Center for Sustainable Development and Resilience
Dr. Kamran Zendehdel
Acting Director of Center for Sustainable Development and Resilience
Dr. Kamran Zendehdel is the acting Director of Center for Sustainable Development and Resilience, in College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). He obtained his Ph.D. in Environmental Decision Making from Ghent University in Belgium. Kamran research focuses at the intersection of environmental and social aspects of urban resilience, environmental justice, and development studies. He leads several urban stormwater management grants and collaborates with several city agencies and non-profits in Washington DC to implement urban sustainability projects. Kamran teaches Environmental Sustainability courses at UDC and published widely on the impacts of urban sustainability programs on communities. Prior to joining UDC, he worked as an Environmental Scientist at Tetra Tech Inc. in Fairfax, Virginia, where he coordinated the Chesapeake Bay nonpoint source pollution prevention project. Prior to his Ph.D., he worked for more than 7 years as a Natural Resources Conservation Expert in Forest Service.
Dr. Elizabeth Gearin
Project Specialist in Environmental Planning
Dr. Elizabeth Gearin is a policy and planning expert capable of effectively linking professional and academic planning disciplines. She is currently serving in a range of professional capacities, including as a policy and planning consultant; and as Chair of the Arlington County Planning Commission.
Prior to her current work, Dr. Gearin served as a NSF-funded graduate researcher at the University of Southern California. Before graduate school she served in a range of professional planning capacities, including as Housing Coordinator for the City of Livermore, California; as a Community Development Planner for the Contra Costa County California Redevelopment Agency; and as a Community Organizer in Chicago, Illinois for the Southwest Parish and Neighborhood Federation.
Dr. Gearin received a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan, a Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP) degree from the California Polytechnic State University San Louis Obispo, and a doctorate (PhD) in Public Policy and City and Regional Planning from the University of Southern California (USC). Her dissertation focused on assessing the child-friendliness of three iconic suburbs in the Washington D.C. metro area. Dr. Gearin is a member in good standing of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), holds a graduate certificate in Sustainable Cities from the University of Southern California, and a professional certificate in Housing Development Finance from the National Development Council. She has taught at USC and in the Wilder School at the Virginia Commonwealth University as well as The College of Professional Studies at George Washington University. She is certified as both a Master Naturalist and an Audubon at Home Ambassador by Virginia Cooperative Extension. Born in Norwalk, Connecticut, Dr. Gearin spent her middle and high school years living in Taipei, Taiwan; Manila, Philippines; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Bangkok, Thailand. She lives with her family in Arlington, Virginia.
Yahya Al-Mustafaa Madyun
Project Specialist in Youth and Adult Development
Yahya Al-Mustafaa Madyun is a dedicated Youth Development and Adult Education expert and facilitator of the nationally recognized Advancing Youth Development Curriculum for Youth Workers (AYD). Mr. Madyun has extensive experience working with young people as an educator and youth development practitioner. He currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Center for 4-H and Youth Development at the University of the District of Columbia. Previously, as Program Director of DC BEST (Building Exemplary Systems for Training Youth Workers) for the DC Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation he trained over 3000 youth program professionals for various organizations and agencies including schools, social services, juvenile justice, recreation, and community-based organizations locally and nationally. Mustafaa has a wealth of experience promulgating and synthesizing all aspects of youth work and ensuring constructive continuity in the field. His ability to critically think about field-related practices and competencies has positioned him to effectively advocate and advance the field to a diverse population. He specializes in program improvement through consultation, trainings, technical assistance and workshops. Mr. Madyun holds a Master of Science Degree in Youth Development Leadership from Clemson University; a Master of Arts in Adult Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from the University of the District of Columbia. Mustafaa is a native Washingtonian and parent of five successful people. “After more than 30 years of youth work in many roles, my professional goal (mission) as a youth development leader is to promote in the field a common language that fund.
Project Specialist in Green Infrastructure
Harris Trobman is a Project Specialist for Green Infrastructure in the Center for Sustainable Development + Resilience. As a trainer for the National Green Infrastructure Training program through DC Water and Sewer Authority, Trobman is responsible for teaching, conducting research, and program extension work related to green infrastructure and urban sustainability in the District. Trobman specializes in restoration of urban systems, with a concentration on diverse and complex systems. Trobman also has an affinity for socially responsive design, community engagement, landscape architecture, urban design, and horticulture. In particular, his interests focus on food and water. Trobman’s work investigates the adoption and impacts of green infrastructure and urban food systems to help to meet the unprecedented 21st century human health and natural resource challenges. Trobman was named one of only three prestigious National Olmsted Scholar Finalists by the Landscape Architecture Foundation and he and his teammates placed first in the 2014 EPA Rain-works Demonstration Project. Trobman earned a Master’s of Landscape Architecture from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Design from Delaware Valley University.
Project Specialist in Sustainability
Innovation & Urban Entrepreneurship
Diana Dakik has a decade of experience designing and managing environmental performance programs for governments, utilities, and private agencies. She has worked on a variety of environmental programs such as resource recovery, energy efficiency, green buildings, sustainable communities, multimodality, and green business certification. Additionally, she has green workforce development experience training contractors and realtors in California to enhance green building market transformation.
Diana is a PhD Candidate in the Urban Leadership and Entrepreneurship program at UDC. She holds a Master of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School focusing on climate change law and energy regulation. Her Bachelor of Arts is in Environmental Studies and Economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. In her undergrad education, Diana studied agroecology and interned for the Community Agroecology Network where she worked on consumer education related to fair trade coffee.
Diana enjoys hiking, kayaking and vegetarian cooking.
Dr. Simon Bird
Project Specialist in Environment & Public Health
Dr. Simon Bird started as a Project Specialist and Adjunct Professor in the Center for Urban Sustainability and Resilience in the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) in July 2020. Simon is an ecologist and conservation biologist with experience in environmental education and urban conservation. He has two decades of experience teaching environmental studies, ecology, landscape ecology, and conservation biology, and advising and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students at Columbia University, New York University, the University of Wales, the University or Richmond and The George Washington University. Simon has co-authored interactive e- textbook chapters for teaching ecology and environmental science, and has interests and experience in novel, innovative education and community engagement approaches to urban conservation. Simon is particularly interested in collaborating with a diversity of non-profits and education institutions. Coming to the US for the first time from the UK to pursue his Ph.D., Simon has experience of being a first-in-family international student and is particularly invested in supporting those subpopulations of students. He was a long-term New Yorker who has also lived and worked in California, Texas, New Mexico, and Virginia. In his spare time he is a (slow-moving) marathon runner, cyclist, hiker, and guitarist.
Staff Assistant CSDR
Danyal Eisenbrandt is the current Staff Assistant to the Acting Director of the Center for Sustainable Development and Resilience at the University of the District of Columbia. Danyal provides administrative support directly to the acting Director by promptly fulfilling his duties until completion. These duties include travel arrangements, meeting logistics, correspondence, data and office records management, event planning, special projects, etc., as required by the Acting Director. Danyal joined the UDC staff on August 3, 2020. Prior to continuing his career with UDC Danyal worked as a ESL instructor and Youth in Development Specialist with the Peace Corps in Northern/Northeastern Thailand. He served an extended 39 months with PC specifically developing and facilitating water safety, and bike safety programming with the community. He has 4 years of experience with youth leadership/capacity building, resource development, event programming, and community organizing. Danyal holds a Bachelor of Arts in Community Psychology and Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior from the University of Washington Bothell. Danyal enjoys living a minimalist lifestyle, all manners of movement and exercise, and reading.