August 16, 2022

Cornell AAP Announces New Hires Advancing Collaborative Scholarship and Creative Practice in Social Justice and Equity

The College of Architecture, Art, and Planning is pleased to announce the appointment of eight new faculty members and two fellows who will together bring social justice and radical collaboration to the forefront of the college's efforts to build a more sustainable, just, and thriving world for all.

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This fall, Cornell's College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP) welcomes faculty to many new positions including an Associate Dean for Diversity and Equity; a social-justice-focused cohort of five, including one Provost New Faculty Fellow, that spans the architecture, art, and planning disciplines; and two provost-supported radical collaboration (CIVIC) positions that will identify and expand upon generative points of intersection in the arts and humanities at AAP and across the university.

Additionally, two inaugural Strauch Fellowships were awarded to early-career scholars and practitioners whose work advances inclusion and equity in architecture and city and regional planning.

"We are thrilled to welcome an extraordinary group of new faculty and fellows whose critical scholarship and creative practices, rigorous research, and lines of inquiry advance equity and justice across our disciplines," says AAP Dean J. Meejin Yoon. "As practitioners and educators, the work they do in and out of the classroom yields actionable knowledge and meaningful impact that has the potential to transform our cities, communities, and constructed environments both now and well into the future."

New faculty and fellows joining AAP include:

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Jen de los Reyes

AAP Associate Dean for Diversity and Equity; Associate Professor, Art

Jen de los Reyes will serve as both Associate Professor of Art and as AAP's inaugural Associate Dean for Diversity and Equity, a key member of the college's senior leadership team charged with advancing the college's vision and priorities around academic excellence and inclusion.

Reyes is an artist, educator, writer, and radical community arts organizer. She was born in Manitoba, Canada, and comes to Cornell by way of the University of Illinois, Chicago, where she was Associate Director of the School of Art & Art History for seven years, and prior, Portland, Oregon, where she directed Portland State University's flexible residency Art and Social Practice M.F.A. program, the first of its kind in the U.S. She has worked for more than a decade on public forums for art and artists. In 2007, she founded and directed Open Engagement, an international organization hosting annual conferences on socially engaged art from 2007–2019. 

Reyes is based in Ithaca, New York, and Chicago where she is a resident and founder at SIDE by SIDE and Garbage Hill Farm, two projects that model personal and social sustainability, daily life, and arts and culture that exist in parallel.

Reyes officially joined AAP and the Department of Art on August 1.

Social Justice Cohort 

The AAP social justice cohort brings faculty together across disciplines to advance scholarship, research, creative practice, and critical dialogue on social justice, equity, and identity.

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Peter Robinson

Assistant Professor, Architecture

Peter Robinson is an architect, educator, and the founder of WorkUrban, a design consultancy with the principal mission to promote effective urbanism around the world through community engagement and participatory design. As a founding board member of BlackSpace Urbanist Collective — a nonprofit organization that demands a present and future where Black people, Black spaces, and Black culture matter and thrive — Robinson utilizes his strong belief in the power of collaboration to advance student advocacy and create community change. Robinson was recently elected Vice Chair to the Board of Trustees at AIA New York | Center for Architecture and serves on the Board of Advisors for BRACE: Building Research + Architecture + Community Exchange. 

Robinson has worked at a number of notable architectural practices and previously taught architecture design and urban theory at Barnard College, Columbia University, Syracuse University, Parsons School of Design, and Cornell AAP's Gensler Family AAP NYC Center. He has been a guest critic at Cornell University, Columbia University, Rhode Island School of Design, China Academy of Art, and Harvard GSD. His research focuses on cultural subjectivity and the city, broaching parallels and interferences among architecture, urban design, planning, and cultural practices/theories as a means to engage/inform social action.

Robinson was raised in Kingston, Jamaica, and New York City where he graduated from the High School of Art and Design. He earned a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and a Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University.

Robinson officially joined the Department of Architecture on July 1.

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Ife Vanable

Assistant Professor, Architecture

Ife Vanable is an architect, historian, and theorist who directs i/van/able, a Bronx-based architectural workshop and think tank for producing theoretical, speculative, and physical interventions that defy prevailing notions of type, taste, and form. Her work has been supported by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), recognized by the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), and exhibited at the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale. Vanable's scholarly work asks questions of and seeks to unearth complex and seemingly banal relationships between the design of architecture, law, and public policy, the performance of domesticity and respectability, and the politics, aesthetics, and materiality of the making of home. She has received numerous awards, prizes, and fellowships including the History and Theory Prize from Princeton University, a Columbia University Buell Center Fellowship, and an inaugural Black Reconstruction Collective (BRC) Prize. Her writing has been published in the Avery Review and she is co-editor of Black Production and the Space of the University (forthcoming). Vanable has taught at The Cooper Union, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP), and the Yale University School of Architecture (YSoA).

