Current PhD Students

Gordon Amankwaa

Email: gmankwaa@memphis.edu

Gordon AmankwaaGordon Amankwaa is an Environmental Engineer and a Research Assistant at the Department of City and Regional Planning. He holds degrees in Geography, Environmental Science and Engineering from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana) and Jiangsu University (China). His primary research interests are urban water resource management, the environmental behavior of urban populations, and urban environmental monitoring (water, soil, and waste). As a research scientist, he has worked in Ghana, China, and Germany. His scholarly interests led to the publishing of numerous academic works in peer-reviewed journals, including the Water Environment Research Journal, Environmental Science and Pollution Research, and the Iranian Journal of Fisheries Sciences to name a few. 

He is a member of the International Water Association (UK), the American Water Association (AWA). He serves a peer reviewer for several SCI journals, including Environment, Sustainability and Development (ENVI), Water Science and Technology (WST), and the Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development. View his publications >>> 


Kenya Anderson

Email: Kenya.Anderson@memphis.edu 

Curriculum Vitae 


Kenya Anderson is a social work educator providing academic advisement, coaching, and mentorship for first-generation college students in the School of Social Work at the University of Memphis. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor and holds a professional license as a Licensed Masters Level Social Worker (LMSW) with a concentration in Management and Evidence-Based Community Practice in Tennessee. Her professional affiliations include the National Association of Social Workers, the Council on Social Work Education, the Coalition of Black Social Workers, and Phi Alpha Honor Society. She serves a second term as an appointed regulatory board member with the Tennessee Department of Health-Related Boards for Social Work Licensure.  Through her service as a regulator, she has been appointed to various service committees and elected to the Nominating Committee with the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). She has also been recognized for her dedication in enhancing the Path to Licensure for social work professionals.

Currently, Kenya Anderson serves as faculty advisor for the University of Memphis’ Chapter of the Coalition of Black Social Workers. For the past six years, her professional appointment with the University of Memphis has included service as the BA Field Director and academic advisor in the School of Social Work. She is a North American Network of Field Educators and Directors (NANFED) and the Tennessee Statewide Field Consortium member. 

Kenya’s research interests include exploring intergenerational and social aspects of housing stability in urban communities. Her area of study emphases the intersectionality of issues of housing instability and poverty to develop interventions that reduce the impact of social and economic disparities. She seeks to identify the environmental conditions that cultivate prosocial community responses to strengthen individuals, families, and communities.


Elizabeth Cawein

Email: pecawein@memphis.edu

Elizabeth CaweinElizabeth Cawein is a music advocate and strategist. She founded Signal Flow Public Relations, a boutique media firm dedicated to serving the Memphis music industry, in 2011. In 2015, she launched a not-for-profit initiative called Music Export Memphis, which leverages public and private support to function as an export office for Memphis music, creating opportunities for musicians and driving economic development through music and culture. In January of 2019, she joined strategic consultancy Sound Diplomacy to continue her work in music strategy and advocacy. 

Elizabeth is an adjunct professor of music urbanism at Rhodes College and is the Assistant Director of the Curb Institute for Music. In 2015, she was honored by the British Council at its inaugural Education UK Alumni Awards, celebrating outstanding U.S. alumni of British institutions. Elizabeth has moderated panels and has presented showcases at Folk Alliance International, SXSW, A3C, AmericanaFest, Canadian Music Week, and Music Cities Convention. In 2019, she was the keynote speaker at the inaugural Texas Sounds and Cities conference. She serves as an Adviser on the Recording Academy Memphis Chapter Board and hosts Straight from the Source, a weekly all-Memphis-music program, on WYXR 91.7FM. Elizabeth is dedicated to the belief that smart cities are music cities – her TED Talk on the subject has 1 million views and is climbing. You can learn more about Elizabeth and her work in the arts by visiting her website.


Dorcas Griffin

Email: dpyoung@memphis.edu 

Dorcas GriffinDorcas Young Griffin is a doctoral student in the Urban Affairs Ph.D. program. She completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Master's in Public Administration from the University of Memphis. She currently serves as the Director of the Shelby County Division of Community Services with oversight of nearly 250 staff members. She manages a budget of over $50 million, which is used to provide human and social services for residents of the city of Memphis and Shelby County. This division has played a critical role in the recent local response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Dorcas serves as a committee leader for the Memphis and Shelby County Joint COVID Task Force. 

