VPT Lab Research Assistants

Catherine Velarde-Perez

Catherine Velarde received her Bachelors in Sociology from Florida International University and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Urban Planning from Florida Atlantic University. Catherine’s academic interests include affordable housing, social equality, and sustainability within the urban environment.

Connor Bailey

My name is Connor Bailey and I am currently a student in the MURP Program here at FAU. In the Spring of 2017, I received my Bachelor’s degree in Urban Design from FAU.  I am working as a planner in the Land Development Division of WGI, a civil engineering and planning firm in West Palm Beach. In addition, I also work with Professor Mitsova on a Sea Grant project involving North Beach Village close to downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Lisa Colmenares

Lisa Colmenares

Lisa has twenty years experience as a Planning & Transportation Manager. She is currently the Planning Manager at the Florida Department of Transportation, District Six, overseeing Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties managing the MPO Coordination, Corridor Planning, Statistics, Systems Planning, Bicycle and Pedestrian units. She held the Director of Transportation Planning position at Calvin Giordano, and assisted in the management of the Planning Department at the Corradino Group. Ms. Colmenares has managed a multimodal transportation contract for the Florida Department of Transportation, assisting with roles of Seaport, Aviation, Freight, Transit, Rail, and Intermodal Program Administration. She has extensive experience working with multimodal capital and growth management projects, including more than a dozen Growth Management Plans from Homestead to Saint Lucie County. She has also managed transit projects in South Florida and infrastructure development for the World Bank (IRDB) and the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) in South America. Ms. Colmenares has developed and implemented a diversity of urban development projects throughout her career, assisting local and regional agencies, and has represented multiple agencies within MPO’s Long Range Transportation Plan Committee and Transportation Improvement Program Committee. She represented the City of Weston at the TCC for the Broward County Planning Council.  She has drafted a series of ordinances and resolutions pertaining to land use, urban design, concurrency, capital programs and transportation. She is currently an Adjunct Faculty at Florida Atlantic University.

Nadia St. Hilaire


Nadia started working on the NSF CRISP project in June 2016. As a first generation Haitian-American, Haiti and its people have always held a special place in her heart. Having been to Haiti before, she was interested in seeing it from a different perspective, not just as a tourist. Last June, she went to the capital with a group of missionaries and had the opportunity to see the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. It was this trip last year that really made her think about how she can help. This is what motivated her to participate in the NSF project. Nadia graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations from the University of Florida in 2009. Upon graduation, she took a position as South Florida Coordinator for the UF MBA program working with community group partnerships that raise the program’s profile, overseeing planning and execution of student/alumni enrichment activities to increase overall network value, designing and developing prospect tracking system to measure effectiveness of prospect auditing experience.

Allison Goldberg


Allison collaborated on the NSF CRISP project during the Spring semester of 2016. She collected data and reviewed literature on social networks and Web 2.0 resources in disaster management. Allison graduated in May 2016. She received the 2015 Student of the Year Award at the American Planning Association Florida Chapter Annual Meeting in Hollywood. Upon her arrival at FAU in August 2014, Allison was asked to provide assistance with updating the College for Design and Social Inquiry Emergency Response Plan and the Unit Continuity of Operations Plan. During her first year in graduate school, she also worked as a graduate research assistant on a project funded by the Kresge Foundation to analyze the public health effects of sea level rise on vulnerable populations in southeast Florida. This project will provide Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties with critical information towards planning for a safer future. Allison worked on another research project funded through the National Science Foundation to analyze the networking and relationships that arose after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. This project will help transform and extend overall knowledge and theories related to the international dimensions of recovery by advancing transnational capacity, coordination, and rebuilding efforts in the Caribbean. By analyzing the social networks involved in disaster management, this project provides a well-developed framework for bolstering support and improving recovery efforts. Allison has also completed an internship with Broward County’s Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division that involved several important tasks that illustrate her effectiveness and potential for success as a professional planner.

Kevin Cresswell


Kevin collaborated on the NSF CRISP Project during the Spring semester of 2016. He collected GIS data, conducted a literature search, and prepared GIS files for the NSF project. He graduated in May 2016. While at FAU, he also worked on several other projects including a project on coastal resilience funded by The Nature Conservancy. Additionally, he performed research on community redevelopment initiatives in Broward County, FL for FAU’s Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions (CUES). At FAU, Kevin also volunteered as a student note-taker for the FAU Student Accessibility Services and presented research at the 3rd Sea Level Rise Summit in Fort Lauderdale. He graduated from the University of Denver, Daniel’s College of Business, with a BS in International Business and minor in Communication Studies. While at the University of Denver, he earned multiple mentions on the Dean’s List, became a Hornbeck Scholar, and was on University of Denver Environmental Team. In the past, he has worked with the Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County, PA, and the Calvert Social Investment Foundation (Bethesda, MD). Kevin has previously interned with Broward County twice, in the Environmental Sustainability and Community Resilience Division, as well as the Housing Finance and Community Redevelopment Division, respectively.

Alexis Pena

Jokebede Mozumber

Rayan Alhawiti


Past VPT Lab Research Assistants

Alan Alvarez, Lorena Araya, David Baron, Deepangkar Bhattacharjee, Anne C. Carrie, Chris Chagdes, Elizabeth Chang, Andrew Clay, Tim Corp, Peter Gies, Florentina Hutt, Donald Johnson, Rachel Kalin, Matthew Kurry, Bill Lockwood, Dawn Losi, Tomas McCarty, Christine Mitchell, Rene Miller, Emily Moldovan, Josh Ooyman, Thuy Pham, Macline Pierre , Brian Rock, Jennifer Rosenberg, Nicholas Sofoul, Mike Stamm, Sara Stevenson, Marta Viciedo, Andrew Yansey, Stephanie Reed