Alumni Members











Maureen Abi Ghanem

Maureen Abi Ghanem is an architect and urban strategist. As a consultant for the Center for Active Design (CfAD) in New York City, she promotes healthy communities through Fitwel design strategies. In 2016, her role at UN-Habitat NY supported the Urban October events, where partners met to discuss the Post 2015 Development Agenda and the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development (Habitat III). Previously, she was a Shelter Coordinator at UNHCR-Lebanon (2014-16), ensuring Syrian refugees gain access to affordable urban housing and safe schooling structures in one of the most densely populated governorates in the country. Her role included managing the adaptive reuse of sub-standard buildings as well as coordinating neighborhood and water infrastructure development in vulnerable communities affected by displacement. Between 2010 and 2014, she was a member of one of the largest real estate developing firms in the Middle East, Solidere, and worked on conceptualizing large-scale master plans of mixed-use projects intended for the regeneration of city quarters in the Gulf region. She is currently building an Instagram account entitled “”, an online photographic investigation of successful public spaces. She received a B.Arch and a M.UD from the American university of Beirut, and the German Academic Exchange Service Scholarship (DAAD, 2012-13) for urban design and regional planning in Berlin.


Irem Ayan

Irem Ayan is volunteering at CSU where she has gained invaluable experience. As a freelance conference interpreter, she is undertaking tasks in local governance, city planning and urbanization-related issues. Currently course-complete, she is pursuing her Ph.D. Degree in Translation Studies as a Fulbright Scholar at State University of New York at Binghamton where she is also teaching French and lecturing on theories of translation. Her Ph.D. research is focused on the intersection between translation and Gender Studies. She has majored in French Language and Literature at Hacettepe University (Turkey), mastered in Conference Interpretation (English-French-Turkish) at Institut Libre Marie Haps in Brussels, and undergone extensive training within a number of international organizations such as the UN, NATO, EU and Eurocontrol. She has previously worked as a staff interpreter within the Foreign Relations Department of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality as well as a freelancer for the UN and the EU.


Courtney Prince

Courtney Prince is interning for the CSU this fall where she is seeking experience in the field of planning and architecture. Mrs. Prince attended the United Nations International School and holds a B.A. in psychology from Duke University, as well as a minor in environmental science and policy. With experiences in healthcare as a medical researcher and EMT and an immense interest in environmental issues, she is passionate about combining these disciplines to improve quality of life in a sustainable manner. Mrs. Prince hopes to pursue a Master’s Degree in Architecture in the near future in order to have an impact of her own.


Emre Ozdemir

Emre Ozdemir is an architect and designer. He worked in high profile architectural practices in Istanbul such as Karabey Limited and Tabanlioglu Architects. During his professional practices, he also performed as a researcher, lecturer and guest juror at the top architecture and design schools in Turkey. He participated and won prizes in numerous design competitions and experienced in designing various scales including urban scale master plans, office buildings, educational and cultural buildings, architectural renovations and urban furniture. Emre holds a Master of Science degree in Architectural Design from Istanbul Technical University, and Bachelor of Architecture from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University as a recipient of the first prize of Archiprix Turkey. Currently, he is studying at Pratt Institute GAUD.


Matthew Shufelt

Matthew Shufelt is serving as a Youth Representative for CSU. Currently a graduate student at the Spitzer School of Architecture at CCNY, he continues to seek experience in the realm where design meets social responsibility. With a BA in environmental design and urban planning from the University at Buffalo, he has experience working with not-for-profit design and planning initiatives. Matthew also works at SLCE Architects, where he is lucky to focus on affordable and supportive housing throughout New York City. Matthew plans to use his experience to blur the line between good and just design.


Ashley Simone

Ashley Simone is a New York City based writer, educator, designer and photographer. She holds an M. Arch from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University and teaches at Pratt Institute, School of Architecture. In 2016, she became a member of the GSAPP/NEW INC Incubator, an initiative of Columbia University and the New Museum. Her photography focuses on the built environment and has been exhibited in New York and London, and published in journals and magazines that include Architectural Design and Interior Design. She is the editor of A Genealogy of Modern Architecture: Comparative Critical Analysis of Built Form by Kenneth Frampton (Lars Müller Publishers, 2015), Absurd Thinking Between Art and Design by Allan Wexler (Lars Müller Publishers, 2017), and the monograph, Michael Webb: Two Journeys.


Silvia Vercher

Silvia Vercher is an architect who specializes in urban design with eight years of international experience. Trained in architecture, urban design and urban planning, Silvia draws from her interdisciplinary experience to create culturally rich and ecologically relevant projects from the infrastructural scale to the site level. Silvia is works as a designer at Perkins Eastman in New York City. Silvia´s design approach is characterized by a critical balance of context, culture, and program. Key to her methodology is the intense investigation of each site´s relationship to its environment, history, and future changes. Silvia´s work can be found across North and South America, Europe, Middle East, and Asia, and recent projects include: co-author at the side event in Habitat III, Ecuador; the ambitious masterplan in Brooklyn, NYC, together with SCAPE; the winning international design competition and construction of the Rike Park in Tbilisi, Georgia, together with CMD; and the collaboration of the Zurich tower in Mexico City with FR-EE. Silvia holds a Master of Architecture and Urban Design with Distinction from Columbia University, Master of Urban Planning from the University of South Australia, and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University Polytechnic of Valencia, Spain, and Aarhus Arkitekskolen in Denmark.