Graduate Scholar Recipients

Bree Akesson Marcel Endres
Monika Alovjanovic Phyllis J. Henderson
Heraldo Ferreira Borges Thanh Nguyen
Liliana De Simone Jessica Elaine Reilly
Rachele Dini

Graduate Scholar Winners

Bree Akesson
Bree-AkessonMs. Bree Akesson has more than a decade of experience working with children, families, and communities affected by poverty, disaster, and war. She is a licensed social worker (LMSW), providing clinical support to children and families affected by trauma for the Child Psychiatric Epidemiology Group at the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at New York State Psychiatric Institute. Ms. Akesson also consults as a research associate for the Columbia Group for Children in Adversity, offering technical assistance to governments, operational agencies, and policymakers. She formerly worked as program manager for Columbia University’s Care and Protection of Children in Crisis-Affected Settings research initiative, working to strengthen the evidence base of child protection programs in Ethiopia, Liberia, Indonesia, the occupied Palestinian territories, Sierra Leone, and northern Uganda. Ms. Akesson has consulted for the International Rescue Committee, Bernard van Leer Foundation, Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development, UNICEF, and Save the Children.

As a PhD student at McGill University School of Social Work in Montrèal, Quèbec, Ms. Akesson was recently awarded the 2011 Vanier Canadian Graduate Scholarship in recognition of her research. A sample of her research projects include program evaluations of psychosocial activities for war-affected children in Chechnya and northern Uganda, a review of international safe space programs for young children in emergency settings, and a longitudinal study examining the effects of parental incarceration on children living in New York City. Ms. Akesson’s doctoral research focuses on the effects of political violence on young children and their families. She aims to specifically explore the role of place in the lives of children and families who have experienced generations of displacement due to war and occupation. Using the context of the occupied Palestinian territories, her research utilizes a novel socio-spatial methodology. This approach reveals how war-affected children and families interpret, understand, and navigate their physical and social environments, opening up new avenues to discover how their’s lives are shaped by place in the face of adversity.

Ms. Akesson studied at Columbia University in New York City, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Sociology from Columbia College, a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Forced Migration and Health from the Mailman School of Public Health, and a Master of Science (MS) in Health, Mental Health, and Disabilities from Columbia University’s School of Social Work.


Monika Alovjanovic
Monika-AlovjanovicMonika Alovjanovic is an anthropology student from Serbia. In 2010, she graduated from the University of Belgrade with a Bachelors of Political Sciences, and she is currently working towards a Masters degree at Central European University in Budapest. She is in the process of writing her graduate thesis with a concentration on the relationship between informal social networks and urban planning in Berlin. Monika is interested in the relationship between lived urban experience and neoliberal urban planning, and she analyzes the interplay between urban creativity, citizenship and processes of place-making.

Heraldo Ferreira Borges
Heraldo-Ferreira-BorgesHeraldo Ferreira Borges (Vitória/Brazil, 1975) is a student of the Master in Urban Design and Public Space Project at the Faculty of Architecture of the Technical University of Lisbon. Develops works primarily in the areas of infrastructure design and metropolitan morphology and morphogenesis which were presented at diverse scientific conferences in Brazil, Portugal and Spain. Also develops audiovisual and urban interventions projects.

Liliana De Simone
Liliana-De-SimoneLiliana De Simone’s research focuses on the relations between urban space and the conceptions of public or pseudo-public realms in modern cities. Her research in shopping malls and other retail structures encourages an empathetic understanding of these places as pseudo-public spaces in an urban privatized context. Her work explores, in a theoretical and architectonic way, the physical possibilities of these symbolic representations. Her work is interdisciplinary, combining methodologies, theories, and approaches from social sciences and urbanism. De Simone’s work is especially concerned with redesigning ethnographic methodologies applied to the study and planning of cities. Another interest in De Simone’s work is the evolution of meanings in the uses of space in political contexts. Her previous works explored the uses of public space by memorialization processes in Chilean cities. Her next academic project will look after the meanings of the public in gender marked spaces situated in socially and economically segregated areas. Liliana De Simone teaches courses in history and theory of architecture, urbanism, urban design and planning, focusing on commercial and retail urbanism as a key factor for understanding the last decades in urban evolution. Liliana De Simone`s two current research projects seek to investigate the interaction of urban life and city space as they intersect with new forms of privatization of the public, new forms of governance, and new paradigms of urban planning. The first project analyzes the shift in the economic and social role of shopping malls in Santiago de Chile in the past thirty years, where former suburban malls became central places for social experiences by adopting different spatial formations. This work will be published as a book in 2012. The second project is entitled “Guerrilla Food: The Disputes for Occupy the Street: Visualizing Urban Contra Culture”. It examines the recently proscribed street food scene in Santiago de Chile by focusing on the subversive occupation of public spaces by vendors and consumers. This book is currently on printing and it will be published on December, 2011.

Rachele Dini
Rachele-DiniRachele Dini is a postgraduate student in the English Department at University College London (UCL). She received her undergraduate degree from Cambridge University, and recently completed an MA in 20th century urban literature at King’s College London. She is particularly interested in the intersection between literature and architecture, the relation between self and place, and the degree to which the material and imagined city shapes individual and collective identity. Her MA dissertation was on representations of the city in the work of the early-twentieth century writer Fernando Pessoa examined these themes in relation to The Book of Disquiet – an unfinished, faux autobiography in fragments in which the streets of Lisbon, and the strange detritus that litter its pavements, speak of the insubstantiality and indeterminacy of the modern world and the shifting nature of urban experience. Her PhD thesis expands upon these themes, addressing the representation of (found, broken, lost and automated) objects, and the text-as-urban-relic, in the work of a number of Pessoa’s Anglo-European urban contemporaries, with a particular focus on Paris, London, Berlin, Lisbon, and Turin.

Marcel Endres
Marcel-EndresMarcel Endres studied Sociology, Geography and Cultural Anthropology at Darmstadt University of Technology Darmstadt and Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. He is a doctoral candidate in the interdisciplinary graduate program “Topology of Technology” at the University of Technology in Darmstadt and associated with the “Cosmobilities Network”. His main research interests are spatial mobility, acceleration, sociology of technology and social phenomenology.

Phyllis J. Henderson
Phyllis-JPhyllis J. Henderson is a PhD candidate in architectural history and theory at the University of Florida. She received her graduate education in architecture and her undergraduate training in fine art. She has practiced architecture for years, is a LEED accredited professional and an Associate Member of the American Institute of Architects. Based on her research in adaptive reuse of brownfields in central Europe, she was awarded the American Association of University Women Selected Professions Fellowship in 2002-2003. Her current doctoral research focuses on the history of human intention for beautiful landscapes and how this fundamental desire is embodied through poetical dwelling.

Thanh Nguyen
Thanh-NguyenThanh Nguyen is the architect in urban planning (2002) and finished MSc in Urban Environmental Management (Asian Institute of Technology) in 2004. From 2005, Thanh is a lecturer at Ho Chi Minh City University of Architecture (VN). Currently, he follow the PhD program at The Radboud University Nijmegen. His interest is land use, globalization, real estate, and GIS.

Jessica Elaine Reilly
Jessica-Elaine-ReillyJessica Elaine Reilly is a PhD Candidate at the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism at the University of Western Ontario. She holds an MA from the Theory Centre, as well asan Hon. BA in Semiotics & Communication Theory from the University of Toronoto. Her research interests include Guy Debord and the Situationist International, critiques of everyday life in French social theory, the politics and poetics of public space, and the relationship between consumerism and decaying notions of community and citizenship.