About Us: Staff Biographies

Chris Ryer, Director.Chris Ryer, Director

Chris returned to the Department of Planning as the Director in February 2019 after serving for over a decade as Executive Director of the Southeast Community Development Corporation (CDC), an organization dedicated to the vitality and growth of neighborhoods in Southeast Baltimore. Prior to joining the Southeast CDC, he worked for the Department of Planning, including 10 years as Community Planner and four years as Deputy Director. 

Stephanie Smith, Assistant Director.Stephanie Smith, Assistant Director

Stephanie M. Smith is the Assistant Director and a member of the Maryland Bar. She has spent the bulk of her professional career working to advance environmental health and justice through federal clean air policy. As a former congressional staffer, Stephanie worked on affordable housing and voting rights issues. Most recently, Stephanie served in the executive leadership of a professional association focused on higher education and public health. Stephanie is an active member of the Greater Baltimore Urban League and Greater Baltimore Leadership Association. Stephanie is a proud graduate of Hampton University (BA), University of Delaware (MA), and Howard University School of Law (JD). Stephanie is married to Calvin, a mother to Parker, and a friend of Baltimore. She resides with her family in Baltimore City's Middle East community.

Nichole StewartNichole Stewart, Assistant Director

Nichole Stewart is a new Assistant Director for the Department of Planning. Previously, Nichole served as the Executive Director of Facilities for the Baltimore City Public Schools System where she regularly worked with DoP’s capital team. In that role she managed City Schools' real estate office and analyzed enrollment and city demographic and housing trends to inform school closures, rezoning decisions, and the prioritization of long-term facility capital needs. Nichole is experienced in building staff capacity, facilitating department organization, and collaborative cross-functional decision-making. Her interests are in urban planning, housing, intersecting neighborhood data and indicators, and spatial analysis techniques using GIS. Nichole received her BS in Economics from Morgan State University, MCP in Community Planning from the University of Maryland and a PhD in Public Policy from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.


Equity, Engagement, and Communications

Community Planning and Revitalization

Land Use and Urban Design

Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation

Policy and Data Analysis

Office of Sustainability

Food Policy and Planning


CarrshaReedimageCarrsha Reed, Management Support

Carrsha was born and raised in West Baltimore where she currently still resides. She obtained her Bachelors Degree in Human Resources Management from University of Maryland Global Campus. In her spare time she enjoys learning new things, working out, and baking. Some of her favorite ways to work out are yoga, walking, and strength training.


Equity, Engagement, and Communications


Alex Bauer headshotAlex Bauer, Equity and Engagement Planner

Alex Bauer received his bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Connecticut and Master’s in Organizational Leadership and Learning from George Washington University. Prior to his role as the Equity and Engagement Planner, he spent six years providing both capacity building and evaluation technical assistance to federal, Tribal, state, and local human services agencies to strengthen program operations, implementation, and outcomes. In this work, he led efforts to collaborate with program staff and those served by the programs to identify problems, develop innovative solutions, pilot them, and scale them. He is a skilled facilitator, coach, and trainer who emphasizes people-first approaches that are centered in empathy. While he moved to Baltimore in 2021, he has been a life-long Ravens fan.

Vacant, Communications Specialist

Community Planning and Revitalization

Chad Hayes, Planner Supervisor and Western District Planner.Chad Hayes, Director of Community Planning and Revitalization

Chad Hayes earned a Bachelor's degree from Towson University and a Master's degree in City and Regional Planning from Morgan State University. Chad found his calling in 2004 when he joined Belair-Edison Neighborhoods, an amazing non-profit community development organization in Northeast Baltimore. After 10 wonderful years in Belair-Edison, Chad jumped at the opportunity to bring his passion for urban planning and community development to the Department of Planning where he proudly served the 46 neighborhoods in the western planning district prior to being promoted to the Director of the Community Planning & Revitalization Division.

