Welcome the 2016 Cohort of STL Lab Graduate Fellows

On September 8, 2016, the incoming class of 2016-2017 STL MIT Real Estate Entrepreneurship Lab graduate fellows introduced their background and interests, and were formally oriented to the Lab’s work and immediate goals. The graduate fellows were joined by members of the executive and advisory staff who touched on the Lab’s ongoing programs including recent work on creating real estate games, the success of last year’s China Summer Camp, the continuing China Talk Series, and the development of MIT Case Studies.

Zengzhen Tan, assistant director of STL Lab, began by outlining the Lab’s mission to create a new generation of socially responsible entrepreneurs and academics in relevant fields. She described how the Lab has built, exchanged, and disseminated knowledge through its various programs over the past year. Zengzhen was joined by Lu Men, communication coordinator, and Jessica Anderson, program assistant, in emphasizing the key role the incoming graduate fellows will play in perpetuating this progress and innovation so core to the Lab’s mission.

Albert Saiz, co-chair of the STL Lab advisory board and director of the MIT Center for Real Estate, spoke to the incoming fellows about the MIT Case Study currently being developed at STL Lab, highlighting a particular case study on real estate development in Panama City, Panama. MIT Case Studies are all-encompassing learning platforms that diverge from the traditional reading/lecture format by providing a range of learning media and materials and allowing students and instructors to upload their own supporting materials into the online course platform. In this way, each case study will continue to grow and reflect the changing nature of the world and evolution of academic research.

The graduate fellows then engaged in a session of question and answer with each other and the staff. They raised diverse questions on how they can integrate their particular interests with the Lab’s work and begin to coordinate the Lab’s outputs over the course of the year. 

The incoming graduate fellows introduced themselves, their backgrounds, interests and experiences with the group:

Max Budovitch is a MA in City Planning first year student (MCP1) at MIT. He earned his BA from Yale University in philosophy and is interested in contemporary housing policy in post-communist settings.

Alice Chen is in the Center for Real Estate (CRE) at MIT. She earned her BA in business from Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Given her experience working and studying in several cities around the world, she is interested in enabling diverse lifestyles through development.

Sai Fang is in the CRE and earned his BA in Architecture from Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture. He hopes to continue his research in public housing, expand his knowledge of real estate finance and investment, and use his design skills and management experience to prepare for a leadership role in the real estate industry.

Suneeth John comes to the CRE with 15+ years of experience working on award winning domestic and international projects as an architect and landscape architect. He earned his B. Arch from University of Kerala (India) and M.S. Arch and MLA from Penn State University. He is a registered landscape architect (MA), a licensed architect (India), a registered real estate sales person (MA) and a USGBC LEED AP BD+C.

Xuenan Ni is a dual MCP1 and MS in Transportation Science. She earned her BA in mathematics and urban studies from Bryn Mawr College. She is interested in transportation, including transit-oriented development.

Paige Pitcher is in the CRE and holds a BS in City and Metropolitan Planning from the University of Utah. She would like to expand her affordable housing experience and create next-generation projects that tackle social and global urbanization issues.

Justin Rice is in the CRE and holds a BA in Finance and Real Estate. He has worked in the real estate sector for several years, having built a foundation in multifamily property and asset management. He wants to enhance his financial valuation and analytical abilities, study domestic and international economic trends affecting development, and explore new design and construction methods.

Xudong Sun is a MCP1 and earned his MA and BA in architecture from Tsinghua University in China. He is interested in how to enhance urban design through data science.

Joanne Wong is a MCP1 and earned her BA in social sciences. She worked previously in the public housing and affordable ownership sectors in Toronto, Canada. She spent much of her childhood in Hong Kong and is interested in that city’s housing sector.

Zhekun Xiong is a MCP 1 and earned his BA and MA in architecture from Tsinghua University in China. He has worked on data-led solutions in planning to promote civic engagement and social responsibility and hopes to research this field at MIT.

Zixiao Yin is a MCP 1 and earned her BA and MA from Tsinghua University in China. She is interested in the issues of land leasing, land transfer, property rights, and related issues of law, politics, and economics.

Viola Zhao is in the CRE and holds a BA in Real Estate and Finance from the University of Hong Kong. She is particularly interested in cross-border investments with a focus on China and overseas markets. She is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Please visit our website for the full bios of the 2016-2017 STL Graduate Fellows and follow us on Twitter to see regular updates.

---- Max Budovitch, MCP, STL Fellow