USC Price School of Public Policy

MPL Alumni Success Stories

Liana Elliott, MPL/MPP ’14

Alumni Q&A: Liana Elliott

Liana Elliott currently serves as the Chief of Staff to the New Orleans City Council president. In addition, she co-founded a new community radio station – WHIV-FM – which features programming dedicated to human rights and social justice. Elliott graduated with dual master’s degrees in public policy and urban planning from the USC Price School of Public Policy in 2014.
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From foster advocate to adjunct faculty, alum shares commitment to helping groups in need

La Mikia Castillo MPL, MPP ’12 describes herself as being “passionate about impacting and addressing issues that have an effect on low-income communities and communities of color.” It’s a passion rooted in her faith that she brings each day to the National Foster Youth Institute, where Castillo leads community organizing initiatives aimed at transforming the child welfare system. Her contributions, however, aren’t limited to just the professional arena. She’s also extended her impact into the classroom, working with students as a new adjunct faculty member at USC Price.
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Alumni Q&A: Ivory Rose Chambeshi

Ivory Rose Chambeshi MPL, MPA ’14 is the founder of the community development consulting firm Urban Rising Group, which helps organizations cultivate healthy, prosperous and connected communities through strategic and land use planning, capacity-building, and community outreach. Chambeshi boasts over a decade of experience as a nonprofit leader, small business services professional, researcher, consultant and community advocate.
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MPL alumni contribute to LA’s improvement through diverse roles at Mayor’s Office

Three USC Price Master of Planning alumni are helping make the City of Los Angeles a safer, more vibrant, beautiful and equitable place. Marissa Aho ’06, Ashley Atkinson ’07 and Nat Gale ’11 are showing that there are many ways for a planner to make an impact working for the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti. Aho is the Chief Resilience Officer in charge of coordinating and implementing improvements and programs to help the city withstand disasters, Atkinson helps develop planning and housing policy in the office of economic development, and Gale runs the Great Streets Initiative for the office of transportation.
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USC Price alumna offers new vision as Compton mayor

Aja Brown, ’04, MPL ’05 said that one of her favorite things about being a student at USC Price was “the expectation to do well and make a difference.” As the newly elected mayor of the city of Compton, she now has the opportunity to turn that expectation into reality.
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From the classroom and beyond, Price alumni advocate for educational equity

For a dozen years, David Feinberg MPL ’09, Lauren Chianese MPP ’10 and Priti Johari MPP ’06 traveled remarkably similar courses from different parts of the country. From their varied experiences, they drew identical conclusions about education and equity. Last year, their paths finally crossed when the three were brought together as participants in the Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE) Public Leadership Fellows program.
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MPL alum named Toledo University President

Dr. Sharon Gaber, who graduated with a Master of Planning from USC Price, was recently named president of the University of Toledo. Gaber, who was previously the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Arkansas, will be the first woman to serve as the university’s president
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Alumni Spotlight: Chris Steins, MPL ’95

Chris Steins is the founder and CEO of the Los Angeles-based Internet consulting firm Urban Insight, Inc., and editor of Planetizen, the urban planning and development network. A nationally recognized consultant in the field of technology and urban planning, Chris has worked with a broad range of clients in government, education and the private and nonprofit sectors.
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