ImaniImani Jasper, Eastern District Planner

Imani Jasper is the Eastern District Planner, returning home to Maryland after working on property blight in Memphis, TN for three years.  She initially gained an interest in Urban Planning after an activity in which she was challenged to change the layout of a fictional city to help alleviate some of the problems facing the city. That activity continues to influence and shape her problem-solving based approach to city planning. In her studies, she explored her interest in adaptive re-use, resiliency, and community engagement. Imani graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree in Urban and Regional Studies in 2016 and her Master’s in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University in 2018.  

Jazmin Jazmin Kimble, Southern District Planner

Jazmin Kimble is the Southern District Planner in the Community Planning & Revitalization Division. Jazmin earned a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and a Master of Science in Geodesign from Philadelphia University, now Thomas Jefferson University. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Urban & Regional Planning at Georgetown University, where she plans to graduate by 2023. Prior to joining DOP, Jazmin worked in the private sector specializing in Multimodal Transportation Planning, Urban Design, Environmental Planning, Geospatial Analysis, and Community Engagement. She is passionate about community empowerment and identifying solutions to design and planning challenges to create equitable and sustainable communities, while maintaining its culture and history. In her spare time, Jazmin enjoys traveling and exploring spaces, baking, horseback riding, and the arts.

Kyle Leggs, Southwest District Planner & Planner SupervisorKyle Leggs, Southwest District Planner.

Kyle Leggs is the Planner for Southwest who has worked for the Department of Planning for 25 years. Throughout his tenure, he has managed the capital budgeting process, represented the department in the areas of Transportation Planning, Emergency Preparedness, and has worked extensively over the years as a District Planner for Southwest Baltimore. He is also a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and is the Director of Planning and Design to build the National Desert Storm War Memorial in Washington, D.C. He holds an M.S. in Transportation from Morgan State University, a B.S. in Social Science from Coppin State University, and is a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College.

Marie McSweeney Anderson (she/they) wearing dark frame glasses and a brown sweaterMarie McSweeney Anderson, Northern District Planner

Marie McSweeney Anderson (she/they) is the Northern District Planner for over 50 neighborhoods in the north central region of Baltimore City.  Joining the Planning Department in 2022, Marie has 10+ years of experience working with and for neighborhoods in the Govans/York Road area on projects related to building civic capacity, strengthening commercial corridors, enhancing education and youth development, and increasing affordable access to fresh produce as part of Loyola University Maryland's York Road Initiative.  Marie is a double graduate of Loyola University Maryland with a multidisciplinary liberal arts background in Political Science, Economics, Sociology, and History, which helps to build context for successful community engagement.  Marie comes to the Department of Planning with the lens of asset based community development and a commitment to racial equity.  Marie lives in northern Baltimore City with their spouse, child, and frug (frenchie pug) named Freddie Prince Mercury.

 Carmen Morosan, Northeast District Planner.Carmen Morosan, Northeast District Planner

Originally from Romania, Carmen Morosan came to the United States to further her education. After graduating from Boston University with a Master’s degree in Urban Affairs, Carmen moved to Baltimore and worked for several nonprofits managing projects in the areas of transportation equity and environmental justice. Carmen has been working as a City Planner for the Baltimore City Planning Department for over 10 years, most recently as the Northeast District Planner. Carmen enjoys traveling during her spare time. 

Kari Nye, Northwest District Planner

Kari Nye works with City agencies, community members, neighborhood organizations, and nonprofits to achieve equitable planning and investment for neighborhoods in the Northwest District. Her role also comprises staffing the Pimlico Community Development Authority to facilitate community input on local impact aid in the Pimlico area. Prior to joining DOP, Kari worked in neighboring counties on planning and policy related to affordable housing, transit-oriented development, and small business development. She is a long-time Waverly resident and first became interested in city planning through serving on her neighborhood association. Kari earned her bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley and her master’s at the University of Maryland. On weekends, find her exploring Cylburn Arboretum, playing tennis at Druid Hill Park, or teaching sewing classes at the Station North Tool Library.

