The Heather Smith Memorial Fellowship
The Heather Smith Memorial Fellowship honors the memory of Heather Smith, a member of the Boston real estate community who was aboard American Airlines Flight 11 on September 11, 2001.
Awarded annually, the Fellowship is presented to female students at the MIT Center for Real Estate based on financial need, career objectives, and academic standing. To date, well over $100,000 has been awarded, and recipients have gone on to work for prestigious real estate firms and investment banks that include Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, and Forest City Ratner.
The Fellowship was created by Heather's family, friends, and real estate associates to provide "a living legacy and a message of hope" in tribute to Ms. Smith by helping women in financial need who show exceptional promise. Awards are presented each year at a benefit for the Heather Smith Foundation.
Heather Lee Smith was a member of the Boston real estate community for five years. She started her career at Koll Bren Schreiber Realty Advisors working as an analyst, then progressed to Beacon Capital Partners in July of 2001. She was a member of New England Women in Real Estate (NEWIRE), and was also the fiance' of Mike Jammen, MIT/CRE Class of 1997.
Canan Ceylan Safar
Istanbul, Turkey / Boston, USA
Architecture 1996, Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul Turkey
LEED AP BD+C
Canan is an architect with extensive international experience. After graduation she worked for an architecture and interior design firm for five years on projects located throughout Turkey, Russia and Cyprus. During her time at the firm, she worked on large mixed-use projects, hotels, offices and shopping centers and had the opportunity to live and work on a 400-room resort hotel construction site for two years in Cyprus.
After moving to the US in 2001, she worked at an architecture company in Miami focusing on urban planning, retail and residential projects in the US, the Caribbean and South America.
She then moved to Boston and worked for Elkus Manfredi Architects for approximately six years. Her work at Elkus Manfredi included residential, retail, student housing, urban planning and complex mixed-use projects. Her most recent work was designing a substantial portion of the One Franklin/Filene's Redevelopment project, a 1.25 million square feet mixed-use development that includes residential, office, hotel and retail uses and a historic preservation of two landmark buildings.
Canan is now pursuing a career in the real estate development industry.
BS Architecture, 1995, Ohio State University
MCP, 2012, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Melissa comes to the program as a dual degree student. She is concurrently pursuing her MSRED and a Masters in City Planning from MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning with a concentration in city design and development. As a licensed architect in the state of California, Melissa has a great deal of experience working on large, urban scale projects, such as the Cincinnati Bengals Stadium and the Staples Center in Los Angeles. She also spent several years teaching part-time in the Interior Architecture Departments of Otis College of Art and Design and Woodbury University in California.
BA, Finance, 2000, Al Akhawayn University
MBA, Finance & Int Business, 2005, Stern Shool of Business, NYU
Khadija holds BA in Finance from Alakhawayn University and MBA, Finance & Int’l Business from NYU, Stern School of Business. Past experience includes work with AXA insurance as an internal consultant focusing on post merger & acquisition integration and process reengineering and manager in corporate finance with one of largest privately held conglomerates in the Middle East. In 2005, she joined as one of the founding members, Kuwait China Investment Company â€œKCICâ€, an investment firm solely focused on investing across the different asset classes and sectors in Emerging Asia.
Khadija is fluent in Arabic, English and French and in the process of learning Chinese.
B.S. Business Administration, 2003, Central Michigan University
Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Christina attended Central Michigan University where she studied International Business and French. Christina then joined LaSalle Bank and began a career in finance. Christina’s passion for Real Estate began while working for the Urban and Community Development Lending Division of LaSalle Bank. As a Commercial Loan Officer, Christina financed real estate projects specifically aimed at the city’s redevelopment efforts.
n 2007, Christina relocated from Detroit to Boston to work at CWCapital LLC, a national real estate and investment management firm, where she worked until starting at MIT. In her role as a Senior Portfolio Manager at CWCapital, Christina was responsible for a $1.68 billion portfolio of highly structured commercial real estate loan transactions.
As a direct descendant of Confucius, Ai holds dear her forebear's philosophy that "thought without learning is perilous." Since her career's beginning, Ai has sought to feed her passion for international real estate investment and development through lifelong learning.
At global firms such as Colliers International, Metzler Realty Advisors, and most recently at Jones Lang LaSalle, Ai has accumulated in her portfolio over $800M in commercial real estate transactions. She has extensive understanding of real estate institutional investments from both public and private sectors, having practical experience in strategic consulting, asset disposition, due diligence, underwriting, and acquisition. Working with clients such as Blackstone, REEFF, and TIAA-CREF further intensifies her knowledge.
Ai is also a contributor to several published studies, including the KPMG CEO's Guide to International Business Costs and International Real Estate: An Institutional Approach. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, is a licensed real estate salesperson, and is a member of the Young Leaders Group of the Urban Land Institute.
