New RAs Join the Lab on Opioid Environment, Redlining Research Projects

The Healthy Regions & Policies Lab is thrilled to welcome three new RAs and five returning RAs for the Winter 2022 term.

HEROP Research Assistants (RAs) are UChicago students from multidisciplinary academic and professional backgrounds that have taken coursework in and are passionate about applying spatial analysis and GIScience to real-world applications. RAs work closely with our team on developing analytic approaches and solutions for new and ongoing research. We look forward to working with this talented cohort on the US COVID Atlas, opioid risk environment research projects, and our newest project mapping the geospatial legacy of redlining, racist policies, and violence, which is led by Dr. Lawrence Brown at Morgan State University. 

Join us in welcoming Isaac Rand, Desiree Becerra, and Chandler Hall to the team, and offering hearty welcome back to Christian Villanueva, Javier Rojas, Sindu Soundararajan, James Keane, and Qiwei Lin. Learn more about the Lab’s current cohort of RAs below. 

Geospatial Legacy of Redlining

Isaac Rand

Isaac is a fourth-year student in the College majoring in Geography and minoring in Statistics. He is interested in how quantitative spatial analysis can be used to understand and address processes which generate discrimination and inequity. 

Opioid Risk Environments

Desireé Becerra

Desireé is a first-year student in the Master of Public Policy at Harris School. She is interested in incorporating the gender perspective in research on development and inequality, especially using data science and spatial analysis techniques. Her professional experience has been mainly in international organizations in the areas of local government, project management, and infrastructure. She is an economist and has completed masters in Public Management from the Instituto de Estudios Superiores en Administración (IESA) and Local Economic Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Chandler Hall

Chandler is a current MPP student at the Harris School and graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a B.A. in Political Science and Legal Studies. Chandler started his career in the classroom as a City Year AmeriCorps volunteer serving Southeast Washington, D.C. Before coming to Harris, Chandler worked at the Afterschool Alliance, during which he helped expand opportunities to after school programs in areas impacted by the opioid crisis.

Javier Andres Rojas Aguilera

Javier is a student in the Master in Computational Analysis and Public Policy (MSCAPP) at the Harris School of Public Policy. Javier previously worked as an econometrician at the Colombian National Planning Department, where he developed a passion for data-driven policy-making and data visualization. He holds a B.A. in economics from Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Christian Villanueva

Christian is a fourth-year student in the College majoring in Environmental and Urban Studies and minoring in Biology and Creative writing. He is interested in studying the spatial components of contemporary issues, exploring how to help underserved communities, and learning new methods of analysis. 

US Covid Atlas

Sinduri Soundararajan
US Covid Atlas: Data Communications

Sinduri is a fourth-year student studying Public Policy, Environmental Studies, and GIS at the College and working towards her Master in Public Policy at the Harris School of Public Policy. She is excited to build on her passion for environmental justice and information accessibility by working on design and communications for the US COVID Atlas project.

James Keane
US Covid Atlas: Data Science

James is a second-year graduate student pursuing an MSc in Statistics. He aims to use data driven techniques to make inferences on the relationships of societal factors and environmental phenomena.

Qiwei Lin
US Covid Atlas: Data Engineering

Qiwei Lin is a candidate for the Masters in Computational Analysis for Public Policy (MSCAPP) with a focus on machine learning, international development, urban and health science. His research interests include how to combine novel data sources and machine learning methods to inform the allocation of social support resources and to improve the measurement of development outcomes in countries where reliable official statistics are lacking. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Statistics and Political Science from University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.

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