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!
2021-2022 Board Representatives
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Current Neighborhood: Cincinnati, Ohio
Concentration: Urban Transportation
Planning Interests: Active Transportation, Recreation Planning, Community Engagement, Complete Street Initiatives, Equitable Planning
Hobbies: Biking, reading, city walks, karaoke, improv comedy
Adekemi is of Yoruba descent by way of Nigeria and grew up outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. Her upbringing as an African-American in the suburban midwest led to her desire to not only learn but place herself within ethnically diverse and densely built communities. Adekemi fell in love with Chicago over twenty years ago during the summers when her family would attend the Taste of Chicago, where she not only tasted great food but saw a glimpse of how public transit benefitted the city. This got her considering design and transit options elsewhere. For the past six years, Adekemi has worked as a flight attendant with a major US airline, granting her the opportunity to walk, bike, scoot, bus, train, tram, drive and fly in different environments. Adekemi has held a variety of service-related positions but begun to grow into her own this past summer, as an intern with the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, in the Transportation Planning Section. There she researched the feasibility of implementing pedestrian designs into new developments.
Hometown: Berwyn, IL
Current Neighborhood: Berwyn, IL
Concentration: Urban Transportation
Planning Interests: Transit, Equitable transit-oriented development, Complete Streets, GIS and democratizing data, Green and grey infrastructure in flood mitigation, Disaster mitigation planning
Hobbies: Exploring cities, Learning about transit systems, Watching comedy shows, Performing improv comedy, board games, finding new local restaurants
While Matthew grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, he gained an appreciation in transit after he left the area to work in Houston, TX. He started working as a GIS Analyst at Rice University's Kinder Institute for Urban Research. Living in an absence in efficient public transit forced him to appreciate and see how sunbelt cities tackle mobility issues across their expansive and challenging geographies. After a few years working at Rice supporting the Urban Data Platform and urban research in the Houston area, he was excited to take his knowledge of sunbelt development and transit growth to CUPPA to start in the MUPP program. He hopes to build on his professional and academic knowledge since his Bachelor’s from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied political science, geography and GIS. In his free time, Matthew enjoys exploring new cities and neighborhoods, and watching and performing in improv comedy shows.
Hometown: Citrus Heights, CA
Current Neighborhood: Little Italy
Concentration: Economic Development
Planning Interests: Equitable Transit Oriented Development, Affordable Housing, Public Transportation, Complete Streets, Nighttime Economy, GIS
Hobbies: Going to the movies, attending shows and clubs, running, reading, traveling, making and drinking coffee
David is beginning his second and final year at CUPPA. Over the summer, David interned for an affordable housing developer, where he is learning about grant applications, tax credit deals, the construction process, and social services provided to targeted populations. In addition to housing, David also loves exploring transportation systems, and is interested in studying the exploring of the two in his future career. Raised in the suburbs of Sacramento, David witnessed firsthand the socioeconomic inequities that are inherent to auto dependency and sprawl. Prior to moving to Chicago, David studied Film Production at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and became fascinated by the transportation and housing issues that plague the region. David has held jobs in many industries, including film and television, theater, advertising, cheese, wine, and beer, and, most recently, coffee. In addition, he has participated in housing and transportation activism. The past year of very limited contact with classmates has been rough for everyone, and David is excited to meet more people and have lots of in person events this upcoming academic year!
Hometown: Elmhurst, IL
Current Neighborhood: Wicker Park
Concentration: Spatial Planning
Planning Interests: Real estate development, architecture, land use, politics, community engagement, environmental/economic planning, historic preservation, public art, green infrastructure, climate adaptation, and vertical/urban agriculture
Hobbies: Reading, yoga, running, boating, biking (basically anything outdoors), art, picnics, and music
Adam grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago and seeing the distant “manmade mountain range” of the skyline always fascinated him. With quick access to the city, he spent his free time as an urban explorer and learning about different cultures near his home. When he went to undergrad at the University of Missouri, a traditional college campus in what many call a “fly-over state,” his appreciation for urban spaces only grew. After graduating, Adam moved to Chicago and became passionate about transforming cities to better serve both people and the planet. Adam also spent time in Boulder, CO, which inspired his vision to bring nature into urban environments. Working in the tech industry before joining the MUPP program, he had conversations with different developers to understand how he could find a way for himself to make an impact on cities. Adam is currently focused on the development, financing, design, and construction process for projects and hopes to impact the decision-making process for a greener and more equitable future. He just completed an internship at Element Properties in Boulder, where he oversaw multiple projects in different phases, from mega projects, housing and office spaces, and affordable projects. He is committed to creating a better future for urban spaces that attract people to live, work, and play sustainably.
American Planning Association Representative
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Current Neighborhood: West Town
Concentration: Community Development/Community Health Sciences
Planning Interests: Community economic development, affordable housing, healthy housing, urban food systems, zoning policies, and land use.
Hobbies: Cooking, exploring new restaurants, reading, biking, functional fitness
Henry grew up in sunny Los Angeles, CA where access to the beach was a breeze but he wanted a little more adventure and to experience the seasons. After graduating High School he started school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he both experienced the seasons (the first winter was brutal) and found a love for the Midwest. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and spending 8 months as a legal assistant for an immigrant rights group in Ann Arbor he moved to Chicago. Chicago is where his love for urban space began. Having grown up in Los Angeles and not having access to reliable public transportation the ease of access to the L did and still does bring about a sense of wonder and freedom.
Having just moved to Chicago he had to find a job and eventually ended up at a local non-profit, the Latin United Community Housing Association (LUCHA). Having had no prior experience working for an organization focused on housing he knew this was going to be a big shift and would have a steep learning curve. Ultimately this was a profoundly important role for him as it further solidified his understanding of the systemic racial inequities associated with access to affordable housing and underlined the way health and wellness are deeply intertwined with financial stability. The connections he saw on a day-to-day basis between the economic, health, and societal forces that produce the injustices that plague communities of color led him to seek out the MUPP program and complete a dual master’s degree in public health to better understand the forces at play and connect with people with likeminded values and ambitions.