Zoé Hamstead

Dr. Zoé Hamstead is an Assistant Professor of environmental planning at the University at Buffalo. Building on interdisciplinary approaches in urban planning, geography, urban ecology and landscape ecology, Zoé’s current work explores vulnerability to extreme heat and cold events. Her research supports equitable climate adaptation planning approaches through vulnerability mapping in communities. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation Smart and Connected Communities program, Environmental Protection Agency STAR program, the RENEW Institute and the National Science Foundation IGERT program. Zoé teaches courses in environmental planning & policy, environmental justice and geographic analysis of environmental problems. Dr. Hamstead holds a Ph.D. in Urban & Public Policy from The New School, a Master’s in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor’s of Liberal Arts from St. John’s College.


Nicholas B. Rajkovich, PhD, AIA

Nick is an Assistant Professor at the University at Buffalo in the Department of Architecture. His research investigates the intersection of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and adaptation to climate change in buildings and communities. Prior to earning a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Michigan, he was a Senior Program Engineer at the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Company Customer Energy Efficiency Department. At PG&E, he was responsible for coordinating a new Zero Net Energy Pilot Program. He has a Master of Architecture from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University.


Violet Perry

Violet is a graduate student working on a Master’s in Urban Planning. She completed her undergraduate education at Ithaca College, and graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science. Her degree is in Outdoor Adventure Leadership with a focus in psychology. She studied classes under a “Quest for a Sustainable Future” theme while at Ithaca, which sparked her interest in urban planning and environmental sustainability. In those classes, she studied climate change and sustainable energy, and worked on designing plans for a energy net-zero home.

While at Ithaca, Violet was a part of the Martin Luther King Scholars program, which allowed her to learn about social justice and travel internationally to research the lack of people of color participating in outdoor adventure activities. Violet has also conducted research on wilderness programs as viable alternatives to juvenile incarceration, and on the impact of plastic pollution from the outdoor industry. At the Community Resilience Lab, Violet works on climate resilience research.


Grace DeSantis

Grace is a first-year graduate student in the Master of Urban Planning program. She graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Environmental Planning and Management and minors in Geographic Information Systems and Spanish. She has developed flood resiliency maps for the SUNY Research Foundation and Lake Champlain Research Institute, participated in green infrastructure research as an intern with the EPA, and assisted engineers at Cx Associates in their efforts to enhance building performance. The culmination of her experiences in environmental science and building design and construction inspired her interest in built environments and the opportunities they offer for improving environmental and human health. At the Community Resilience Lab, Grace works on climate resilience research.



Allison Leet

Allison is native of Buffalo, New York and a 2nd year Geography student in UB’s Department of Geographic Information Systems. She earned a dual Bachelor’s degree in Earth Systems Science and International Business and Trade from the University at Buffalo in 2016.

As a Research Assistant in the Community Resilience Lab, Allison conducted thermal vulnerability analyses for the Scenarios Working Group of the Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network. She serves as Vice Chairwoman of the non-profit organization Designing to Live Sustainably has solidified her desire to propel Buffalo, NY towards thriving in the face of climate change. Her primary passion and career goal is the growth of this organization into a climate action and adaptation leader within the Western New York Region.


Lauren Darcy

Lauren currently works at the Buffalo Niagara River Greenway Commission.

While at UB, Lauren worked on projects related to extreme weather and vulnerability as a research assistant, storm and waste water infrastructure as an intern with Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, and suitability for solar installations across the city of Buffalo as part of an Urban Planning Studio. Before coming to Buffalo, Lauren received a Bachelor of Arts in History at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.


Will Siegner

Will is a 2018 graduate of the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning program who worked with the lab as a research assistant on extreme heat and cold vulnerability within Erie County, NY. Will’s primary interests focus on environmental justice issues, walkability and implementation of GIS in planning. Prior to arriving at UB, he earned his BA in History, Sociology and Environmental Studies from Canisius College in 2015.

Upon graduation from the Master of Urban Planning program, Will relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia. He is currently working as a Planning Technician with the City of Surrey, which is one of the fastest growing cities in Western Canada. As a Planning Technician, Will assists planners in the review of development applications, provides by-law interpretation for members of the public and conducts research for the Planning and Development department.