The Urban Policy Lab is excited to announce the inaugural cohort of Urban Policy Graduate Fellows, a team of second-year Master of Public Policy students who will contribute to the Lab’s research projects, participate in unique experiential learning opportunities, and help coordinate the School’s urban-oriented extracurricular student programming. 

As members of the Lab’s student leadership group, Fellows will direct the Lab’s student-focused initiatives, including the School’s annual Municipal Policy Action Case Competition, as well as organize various public events. In addition, Fellows will work closely with experienced practitioners and contribute to a real-world urban policy project at one of two partner organizations: Evergreen and the City of Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy Office.

Breanne Bateman holds a B.A. (Hons.) in History and English from Wilfrid Laurier University. She joins the Lab after an internship at the City of Mississauga, in the Transportation and Infrastructure Planning Division, where she conducted research on best practices in urban storm water and watershed management. Breanne’s urban policy interests include environmental policy and sustainability, particularly water and food policy.

Rebecca Hellam holds a B.A. (Hons.) in Political Science from the University of Toronto. She joins the Lab after an internship at the Mowat Centre, where she used census data to study neighbourhood diversity and local socioeconomic conditions in Toronto. Her research interests focus on Toronto’s housing affordability crisis, and how technological and social innovation can be used as a tool for building communities.

Sam Jerez holds a B.A. (with high distinction) in Sociology and Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto. He joins the Lab after an internship with the Region of Peel’s Housing Development Unit, where he assisted with the development and implementation of a Housing Master Plan to guide the region’s investments in affordable housing, including supportive and transitional housing. Sam’s urban policy interests include affordable housing, poverty reduction, neighbourhood equity improvement, and the role of artistic expression in promoting community well-being.

Matthew Plouffe holds a B.A. (Hons.) in International Development and History, with a joint Certificate in Public Policy and Administration, from the University of Guelph. He joins the Lab after an internship at the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, where he researched best practices for climate adaptation and disaster risk management. Matthew’s urban policy interests include social service delivery, housing, resilience, and environmental sustainability.

Fellows will benefit from hands-on experience working with urban policy professionals, learn new skills and receive mentorship in key employability skills relevant to urban policy across different sectors, build relationships with alumni in the field, gain access to professional development workshops and networking opportunities via Lab partners, and make connections with faculty and students within the Munk School and the University of Toronto’s broader School of Cities initiative.