Who We Are

Faculty & Staff

Catherine Ross

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.

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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.

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Carolyn Phillips

Carolyn Phillips, Research Affiliate

Carolyn P. Phillips is a research affiliate from 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.

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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

Freyja Brandel-Tanis

Freyja Brandel-Tanis

Freyja Brandel-Tanis is pursuing a Master of City and Regional Planning at Georgia Tech. She is interested in public transportation’s explicit role in expanding regional equity and sustainability, car-free downtowns, and multimodal transportation systems. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from St. Olaf College in Minnesota, Freyja led volunteers on construction sites with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity as an AmeriCorps member. Freyja enjoys hiking, reading, carpentry, and playing board games.

Natasha Dowell

Natasha Dowell

Natasha Dowell is pursuing a Master of City and Regional Planning degree at Georgia Tech. Before beginning her degree program, Natasha worked as a contractor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, developing public warnings around outbreaks linked to contaminated food. She has worked on several public health topics, including behavioral health and chronic disease, and is interested in how the built environment affects access to health. Natasha earned her Bachelor of Science in Health Education and Behavior from the University of Florida and her Master of Public Health from the University of South Florida. In her free time, Natasha enjoys baking, hiking, organizing, and watching documentaries.

Sarah Dyott

Sarah Dyott

Sarah Dyott is a graduate student focused on working toward lasting solutions to urban poverty. She is currently pursuing a Master of City and Regional Planning degree at Georgia Tech, with a specialization in housing and community development. She received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a second major in urban studies and minor in Spanish from Washington University in St. Louis (2018). She spent the past year with McCormack Baron Salazar working on mixed-income affordable housing projects throughout the United States. Interning under a project manager, she collaborated with architects, engineers, planners, and state and local housing agencies on the South City (Memphis, Tennessee) and Preservation Square (St. Louis, Missouri) Choice Neighborhood Initiatives.

Kara Todd

Kara Todd

Kara Todd is a graduate research assistant and teaching assistant for Urban Transportation. She has a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and is in her second year of the dual MCRP/MSCE program. Her research interests include travel demand modeling and improving equity and accessibility in transportation.

Ph.D. Students

Meaghan McSorley

Meaghan McSorley

Meaghan McSorley is a Ph.D. student in the School of City and Regional Planning. She is interested in the intersection of urban planning and public health. Specifically, she hopes to focus on how the built environment and planning processes can be conducive to mental health and well-being. Before starting her Ph.D. at Georgia Tech, she received a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in anthropology and French, two master's degrees from the University of Minnesota in urban & regional planning and public health, and worked at a software company in a variety of implementation and management roles.

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