GUSP Student Profiles



Katie Brown

Joining MSU in Fall of 2021, Katie Brown is a current PhD Student in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences. Prior to moving to the “mitten,” she received her bachelor’s degree in Geography with a minor in Biology from the University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY). Throughout her undergraduate studies, Katie developed an interest in the interplay of health and space which led to her current research. Presently, she is most attentive to how urban transformations may impact city inhabitants. More precisely, Katie investigates how the mental health of residents is affected by physical and social neighborhood-change. For her dissertation work, she intends to assess such transformations in the case of Detroit, MI.

Mehmet Eroglu

Mehmet Eroglu

Mehmet Eroglu is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University. He joined the Geography program in the Fall of 2021 as a Fulbright scholar. Prior to MSU, he received his B.S. in Geomatics Engineering and his M.S. in Science, Technology, and Society at Istanbul Technical University (Istanbul, Turkey). In his master's thesis, Mehmet examined climate change policymaking processes in Turkey through two major cities, Istanbul and Izmir. At the moment, his research focuses on historical and political geography. In particular, he studies how the world's coal mining regions adapt to abandonment by this industry.

Jim Glenn

Jim Glenn

Jim Glenn is a Ph.D. student in Planning, Design, and Construction with a concentration in Urban Planning. A native of Owensboro, Kentucky, Mr. Glenn graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering. While at the University of Kentucky (UK), he made headlines across the country by becoming the first African American student body president of UK, where he served as a passionate advocate for graduate and undergraduate students. After spending time in the engineering industry, he received his Master’s of Public Administration from Cornell University. Mr. Glenn has been very active in politics, taking on various roles, including serving as Chief of Staff for Michigan State Representative Bert Johnson and as the Kentucky State Director for Organizing for America (the successor to President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign). His research interests include local elections and economic development, how animal bites correlate with urban health disparities, and the way city border shapes impact neighborhood resource allocation. Mr. Glenn's research provides a lens into making cities more livable, as well as responsive to their citizens.  He has also presented well-received research at several national conferences.  Mr. Glenn’s published work includes a study on racial proximity and campaign contributions that appeared in Electoral Studies Journal and an essay on constituent opportunities associated with redistricting in The Legislator.



Kionna Henderson

Kionna Henderson is a Medical Geography scholar in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. Her research focus is on the effects of racism on maternal health in the United States. She believes that like illnesses and diseases, racism is an epidemic that affects this entire country. Her research is designed to shine the light on the growing maternal heath disparity gap and hopefully provide a foundation for change. Currently, she is working on a research project that assess similar effects of racism in Flint, MI. Outside of academics, Kionna is very active in her hometown community. She has a scholarship in honor of her late sibling at her alma mater, Pine Bluff High School. This scholarship is designed to assist underprivileged students attend college. It is Kionna’s hope to create a foundation that assists minority communities and decrease health disparities.



Sahel Izadi

Sahel Izadi is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Science at Michigan State University, with a specialization in GUSP. Sahel received her undergraduate degree in Architecture from the University of Arts, Iran, in 2012, and received her graduate degree in architecture, in 2014, from the University of Oregon. After graduation, she practiced architecture for five years and became a licensed architect in Michigan. Sahel’s architectural background coupled with her exposure to the socio-economic and political landscape of the U.S. motivated her to expand her career into research at the intersection of social sciences and urban form. She joined the University of Michigan in 2020 to pursue a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning. At the University of Michigan, she researched the socio-economic and political drivers of the expansion of informal settlements in low-income settings. Her studies persuaded her that notwithstanding informal settlements’ myriad problems, they could potentially contribute to sustainability. Her doctorate research at Michigan State University continues to examine the intersection between population sociodemographics, the urban built environment and sustainability, especially in informal urban settings.



Nidhi Kalani

Nidhi Kalani is a graduate student in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University. She received her undergraduate degree in Physical Planning from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, India in 2018. After that, she worked in India's Public Policy and Health Policy institutes as a Researcher for more than three years. Nidhi’s research interests have been shaped by her education and years of work experience as a researcher in urban transportation and economic geography. She is keen on learning new methods and enhancing her knowledge in the various domains of urban-economic geography. Presently, her work revolves around understanding the potential future social and economic impact of technological change in the transportation sector, particularly with the introduction of autonomous vehicles.

