SAVI Staff Bios

Jessie Braden

Jessie Braden is the co-founder and director of SAVI. She is a GIS and open data expert with a focus on critical data assessment, demographic and environmental analysis and cartographic design for storytelling. Jessie also developed and manages the GIS and Design certificate program at Pratt and is a visiting associate professor in the Sustainable Environmental Systems graduate program. Prior to teaching at Pratt, she was an adjunct assistant professor in Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation for six years and she still serves as a senior fellow for planning at the Pratt Center for Community Development, where she worked for three years before starting SAVI.

Case Wyse

Case Wyse is a spatial analyst at SAVI, where he first joined as a graduate assistant. He obtained his M.S. in Sustainable Environmental Systems through Pratt’s Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development in 2016. As a graduate student, Case served as a Research and Design fellow at the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. He builds on a foundation of serving community advocates through data analysis and mapping that began during his service as an Americorps VISTA volunteer. He has a B.S. from Evergreen College.

Graduate Assistants


Isil Akgul has a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Technical University of Istanbul. After working eight years as an architect, she decided to involve sustainable design more in her practice. She is currently a graduate student at the Sustainable Environmental Systems program at Pratt. She speaks German and beginner French.


Maria Teresa Ruiz has a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Universidad Iberoamericana in México City, where she graduated with honors and was awarded a scholarship for a Certificate in Sustainable Design and Construction at the university. She is a graduate assistant at SAVI and candidate for the M.S. in City and Regional Planning at Pratt.

Anna Yie

Anna Yie is currently pursuing her M.S. in Sustainable Environmental Systems at the Pratt Institute. She has a B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio where she was a laboratory research assistant. Before coming to Pratt, she worked at a nonprofit in Washington, DC as a program coordinator.

Haley Balcanoff

Haley Balcanoff is pursuing a M.S. in Sustainable Environmental Systems at Pratt Institute. She has a B.A. in English from Fordham University and is working on a Certificate in Horticulture from Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Before attending Pratt, she worked as a garden designer in Brooklyn.

Josephina Matteson

Josephina Matteson has a B.S. in Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University. They are pursuing a M.S. in City and Regional Planning from the Pratt Institute. Prior to studying at Pratt and working with SAVI, Josephina worked for a planning and engineering firm with socially sustainable planning and innovative designs at the forefront of their work.

Zack Walker

Zack Walker is pursuing a MS in Data Analysis and Visualization at Pratt Institute. Previously, Zack worked for Airbnb as a cartographer first in the product division before moving to the public policy team to conduct research and geospatial analysis on Airbnb’s financial impact on impoverished communities around the world. He has spent the last year consulting around issues with gerrymandering.

SAVI thanks our former graduate assistants: Korin Tangtrakul, Natasha Dwyer, Leonardo Arias, Jackson Chabot, Kim Robledo, Trapa Barua, Adriana Beltrani, Jen Boggs, Mariam Bowring, Bowon Chung, Haley Cox, Lindsay Donnellon, Acacia Dupierre, Lian Farhi, Lidia Henderson, Fareen Islam, Jonathan Marable, Sara Margolis, Jen Mattei, Roz Palmer, Brett Promisloff, Theo Roth, Sarita Rupan, Sadra Shahab, Ahmad Shaibani, Allen Spector, Jeff Sun, Eugenia Tang.