Before becoming Director of Community Services, she worked as the Administrator for the Memphis Ryan White HIV program, coordinating funding and services and providing medical care and support for over 3,500+ individuals living in the Memphis area with or without insurance. Additional previous positions included working with the Church Health Center and directing a local Head Start program. Dorcas serves on several community boards, including the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, the Memphis Shelby County Crime Commission, and the Vitalant Community Advisory Board. She is a native of Memphis with deep roots and heritage centered on service, particularly for underserved and vulnerable communities. 

Her research interests include analyzing the impact of local government organizational structures, policy development, and processes on low-income and vulnerable populations' social and economic mobility. 

Eric Harris

Email:  dhrris29@memphis.edu

Eric HarrisEric Harris was born in Memphis, TN, and is a proud graduate of Shelby County Schools. Eric continued his education at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in History and Secondary Education. He furthered his education at Christian Brothers University, where he received his Master of Science in Educational Leadership and earned an Executive Master of Business Administration from the University of Memphis.  

As an educator, Eric initially began his career in education as a history teacher and coach. He successfully coached basketball on the AAU level, winning several district, state, and national championships. He also coached basketball on the high school level, winning District Coach of the Year.  Eric later shifted to school administration, first as an assistant principal at Cordova High School and then at White Station High School. In 2010, he returned to his alma mater, East High School, to serve as principal.  In 2015, he accepted a position as Director of Student Operations for the State of Tennessee Achievement School District, before becoming a School Administrator in the Whitehaven Empowerment Zone in Memphis.  The experience of supporting turnaround efforts in one of the lowest-performing elementary schools in the State of Tennessee sparked his primary research focus on the foundations of learning and the importance of vertical alignment of primary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions.  This alignment delivers an education that best prepares students to impact the economy positively.  

Eric previously served as school principal at the Geeter School, a pre-k through 8-grade school currently on the State of Tennessee Priority List.  Eric believes all learners must be provided with an equitable learning environment designed to ensure their academic and social success.  Schools are the hubs of urban communities and must be a conduit for the holistic nurturing of students and families. 

His research interests explore the intersection of education policy, school administrative behavior, and the local economy to spur educational success for vulnerable populations. 

Md Sharif Hossain

Email: mshssain@memphis.edu

Md Sharif HossainMd Sharif Hossain joined the Ph.D. in Urban Affairs as a graduate research assistant in fall 2022. Previously, he worked as a graduate research assistant in the Department of Public Administration for his MPA with a major in Public Management and Policy in the Department of Public and Nonprofit Administration at the University of Memphis. He also received extensive professional training in international development policy, policy research, and data-driven-decision from the National University of Singapore (NUS), the National Academy of Planning and Development (NAPD), Bangladesh, and the International Labor Organization (ILO) before matriculating at the University of Memphis.

He received his Bachelor's in Sociology from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. After graduation, he joined the public service as a Research Officer for the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in 2018. There, he worked as a focal-point officer of policy research in the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs, where he led the data management and research, policy analysis for the planning and implementation of the projects and programs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations in Bangladesh. He successfully monitored and evaluated the development projects in partnership with the World Bank, United Nations Development Program, and the Asian Development Bank in poverty alleviation, strengthening local government, and infrastructure development in Bangladesh. 

Md Sharif Hossain was inducted to Pi Alpha Alpha Scholar -The Global Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration in 2021. His research interests are collaborative governance, minority rights, and urban development politics. He recently published a peer-reviewed research journal with Dr. Joseph Hafer in the Journal of Public and Nonprofit Affairs.  

Charia Jackson

Email: cvjacksn@memphis.edu

Charia JacksonCharia Jackson is a graduate student in the Urban Affairs PhD program at the University of Memphis. She holds both a Master of City and Regional Planning and a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing Management, both from the University of Memphis­–she is driven by doing. Her goal for returning to academia is to develop advanced-level institutional knowledge and practical skills to expand her professional opportunities in the local community and economic development field. She serves on several organizations boards that include, BLDG Memphis, a local coalition of CDCs and individuals seeking to improve the quality of Memphis’ different communities; Community Lift, a funder/supporter of the local community and economic activity through the city; Tennessee Housing Development Agency Home Buyer Education Initiative Advisory Board; and Frayser Connect Advisory Board, as a way to influence investment in Frayser and similar communities throughout Memphis.

