where he looked at how migratory flows of people and capital play out in the city. 

Mary Nicol
Partnerships Officer

Hometown: Lake Barrington, IL
Concentration:  Environmental Planning & Policy

Planning Interests: Resilience, climate adaptation and mitigation, sustainable transportation, smart cities 
Hobbies:
 Spending time on or near water, hanging out with my dog Charlotte, and cheering for the Cubs

After spending a decade advocating for climate change solutions as an environmental campaigner, Mary was inspired to pursue a degree in Urban Planning to gain skills to help re-envision how cities are built in the era of climate change. Mary is interested in bold planning solutions that enable communities to become more just, sustainable, and resilient. Mary is also a board member of Women in Planning and Public Administration, and a Mayoral Fellow for the City of Chicago. 

Dylan O'Reilly
Chief Activities Officer

Hometown: Park Ridge, IL
Concentration: Environmental Planning & Policy

Planning Interests: Sustainable development, climate resiliency. environmental justice, and green infrastructure
Hobbies: Running, reading, and spending time with friends and family

Dylan discovered her vocation for urban sustainability while in her high school AP Environmental Science course. With this goal in mind, she majored in environmental science with concentrations in biology and public health at Santa Clara University, where she graduated in 2018. Dylan is especially interested in the intersectionality between environment, race, poverty and human health. During her time as SCU, she served as the Energy Conservation Intern at Silicon Valley Power and as a Project Management Intern at the biotech company, Genentech. Dylan is currently a Research and Innovation Intern at Current Water where she assists the Current team on developing and implementing projects related to advanced research, technology demonstration and commercialization of water conservation technologies. 

Hannah Bader
Symposium Co-coordinator

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
Concentration:  Community Development

Planning Interests: Green infrastructure, sustainability, affordable housing, community revitalization 
Hobbies: Biking, cooking, drawing, yoga, traveling/exploring

Hannah grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and earned her Bachelors in Environmental Design from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She spent the past two years traveling in Central and South America, teaching and working at a Landscape Architecture/Urban Design firm in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is currently a first year in the MUPP program and working with the Office of Sustainability as a Graduate Graphic Design Assistant. Hannah is excited to continue to learn about incorporating sustainable practices into the planning of cities and provide neighborhoods equal access to green space. 

Hunter Gillaspie
1st Year Student Representative

Hometown: Marion, IA 
Concentration: Spatial Planning & Economic Development

Planning Interests: Urbanism, transit-oriented development, justice and equity, real estate development, urban design, housing, socioeconomic segregation
Hobbies: Traveling, food, being a tourist in my own city, spending time with friends and family

 

Hunter grew up in Marion, Iowa surrounded by good people and a supportive family. He first began to think about urban planning at a young age, without knowing what that was, during countless hours of SimCity, regular pursuit of urban development forums, and tuning into the happenings around his community. He attended the University of Iowa in Iowa City during his undergraduate years, where he explored a variety of interests, met a ton of amazing people, and had numerous enriching experiences. Among those were being a member of Delta Lambda Phi, a queer progressive fraternity, studying abroad and being immersed in the culture of Kerala, India being involved with the University of Iowa Student Government, and engaging in a spring break service learning experience focused on public health. His classwork included planning livable cities, GIS, transportation, urban economic, geo-visualization, and megacities, among others. He graduated from Iowa in May 2018 with a bachelor's degree in Ethics & Public Policy. He spent his last two summers working in his home community as a Community Development Intern with the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, and as an Urban Planning Intern with the City of Cedar Rapids. He moved to Chicago in August to begin the MUPP program here at UIC. He is looking forward to being involved with UPPSA, engaging with his coursework, and expanding his network within the institution and community. He lives in Lakeview and works as Analyst with Johnson Consulting, where he does market analysis, demographic research, and financial pro forma for development projects such as convention centers, cultural and performing arts facilities, sports and recreation complexes, and other unique real estate. 

Sandy Koo
Symposium Co-Coordinator

Hometown: Deerfield, IL
Concentration: Economic Development and Urban Transportation

Planning Interests: Land use and zoning regulations and their impact on housing, economic development, and urban transportation 
Hobbies: Traveling, trying new restaurants and bars in the city, playing the piano, and reading historical biographies 

Originally from Deerfield, Illinois, Sandy attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio before transferring to UIC to be closer to family and the city. She majored in History and minored in Political Science, graduating with a distinction in the Department of History in 2005. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Political Science as UIC, focusing on urban politics and urban governance strategies in the affordable housing regime. As a MUPP, her concentration will be on economic development and urban transportation. She hopes her background in the political science field will help contribute to the discussion of planning for more accessible affordable housing by addressing economic and transportation concerns that inevitably affect and are affected by affordable housing. in her free time she works as a paralegal and legal project assistant at a downtown law firm.