Students 2013-2015

Paula Cassas, Brazil

Architect and Urbanist

Paula Cassas is from Sao Paulo, Brazil. She is a very curious and lucky person who has had great opportunities so far. While doing some undergraduate research in Brazil, she was selected to participate at a study program in China, where she studied sustainability in Jiao Tong University in Shanghai. After graduating, she chose to do an internship in Cape Town, South Africa, where she researched about townships and the selection processes for subsidized housing. In Brazil she worked with low-income housing plans, analysing the favelas and the government’s capability to deal with such an important issue.

Raisa Cole, South Africa

Social Scientist

Raisa Cole has professional experience that includes policy work and analysis at the World Food Programme, Solidaridad Southern Africa, Khanya African Institute for Community Driven Development and a land rights NGO Development Action Group. Her undergraduate studies in Political Science were completed at the University of Cape Town. Her areas of specialization and experience include policy development and analysis, especially in the fields of climate change adaptation.

Saidu Conteh, Sierra Leone

Land Management and Informal Settlement Regularisation

Saidu Conteh was born and raised in Freetown, Sierra Leone, known in urban planning parlance as part of the Global South. He graduated with a Bachelor in Engineering (Honours) degree in Civil Engineering from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. Non-exhaustively, he served, as a Project Engineer at the National Authorising Office of the EU in Sierra Leone, were he gained priceless experience in managing EU-funded projects. His mission is to unravel the link between structural and non-structural solutions in building a city for the future, which will house all classes of people.

Andrea Cuisana, Ecuador


Andrea Cuisana is from Quito, Ecuador, and graduated as an architect in the Pontifical University Catholic of Ecuador. She worked in the private sector in projects to provide services to cities around Ecuador, as well as in the public sector. Her focus has been low-income housing. In particular as a professional goal, she seeks an integral relationship between the project, the context, the culture and the identity of a place.

Kristina (Cimbidhi) Gjini, Albania


Kristina (Cimbidhi) Gjini holds a diploma in architecture from Tirana University. She worked for several years in private architectural design offices, gaining extensive experience in residential design.  Two years in the National Planning Institute of Albania proved to be an eye-opening experience. After participating in the Advanced International Training Programme of Integrated Urban Planning, organized by the Swedish International Development Agency, held in Stockholm and Nairobi, she developed an interest in international planning systems. She is devoted to sustainable urban development.

Harshavardhan Jatkar, India


Harshavardhan Jatkar, born in Pune, India completed his Bachelor’s degree of Architecture from Sir J.J. College of Architecture, Mumbai. Having worked with Christopher Charles Benninger Architects & Planners (CCBA) and INTACH-Pune, his research focuses on alternative redevelopment models for the inner cities of Mumbai and Pune. His interest in understanding the complexities of human settlements in urban areas has brought him to Mundus Urbano.

Rasha Kanjarawi, Syria

Urban Engineer

Rasha Kanjarawi, having completed her Bachelor’s degree in Architecture, worked in the rehabilitation of historical buildings and project management while studying for a Master’s degree in Sustainable Urban Development. Growing up in Damascus, Syria, and afterwards studying its urban development, has been a challenging yet enlightening experience. Since the city suffers from extensive urban sprawl, informal habitat, under-planned transport, and water issues adding to that pressure of the human movement caused by recent political instability: she sees Mundus Urbano as a step towards an international, professional career.

Maria Fernanda McNutt, Guatemala


María Fernanda McNutt, born in Guatemala City, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of San Carlos of Guatemala. After completing her studies, she worked in the Western Guatemalan highlands with rural development projects funded by the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID: Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo), as well as in the Economical Rural Development Project of Sololá (PROSOL: Proyecto de Desarrollo Económico Rural de Sololá), funded by multiple Canadian international cooperation agencies.

Alexandru Munteanu, Moldova

Urban Planner

Alexandru Munteanu, from Chisinau, Moldova, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning from the Technical University of Moldova in 2011. His working experience has been in Civil Engineering and Road Design for the last 2 years. He also worked with Oberliht and the Young Artists Association within the SPACES project (Sustainable Public Area for Culture in Eastern Countries).  His focus of interest is Urbanism and Urban Planning.

