“I hope to conduct applied research that pushes local governments to build a stronger network of institutions that assist populations resettling in the U.S...."
Alexandra Judelsohn was inspired to work with populations that arrived in the U.S. as refugees after returning home to Buffalo, New York after college. Over the course of a few years, a whole neighborhood had changed: immigrant-owned businesses popped up, vegetable gardens replaced front lawns, and celebrations like the Burmese water festival occurred. While local governments lauded these populations, they did not provide support, and refugee community needs were overlooked by policymakers. She decided to study urban planning in order to contribute to policy change that would address the needs of these communities.
Currently earning her PhD in urban and regional planning from the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Alexandra remains committed to making systemic change for refugees and other underserved populations. As a graduate student, she has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and is co-editing a book on equitable approaches to urban agriculture. In 2019, she led an expansion of the Taubman College Pathways Program, which supports first-generation and underrepresented applicants to graduate school, to include a PhD track. She is currently collaborating on a project to try to understand how mycelium can remediate lead from the soil while sharing information with refugee populations on healthy urban gardening techniques to avoid lead contamination.
After finishing her PhD, Alexandra plans to become a faculty member and continue working toward systemic change. She says, “I hope to conduct applied research that pushes local governments to build a stronger network of institutions that assist populations resettling in the U.S. and help to lift up leaders from these communities.”
CEW+ applauds Alexandra’s commitment to improving her community and names her a Mary Lucille Randolph and Lea King Dean Memorial Scholar.