Headshot of a man with short hair and a beard wearing a Dept. of Planning shirtEli Pousson, INSPIRE Planner

Eli Pousson (he/him) is an INSPIRE Planner with a background in community planning, public health, and historic preservation. Prior to joining the Department in June 2022, Eli worked as a planner with the Neighborhood Design Center and completed a Masters of Public Health at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health where he focused on the health effects of vacant housing and worked with Bikemore and the Department of Transportation on a "play streets" pilot program. Outside of work, Eli is a historian, cargo bike riding family cyclist, city schools parent, and a Harwood neighborhood resident. He is often seen picking up litter and enthusiastically encouraging friends and neighbors to use 311.

Jaffa Jaffa Batya Weiss, INSPIRE Planner

Jaffa graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Environmental Studies from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. She went on to get a Master of Public Administration from Clark University and a Master in City and Regional Planning from Morgan State University. Prior to joining the CPR team, Jaffa worked as a Project Manager for the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. She got her start in Baltimore over a decade ago as an AmeriCorps member. Jaffa lives in Baltimore City with her family and in her free time enjoys exploring new cities, improving her cooking skills, and has a dream of producing an urbanist podcast one day.


Nick Chupein SW PartnershipNick Chupein, Southwest Partnership District Planner

Nick Chupein (he/him) is the community planner for a dynamic mix of historic neighborhoods collectively known as the Southwest Partnership district, where he coordinates between residents, neighborhood associations, city agencies, organizations, and businesses to encourage equitable, sustainable, and people-focused growth and revitalization. Prior to pivoting his career to city planning, Nick worked extensively in the construction management and real estate development fields in Chicago and Baltimore, including owning and operating a small construction company. Nick holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a Master of City and Regional Planning degree from Morgan State University. He makes music in his free time and is a proud resident of the Arcadia neighborhood where he lives with his wife, two young children, and Australian cattle dog.   

Tarek Bolden Western DistrictTarek Bolden, Western District Planner

Tarek Bolden is the Western District Planner, joining the Department of Planning with over 20 years of professional experience in urban planning and zoning. Prior to joining DOP Tarek has worked as a city planner in urban communities in New York City, Washington D.C. and Virginia. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), and has earned a Master’s of City and Regional Planning degree from Pratt Institute in 2004. Tarek enjoys volunteering and community service through coaching youth sports.

Land Use & Urban Design

Eric Tiso, Division Chief.Eric Tiso, Division Chief

Eric Tiso joined the Department of Planning in 2000 and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), the American Planning Association’s Professional Institute.  He has earned a Master of City Planning degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography and Regional Planning from Salisbury State University.  Eric enjoys community service through a variety of organizations and outdoor recreation.

Ivor Quashie, City Planner

Ivor graduated City College of New York with a BA in Political Science. He worked with many NGOs in New York City to aid businesses with accessing city and state revitalization programs and provided community support. He works as a planner in the city of Baltimore in the Land Use and Urban Design Division which touches every corner of the city though legislation, design and development. 

Urban Design Team

  Renata Southard, Design Planner.Renata Southard, AIA, NCARB, Urban Design Division Principal 

Ren is an architect, licensed in Maryland, an urban designer and planner. Prior to joining the Department of Planning in 2018, Ren spent more than a decade in the private sector as a project manager working on adaptive reuse, multi-family, mixed-use, and master planning projects. In her current role, Ren splits her time between Design Review and special projects, such as community visioning, cross-agency coordination, and technical design support. Ren is the former chair of AIA Balimore's Urban Design Committee, and currently serves on the board of AIA Maryland. She is a proud graduate of the University of Maryland, where she earned her Master of Architecture and a Graduate Certificate in Urban Design. A resident of Baltimore for more than 10 years, Ren is continually delighted by Charm City. 

