An Update from the Office of Metropolitan Impact, February 2021

February 16, 2021

OMI works with professors, organizations and communities to create change. Most recently, they worked with Associate Professor Yi-Su Chen and her COB students and Professor Jacob Napieralski and his CASL students.

The Office of Metropolitan Impact’s (OMI) partnership with the City of Dearborn that has been growing, notably through the work of Associate Professor Yi-Su Chen and her Supply Chain Management students. Dr. Chen has partnered with the City’s fire and sanitation departments, allowing her students to do hands on projects featuring real life scenarios.

OMI has deepened our partnership with David Norwood, Dearborn’s Sustainability coordinator, as well as the City’s planning department, over the last few years. We are thrilled to further this partnership by connecting Professor Jacob Napieralski and his students to City of Dearborn leaders. OMI is excited to introduce the five students working with Professor Napieralski to the campus. 

• Abby Jenkins is a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. After discovering GIS (geographic information system) last year, she became intrigued with its capabilities of incorporating mapping and cartographic design with any environmental or social topic. Jenkins says, “This opportunity to work on a GIS project that could potentially benefit the City of Dearborn is an honor.” Her focus is on analyzing flood hazards in the city, with a specific focus in the South End. “Not only will this study hopefully expose vulnerabilities and areas of improvement,” says Jenkins, “it will add to a more comprehensive understanding of environmental and social inequities that may be present.”

• Rebecca Zasadny is a senior, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and a minor in Geology. According to Zasadny, after volunteering at the Detroit International Wildlife Refuge in Gibraltar and attending two Field Methods classes in Cyprus and Montserrat, she found that her interests in this field lie in natural areas surrounded by urban geography. “GIS is the ideal way to delve into this interest as it allow for a full visualization of urban areas and potential green areas as well,” says Zasadny. Her focus is to optimize areas in Dearborn that could benefit from tree planting, specifically in the South End. Her hope is that this project can be a starting point to bringing nature closer to residents.

• Gina Boyanowski is a non-traditional student and holds an undergraduate degree in Commercial Art. She began studying at UM-Dearborn after retiring from a career in graphic arts and is currently pursuing dual Bachelor degrees in Geological Studies and Urban and Regional Studies. “GIS combines my interest in the urban environment, urban design, and my love of communicating with visual art,” says Boyanowski. “I am excited to be a part of this effort.” Her focus is to help prioritize the implementation of the City’s Multi-Modal Transportation efforts through the use of GIS spatial analysis to identify needs, visual current and future projects, and/or the use of interactive maps.

• Julia Hozak is a senior working on a Bachelor of Science in Geological Science and a GIS Certificate. Hozak says she learned the value of this type of work and how diverse it can be after taking Intro to GIS last Winter semester and Advanced GIS this past Fall. “I am really interested in how GIS can be applied to many different fields and learning new things in the process,” says Hozak. Her focus is optimizing tree planting in Dearborn’s South End. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work on this project and I hope to benefit the community in the process.”

• Kelsey Young is a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Geological Science with a minor in History and a GIS Certificate. “I’ve always been interested in studying the impacts of environmental/geological hazards on local communities,” says Young, “and that interest expanded significantly after taking the Field Methods courses in Montserrat and Cyprus. GIS is an exceptional way to visualize and conduct a study on such topics, so I am excited to be a part of this project!” Her focus will be on analyzing flood hazards in the City of Dearborn with an emphasis on the South End. She hopes to identify areas of high vulnerability as well as areas with the greatest need for improvement.

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