She began her path into the local community development sector as a Frayser Community Development Corporation volunteer. It later flourished into a leadership role within the agency as its deputy director. On this journey, she has held many roles in the agency. Still, it was her role in designing and implementing the agency’s HUD-certified Housing Counseling program at the onset of the Financial Crisis, that she realized she had a passion for identifying neighborhood issues/challenges and seeking out policy and programs as sustainable solutions for neighborhood growth. She spent many years researching the Frayser market, including its high rate of foreclosures and bankruptcies. This led to the development of a Housing Counseling Program that would assist thousands of residents in the community in becoming informed homeowners and/or aid existing homeowners with sustainable home preservation services. Frayser has overcome the high rates of foreclosures; recently, the neighborhood's home values have rebounded and are rising. Her next mission is to work diligently in the same community and explore ways to build economic prosperity amongst its residents.

Her research interests are shaped by understanding neighborhood structural racial inequities and addressing the GAPs for growth and opportunity in divested communities. She is inspired to explore whether communal wealth building could alleviate poverty and create areas of sustainable growth.

To learn more about Miss Jackson and her journey devoted to neighborhood development, visit www.realurbanconcepts.com

Kenny Latta

Email: kslatta@memphis.edu 

Kenny LattaKenny Latta is a native Memphian who serves as an instructor and student advisor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Memphis (U of M). Kenny earned his Master of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Memphis in 2014 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Philosophy from Christian Brothers University. Kenny’s master's thesis focused on the impact of community gardens in the city of Memphis neighborhoods as part of a larger collaboration with faculty from the U of M Department of Counseling and the local nonprofit GrowMemphis. 

Before joining the U of M faculty in 2018, he served as coordinator of special projects for the local nonprofit Center for Transforming Communities (CTC), where he supported community organizing efforts in various low-income neighborhoods in Memphis. While at CTC, he also oversaw all the organization’s program evaluation, using a range of quantitative and qualitative methodologies to investigate the impact of the organization’s community organizing and community-building strategies. 

His research interests include analyzing the role of community organizing and place-based social movements in gentrification and housing affordability in the United States. 

Rifat Jahan Loran

Email: rifat.jahan.loran@memphis.edu 

Rifat Jahan Loran is a Ph.D. student and research assistant. She started her program in the fall of 2023. Before her enrollment in the Urban Affairs program, Rifat earned her M.A. degree from the University of Memphis with a specialization in Sociology. During her master's program, she actively contributed as both a teaching assistant and graduate research assistant, lending her expertise to various impactful projects within the Sociology department. Additionally, Rifat served as a virtual Sociology Tutor for two terms at the University of Memphis, further honing her teaching and mentoring skills. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Public Administration from the University of Chittagong in Bangladesh.

Rifat's research interests encompass a wide spectrum of critical urban issues, including examining urban planning's impact on climate change, urban inequality, urban poverty, sustainable development, and spatial analysis. Her dedication to addressing these complex challenges through rigorous research and analysis sets her on a path toward making meaningful contributions to the field of Urban Affairs.

Stephen Leonard Mensah

Email: stephen.mensah@memphis.edu

Google Scholar Page

casStephen Leonard Mensah is a Ph.D. student and an interdisciplinary Critical Urban Research Fellow at the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, University of Memphis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (First-Class Honours) and a Master of Philosophy in Geography and Resource Development from the University of Ghana. Stephen also holds a pragmatic worldview and adopts quantitative and qualitative methods to research urban and community sustainable development issues referencing housing and climate justice nexus, climate resilience planning, community development, and policy responses to inequities in local environments. Stephens's master’s thesis examined the role of socio-spatial factors on residential satisfaction among private rental households in the Cape Coast Metropolitan Area, Ghana. 