Caitlin Audette, Historic Preservation Planner.Caitlin Audette, Design Planner and Downtown Planner

Caitlin is a Design Planner in the Land Use and Urban Design Division, as well as the Downtown Planner. Caitlin transitioned to this position from the Historic Preservation Division where she acted as a Preservation Planner serving CHAP. Prior to joining the city in 2014, Caitlin worked in the private sector in Washington, D.C. as a preservationist and historic tax credit consultant. In that role, she explored many unique places including leading an architectural survey of the U.S. Capitol Building. Caitlin earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. A resident of the Lake Evesham neighborhood, Caitlin is an avid reader who enjoys exploring the city with her family.

AntoineHeathAntoine Heath, Design Planner

Antoine Heath is a Design Planner in the Land Use and Urban Design Division. Prior to joining the city in 2024, Antoine worked as an Architectural Designer in Washington, D.C., and as a Planner at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in Prince George's County. Antoine earned a Bachelor's in Fine Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and a Master's in Architecture from Morgan State University. Antoine enjoy's woodworking, watching sports, and learning about space in his spare time.

Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) 

Eric Holcomb, Division Chief/Director

Eric obtained a Liberal Arts degree from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and a Master’s Degree in Preservation Studies at Boston University.  He worked for several remodeling and restoration companies as a tradesman until he joined the staff of the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) in 1994.  In 2004, the staff of CHAP merged with the Department of Planning.  In 2014, he became the Executive Director of CHAP and Division Chief where he has worked to further integrate and coordinate historic preservation into Planning activities.  He is the author of City As Suburb: A History of Northeast Baltimore Since 1660. In 2016 he was awarded the Mayor’s Medallion for Meritorious Service and in 2018 the Honorable mention for the 14th annual Richard A. Lidinsky, Sr. award for Excellence in Public Service.  He is married and has two boys, a one-eyed dog and a cat with a crooked tail.  

TyriqTyriq Charleus, Historic Preservation Planner

Tyriq Charleus is a Historic Preservation Planner for the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation. Tyriq earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Architecture & Environmental Design from Morgan State University. Originally from the Washington DC area, Tyriq loves working in the Historic Preservation field because of all the uncovered knowledge that can be discovered daily. He fell in love with Baltimore City as he matriculated through Morgan State University and wanted to become an agent of change for communities. It is a goal for Tyriq to be a steward of knowledge for generations to come.

Rachel Donaldson, Historic Preservation Planner

Eddie Leon, Historic Preservation Planner

Eddie has been with CHAP since 1994 and has functioned in every area of the Preservation Division for the past 25 years.   Originally, born in Lima, Peru,  he came and settled in the Greater Baltimore area since he was 2 years old.  He is primarily responsible for the oversight and permits review for more than half the designated properties and districts in the City.   Eddie is a  graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park with a degree in Architectural History.  He's worked on Underwater Archaeological projects in Israel and is currently on the board of directors for the Baltimore Courthouse and Law Museum Foundation.  Eddie is also on the board and a founding member of the Baltimore City Historical Society.   He enjoys traveling with his family and is an avid fan of the Science Fiction genre. 

LaurenSLauren Schiszik, Historic Preservation Planner

Lauren is a preservation planner for several local historic districts and Baltimore City Landmarks, and coordinator for the landmark designation and monument restoration programs. Prior to joining the department in 2011, she was a public archaeologist and cultural resources planner in Anne Arundel County. Lauren is also an adjunct faculty member in the Historic Preservation graduate program at Goucher College and the Public History undergraduate program at Stevenson University and serves on the Governor’s Commission on Maryland Military Monuments. She holds a Master of Historic Preservation degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a degree in Sociology/Anthropology from Earlham College. Outside of work, you can find this city resident in her garden or kitchen exploring new foodways, outdoors on a trail, or at an event in Baltimore's rich arts scene.  

AWilliamsAnthony Stewart, Historic Preservation and Central District Planner

Anthony Stewart is a Preservation Planner for the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation. Prior to joining CHAP, Anthony worked as a project designer for several local architecture firms specializing in residential housing, senior living, and commercial buildings. Anthony graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Graphic Communications with a concentration in Architecture from North Carolina A&T. He then went on to get his Master of Architecture degree from Morgan State University. In Anthony’s spare time he enjoys playing video games and spending time with his wife and their puppy.

