2011-2012 Luce Scholar

Adriana Akers discovered her passion for city planning at age 16, when she first read the writings of the great urban theorist Jane Jacobs. She majored in Urban Studies at Barnard College and spent a semester with the International Honors Program: Cities in the 21st Century, which allowed her to study urban planning and live with host families in Argentina, India, and China. This experience formed the foundation of her senior thesis about the informal and formal waste management sectors in Buenos Aires. Outside of her academic program, she worked as a Barnard College Writing Fellow and a Senior Editor at Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development at Columbia University. She graduated summa cum laude in 2009, with departmental honors, thesis distinction, and induction into Phi Beta Kappa. Following graduation, Adriana was named a 2009-2010 New York City Urban Fellow. As a Fellow, she worked closely with the NYC Deputy Commissioner of Energy Management and helped organize programs to reach the goals of PlaNYC 2030, New York City’s long-term sustainability plan. She also spearheaded the development of an incentives program to encourage energy conservation in municipal operations and took lead roles in the City’s small buildings retrofit program and the initiative to benchmark the energy use of over 3,500 buildings. When the Urban Fellowship drew to a close, she was hired on as a Sustainability Analyst. Outside of work, Adriana enjoys cooking and eating as well as she can, taking photographs, learning to play the guitar, and exploring the diverse and fascinating neighborhoods of large cities.