Alumni Highlight


Kristen Crossney (PhD, 2006) was featured in Research in Focus, a newsletter of HUD’s Office of University Partnerships (OUP), regarding her research work into predatory lending practices and ongoing interest in the urban housing market. An assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at West Chester University, Crossney has maintained her relationship with the Bloustein School, working as a postdoctorate research fellow at the National Center for Neighborhood and Brownfields Redevelopment.


While a second-year PhD student at the Bloustein School in 2004, Crossney began seeking funding to help focus her research efforts on her dissertation in the field of housing and community development. In October 2005, while presenting at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) annual conference in Portland, she learned she had been awarded a two-year HUD Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant.


“It seemed a perfect fit for my interest in housing finance and its relationships to neighborhoods,” she said. “The program allowed me to focus on my research, and I was able to complete my dissertation in a timely manner.”


Crossney’s dissertation, The Paradox of Predatory Lending: An Examination of Mortgage Lending in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, drawing on public mortgage and property data, found the practice to be significantly clustered, occurring in a distinct spatial pattern. The research showed areas with racial minorities and economically disadvantaged residents were most impacted.


Crossney credited her doctoral work with helping her develop her research design and analytical skills, thereby preparing her for a career either in academics or as a policy analyst.


Jeremy Nemeth (PhD 2007), an assistant professor of planning and design at Colorado University-Denver, helped a group of Master's degree students in urban planning become involved in the redevelopment of the city’s historic Union Station.


As part of a class project, the students took input from city residents about how they would like to see the $500 million project proceed. As described by KWGN-TV, the project has become controversial, pitting developers and the city on the one side against preservationists and some local business.


"We figured this is a great opportunity for the students to get involved in the public process," Nemeth told the newscast. "In addition to studying the area and the architecture, they're also seeing the political forces that are involved in such a large civic project."


The National Center for Bicycling & Walking (NCBW) named Sharon Z. Roerty, (MCRP 1986) its new executive director in July. A certified planner with more than 25 years of experience in environmental planning, policy analysis and transportation finance, Roerty also worked at the Bloustein School with the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center.


NCBW is an advocacy organization that supports bicycle friendly and walkable communities across North America, and is the major program of the Bicycle Federation of America. Roerty joined NCBW as Director of Community Programs in 2004 and was named Deputy Executive Director in 2007.


Lisa A. Conte has joined the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. She had been working in Atlanta as a Congressional affairs specialist for the Federal Emergency Management Association.


Basilio Verduzco, PhD, 1997


Basilio Verduzco
Michael Greenberg and Basilio Verduzco

During a visit to Mexico this summer, Professor Michael R. Greenberg caught up with Basilio Verduzco, who graduated from Rutgers in 1997 with a PhD in Urban Planning and Policy Development. Professor Verduzco became the founding president of the Jalisco Academy of Sciences, the first state academy of sciences created in Mexico, and has conducted research projects for the Mexican government, including the Ministry of Tourism, the Federal Electricity Commission and National Water Commission.


He is now a professor at the University of Guadalajara, where he conducts research on conflict and negotiation in the fields of public policy and planning. He teaches Urban and Regional Planning and Methods for Policy Research.


Upon graduating from Rutgers, Professor Verduzco joined the University of Guadalajara as an associate research professor in the Department of Regional Studies. He has been invited to teach graduate courses at El Colegio de Jalisco (Guadalajara) El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (Tijuana), El Colegio de Sonora (Hermosillo), and the University of Arizona, Tucson.


He recently proposed an Urban Development Plan and a Municipal Development Program for Puerto Vallarta under a contract with the city.


Professor Verduzco has published many articles on planning, conflict and negotiations in journals published in Mexico, Spain and the United States. These include:

“Explaining variations in environmental activism on the United States-Mexico Border,” Journal of Latin American Geography, Vol. 7, Num. 1, 2008
“Acquiring Knowledge and Improving Environmental Policy: a bi-national agenda for civic organizations” in Equity and sustainable development: reflections from the U.S.-Mexico Border, Jane Clough-Riquelme and Nora Bringas R. Editors, 2006, Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of California, San Diego