Rachel Donaldson, Historic Preservation

Policy & Data Analysis

 Sara Paranilam, Division Chief.Sara Paranilam, Division Chief

Sara Paranilam has more than twenty years of community and comprehensive planning experience.  As a veteran within the Planning Department, she has developed many neighborhood master plans and launched new planning efforts.  She oversees the City's billion-dollar Capital Improvement Program and the Department’s data and mapping services. 


Kristen Ahearn, Capital Improvement Program Planner.Kristen Ahearn, Capital Improvement Program Planner

Kristen joined the Department in 2016. As the Capital Improvement Program Planner, she works with all city agencies to prepare the City's six-year Capital Improvement Program. Prior to working for Baltimore City, she worked for Johns Hopkins University's Center for Government Excellence and the Maryland Energy Administration. Outside of work, Kristen enjoys exploring Baltimore's amazing restaurants and trails. 


Image of Nick O'GaraNick O'Gara, GIS Analyst

Nick joined the Department of Planning as a GIS analyst in 2022. He studied applied linguistics and Spanish at Portland State University and geographic information systems technology at the University of Arizona. He's had formative experiences in music, teaching, editing, writing, and environmental consulting. When he's not doing maps or data as a member of the Policy and Data Analysis team, he might be thinking about the ways people speak or exploring the city on foot or bike.


Jamie Williams, City Planner Supervisor.Jamie Williams, City Planner Supervisor

Jamie manages web, IT, and data/mapping support for the Department as well as other City agencies.  She joined the Department of Planning in 2003 after graduating from UMBC.  In her spare time, she enjoys the outdoors, traveling, and spending time with her family.


Office of Sustainability

AvaAva Richardson, Director

Ava Richardson is the new Sustainability Manager for the Baltimore Office of Sustainability. In this role she will lead the implementation of the 2019 Baltimore Sustainability Plan, support the Commission on Sustainability and convene stakeholders across the city to advance sustainability initiatives. Besides her previous work with the Office as a technical adviser for the Baltimore Food Matters program, Ava has over a decade of experience leading public health initiatives, advocating for environmental policies, and managing programs designed to address social inequities. Most recently she served as a project director at the Baltimore City Health Department, leading efforts to address decades of trauma in West Baltimore. Ava holds a BS in Biology from Frostburg State University, an MPH from Morgan State University, and is currently obtaining a DrPH from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


Amy Gilder Busatti, Environmental Planner and Landscape Architect. Amy Gilder-Busatti, Sustainability Manager

Amy Gilder-Busatti has been with the Office of Sustainability since 2010. In her role as Sustainability Manager, she provides leadership and coordination to advance the implementation of the Baltimore Sustainability Plan. Amy also leads the development of the Annual Sustainability Report and the Office’s ongoing efforts to track and report progress on plan implementation, outreach, and sustainability metrics. During her time with the City, she has also overseen forest conservation and Critical Area development reviews and led the creation of the Baltimore Green Network Plan and Baltimore City Landscape Manual. She holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from Ball State University and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from Morgan State University. 

RachelWhiteheart Rachel Whiteheart, Environmental Planner - Forest Conservation

Rachel Whiteheart is an Environmental Planner with the Office of Sustainability overseeing forest conservation. Prior to joining the City, Rachel worked as an environmental engineer for several local consulting firms. As a licensed Professional Engineer, Rachel has developed designs for green infrastructure and helped restore natural ecological systems across the Baltimore region and beyond. Rachel holds a Master of Community Planning degree from the University of Maryland and a BS in Environmental Engineering from Cornell University. She currently lives in Remington and enjoys biking the streets of Baltimore, hiking, reading, and climbing on rocks.

