Ralph W. Voorhees Center Faculty and Student Research Assistants
Ryan Cote is a first year Master of City and Regional Planning student at the Bloustein School. He is interested in helping shape cities that are more inclusive to all its citizens, especially low-income neighborhoods and youth. Before attending the Bloustein School Ryan taught special education in low-income communities of Washington DC for two years. He graduated from the University of Oregon with bachelors in international development in 2012.
Christian Mercado is a second year Master of City and Regional Planning candidate at the Bloustein School. He is passionate about redesigning our communities to be more resilient against the repercussions of climate change, energy shortages, and social and economic inequality. Chris has engaged himself in developing elevated developments in flood prone urban areas in Jersey City, and research in healthy food access in urban food deserts in Trenton. He graduated from The College of New Jersey with a BA in Sociology in 2013.
Matthew Rigney is a first year Master of City and Regional Planning student at the Bloustein School. He is passionate about building grassroots and democratic community development projects as the local foundations of a more just and sustainable global future. He has worked on field organizing for electoral campaigns in Wisconsin and on data and project management for the Houston Food Bank in his home state of Texas.
Jakob Schneider is a second year MCRP candidate at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. He is interested in community responses to crises and how the shifting landscapes and relationships of economy, politics, and the state inform these local response efforts. His current research focuses on the responses of a working-class town to a wave of foreclosures and then Superstorm Sandy. Prior to attending Rutgers, he was a construction manager in the Chicago area. He has a BA in Sociology from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.
Joni Webster is a graduate student in the School of Public Health, with a dual concentration in Health Education & Behavioral Science and Epidemiology. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist and has experience working with individuals struggling with substance abuse and alcohol addiction. Joni is passionate about serving minority, as well as economically and socially underserved communities, and to that end she has worked with the Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy to develop an undergraduate certificate in health disparities to train future public health workers to meet the needs of disparate populations. She is a firm believer in Ubuntu, an African philosophy relating to social responsibility, which states, “I am, because we are”. Upon graduation, Joni hopes to pursue a PhD in Social Inequality or Sociomedical Science.
Kathe Newman, PhD
Kathe Newman is an Associate Professor in the Urban Planning and Policy Development Program at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and Director of the Ralph W. Voorhees Center for Civic Engagement. Dr. Newman holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Graduate School and University Center at the City University of New York. Her research explores urban change, what it is, why it happens, and what it means. Her research has explored gentrification, foreclosure, urban redevelopment, food security, community economic development and community participation. Dr. Newman has published articles in Urban Studies, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Urban Affairs Review, Shelterforce, Progress in Human Geography, Housing Studies, GeoJournal, and Environment and Planning A and is currently co-authoring a book with J. Philip Thompson and Ross Gittell on Community Based Organizations for Sage Publications.