Vanable holds professional and post-professional degrees in architecture from Cornell and Princeton universities and has studied at the Architectural Association in London and the University College of Lands and Architectural Studies (now Ardhi University) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She is the inaugural KPF Visiting Scholar (2021) and a Presidential Visiting Fellow (2022-23) at YSoA, and a Ph.D. candidate in architectural history and theory at Columbia University (GSAPP).

Vanable officially joins the Department of Architecture on July 1, 2023.

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Oscar Rene Cornejo

Assistant Professor, Art

Oscar Rene Cornejo is an artist currently based New York and Western Massachusetts. With a background in pedagogy and activism, Cornejo's socially engaged practice draws together histories of abstraction in the U.S. and Latin America with his personal experiences of the construction site, family memory, and historical forgetting. In 2004, he cofounded the Latin American Community Art Project (LA CAPacidad) where for seven years he directed artist residencies to promote intercultural awareness through community art education. He is a founding member of Junte Adjuntas, an artist project based in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico.

Cornejo's work has been included in exhibitions at Radiator Gallery, Queens, New York; The Queens Museum; Recess: Assembly, Brooklyn, New York; Princeton University; and Diverseworks, Houston, Texas; among other venues. He has attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Workspace Residency, and Yvonne Residency in Guatemala. Cornejo has taught at The Cooper Union, Hunter College, and at the Yale School of Art's Painting and Printmaking Department. His is also a fresco instructor at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

Cornejo was born in Houston, Texas and has an M.F.A. from the Yale School of Art, a B.F.A. from The Cooper Union, and received a J. William Fulbright Scholarship for research in El Salvador.

Cornejo officially joined the Department of Art on July 1.

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Oasa DuVerney

Assistant Professor, Art

Born in Queens, New York, Oasa DuVerney is an artist and mother who has exhibited widely at venues across the United States, particularly in the New York City area. Select exhibitions and residencies include Brooklyn Hi-Art Machine: Paradise Is One's Own Place, Weeksville Heritage Center, Brooklyn, New York (2021); Jon Gray of Ghetto Gastro Selects, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, New York (2021); 2020 Women To Watch, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC (2020); Twenty Twenty, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut (2020); BLACK POWER WAVE, BRIC, Brooklyn, New York (2019); Something To Say, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York (2018); The Window and the Breaking of the Window, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2016); The Brooklyn Biennial II, BRIC, Brooklyn, New York (2016); Through A Glass Darkly, Postmasters Gallery, New York, New York (2012); Rush Philanthropic Foundation Artist Residency (2016); Smack Mellon Studio Artist Residency (2014–2015); and LMCC Workspace Residency (2012–2013). DuVerney's work is included in the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum's permanent collection and has been featured in publications such as The Guardian, The Independent, Hyperallergic, Palestine News Network, and The New York Times, among others.

DuVerney received her B.F.A. from the Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY) and her M.F.A. from Hunter College (CUNY).

DuVerney officially joined the Department of Art on July 1.

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Jocelyn Poe

Provost New Faculty Fellow, City and Regional Planning

Jocelyn Poe's research focuses on communal trauma, reparative praxis, and anti-racist futures. Inspired by her experiences as a practicing planner, Poe uses interdisciplinary and creative methods for theorizing planning practice and engaging communities. These innovative approaches shape her research, planning practice, and teaching. Her work resonates with critical issues of justice and equity which shape our cities and are deeply relevant to our field and its futures. 

Poe has a Ph.D. in urban planning and development from the Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California, a Master of Community Planning from Auburn University, and a Bachelor of Architecture from the Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Sciences at Tuskegee University. 

Poe officially joined Cornell as a Provost New Faculty Fellow this summer and will begin her appointment as assistant professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning in 2024.


