Baruch Graduate Students named NYC Community planning fellows


Maya Demchak-Gottlieb

Baruch News Center

Nathan Woo Yang

Four Baruch College Master of Public Administration students were named NYC Community Planning Fellows and placed on the New York City Community Boards on Nov. 30, as part of a program that serves urban planning students and local community boards.

Baruch students William Cooch, Carla Roussos, Benjamin Engel and Catherine Davis are among the 17 fellows chosen from Baruch College, City College, Columbia University, Hunter College, New York University, The New School and Pratt Institute for the competitive program sponsored by the Fund for the City of New York.

Community board fellows assist board members and staff in finding solutions on zoning, transportation, retail development and other quality of life issues in communities.

Fellows of the board take either permanent or consulting positions with the assigned community boards after their fellowship has ended. Candidates must be second-year graduate students in urban planning, architecture, urban design, historic preservation, public policy and public health.

Cooch, a named fellow, said he hopes to use his prior experience in collaborations with stakeholder groups and development project management to help citizen groups in community issues. He is interested in learning how planning policies processes affect what is in construction and how to contribute to urban development regarding social and environmental issues.

“With thoughtful development and broad citizen involvement, I hope to help foster vibrant and supportive communities,” Cooch said.

Roussos, co-founder of the non-profit art therapy organization Healing Arts, said she intends to make and augment local programs and services for low-income senior citizens. She sees senior citizens as a vulnerable population and wants to improve their quality of life through advocacy and the direct provision of targeted services.

“It is important that all Americans should be afforded the opportunity to stay healthy, active, and engaged,” Roussos said.

Engel, a lifelong musician, hopes to “address not only environmental sustainability for our region, but to also help usher our political systems into a resilient future.”

Believing that change starts locally, Engel said he wants to turn his passion for helping others into a professional career “that focuses on transit, green infrastructure, and land use projects at a neighborhood scale.”

Engle most recently worked with the transition team of Eric Adams that brought him an inside look on troubleshooting issues with the Parks and Cultural Affairs Departments.

Davis, a former managing editor, said she desires to expand her understanding of the city’s policy landscape and combine that knowledge with the transferrable skills she acquired over the course of her publishing career.

She has also served as a board member for the Rochester-based New York State Literary Center, an arts organization serving students in correctional facilities.

Davis’s interests are in policy development and implementation that focus on growth, sustainability, resilience, and equity in New York City. Her research during her first year of graduate studies at Marxe ranged from analyzing the city’s organics recycling program to a case study of the green infrastructure within a Manhattan neighborhood.