Innovate Memphis welcomes three University of Memphis graduate research fellows for 2023-24

David Akinbode (Critical Urban Research Fellow), Meghan Moody (Applied Anthropology Fellow), and Navid Enayati Shabkolaei (Housing & Community Development Fellow)

Core to all of Innovate Memphis’ work is collaboration and an evidence-based approach to diagnosing and solving civic problems. Over the past several years, our team has partnered with the University of Memphis School of Urban Affairs & Public Policy (SUAPP) to place graduate research Fellows who work on a portfolio of innovation projects. These programs have added extensive capacity and expertise to Innovate’s programs while providing students with hands-on projects to apply what they are learning on campus. The 2023-24 school year marks the first time Innovate will have three Fellow placements with skill sets ranging from anthropology and ethnography to visual mapping to environmental studies. Learn more about each Fellow’s background and interests below:

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David Akinbode joined Innovate in fall 2023 as a doctoral student in the Critical Urban Research Fellowship program, where he will lead development of a formal data plan for the Greater Memphis Housing Justice Project. The plan will include a framework and data collection methods to measure the relationship between housing and health outcomes in Memphis, especially with tenants’ experiences in mind. The project is in partnership with the Black Clergy Collaborative and Memphis Public Interest Law Center. David previously completed his Bachelor of Technology degree in Urban and Regional Planning at the Federal University of Technology Akure in (Nigeria). He also holds a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from Adelphi University (USA).  His research interests encompass various areas, including environmental planning and policy, public health, equitable housing, water resource management, climate change, and sustainable development. He is also a member of the Pi Epsilon Environmental Sciences Honor Society and the American Society for Investigative Pathology, reflecting his commitment to environmental and investigative endeavors.

Meghan Moody joined the Innovate Memphis team as a graduate research assistant from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Memphis where she is working on a master’s in Applied Anthropology. Meghan will support a portfolio of qualitative research projects with the team including collecting user experience (UX) data, survey and focus group design and implementation to get residents’ and service providers’ perspectives on different challenges and solutions. Her research interests are identity, policy, and development. She received her bachelor’s at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in Anthropology, with a concentration in Disasters, Displacements and Human Rights (DDHR). After returning home to Memphis, Meghan worked as a legal assistant for a local law firm. She also has experience working on outreach programs through the Shelby County Government. She is passionate about equity and eager to make a difference using actionable strategies.

Navid Enayati Shabkolaei joined Innovate Memphis in fall 2023 as a Housing & Community Development Fellow from the University of Memphis. He is currently completing his master’s in City & Regional Planning and will provide quantitative and GIS mapping support on numerous projects including predictive measures of illegal dumping, mapping on safe transportation routes and data management for our forthcoming Data Midsouth civic data hub. Navid’s research and work interests are primarily in community development, planning and transportation with the application of GIS. Prior to graduate school, Navid was an urban planner in Tehran, Iran for over four years and has a bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning from the University of Mazandaran. Some of his projects includes the Comprehensive Plan of Pakdasht City, The Feasibility Studies of Tehran Metro Lines, and the Revision of Road Network in Southern Areas of Tehran.

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