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Bob Golder presents at 'Sustainable Cities.'

At the same time that the Urban Initiative is working to support cities, we are also   committed to our university's mission to educate students. We do this by engaging UMass Dartmouth undergraduate and graduate students in every aspect of our work: students participate in meetings with partners, write project and grant proposals, gather and analyze data, write reports, and conduct presentations in the community.

Through these activities, our students benefit not only from the ability to apply classroom lessons in the field; they also become more competitive in the job market by building skills and making connections in the community.




 (Bob Golder, MPP '14, presents his research.)


Opportunities for students

Current UI job openings: Internship positions available (see below for more information). No paid opportunities available at this time.

If you're a UMass Dartmouth student who wants to join the Urban Initiative team, a good first step is to familiarize yourself with our work. This website is a good place to start, but also visit our blog and the website of our signature effort, the SouthCoast Urban Indicators Project. You should also check out past newsletters (see our 'News' page) to learn about the projects we're currently working on.

A few times a year, we'll use this space to post specific opportunities--usually paid graduate or undergraduate research assistant positions that require 12-20 hours of work. Unpaid interns are welcome year-round. To learn more about these opportunities, email Project Manager Colleen Dawicki (


Current UI student staff

Robert Golder, Graduate research assistant, MPP '14

Bob has worked with the UI since the summer of 2012, when he played a key role in our work evaluating the Taunton Housing Authority's HOPE VI project. Bob masterfully translated his previous summer's work tracking fish in Alaska to surveying city residents, and he continues to enrich the work of the UI by contributing his perspectives as an artist and biologist. Learn more about Bob through his introductory blog post.

Ekaterina Starostina, Graduate research assistant, MPP '14

Katya joined the Urban Initiative in September 2013 after spending her summer interning with Washington, DC's Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Before that, she lived in the Gateway City of Lawrence and coorindated after school programs for the YMCA of Greater Boston. Katya is interested in education policy and will be supporting our efforts to track education metrics for the SouthCoast Urban Indicators Project. Learn more about her here.

Mike McCarthy, Undergraduate research assistant, Class of 2014

Mike is a senior English major who joined the Urban Initiative in the summer of 2013. He is a New Bedford native and resident who is using his writing skills to help make urban policy issues more accessible and comprehensible to stakeholders in our region. He has also played a key role in coordinating our High School Internship Program. Read Mike's introductory blog post here.


Urban Initiative/MPP Alumni

Christopher Nunes, MPP '11, Data Analyst, Brookline (MA) Public Schools

Chris earned his MPP in 2011 and is now a Data Analyst for the Brookline Public Schools. He worked with the UI during Spring 2011 on our dropout prevention program evalution conducted for the Springfield Public Schools. On his time at the UI, Chris says: "In addition to being exposed to analyzing real time data sources, the projects I assisted with provided a tangible value to the community.  The Urban Initiative provides a tremendous cost-effective value to the community through the use of its very useful and timely research and analysis."

Hannah Colestock, MPP '12, Founder, Girls on the Run - Rhode Island; Network Logistics Coordinator at Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy

Hannah was a graduate research assistant during the 2011-12 school year, her second and final year of the MPP program. She worked on a broad range of our projects, heading up a program evalution of a regional mentoring program and leading an analysis of permitting processes across greater New Bedford. During that time, Hannah also founded Girls on the Run - Rhode Island, for which she now serves on the Board of Directors. She now works as the Network Logistics Coordinator of Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy.

Jennifer Gonet, MPP '12, Transportation Planner, Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD)

Jen was a graduate research assistant at the UI during Spring 2012, the semester during which she completed her MPP. Her work involved compiling data that contributed to the development of the SouthCoast Urban Indicators Project, and she wrote one of the UI blog's most popular posts on gender and earnings in our region's cities. Just a few weeks after earning her Master's degree, Jen joined the team of SRPEDD as a transportation planner. Jen says, "The opportunity to work as a research assistant at the Urban Initiative gave me the opportunity to apply what I was learning in the classroom directly in a professional capacity...I can't thank UMass Dartmouth enough for all the wonderful hands-on learning opportunities they gave me."

Jason Hill, MPP '13, Superintendent, The Trustees of Reservations

Jason joined the Urban Initiative as a grad assistant in September 2012 (he introduced himself in this blog post). In addition to playing a key role in the development of the SouthCoast Urban Indicators Project, he translated his background and interest in environmental policy into research on urban land use--a topic he be presented on as part of the graduate student speaker series, 'Sustainable Cities.' Jason is now working at TTOR's LEED-certified Doyle Center in Leominster, and he lives in the Gateway City of Worcester. 

Jason Silva, MPP '13, Chief of Staff, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation

Jason was the first Research Associate of the Urban Initiative, a position he gave up to become the Chief of Staff at the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).


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