Liya Rachal Chandy is a fourth semester student in the Master of Architecture program with a focus on Inclusive Design and Urban Design. She oversees global projects within the lab setting and thinks of food systems as a level for positive social change. Prior to working at the lab, she worked as an Architect in India and strongly believes in the power of place making as well as the power of good design. For the school, she acts as a liaison for International students and advances conversations on equity, inclusion and diversity. She also enjoys cooking, drawing, painting, gardening, and all things creative in her spare time!
A graduate of UB’s Master’s of Public Health graduate of the University of Buffalo, Alfred Gary is interested in the role of social determinants on health equity, including the impact of the built and food environment on health outcomes. A native of Buffalo’s east side neighborhood, Alfred’s work in the Food Lab is focused on how the intersection of abolition and food sovereignty (through urban agriculture) can promote sustainable and equitable community food networks. In his free time, Alfred enjoys bowling, reading, and exercising.
Lorna M Georges is fascinated by the effect of design on how people interact in the built environment. She grew up in Haiti, where formal architecture, though well known, is not the primary driver of how the built environment or housing is designed. Lorna is currently an undergraduate student in environmental design (with a minor in architecture). She aims to pursue a graduate degree in architecture. With the Food Lab team, she shares a passion for using the food system as a lever for improving living conditions in communities. When not at school, she enjoys reading, cooking, writing, and painting.
Carol E. Ramos Gerena is interested in agroecology, land use planning, critical food policy literacy, and food sovereignty. She has worked in governmental and non-governmental organizations that support community development projects in Puerto Rico (PR). For about a decade, she has promoted agroecological farming and collaborated on the environmental restoration of abandoned buildings and lands near public housing and public school sites in PR. At the UB Food Lab, Carol coordinates a bi-city action-research initiative to promote urban agriculture policy designed by and for people of color in the cities of Buffalo and Minneapolis.
Carol is currently pursuing a doctorate in urban and regional planning at the University at Buffalo. She is an Arthur A. Schomburg Fellow and a Health Policy Research Scholar (HPRS) supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Prior to joining UB, Carol completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez Campus and a Master’s degree in Environmental Planning at the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras. Her Master’s thesis focused on sustainable planning of agroecological initiatives in K-12 public schools in Puerto Rico.
In her spare time, Carol enjoys playing with her pets, talking with her family, painting, biking, reading, urban farming, watching movies, and hearing/playing Afrolatinoamerican music.
As an immigrant and a student of history, William Gonzalez seeks to understand how historical politics, economics, and cultures affect the livelihoods of modern-day communities. William is a History BA from the University at Buffalo, and is preparing to pursue advanced study to prepare him for a career tied to museums or libraries. In the Food Lab, he brings a historical perspective to researching issues of food inequity and food justice among communities of color (he is currently documenting the ways in which Black leaders strengthened Buffalo’s food system in the 50s and 60s). Outside of work and school, William enjoys reading, hiking, and cooking.
Shireen Guru is interested in studying modern American history with a particular focus on post-World War II women’s history. She concentrates on domesticity and the private sphere in relation to resistance. Her current research with the Food Lab centers the stories of Black women in Buffalo and their lasting impact on the food system in East Buffalo as well as the impact of their childhood kitchen tables on their activism.
She is also interested in the historical implications of the research in the Food Lab, including but not limited to food equity, accessibility, and the gendered nature of food-related practices. Outside of academics, she can be found reading, baking, or in the nearest theatre stage managing. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2021 with her Bachelor’s degree in History.
Dr. Cameron Herman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and an affiliate faculty member in Africana Studies at Buffalo State College. His teaching and research broadly focuses on understanding the ways marginalized groups experience and navigate social inequalities in urban environments. Cameron has published solo and collaborative journal articles, chapters in edited volumes and online publications on a range of topics including Black artists’ response to gentrification, housing activism and neoliberal governance, Black masculinity in hip hop. In the wake of COVID-19’s onset, Cameron’s research agenda has expanded through collaborations with community partners and equity-minded scholars in the UB Food Systems and Healthy Communities lab to support community-based responses to inequitable food systems in Buffalo, NY. In his free time, Cameron enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, exploring neighborhoods on his bicycle and photographing everyday life.
Eric Hughes is focused on advancing his knowledge of how Geographic Information Science can be applied in the field of sustainability. His interests include environmental activism, food systems, and social justice. In the Food Lab, Eric focuses on the use of GIS in strengthening food systems. Eric is currently pursuing a graduate degree in the Geographic Information Science program at the University at Buffalo. As an undergraduate student, Eric completed several sustainability courses which broadened his perspective on social and environmental topics. In his spare time, Eric plays music and runs an amateur recording studio.
Zachary Korosh is a graduate student within the Masters of Urban Planning program focusing on community development and revitalization efforts. He studied Environmental Design and Political Science at the University at Buffalo for his undergrad, earning a Bachelors of Arts for both. His interests include cooperative living, alternative economic solutions and making the planning process more accessible. Outside of this Zachary is the founder and current graduate advisor for doubleASAP, a club catering to African American Students of Architecture and Planning. Previously a research intern for the Food Lab under LSAMP he has returned in his graduate studies to continue research in the lab. In his spare time Zachary enjoys reading comics, playing video games and painting.
Radhika P Kumar is a full-time faculty member at the College of Architecture Trivandrum (C.A.T). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in architecture from Bangalore University, and a Master’s degree in Planning (Housing) from the University of Kerala (College of Engineering, Trivandrum).
Her research interests include the role of planning in building ‘Healthy’ cities, social rental housing as a means to achieve “Housing for All”, and urban microclimate studies as a guide to urban form development. Her present academic position also allows her to indulge her other interests like instructional design for active learning, as well as architecture and planning pedagogy.
While pursuing her master’s program, she had the opportunity to participate in a multidisciplinary, international-collaboration studio project headed by Dr. Samina Raja, in Maradu, Kerala; and is now associated with the Food Lab as a Remote Research Affiliate for its activities in Kerala. In this capacity, she has recently participated in the Food Lab’s Plan-REFUGE program, seeking to understand the issues faced by smallholder farmers in predominantly agrarian countries like India.
Apart from her academic contribution to the sustainability cause, Radhika also actively volunteers in programs that impart ethical and spiritual values, especially among children and youth, since she strongly believes that inner transformation and understanding individual social responsibility, can go a long way in achieving a truly sustainable future.