College:College of Community Innovation and Education
Degree Program:Public Affairs PhD, Public Administration Track
Research Focus:Urban governance
Nina Alvandipour is devoted to the pursuit of individual liberty and freedom. The Iran native recognizes the value of independence and autonomy and aims to promote such values through her work. “Growing up in a country where people have no voice or freedom in the public sector showed me that without healthy and suitable political, administrative, and social institutions, addressing complex social problems cannot simply be accomplished through sophisticated technical solutions,” she says. Finding a solution to this issue and following her passion for self-governing communities and voluntary association in public service delivery drew her to the United States, a country with a rich culture of self-governance.
Alvandipour is currently a doctoral candidate in the Public Affairs PhD, Public Administration track at UCF. The first-generation student earned her master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the Iran University of Science and Technology and an ABD PhD in Urban and Regional Planning at Tarbiat Modares University, Iran. With ten years of planning, research, and teaching experience, she has had a unique opportunity to learn and work across boundaries to support a sustainable economy, social equity, and healthy environment regarding the case of community development.
At UCF, Alvandipour’s research is highly interdisciplinary and anchored in urban governance. She is studying the conjunction of public administration, urban planning, and nonprofit management at the community level through various theoretical lenses, including Spatial Justice, Urban Innovation, Participatory Governance, and Planning Theory. “My research centers around citizen and government interactions in urban areas for fostering greener, more equitable, and sustainable cities and communities,” she says. She hopes to bridge the gaps between public administration, urban planning, and political economy.
“The most important thing I have learned while conducting research is trusting the power of individuals and residents, their freedom of choice, and their voluntary collective arrangements,” Alvandipour says. She stresses the importance of engaging and empowering residents to build more sustainable and resilient communities. “These individuals can make change possible regarding the collective problems facing our communities.”
Alvandipour has received various awards for her vital work at UCF, including the UCF Multidisciplinary Fellowship in 2020, the Downtown Community-Engagement Fellowship in 2021, and the Thrive Central Florida Fellowship in 2021 to create plans to localize the UN Sustainable Development Goals. “UCF provided me with invaluable resources, great support, and strong professional networks to pursue my professional development goals and broaden my horizons by learning about new ideas and issues within the field of public administration,” she says.
Alvandipour thanks her advisor, Dr. Thomas Andrew Bryer from the School of Public Administration and Director of Community-Engaged Scholarship, for inspiring her with his openness to the power of community and multidisciplinary collaboration. “I have learned a lot from his leadership and scholarship,” she says. She also credits the interdisciplinary nature of her program with making her success possible by creating a stimulating environment to examine and learn about the numerous complex problems communities face.
Once she graduates from UCF in 2024, she plans to pursue an academic career in research and teaching where she can continue her work on active citizenship.
- Fall 2022 Dr. Naim Kapucu Endowed Scholarship for Doctoral Students, UCF
- June 2022 PA Theory Network Fellowship, PA Theory Conference, Mexico City.
- Spring 2022 Graduate Presentation Fellowship, UCF
- Spring 2022 Thrive Central Florida Fellowship, Central Florida Foundation
- Fall 2021 Don Lavoie Fellowship, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University
- 2021-2024 Multidisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship, UCF
- Summer 2021 Downtown Community-Engaged Fellowship, UCF
- 2019-2020 Graduate Dean's Fellowship, UCF
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