Aida Murtic, Bosnia & Herzegovina


Aida Murtic (Dipl.-Ing.) graduated from the Faculty of Architecture in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She worked on projects of the revitalization of historic heritage (Reconstruction of Sarajevo City Hall, Reconstruction of Isa-bey Hammam etc.) and post-war reconstruction projects in her home country. She is a member of the ICOMOS National Committee in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Her current research interests are grounded in urban rehabilitation themes.

Rebecca North, Australia


Rebecca North graduated with a Bachelor of Design, majoring in Architecture from the Queensland University of Technology in her hometown of Brisbane, Australia. Throughout her studies, she focused on concepts of social and ecological design and planning in regional and urban Australian contexts. She also participated in a Passivhaus design workshop in Germany. Rebecca also worked for the public sector on education, heritage restoration and healthy building projects, and as a volunteer for NGOs in housing and education initiatives.

Nisha Poulose, India


Nisha Poulose comes from Bangalore, India with a background in architecture. The influences and experiences in her life, have instilled a deep respect for the environment, traditional practices and cultural values. This reflects in her professional outlook. Her journey to Mundus Urbano was part of her endeavor to affect the decompartmentalization of human habitation in the context of addressing urban development.

Marshall Romero, USA

Political Scientist

Marshall Romero finished his Bachelor of Arts studies in Political Science, International Studies, and German Studies in 2008. He is originally from Torrance, California and moved to the Midwest state of Iowa. His political experience in campaigning for President Barack Obama and United Nations agencies gave him experience to work in his interested field of social development.

Monica Salazar, Ecuador


Mónica Salazar studied architecture at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, in Quito, Ecuador. She focused her work on the design of low-income and affordable housing, as well as community participatory initiatives. She has been a part of socially oriented projects in independent organizations as well as in the public sector (local government – municipality). Her interest remains in working with informal settlements and vulnerable communities, especially back in her country.

Reinaldo Torrez Nunez, Colombia

Urban and Development Manager, Architect

Reinaldo Torres Nuñez, originary from Colombia, studied Political Science, Government and Urban Development Management. He worked in the public and the private sectors, always related to local and regional issues. In his last job, he worked in an interdisciplinary team for an oil company with the purpose of providing development opportunities and decreasing the risk level of municipalities through territorial planning.

Stavroula Tsichli, Greece

Civil Engineer

Stavroula Tsichli has a civil engineering background. After graduation, she worked at the municipality of her hometown, Kalamata, South Greece. She provided volunteer work to the Department of Studies, which dealt with urban regeneration projects. She became a member of a neighborhood composting project that took part in the Social Innovation Tournament (European Investment Bank). She is interested in photography and has received an Honorable Mention in the International Photography Awards.

Javier Torner Ruiz de Termino, Spain

MBA and Architecture

Javier Torner Ruiz de Temiño, originally from Madrid, has a Master in Architecture and a Master in International Business Administration. He worked as architect and urban developer for Banco Santander in Spain. Later on, he worked as a market analyst and business developer in Germany and the United States, accomplishing projects and partnerships in the public and private sectors. This included sustainable construction projects and building integrated photovoltaic sectors in Canada, US, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Chile and Argentina.

Tashana Villarante, Philippines

Urban and Regional Planner

Tashana holds a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management from the University of the Philippines. After obtaining her degree, she pursued graduate studies in Urban and Regional Planning from the same university while working in the Philippine House of Representatives. Right before joining Mundus Urbano, she worked as the Planning Officer of her hometown of San Carlos City in the Visayas region. Her areas of experience and specialization include good governance and international development, environment and natural resources management, and disaster resilience.

Lucia Wright Contreras, Mexico


Lucía Wright Contreras is a bicultural Otomi-Mexican and United States citizen born and raised in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from the architecture department of the University of Guanajuato, having concluded her studies abroad at the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz University of Hanover, Germany. After working on several multidisciplinary, environmental and socially-oriented projects in Mexico, Germany, India, and Azerbaijan, she continues to actively support organizations that address sustainable housing and contemporary urban challenges.