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Peer Advisors

Contact any of the peer advisors if you have a question about the major and would like a student perspective!

Interested in becoming a peer advisor?  It’s a great way to be involved in the major, meet new people, and spread the word about Urban Studies!  Applications are due in May to Associate Director Michael Kahan.  You may download the application form (PDF).

Jeff Barrera headshot

Jeff Barrera

Concentration:Urban Society and Social Change
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Year expecting to graduate: 2015
Honors thesis or other research project:Urban Policymaking: Building Political Support for Social Change – it’s a senior synthesis project looking at strategies to enact strong public policy.

Why I'm majoring in Urban Studies:

I’ve always liked to think about all the aspects of a problem, and Urban Studies lets me explore key issues (poverty, environmental degradation, education) and how to address them from a variety of perspectives. The program also does a great job of combining academics with real world applications.

What I like best about Urban Studies:

The people. Urban Studies majors and faculty are a great group - fun, interesting, and committed to addressing urban issues and building great cities.

Favorite class / professor (and why): 

This would be a tie between Danno Glanz’s Intro to Urban Design, and Doug McAdam’s Large-Scale Societal Change: The Case of the 1960s.  Danno is a working urban designer, and showed how transportation systems and building designs can strengthen communities and protect the environment – or isolate people and contribute to climate change. Doug’s class traced the factors that led to widespread activism in the 1960s, the experiences of civil rights volunteers, and how events in the ‘60s have led to today’s partisan polarization and extreme inequality.


I’ve practiced Aikido (a Japanese martial art) since I was 12, and currently I’m the president of the Stanford Aikido club. More recently, I’ve also begun studying Eskrima, a Filipino martial art you might have seen in the Jason Bourne movies.


Jake Winkelman

Concentration:Urban Society and Social Change
Hometown: Berkeley, CA
Year expecting to graduate: 2015
Honors thesis or other research project:I'm doing a senior synthesis project reflecting on my experiences implementing a hip hop literacy curriculum at the Mural, Music, and Arts Project in East Palo Alto.

Why I'm majoring in Urban Studies:

Urban Studies challenges me to continually work towards a balance between my idealist and my pragmatic tendencies. I greatly appreciate this challenge and think that Urban Studies offers a great framework within which to theorize and confront pressing social, political, and economic issues.

What I like best about Urban Studies:

The Urban Studies program has an incredible faculty and the other students majoring or minoring in Urban Studies who I have been able to interact with are smart, passionate, and genuinely nice people. 

Favorite class / professor (and why):

The Urban Underclass with professor Michael Rosenfeld. The Urban Underclass was a phenomenal course because it demystified the ways in which inequality has persisted in the U.S. throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century, illuminating the institutions and individuals involved in propagating this inequality.

Favorite book (and why): 

Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation by Jeff Chang. This book examines the modern history of the United States at the intersection of two groups that are all too often left out of more mainstream renditions of history, youth and racial minorities. The book offers a number of poignant narratives illustrating the grassroots impact of and responses to Reaganomics, police brutality, and white flight.

Career Goals/future plan:

My career goals are always changing but right now I want to work in the music industry and eventually run for city-wide office somewhere in the Bay Area.


Intern at the Institute for Diversity in the Arts, Counselor at Camp Kesem, Co-President of Men Against Abuse Now (MAAN).