valerieruppValerie Rupp, Climate and Resilience Program Manager 

Valerie provides support for our office's growing climate and resilience portfolio. She has prior experience as a public lands professional and  is skilled in partnership building, nonprofit management, communications, planning, and project management. Before joining our office, she  served as the Executive Director of the Partnership of the National Trails System. Prior to that, she worked with the Parks & People Foundation in Baltimore for eight years, led the fundraising and external relations as Development Director for the Women’s Law Center of  Maryland, and worked in various positions with the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Valerie holds Bachelor’s degrees in history and communications from Shippensburg University and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Baltimore. She hails from Northeastern PA, and currently lives in Ednor Gardens where she feeds the feral cats on the block and makes sure all the street trees are properly mulched.

gracehansenGrace Hansen, Coastal Planner 

Grace Hansen is the Coastal Planner for the City. Her work focuses on managing development as it relates to Floodplain Management and the Critical Area Management Program. She also assists in updating the City’s Disaster Preparedness and Planning Project (DP3) and Nuisance Flood Plan. Grace has experience in the environmental field at the state, regional, and international levels. She previously served as a coastal planner in Coastal Virginia where she collaborated with seventeen local governments across Hampton Roads to strengthen the region’s ability to adapt to recurrent flooding issues. She also worked for The Nature Foundation SXM in St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles where she led the country’s first plastic brand audit and has assisted in the upkeep and maintenance of coral fragments in the Man of War Shoal Marine Park through SCUBA diving. Grace holds a Master of Arts degree in International Environmental Policy with a specialization in ocean and coastal resource management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and a BA in environmental studies from Rollins College. She is a former collegiate swimmer and spends her weekends as an Ocean Rescue Lieutenant in Sea Colony, Delaware. She is also an avid athlete in the sport of USLA surf racing where she competes at the local, regional, and national levels. Grace enjoys all things related to water and being outdoors. Hailing from Timonium, Maryland, she is excited to be back in the area.

JoannaBirch_picJoanna Birch, Floodplain Manager 

Joanna Birch is the City's Floodplain Manager. Joanna was born and raised in Maryland. She's originally from St. Mary's County and grew up surrounded by water. She has more than a decade of experience working in data-driven mapping and environmental compliance in both the public and private sectors. Joanna holds a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Maryland, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Goucher College, and a Master's Certificate in Geographic Information Science from Penn State University. Her interests and hobbies include gardening and houseplants, spending time on the water, doing anything crafty, and making maps.  

ebonesmithEbone Smith, Sustainability Planner

Ebone Smith is a recent masters graduate from the University of Oklahoma. As part of her masters thesis research, she studied how extreme heat influences historically marginalized communities living in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Prior to her masters degree, Ebone attended Virginia Tech as a dual-degree student majoring in Meteorology and Communication Studies. In addition to her studies, she has served as a teacher for elementary school students, a Climate Justice Fellow for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and a researcher of various weather and climate phenomenon. In her free time, Ebone enjoys hiking, playing with her dog, and exploring new food places. 

ericapinketErica Pinket, Climate and Resilience Planner

Erica Pinket, MPS-EDM is a community advocate who lends her subject matter expertise in support of disaster preparedness with clean and renewable solutions. Soon to be published in the Journal of Emergency Management, Erica has authored original strategies for active shooter preparedness for the disability community as well as a multitude of disaster plans implemented across the country. As a multi-disciplinary professional, Erica plans on using her public policy experience to help Baltimore achieve our carbon emission reduction goals as the Climate and Resilience Planner with the Sustainability division.

Erica, a new resident of the city, enjoys the historic architecture and culture of Baltimore and spends her off time absorbing the magnificent views, music, and food that the city has to offer. As an avid lover of the arts, you might find her at your favorite community theater, go-go, or historical society event.  

Food Policy and Planning

Color image of Tayler LaFaveTaylor LaFave, Chief of Food Policy and Planning | Food Policy Director

Taylor LaFave (he/him/his) is the Chief of Food Policy and Planning and Food Policy Director for the City of Baltimore. He leads a collaborative team that works to build an equitable and resilient urban food system by addressing health, economic, and environmental disparities in neighborhoods that have high levels of food insecurity.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Taylor helped manage the City’s Emergency Food Response by overseeing contracts totaling over $38 million for produce box distribution. He also launched an innovative home delivered grocery box program in partnership with Amazon, the Maryland Food Bank, and the Baltimore Convention Center. Currently, he manages the Food Policy and Planning Division’s $11 million American Rescue Plan Act proposal, "Improving Nutritional Security, Food Access, and Food Equity In Baltimore City During and After COVID-19.” He is also the co-chair of the United States Conference of Mayor’s Food Policy Task Force, and represents the City of Baltimore on the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact’s Steering Committee.

