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Tiger Team Biographies

Staff Biographies (September through December 2012)

Internship Program Director :

Christopher Alan Ocean Hicks is an Urban Studies and Planning major with a specialization in Environmental Planning and a minor is Sustainability class at California State University Northridge. Chris will graduate in the fall of 2012. His areas of interest is in Planning for the multi ethnic city, General Plan and Zoning laws, Qualitative and Quantitative research methods, Planning for the Natural and Built Environment, California Environmental Quality Act, Community & Neighborhood Planning, Social Policy, Environmental Justice, and especially Transportation Planning. He was raised in Eagle Rock and moved to The Santa Monica Mountains in Sherman Oaks. He is dedicated to his family and friends. He has worked hard to get to the point where he is now and to be a well rounded person. Some positions currently held:
CSUN Tiger Team for The Transit Coalition - Assistant Project Manager
Urban Planning Students of Northridge (UPSN) - Public Relations

Project Manager:

Samuel Gutierrez is an Urban Studies and Planning major with a specialization in Regional Development at California State University, Northridge, fall class of 2012. Sam’s interests include transportation development, sustainable urbanism, affordable housing, politics, technology, film, and wide range of music. Sam is a local to the Los Angeles area having lived in Pasadena his whole life. In his spare time he likes to read the news, mix music (DJ), work on cars, computers or anything technical. He enjoys learning new things and enjoys being active. Sam aspires to become a city planner to make Los Angeles better for all Angelinos.

Planning Director:

Kevin Kay is a recent Urban Studies and Planning Graduate with a specialization in Regional Planning from California State University, Northridge. His area of interest in planning includes transportation, urban design, general plans, qualitative and quantitative planning research and the history of the Los Angeles region. Aside from planning, he enjoys hiking, exploring the city and graphic design. Kevin has lived in the Sylmar area of Los Angeles his whole life, and also spent some time in Berlin, Germany, attending university there and falling in love with the amazing urban design and transportation offered there. However, he hopes to always call Los Angeles home and aspires to make his career one that works for the betterment of his hometown.

JEM Line Project Manager:

 Zach Stern is in the process of  acquiring a Masters in Business Administration  at the University of California, Los Angeles. Zach will graduate in May 2014. His areas of interest are reading and commenting on StreetsBlog Los Angeles and Metro's blog "The Source", participant in Urban Land Institute's Transit Oriented Development Conference and MoveLA, two-time participant in Multiple Sclerosis Society's Bike-to-the-Bay 150 miles charity challenge and he also likes to run marathons. He lives in Santa Monica currently. Zach is fluent in Japanese and is a dedicated student.  Some positions currently held: Assistant Language Teacher, Associate Economic and Valuation Services.

Public Space Specialist:

Jose Tchopourian is currently majoring in Urban Studies and Planning with a focus in Transportation, at California State University, Northridge. He is a serious transit advocate. His areas of interest include transportation planning and research, urban design and development, and bicycle planning. He lives in Los Angeles and is an avid bike rider. His involvement continues as an Advocate. Interning at The Transit Coalition has given José the opportunity to work on real life issues in transportation and planning in general. One of the issues he has been working on recently is the redesigning of public space on transit vehicles with the purpose of accommodating more bicycles and strollers in an efficient way.

GIS Team Leader:

Liza Jo Wright is a senior Geography major with an emphasis in GIS and an Urban Studies and Planning minor. Liza will graduate in May of 2013 from California State University, Northridge. She was raised in Valley Center, a rural suburb in San Diego County, and currently resides in Northridge. Liza enjoys working with any GIS work she can get her hands on. Her interests include wakeboarding, soccer and traveling.

Grant Writer:

Neema Kazemi is a graduating senior studying Urban Studies and Planning at California State University, Northridge. His areas of interests include sustainable development, public transit, land use, zoning, public policy, nature preservation and geographical information systems. He lives in Tarzana, California where he was born and raised. In his spare time he likes to go to the beach, rock climb, study martial arts and watch football. He enjoys volunteering his time for people that are less fortunate and has spent thousands of hours volunteering at non-profit organizations.

Research Team Leader:

Brianda Hernandez is currently a senior at California State University, Northridge pursuing her degree in Urban Studies and Planning with an emphasis in environmental planning. Her career plans are to be an environmental planner, helping urban areas find the benefit of being sustainable while continuing to develop. Her interests besides urban planning are advocating for mental illnesses and animals rights. She is currently part of the outreach and research team for The Transit Coalition. She is currently working on increasing open space and public transit as well as revitalizing the retail space in San Fernando, California.

Outreach Manager:

Cristina Cruz is an Urban Planning-Urban Design major at California State University, Northridge, and is graduating in December 2013. Her areas of interest include urban design, architecture, transportation planning and community development. Cristina is a native to the county of Los Angeles; she was born and raised in Los Angeles. During her spare time she enjoys cycling, attending musical concerts, and spending time with family and friends.

ADA Specialist:

Saud Alsair was born and raised in Saudi Arabia and has lived in the United States for over five years. Saud began attending school at Santa Barbara City College in 2007. He also attended Jacksonville City College in Florida for a little over a year before transferring to California State University, Northridge, in 2009.  He is currently in his senior year and is planning to eventually complete his Masters Degree in Urban Planning. Outside of his academic work he also has several other interests such as swimming and traveling within the United States.

Transit Route Project Manager:

Manuel Araujo is a systems operations management major and urban planning minor at California State University, Northridge, class of 2013. His areas of interest are transportation planning, urban development and design, alternative transportation and bike path planning. He was born in the city of Los Angeles and was raised in the northeast San Fernando Valley.  Manuel is a hard working and dedicated worker that is looking forward to helping out in his community. In his spare time he spends time with family, friends and studying. His goals are to contribute to the alternative transportation landscape in Los Angeles and advocacy in bike use as an alternative form of transportation. He is a member of CSUN Apix and ASQ.

Metrolink Station Project Manager:

Jorge Martinez is currently a senior at California State University, Northridge majoring in both Central American Studies and Urban Studies and Planning with a specialization in Regional Planning. Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Jorge is eager to take back what he has learned throughout his educational career and implement it in his native town. He is very much passionate in urban design, urban development, sustainable cities, transit improvements and community engagement. Jorge says that it is crucial that we adopt the reality of everyday life in the cities and rural areas, instead of visualizing the actuality. In his time away from the books and from the academics, Jorge enjoys playing and watching sports, enjoying the outdoors, and learning about his Salvadoran heritage both here in the United States and in El Salvador.

El Cariso Park Visioning Project Manager:

Dorian Aguilar is currently majoring in Urban Studies and Planning and Minoring in GIS.  He will graduate in the spring of 2013 from California State University Northridge. Dorian plans to go to graduate school, possibly USC or Cal Poly Pomona, to get a graduate degree in economic development.  In terms of interest, he finds world history, running, learning German, traveling, music concerts, museums, and movies to be of great interest.  He is currently participating in the El Cariso project with The Transit Coalition and is looking to prefect his skills in GIS, Photoshop, Auto Cad and SketchUp.

Tiger Team Biographies - February through May 2012

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