Before joining the University of Memphis, Stephen served as a Graduate Teaching and Research Assistant at the Department of Geography and Resource Development, University of Ghana, where he assisted in teaching foundational courses in urban studies and research methods. He has also acquired enormous research experience as an associate researcher on several joint-funded international research projects on varying urban sustainability issues involving scholars from the United States, Australia, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Stephen has research papers under varying stages of peer review in renowned journals such as the Journal of Urban Affairs and the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. He serves as a peer reviewer for the Journal of Urban Management. He also makes sustained efforts to communicate his research findings in simple and understandable language with the non-scientific community through international outlets such as The Conversation.

Mahdis Modaresi 

Mahdis ModaresiEmail: mmdaresi@memphis.edu 

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/mahdismodaresi

Mahdis Modaresi is a Ph.D. student and graduate assistant in the Urban Affairs Program at the University of Memphis. Before coming to the University of Memphis, Mahdis received her M.A. in Environmental Policy and a graduate certificate in Urban Environmental Policy and Planning from Lehigh University, PA. During her master’s study, she worked as a community fellow and an intern at the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC) and was engaged in various planning and development projects. She received her B.Sc. in Urban Planning and Design from the Art University of Isfahan, Iran.

Her research interests include analyzing urban planning efforts and decision-making regarding land use, the impacts of planning on urban inequality, smart cities, spatial analysis, and urban informatics and visualization.


Heather Lee Morgan

Email: hlmrgan1@memphis.edu  


Heather Lee Morgan is a doctoral student in the Urban Affairs Ph.D program at the University of Memphis. Originally hailing from the Floridian Gulf area, Heather moved to Memphis, TN, in 2011 to pursue her Bachelor's in Fine Art at Memphis College of Arts, where she majored in design arts and minored in art history. After her baccalaureate studies, she served as a K-12 visual arts educator at Memphis-Shelby County Schools (MSCS). During her tenure with MSCS, Heather served on multiple behavioral response teams advocating for students' mental health and as a major point of contact for her department on the usage of technology within the art classroom.   

In 2021, Heather continued her education at the University of Memphis (UofM) in the Master's in Public Administration program, from which she graduated in Spring 2023. During her time in this program, Heather helped to successfully create UofM’s first collegiate chapter for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). Through serving as the chapter President, Heather hoped to allow all students to learn and engage more in philanthropy in Greater Memphis. UofM AFP held its first joint philanthropic event in the Spring of 2023 with the Hattiloo Theatre. This event was an Arts Bazaar bringing together local artists across many disciplines to share and sell their artwork.

This ticketed event raised $1,000 for the Hattiloo Theatre and gave local artisans a space to sell their work and come together for the cause of supporting local arts. Heather still serves as co-president of the UofM AFP board. Heather also received the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy award for Outstanding Student Engagement and was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa and Pi Alpha Alpha during her final semester of her master's program.  

In light of Heather’s background in the arts community, she feels deeply connected to the importance of the arts and culture. Her research interests include examining access to cultural heritage as a human right and the effects of cultural heritage loss and theft on domestic and international communities.335559740":240}"> 

Katie Norwood

Email: kknrwood@memphis.edu 


Katie Norwood, LCSW LSSW RPT-S has been practicing social work professionally since 2006. Her background is in both direct clinical and administrative practices. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Licensed School Social Worker, and a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor. She is a certified EMDR Therapist through EMDRIA, an AutPlay Certified Therapist, and a child and parent psychotherapy (CPP) rostered clinician. She is entering her fifth year as a Clinical Assistant Professor with the School of Social Work at the University of Memphis and is the MSW Program Coordinator. She is proud to call Memphis home since 2002 and is passionate about the clients and community she serves. 

Katie served as a non-tenured adjunct faculty member with the School of Social Work for seven years, beginning in 2011, before joining the department at full capacity in August of 2018. She has taught courses in clinical interventions with individuals and groups, such as Practice I and II. She has also taught courses in human behavior from micro and macro perspectives, such as HBSE, Clinical Evaluation, and Communities and Organizations.

Her clinical experience working with vulnerable populations addressing issues of substance abuse, domestic violence, abuse, neglect, and trauma provides her with a powerful framework to utilize with her students. The majority of her clients experience significant anxiety, often engage in self-injurious behavior, and express thoughts of suicide and homicide. This at-risk population will always be an area of focus for her.