Ezgi Karaoglu

Ezgi Karaoglu

Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, Ezgi Karaoglu is a Ph.D. student in MSU’s Department of Sociology, with a specialization in the Global Urban Studies Program. Before joining MSU, she worked with refugees in Turkey for the UN Refugee Agency as well as a national NGO for 6 years fulfilling various duties. Her work focuses on vulnerable cases, including survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, victims of torture, and LGBTI+ individuals. She has managed operations and ensured that refugees acquire social citizenship by having access to rights and services in challenging urban spaces. She earned a BA degree in psychology at Koc University and a MS degree in social psychology at Middle East Technical University, Turkey. Concurrently, she has worked as a creative drama trainer, facilitating workshops with diverse multilingual and multicultural groups on mitigating the negativity of prejudice and stereotyping through intergroup contact. Coming from a practitioner background, her research in MSU focuses on the articulation of rapidly changing political environments, political discourse, and sustainability of refugee integration through refugee networks in urban spaces in Turkey. Critical dimensions of the research focus on perceived social justice, equality, religion, and political thought in developing applicable and transformative interventions to help NGOs and professionals in the field.



Cordelia Martin-Ikpe

Cordelia Martin-Ikpe is a PhD student in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University. In addition to being a full-time student, mother and wife, she is also an MSU Geography instructor, teaching an undergraduate course titled the Geography of Environment and Health. As a Detroit native, her interest in how one’s life chances are shaped by their neighborhood context was ignited through her childhood experience of living in Detroit’s inner city, while attending high school in an affluent Metro Detroit suburb. After completing both her BA and Masters of Public Health (MPH) at Michigan State University, she began working in the specialty area of research and program evaluation at Michigan’s Public Health Institute (MPHI). Having been inspired by the opportunity to examine health inequity through a spatially driven theoretical lens, she decided to pursue a PhD in Geography after working in the public health industry for a few years. As a PhD student, her research broadly focuses on the relationship between neighborhood effects, racial residential segregation and health inequity. Furthermore, she is the current Graduate Student Liaison for MSU Geography’s Advancing Geography Through Diversity Program (AGTDP) and former co-president of Supporting Women in Geography (SWIG).



Jessie B. Pink II

Jessie B. Pink II is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University. His research employs Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the Darden-Kamel Socioeconomic Index to examine the spatial distribution of environmental health problems, explore the social forces that create power differentials in environmental regulations and policies, and develop community-based strategies to reduce the exposure risk from environmental contaminants. Jessie’s research currently focuses on the  COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on marginalized racial, ethnic communities in the United States as well as examining the extent to which such impacts stem from preexisting environmental, public health inequities. As a Chicago native, Jessie graduated from DePaul with his bachelor’s in Political Science and Africana Studies with a certificate in Environmental Justice.

Marie Shingne

Marie Shingne

Marie Carmen Shingne is a PhD candidate in the Sociology Department at Michigan State University, with specializations in both Animal Studies and Global Urban Studies. Her background is in psychology and public policy, having earned an MSc in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University and a BA in Psychology from Ohio Wesleyan University. She has spent a decade working with animals in shelters and zoos across the country, including the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) and the Indianapolis Zoo. These experiences have fostered an interest in multispecies relationships, especially in the urban spaces of the world. She has built her research around this interest, focusing on power and access in the contemporary urban space, with slum residents and street dogs in the Indian city of Pune as her guides to the city. Using multispecies ethnography, her research asks: how is the urban space shared and negotiated by different human and non-human urban residents, in what ways are these different residents impacted by these negotiations, and what does an inclusive city look like according to various stakeholders? Some of her work related to these questions has recently been published in the Journal of Urban Affairs.

Jonah White

Jonah White

Jonah White is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University. He is also an Instructor in the Department of Geography at The George Washington University in Washington, DC where he teaches courses in environmental justice, environmental quality and management, and urban sustainability. His research focuses broadly on urban greening with particular attention on the intersections between gentrification, sustainable development, and environmental justice. His work specifically examines the socio-historical development of environmental gentrification and uses the environmental justice framework as a lens to critically evaluate sustainable urban development across the city of Seattle, WA and its wider metropolitan region. All facets of his work strive to better understand how cities can be more livable, sustainable, and environmentally and socially just for all residents. His work is published in academic journals that include the American Journal of Public Health, Sustainability, Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, and Asian Geographer. More recently, his co-authored work on the public health implications of gentrification appears in the Routledge Handbook of Global Urban Health.