Corey Arena, Assoc. AIA
Corey Arena is a designer at Gans & Company, where his work engages public architecture and community-focused design. He received his B.Arch from Pratt Institute, where he was co-founder and president of Pratt Student Action for Inclusive Design (SAID), an organization that seeks to uncover how disciplinary and pedagogical practices systematically disadvantage individuals. His thesis critiqued the single-family home as a cultural, economic, and spatial project in the shadow of the 2008 recession. Arena is a member of the AIANY Diversity and Inclusion Committee and The Architecture Lobby New York City Chapter, where he recently helped organize “Recession Roundtable: What’s it like to graduate into a recession?” for graduating architecture students. Current projects include post-Sandy housing through the NYC Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations and a garden courtyard renovation for the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.
Betsy Daniel, AIA
Betsy Daniel is a civically minded and community-orientated designer, urban designer, and licensed architect. Upon graduating from Syracuse University in 2014 with a B.Arch, Daniel practiced for several years at a small architecture firm that focused on high-end residential work. While there, however, she realized that design should have a greater community impact and that the silo of architectural practice could not achieve this. Daniel then pursued an M.S. in Architecture and Urban Design at Columbia University, a program that fostered the importance of multi-scalar systems thinking and community engagement. At Columbia, she was a 2018 Engage Community Design Fellow for the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety. She was also a research scholar for the Hudson Valley Initiative. Daniel is currently an Associate Urban Designer at HOK New York, working on projects ranging from entitlement projects and ULURPs to campus design and future districts. Daniel also serves as a mentor for the ACE Mentorship Program.
Charlotte Laffler is the Project Manager for Skidmore Owings & Merrill’s City Design Practice, where she manages urban design and open space projects, including the master plan for the South Street Seaport, and supports the practice’s new business efforts. In her past role as the Assistant Director of Operations and Public Space at the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Laffler supervised the district’s maintenance, sanitation, and landscaping programs as well as a portfolio of over 1.1 million square feet of public space. She also co-developed the Partnership’s Living Lab program, which builds collaborations with urban tech companies to produce district improvements based on neighborhood-level data. Laffler has volunteered with Minds Matter, a high school mentorship program, for the past three years and is a proud alumnus of Coro’s Leadership New York program, where she completed a group research project on the impact of New York City’s nightlife ecosystem. She has a Master of Urban Planning degree from New York University and a BA in Urban Studies from the University of Michigan. Her favorite things about New York include BAM, the Tribeca Film Festival, and (unfortunately) the Knicks.
Christopher Perrodin, Assoc. AIA
Christopher Perrodin is a designer at Curtis + Ginsberg Architects, where he works on a variety of projects, including large-scale rehabilitations of existing New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) properties, new ground-up townhouses, and a community center renovation. Architecture’s ability to shape public space and advocate for civic ideals was impressed upon Perrodin as a graduate student at Washington University in St. Louis, where he collaborated with students aged 12-16 a to develop architecture briefs s a means of generating engagement and partnership. He previously worked at Fivedot in Seattle, where he designed a farming village for previously landless tenant farmers in Nicaragua that used a variety of methodologies for interacting and weaving the community’s needs into a proposal. Since moving to New York City, he has actively engaged with his local community board.
Talisha L. Sainvil, AIA, NOMA, NCARB, LEED
Talisha Sainvil is: the principal of her own Brooklyn-based architecture and design firm; a registered architect in New York and New Jersey; the AIA Brooklyn Chapter Secretary and Editor-in-Chief of the AIA Brooklyn magazine, Pylon; the President-Elect of nycobaNOMA; a graduate of the University of Miami School of Architecture; a lover of all things sun and sand; as passionate about design as she is about being of service to the community; listed as a bibliographic reference on Wikipedia; an afficionado of pens and pencils; and crazy about long drives, deep conversations and french fries. During her nearly 20-year career, Sainvil has diligently worked on being an exceptional architect by applying the knowledge and practical experience she has gained into various roles and responsibilities and by challenging herself by saying Yes! to learning about new things.
Vera A. Voropaeva, AIA, CPHC
Vera A. Voropaeva is a registered architect in the State of New York and is a Certified Passive House Consultant with expertise in sustainability and architectural design. Voropaeva is a project architect at Paul Castrucci Architects where she develops multi-family affordable and supportive housing projects that provide healthy environments. Voropaeva is originally from Minsk, Belarus where she was introduced to civically minded design through social modernist Soviet architecture. She holds a Bachelors of Architecture degree from the University of Oklahoma with a concentration in Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Environment. Upon receiving her degree, she worked for Shigeru Ban Architects, where she contributed to disaster relief efforts following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. She has worked in sustainable product design and prototyping and, while at River Architects, executed multiple Passive House projects. Voropaeva is a founding member of the COVID-19 Volunteer Response Partnership, a coalition of volunteers that support pandemic response, connectivity, and open-source resources. She is currently engaged in advocacy for embodied carbon reduction in the architectural system as well as stewarding the philosophy that quality housing for all is foundational to social equity.
Jean You, Assoc. AIA
Originally from South Korea, Jean You is an urban planning and resilience expert at UN-Habitat’s Urban Lab, supporting emerging economies in the Global Future Cities Program prepare and adapt to the impacts of climate change. You is currently working with cities to implement urban projects that are participatory, socially inclusive, and sustainable, in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda. Prior to her role at UN-Habitat, You worked in the public sector, where she sought to shape the built environment by bringing design conversations into urban policy. As a senior urban designer and planner at the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP), she worked on Zoning for Coastal Flood Resiliency. At the NYC Department of Design and Construction, she contributed to the Design and Construction Excellence 2.0 Guiding Principles. Whether in a local or international context, You has been an advocate for vulnerable communities, especially those on the frontlines of climate change. She has also been a proponent of people-centered architecture and planning both in her academic studies and professional work. You received a B.Arch. from Cornell University and a dual degree in MAUD and MDes (Risk and Resilience) from Harvard GSD.