Taylor earned his Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from the University of Michigan. He enjoys working in his neighborhood garden, exploring Baltimore’s history, watching football, swimming, baking pies, and eating good food, especially ice cream. Taylor lives in Baltimore City’s Radnor-Winston neighborhood with his wife and baby boy.

Image of Lindsay AdamsLindsay Adams, Food Resilience Planner 

Lindsay Adams earned her Master’s in Health Sciences with a focus on Food Systems, Agriculture, and Sustainability and received a certification in Food Systems, the Environment, and Public health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2019. Before this, she spent 10 years in Colorado where she received her BA in Public Health from the University of Colorado and worked as a community gardener, nutrition educator, and managed two research teams focused on improving food systems in rural and underserved communities. Most recently, she spent two years working as the Program Coordinator for the Accountable Health Communities project at the Baltimore City Health Department. In this role, she served as a project manager, working to improve health outcomes by addressing social determinants of health in clinical settings, and managed BCHD’s public resource directory, CHARMcare. 


Image of Yewande AKinkuowoYewande Akinkuowo, Food Access Planner  

Yewande "Wande" Akinkuowo is a lover of all things food and public health. Wande holds a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s degree in Health Equity from the University of Maryland College Park. Her decision to study Nutrition came from the desire to learn how to be the healthiest version of herself. Wande has three years of experience in nutrition education, working for university extension programs in both Rhode Island and Maryland. In addition Wande has three years of experience in grants, contracts, and budget development from her last role as a Grants and Finance Project Manager at Children's National Research Institute. In her spare time you can probably catch Wande watching Guys Grocery Games or Hell's Kitchen, her hobbies include creating recipes, food photography, content creation and crossfit.


olumijiNajahla Olumiji, Food Systems Planner

Najahla Olumiji is the Food Systems Planner. Najahla is a Virginia native, but considers Baltimore her long-term home. She has a bachelor’s degree in International Politics from the University of Virginia and a Master’s of City and Regional Planning from Morgan State University. She loves planning because it is the perfect combination of all her interests: politics, health, and history. While at Morgan, Najahla was a graduate assistant where she worked on courses from architecture and city planning to construction management. She is also a Baltimore Corps alumna, where she worked as a Food Policy Fellow for DOP. Najahla enjoys reading, spending time with her dog, and sewing clothes for herself and family.

Image of Nzingha CampbellNzingha Campbell, Food Policy Fellow

Nzingha Campbell is the Baltimore Corps Food Policy fellow. She grew up in Baltimore City and is proud to come from a city with rich history, gorgeous natural resources, and a strong sense of community. Nzingha has a bachelor's degree in Political Science from McDaniel College, where she also minored in Urban and Community studies. Prior to joining the FPP team she worked at the Baltimore City Department of Health’s Division of Aging, connecting older adults to community resources and assistance programs. Nzingha was also a member of the Department of Planning’s Spring 2022 Planning Academy, which solidified her interest in community planning and development. She is passionate about bringing direct services and resources to underserved communities, and ecstatic to join the Department of Planning. Outside of work she enjoys hiking, home improvement shows, and spoiling her two cats.


Image of Jessica FinkJessica Fink, Food Policy Data Fellow

Jessica joined the Department of Planning as a Food Policy Data Fellow through Baltimore Corps. She received her BA in International Relations and Development from George Washington University and an MS in Health and Medical Policy focusing on public health leadership and management from George Mason University. Jessica has experience in community engagement, public health education, data analytics, and health policy analysis. Her areas of interest include food access, nutrition education, and food system resilience.