She has over 17 years of postgraduate experience in direct clinical practice, supervision, and the development and implementation of agency policies and procedures. She continues to embrace the honor of challenging and enriching the minds of new social workers. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in urban affairs and is interested in exploring the relationship between people, other living beings, and their physical environment.

Ophrah Payne

Email: ospayne@memphis.edu

Ophrah PayneOphrah Payne works with TRIO programs here at the University of Memphis. She is an appointed Assistant Director for TRIO Upward Bound at the University of Memphis. Ophrah's leadership philosophy has been developed over many years of public service to the communities and residents of Memphis.  

Ophrah holds a Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Administration and a Master of Science in Community and Economic Development. Her professional affiliations are the National Black MBA Association, Southern Political Science Association, American Public Health Association, Tennessee Housing Development Agency, and Council of Opportunity in Education. Through her service as an Assistant Director, she has served several students within our community and served as a representative within her university and community. Ophrah won the Top 20 Under 30 Memphis award in 2019, was a nominee for the Forbes 30 Under 30 class of 2020, and was a Top 40 Under 40 Urban Elite nominee in 2021. Ophrah is an Assistant Director for the University of Memphis TRIO UB Program. For the past seven years, her professional appointment with the University of Memphis has included service as the Program Coordinator for Student Support Services Programs and Assistant Director TRIO UB.  

Her research interests include working with multicultural communities and how the environment affects their health and different systemic factors. She seeks to research macro levels of health environmental factors and cultivate positive community responses to the research she plans to do with her Ph.D. She hopes to provide accessibility to low-income, impoverished communities and help them gain the resources and tools needed here in the Memphis community. 

Dana Sjostrom

Email: dana.sjostrom@memphis.edu 

Dana SjorstromDana Sjostrom works to support science-based decision-making and encourage thoughtful, equitable governance strategies and policies. She is a Certified Floodplain Manager and holds a Master of Science from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in Curriculum & Instruction, a second Master’s of Science from the University of Memphis focusing on City & Regional Planning, and a BSc in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Alberta. 

Currently, she works in the field of sustainability planning for Shelby County Government in Memphis, TN, allowing her the creative space to incorporate resilience principles into government operations and programs.  Her current role in Memphis-Shelby County's Division of Planning and Development, Department of Housing works to incorporate these sustainable and science-based approaches into federal grant program management and to advance innovative financing strategies for more equitable infrastructure investments.  Since 2019, she has helped secure and manage over $2.7M in grant awards for Shelby County, including funding through the Southeast Sustainable Directors Network, the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and TDEC’s Office of Energy Efficiency.  Dana also helped facilitate and contribute content to the Mid-South Regional Resilience Master Plan, the Memphis Area Climate Action Plan, and the Smart Memphis Plan (no dinosaurs!).  She continues efforts to guide and facilitate the development of Memphis’ first Environmental Impact Bond, serving as an innovative pilot for outcome-based financing tools with both green and social co-benefits.  Her research has led to publications in journals including Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, Nature Sustainability, and Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, and recently submitted work to Nature Climate Change.  Her research engages transdisciplinary colleagues in advancing our understanding in climate adaptation, boundary spanning, and knowledge co-production spaces.   

Her research interests currently include tackling applied methods to address disparate impacts from climate change and public policy decisions and seeking ways to finance large-scale resilience and equity-focused investments.

Krista Wright Thayer

Email: kmwrght3@memphis.edu 


Krista Wright Thayer is a doctoral student in the Urban Affairs Ph.D. program. She earned her Bachelor's in International Studies from the University of Mississippi, her Bachelor's in Sociology from the University of Memphis, and her Master's in Sociology from the University of Memphis. She is currently the Director of Outreach and Prevention at Friends for All (FFA) in Memphis, TN. She oversees FFA’s outreach center, The Haven, where they conduct free HIV and Hepatitis C testing, access to free PrEP/PEP, stigma reduction, and other services to increase good health and wellness in the community. Specifically, she manages a team of Outreach Specialists, plans outreach events, manages grant requirements, and works with community partners to bring HIV education and awareness to the Memphis metropolitan area that serves Arkansas and North Mississippi. Her advocacy work includes being a part of the TN HIV Modernization Coalition, Faith Advisory Board, and Shelby County Voter Alliance to normalize HIV prevention, bring stigma reduction to churches, speak out against discriminatory legislation, and give those living with HIV, or potentially impacted by HIV, a platform to speak on their experiences and share their journeys.

