USC Price MPL Ambassador Bios
Meseret Alemu is a first year dual MUP and MPH student at the USC Price School of Public Policy and USC Keck School of Medicine. She is a public health professional with 2 years of experience working in clinical research. Meseret currently works for the USC Alzheimer’s Disease Research center as a senior research coordinator, where she coordinates several NIH grant funded Alzheimer’s disease research studies to meet research objectives and study protocol compliance. She is a current Norman Topping Scholar and completed research with Operation Smile as an undergraduate at USC where she received a bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion Disease Prevention with a minor in Health Care Studies in 2016. Upon graduation Meseret served in AmeriCorps as a STEM Enrichment Coordinator. Her interests include the intersection of policy and public health; specifically how policy can be utilized to improve health disparities and services. She enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Jason Cheng is a second year Master of Planning student focusing in Sustainable Land Use and Real Estate Development. Originally from Hong Kong, he fell in love with Los Angeles’ diversity, creative energy and congestion during his undergraduate years as a journalism major at USC. He decided to return to his alma mater because of the new University Village. Jason wants to work at the intersection of UX design and urban planning, and wants to create innovative and citizen-centered technology for smart cities. In his free time, he enjoys cheering on the Lakers, designing clothing, singing to his dog, Remy, and dreaming about eating HK-style baked pork chop rice.
Samirita Dabade is a first year Master of Planning student, with a Bachelor’s degree in architecture from R.V College of Architecture in India. Studying the design of built environment in under graduation instigated a fascination for “life in between the buildings”, which has brought her to the planning program at USC Price. With invested interest in First mile/ Last mile transit and sustainable mobility in cities, she is taking courses in Transportation and Sustainable Land use planning. Her interdisciplinary interest and need for practice-based learning is what brings her to USC Price. While she loves watching TED Talks, she lives life vicariously through travel blogs/vlogs.
Alex Freedman is a dual Master in Public Policy and Master of Planning student at USC Price. Before USC, he got his undergraduate degree from Tufts University and went on to spend five years working in farm to school non-profits, for a municipal health department, and on a farm. His policy interests focus on equitable food systems and urban community development. When not in class, Alex is an organizing member of the Students of Color and Allies Policy Forum (SCAPF) and a member of the Queer Policy Caucus. He also loves going on adventures around LA in search of the best eats and free things to do!
Joshua Jeffrey is a second year Master of Public Administration and Master of Planning candidate at the University of Southern California. He chose Price for its academic emphasis in local government, career development programs, and unparalleled professional network. He is a City/County Management Fellow and serves on the executive board of ICMA@USC. Prior to attending graduate school, Joshua earned a Bachelor of Science in Applied and Computational Mathematics from the University of Washington. He currently works for the City of La Cañada Flintridge as a Management Intern. When he isn’t busy searching for parking at a civic meeting downtown, Joshua enjoys exploring Los Angeles and playing music.
Ben Noury is an alumnus of Brown University where he graduated with a Bachelors in Economics and played 4 years of varsity football. Post-graduation Ben joined Teach For America in order to support underprivileged students and communities like the one’s he grew up in. Over the last two years, Ben has worked as a Director of Education for the National Association of Credit Management where he spearheaded their national and international education programs. Ben is now pursuing a Master of Planning degree program at USC where he will focus on real estate investing and economic development. Ben’s ultimate goal is to run his own real estate investment fund with in-house planning and architectural services so he can positively impact the greater Los Angeles area social, economically, and physically for years to come.
Upsana Paul is a second year Master of Planning student with focus on Environmental Planning. She was drawn to USC Price for its interdisciplinary curriculum and its policy based approach to planning. On top of that, being so close to Downtown LA opens up a lot of opportunities to directly engage with the communities and organizations – a hands-on experience that she considers invaluable to her planning education! Originally from India, Upsana graduated from Jadavpur University with a Bachelors in Architecture and hopes to channel her skills and experiences as an architect, coupled with her love for cities into a fulfilling career in the planning field.
Marina Salazar is an MUP Progressive Degree Student. She graduated with a B.S. Urban Studies & Planning in May 2018. She is on-track to graduate with her MPL concentrated on Social and Community Planning in May 2019. This past summer she interned in St. Louis, MO at McCormack Baron Companies. She is currently continuing her internship here in Los Angeles. During her free time, she enjoys hiking, exploring Los Angeles, and cooking.
Tanya Shah is a current second year graduate student pursuing her Master of Planning degree, with a concentration in sustainable land use. She has a previous Bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning from CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India. She is really passionate about using sustainable methods and solutions for solving everyday issues. She chose USC Price for the immense resources it offers its students and due to its location in the heart of Los Angeles which provides a great platform to explore all aspects of urban planning. She believes that at USC, you can have it all: a great social environment, amazing academic resources and an amazing weather to enjoy throughout the year!