Who We Are

Faculty & Staff

Catherine Ross, Director

Catherine Ross is an internationally recognized expert on transportation systems planning, urban planning, and quality growth. She has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors and directs Georgia Tech’s Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development in the College of Design. She also serves as Harry West Professor and Advance Professor in the School of City and Regional Planning in the College, and in August 2018 was named a Regents Professor by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. She earned a master's degree and a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University and completed post-doctorate work at the University of California, Berkeley. Her most recent book, Health Impact Assessment in the United States, was published in 2014.

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Tim Welch, Assistant Professor

Tim Welch is an assistant professor of City and Regional Planning at the Georgia Institute of Technology. An expert in the field of transportation and land use policy, planning and forecasting and freight, he holds graduate degrees in law and urban planning. Welch is widely published, with a recent focus on issues related to transportation behavior, connectivity, equity, and environment.

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Nima Golshani

Nima Golshani, Research Scientist II

Nima Golshani is a research scientist II at Georgia Tech’s Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development (CQGRD). He earned a master's degree in Civil Engineering from University at Buffalo and a Ph.D. from University of Illinois at Chicago. His primary research interest is in the field of travel demand analysis with an emphasis on econometrics and machine learning methods to model and analyze travel behavior. Golshani has conducted research, and published in multiple journals in the areas of transportation planning and forecasting, emergency and evacuation modeling, policy evaluation, environment analysis, and traffic safety.


Arthi Rao, Research Scientist II

Arthi Rao is a research scientist at the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development at Georgia Tech. She has had a consistent focus on Health and Place research throughout her career. She has an interdisciplinary educational and professional background in Urban Planning, Epidemiology and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from Georgia Tech. Her research interests focus on social determinants of health, healthcare access, healthy communities, and spatial methods. She uses methods including spatial clustering, data mining/classification techniques and hierarchical modeling in her research. She has integrated these methods to create decision-support tools for academic and industrial applications. She regularly collaborates with researchers at The Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia Tech, and the American Planning Association as a subject matter expert on healthy communities’ research and geospatial methods. She has published in journals on the topics of Health Impact Assessment (HIA), sustainability, walkability analysis, regional planning, and therapeutic landscapes. She also teaches courses titled “Public Health and the Built Environment” and “Public Health Analytics” at Georgia Tech.


Carolyn Phillips

Carolyn Phillips, Research Affiliate

Carolyn P. Phillips is a director in the Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation (formerly AMAC Accessibility) in the College of Design. She is a nationally recognized consultant in the field of assistive technology and disabilities, and has spoken to numerous groups on topics that include assistive technology, advocacy, self-determination, and living with a learning disability. She also serves as director of Tools for Life, Georgia’s Assistive Technology Act Program; the Pass It On Center; and the National Assistive Technology Reuse Technical Assistance and Coordination Center. Phillips has dedicated her time and energy to promoting independence for people with disabilities through advocacy, education, assistive technology, and fundraising. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and her master's degree from the University of Kentucky.


Angelika Braig, Administrative Manager

Angelika is the research administrative manager and assistant to the director of the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development (CQGRD). She manages day-to-day administrative operations of the Center; coordinates meetings and special events; provides supervision of financial accounting and reporting; administers budgets; and coordinates proposal preparation and submission. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. In 2015 she received the COA-ADVANCE staff award. 

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Master's Students

Laura Geronimo

Laura Geronimo, an Atlanta native, is pursuing a master's degree at the School of City and Regional Planning at Georgia Tech. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Urban Studies from Wesleyan University (2011). She has spent the past five years in Puerto Rico where she became involved in initiatives to implement a Bike Share program in San Juan, and was subsequently recruited by a local consulting firm, Estudios Tecnicos, Inc. There she collaborated as a research assistant in the urban and environmental planning division, where she worked on a variety of projects including comprehensive transportation planning, natural resource management, and climate change adaptation planning. In her free time, Laura enjoys mountain biking, surfing, salsa dancing, and writing.

Ruth Pimentel

Ruth Pimentel is pursuing a master’s degree in city and regional planning at Georgia Tech, with a focus on environmental and health planning. Before beginning graduate studies, Pimentel worked for the Presidio Trust and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in San Francisco, restoring habitat for rare and endangered plant species, and analyzing visitor use and engagement in national parkland. She holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Harvard University.

Soo-Huey Yap

Soo-Huey Yap is pursuing a Master of City and Regional Planning at Georgia Tech. Before moving to Atlanta, she was an elected member in the Penang State Legislative Assembly from 2013 to 2018. During her term as a State Legislator, she chaired the State Executive Subcommittee on Universal Accessibility and Subcommittee on Children with Special Needs. Yap was a member of the Penang Transport Council and also served actively on the Board of Directors for the Penang Women Development Corporation, the Penang Science Cluster, and the Penang Technology Centre. She is interested in public transport networks, multimodal transportation and transport infrastructure financing. Huey has a Bachelor of Science degree from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and was a researcher at the Burnet Institute for Public Health and Medical Research in Melbourne until 2010.

Ph.D. Students

Alyas Widita

Alyas Abibawa Widita’s research interests focus on understanding the influence of built environment on travel behavior. He is particularly interested to exploring this subject in cities in the developing world where the built environment characteristics are arguably different from cities in the industrialized world. Prior to beginning his Ph.D. program at Georgia Tech, he taught at his undergraduate alma matter, Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He has a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Iowa (2015) and a bachelor’s degree in architecture (2012). In his spare time, he enjoys running and exploring cities.

Chisun Yoo

Chisun Yoo is a Ph.D. student in the School of City and Regional Planning at Georgia Tech. His research interest lies in various fields, including social influence of the built environment, sustainability, economic development, and urban history. He has bachelor’s (2014) and master’s degrees in urban planning from Hanyang University, Korea. Before joining the Ph.D. program, he worked at a government-affiliated research institute, Gyeonggi Research Institute in Korea.

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Phone: 404-894-2000