Urban Fellows Program

Emily McClendon (J.D. '15) is an Urban Fellow and the Daniel J. Curtin Jr. Fellowship for the Planning and Law Division of the American Planning Association.
“Many planners fail to grasp the legal roadblocks that stymie sustainable development. I believe that breaking down the silos between the legal and planning professions is the most effective way to facilitate environmental planning in the future.”
Urban Fellow Emily McClendon (J.D. ’15)

The Urban Fellows Program is an interdisciplinary initiative of the Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth in the College of Law.  Top graduate students are selected from across Georgia State University and Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of City and Regional Planning to study and discuss issues related to urban growth with top decision makers.

Upcoming Lectures:

  • 4:10-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26: The Atlanta Way: How Major Decisions are Made by Sam Williams, professor in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies and former president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber.
  • Noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15: The History of Atlanta by Dr. Tim Crimmins, professor of history and director of the Center for Neighborhood and Metropolitan Studies.
  • 4:10-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23:  Odetta MacLeish-White, Program Director at Enterprise Community Partners.
  • 4:10-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7: New City Startup, Early Operations and Brookhaven’s Growth by Marie Garrett, city manager for the City of Brookhaven.
  • Noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14: Strengths Finder Assessment with Kristina Clement, associate director for Leadership Development at Georgia State University (this is a professional development workshop for Urban Fellows students only).
  • 4:10-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28: Reed v. City of Gilbert by Lem Ward, Counsel at Dentons USA LLP.
As an Urban Fellow, you will be able to:

  • Broaden your awareness about urban and environmental issues by attending the speaker series
  • Build your network of professionals with similar interests
  • Develop cross-disciplinary contacts at Georgia State University and other universities in Atlanta
  • Receive guidance and direction to write a paper of publishable quality and earn course credit
  • Make connections in the community through volunteer opportunities
  • Become privy to job opportunities
  • Boost your resume
  • Qualify for graduate research assistantships sometimes available to Georgia State Law students


Urban Fellows are required to do the following:

  • Attend the Monthly Lecture Series: The program runs August through April, and there are four afternoon lectures per semester (8 total per year) — generally, one afternoon per month from 4:10-5:30 p.m.  Attendance is required to remain in the program. Speakers will address a variety of urban, growth management and environmental issues.
  • Attend Brown Bag Lunches: Brown bag lunches are scheduled throughout the semester. The brown bag lunches are open to non-urban fellows students and faculty across the university. Urban Fellows are expected to attend these lunches.
  • Write a Research Paper: All Urban Fellows are required to write one research paper on an urban affairs issue during their term with the program. GSU Law students will be automatically registered in the paper writing Urban Fellows course (LAW 7494). Papers must be of publishable quality and meet the writing requirements outlined in the program. Download the writing requirements.
  • Perform Five Hours of Community Service Each Semester: Students are required to participate in five hours of community outreach projects that address urban issues and strengthen communities each semester. Hours should be submitted to Karen Johnston.

The Urban Fellows Program is sponsored by Georgia State Law's Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth. This interdisciplinary initiative attracts top graduate students from a variety of departments at Georgia State University and Georgia Tech's School of City and Regional Planning. The 2015-2016 Urban Fellows have been selected.  The next application period will be in February 2016 for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Questions? Contact Karen Johnston (J.D. '08) at kjohnston3@gsu.edu.

Congratulations to the 2015-16 Urban Fellows, who were selected to participate in the program as a result of their academic and professional achievements, level of community service, and interest in urban and environmental issues.

Georgia State Law
Corbin Aiken
Patrick Anderson
Joe Baumann
Heather Bergman
Joseph Collins
William Diehl
Kianna Hawkins
Mitchell Jackson
Mitchell Adam Kaye, Jr.
Tatiana Lima
Aaron McClellan
Majda Muhic
Katie Neel
Pierre-Joseph Noebes
Brock Perry
Ian Michael Rogers
Melissa Sprinkle
James Taylor
Zack Thompson
Jasmyn LeAnn Turner
Lacey Wheeler