The year 2020 forced the world to sharpen its gaze on fundamental questions. How do we protect public health in the face of a pandemic? How do we move toward a more racially just world? While the country and the world wrestled with these difficult questions, a new generation of architecture, planning, design and development professionals graduated into the world.
On Oct. 1, 2021, following UB's in-person commencement celebration for the Class of 2020, the School of Architecture and Planning will host "Designing Futures," a panel conversation with alumni who graduated during COVID. Join us in conversation with members of our Class of 2020 as they share how they have navigated the transition after graduation amidst the ongoing pandemic. Together we will generate insights for future students and emerging professionals about turning challenge into opportunity during these complex times.
5:30 pm - Arrival, check-in, and reception (Hayes Hall Atrium)
6:15 pm - Facilitated discussion with panelists (Hayes Hall 403)
7:00 pm - Audience Q&A
Please visit UB's COVID-19 response website for details on health and safety guidelines for campus visitors, including completing the daily health check and masking and distancing (Note: face coverings are required of all students, employees and visitors – regardless of vaccination status – while inside campus buildings)
Architectural drafter, Young + Wright Architectural, Buffalo, NY; Adjunct Instructor, UB Department of Architecture
Assistant project manager at the UB Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care
2nd-year MUP student and member of the School of Architecture and Planning's Racial Equity and Social Justice Committee
Designer, Arch 1, HYL Architecture, Washington D.C.
Samina Raja, PhD, is associate dean for research and inclusive excellence for the School of Architecture and Planning. In this role, Raja directs the School's efforts to support and propel faculty scholarship, and to advance equity, inclusion and diversity in our programs, curriculum and learning environments, from our School to the communities and disciplines in which we work. Raja is also a professor of urban planning, principal investigator of the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab (the “Food Lab”), and co-director of UB's Community for Global Health Equity (CGHE). Her research and teaching focuses on understanding the role of planning and policy in building sustainable food systems and healthy communities.
In addition to being a leading scholar in her field and active leader in shaping food systems policies for healthier communities in Western New York, Raja is also an invaluable mentor for students. As director of the master of urban planning Community Health and Food Systems specialization, Raja engages her students in the classroom and through graduate studio courses that have worked to develop food systems plans alongside community partners in Buffalo and Trivandrumpuram, India.
Through Raja's scholarship and teaching, she emphasizes the necessity for equitable and inclusive planning processes. “It is important that local governments exercise reflection about how policy and planning processes amplify, or dampen, marginalized voices in planning for community food systems.”