The Cornell Provost's university-wide Radical Collaboration Initiative supports faculty in several strategic discipline areas including Critical Inquiry into Values, Imagination, and Culture (CIVIC). Two faculty join AAP in this area, one in the Department of Art who will partner with the Department of Performing and Media Arts, and another in the Department of City and Regional Planning who will partner with Science and Technology Studies and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

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Keith Obadike

Professor, Art

Keith Obadike is an artist and composer who works collaboratively with writer Mendi Obadike. They have exhibited and performed at the New Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and MoMA. Their projects include a series of large-scale public sound artworks: Blues Speaker (for James Baldwin) at The New School (commissioned by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics with Harlem Stage), Free/Phase at the Chicago Cultural Center and Rebuild Foundation, and Compass Song (commissioned by Times Square Arts). Honors include a Rockefeller New Media Arts Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award.

Prior to joining the faculty at Cornell, Obadike taught at William Paterson University. He has served as a visiting artist at Princeton University, Columbia University, Northwestern University, and the Art Institute of Chicago. He earned a B.A. in visual art from North Carolina Central University and an M.F.A. in sound design from Yale University.

Obadike officially joined the Department of Art on July 1.

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Wenfei Xu

Assistant Professor, City and Regional Planning

Wenfei Xu's research questions how housing policies, practices, institutions, and technologies have shaped urban inequality, with an orientation toward methods in urban analytics. She works on topics in social-spatial stratification, segregation, race and ethnicity, data science, mapping, and neighborhood change in the U.S. Her work has ranged from an interest in the historical legacies of structural housing discrimination and its contemporary spatial-temporal manifestations to exploring the uses of big data in characterizing human activity for urban social science research.

Xu received her Ph.D. in urban planning from Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, a dual master's in architecture and urban planning from MIT's Department of Architecture and Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Chicago.

Xu officially joined the Department of City and Regional Planning on July 1.

Strauch Fellowships  

The inaugural Strauch Fellowships advance inclusion, equity, and justice in architecture and planning by providing pathways to successful academic careers for emerging and impactful scholars and practitioners in these disciplines. Thanks to the generosity of alumni Hans (B.Arch. '80) and Roger Strauch '78, these fellowships create opportunities for emerging scholars to engage in teaching, research, and mentorship at AAP as well as participate in the Deans' Equity and Inclusion Initiative, which brings together 25 leading U.S. schools and colleges of architecture, planning, and design dedicated to creating a community of early-career faculty from a diversity of backgrounds and experiences, with attention to BIPOC and those underrepresented among faculty in the field.

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Sydney Maubert

Strauch Fellow, Architecture

Sydney Maubert is an architect, artist, muralist, scholar, and teacher. She directs Studio Maubert, an architectural, artistic, and scholarly practice exploring Black, Latin, Indigenous, and Fem modes of cultural and spatial production. She is the founder of Sydney R. Maubert LLC., her art and mural practice. Studio Maubert is Maubert's interdisciplinary architectural, artistic, and scholarly practice researching questions at the intersection of architecture, geography, and policy — including urban morphologies and racialized habitation patterns in Miami and New York, and their intertwined legacies with colonialism and genocide. Her work is largely animated by Black studies, decolonial studies, fugitive practice, history, and cultural geography. 

Maubert is the recipient of the Yale Moulton Andros Award and the University of Miami Alpha Rho Chi Award. Her writing can be found in Yale's Paprika! and was published in Transformations in Classical Architecture as an editorial research assistant to Dr. Victor Deupi. Maubert has held internships at Bernheimer Architecture and Trelles Cabarrocas and teaching assistantships at Dark Matter University, Yale University, University of Miami, CCNY, and Morgan State University. 

Maubert holds post-professional and professional degrees in architecture from Yale University (2022) and the University of Miami (2020), with double minors in writing and art.

 Maubert officially joined the Department of Architecture on July 1.

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Zakhary Mallett

Strauch Fellow, City and Regional Planning

Zakhary Mallett's research investigates the interrelationship between transportation finance, travel behavior, and urban form. He seeks to explain the extent to which an individual's travel behavior and location choice are influenced by the inefficient pricing of transportation and how this influences aggregate travel patterns, urban spatial structure, and distributional impacts.

Previously, Mallett served as an elected member of the governing board of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART). As a BART director, he spearheaded the agency's affordable housing policy and advocated for policymaking that was conscious of the long-term impacts of present-day decisions and based on empirical findings.

Mallett earned his Ph.D. in urban planning and development from the University of Southern California; a master's degree in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley; and a bachelor's degree from Stanford University. He began his post-secondary education at West Valley College in Saratoga, California.

Mallett officially joined the Department of City and Regional Planning on July 1.

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