After graduating from the University of Mississippi, Krista moved to Seattle, where she found her passion for nonprofit work. She worked in the Development Department of Technology Access Foundation, an organization providing skills and knowledge to youth of color in STEM areas and changing the trajectory of public education to create access to transformative learning systems for students and teachers of color to eliminate race-based disparities in an increasingly diverse society.  Her research interests have included the exploration of stigma among public assistance workers against their clients. She seeks to research discriminatory stigma in nonprofits, and how it impacts those they serve and the community.   

Emily Thomson

Email: thomson1@memphis.edu

Emily ThomsonEmily Thomson is a Critical Urban Research Fellow and Urban Affairs and Public Policy Ph.D. student. She graduated from Seattle University's Master of Public Administration program, where her research focused on investing in social services and community programming to divert youth and adults from the carceral system.

She received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in Society and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University while competing on the Varsity Women’s Rowing team and working in the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center.

Emily was a public safety dispatcher at Seattle University, managing calls on the university’s emergency and business phone lines. In this role, she engaged with individuals experiencing mental health crises, facing challenges with substance use, and those experiencing housing instability. Emily has also spent time as a volunteer with the ACLU of Washington. Emily has attended school and participated in the community in Knoxville, Pullman, Seattle, and in various cities in Canada before joining the doctoral program in Memphis.

Emily’s research interests include bail reform, pretrial detention, diversion programs, and other alternatives to incarceration. She also has a keen interest in local government and nonprofit collaboration and public transportation. She is a member of the American Society for Public Administration and Pi Alpha Alpha, the national honor society for public administration students.

Nasir Uddin

Email: nuddin1@memphis.edu

Nasir UddinNasir Uddin is a Ph.D. student and graduate research assistant who joined the program in the fall of 2022. Before joining the UoM, Nasir obtained his bachelor's and master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. 

Nasir has experience in teaching and research for more than ten years. He is an Assistant Professor (currently on leave) in Public Administration at the University of Chittagong (CU), Bangladesh. Before joining CU in 2013, he worked with the Human Development Research Centre, Dhaka, as a Research Associate for nearly two years, working with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the United Nations Development Program, and the United Nations Population Fund in Bangladesh. As an independent consultant, Nasir also served Social Impact Inc. and M&EA, Inc. (USA) on several occasions for the performance evaluations of USAID and UKAID-funded projects in Bangladesh.

Nasir has several peer-reviewed publications that have appeared in international outlets, such as the Journal of Urban Management (Elsevier), The International Journal of Community and Social Development (Sage), Book Series of Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (Springer), Public Administration and Policy (Emerald), Asiascape: Digital Asia (Brill), Public Affairs and Governance, and Dynamics of Public Administration (University of Lucknow), and also has manuscripts under review. He also led various research projects and presented his research at international conferences. 

His research interests include public governance, electronic government, sustainable development, local governance, and access to justice. You can view Nasir’s publications by visiting his Google Scholar page

Austin Wyatt

Email: atwyatt@memphis.edu

Austin WyattAustin T. Wyatt, Sr. is a student in the Ph.D. Urban Affairs program. As a researcher, he has worked closely with the Black community and other people of color to use his education and lived experiences to benefit marginalized members of society. Recent research projects include working with the SoulsvilleUSA community in South Memphis with its best practice research and their creation of the Neighborhood Revitalization Report, working with the American Anthropological Association (AAA) Committee on Minority Issues in Anthropology, conducting research as part of the Community Planning and Ecological Design (CoPED) 2018 international summer school in Sicily. He conducted his Masters' practicum research with the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN).

Austin Sr. holds a Master’s in Applied Anthropology from the University of Memphis and a B.A. in Sociology from Tennessee State University. In addition to his academic research, he works as the Education Supervisor for the non-profit organization Youth Villages, a residential treatment facility for at-risk youth. He also mentors several young men and underprivileged youth in Mississippi and Tennessee. He is a member of the American Anthropology Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology. 

His research interests center on criminal justice reform and explores how the culture of policing contributes to racialized disparities within the U.S. criminal justice system and perpetuates violence.