Before coming to MIT, Yali worked for over four years as a project architect at GUND Partnership, which specializes in residential, institutional, commercial and mixed-use projects nationwide. Her responsibilities included feasibility study, project management, construction management, and marketing.
As a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Accredited Professional, Yali contributed to the documentation of the LEED registration for The National Association Realtors Headquarters project in Washington DC. It was the first LEED-certified new building construction in the District of Columbia and was awarded a silver certificate. Recent project experiences have included the new academic building of Westminster School in Connecticut and the mixed-use development of Parcel 3 in lower Roxbury. Yali has also worked as a project designer for China Ministry of Construction before coming to the United States.
In her free time, Yali likes to cook, hike, read, travel, listen to music, and visit museums. She is excited about study at the MIT Center for Real Estate, and believes that the MSRED program will provide a solid understanding of the real estate markets and finance.
Nadia Di Carlo
Nadia Di Carlo graduated from Wellesley College in 2001 with a B.S. in Economics and Italian. She began work at the Investment Banking Department of UBS Warburg in the Real Estate, Lodging, Gaming and Leisure Group in New York. In 2003 she joined the London investment team of Curzon Global Partners, a global real estate investment management firm, where she was responsible for the origination, underwriting, and execution of pan-European real estate investments in the office, retail, and logistics sectors. Nadia left Curzon in 2005 to manage a Boston-area residential development project backed by a private investment group.
Marianne Ganster graduated from Boston College in 2001 with a B.S. in Economics. She served for a year as an AmeriCorps volunteer with a non-profit economic development organization in Chicago, then began work as Assistant Project Manager at Affirmative Investments, an affordable development consultancy in Boston. Before enrolling at MIT, Marianne worked for three years at Boston Capital, a real estate investment firm specializing in equity investments for multi-family housing. She focused on the acquisition of multi-family properties, and was responsible for the deal structuring and underwriting of low income housing tax credit properties.
Kathryn Nash graduated from Wesleyan University in 1998 with a B.A. in Economics. She began work as an analyst at the Associates for International Resources and Development, a consulting firm specializing in international economics. She was then hired as an economist for McGraw-Hill Construction (MHC) Analytics, where she contributed to forecasting the building start activity for residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional structures on both national and metropolitan levels. She also analyzed the markets for different building types, and reported on macro construction trends within many of the nation's largest cities.
Citiline Resortline Companies
Amy writes: "This fellowship is truly a gift of financial freedom, and it will enable me to pursue and achieve my career goals that much more quickly. To show my appreciation for this tremendous opportunity, I will strive to exemplify in my career and personal life those qualities of honesty, teamwork, and a strong work ethic that Heather so clearly expressed." She adds, "This spring, I am hoping to identify a junior project management position for a real estate developer in the southeast and am greatly looking forward to working in development again!"
Karen Jia Ying Hu
Karen writes: "I'm currently working as a project manager in the Planning & Pipeline Development division of New York City's Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD). I manage the development of affordable housing projects on City-owned land and work on larger comprehensive planning processes for neighborhoods in the South Bronx. I've always been committed to the idea of building affordable housing and there's no better place to do it than in the city where I grew up, for a mayor that has put forth one of the most ambitious 10-year housing plans in the nation's history. The Heather Smith Memorial Fellowship has made it much easier for me to pursue public service work because I am less encumbered by graduate school debt. Moreover, I am honored to be part of a cohort of women that is reshaping the real estate industry in its own image."
Shwetha writes: "After graduating from CRE last summer, I was fortunate to find a tremendous job opportunity with Forest City Ratner Companies. I am a project manager in residential development and I work on major developments projects in the New York area. I have no doubt that the CRE education and Heather Smith Fellowship contributed greatly to my career advancement."
"I still recall writing my personal statement for my application to the CRE and to the Fellowship program. Both helped me distill my goals, but my application to the Fellowship in particular helped me focus on what I wanted to achieve both as a person and woman in real estate. Though a private developer, Forest City Ratner believes in social entrepreneurship, themselves employing and promoting women in real estate. I am involved in realizing Affordable housing and Sustainable development goals on projects, both of which are also personal areas of interest."
Bonnie writes: "I am pursuing exactly the kind of work that I had hoped for coming out of MIT/CRE: redevelopment. In particular, I am working as a project manager for Two Trees Management, which specializes in converting existing industrial and institutional buildings into other uses — residential, commercial, cultural and arts space. Most of our development takes place in a part of Brooklyn known as DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), which is right on the East River. Over the past 5 years, my company has been successful in transforming this once defunct industrial enclave into a vibrant residential and commercial neighborhood, with a major emphasis on the arts. In September, I completed the conversion of an old waterfront boiler building into a fabulous art gallery for a non-profit women's art collaborative called Smack Mellon. Currently, I'm managing two large redevelopment projects with both residential and mixed-use components.
"Being honored with the Heather Smith Memorial Fellowship continues to be an amazing part of my professional and personal success. Foremost, it was through the Fellowship that I was introduced to the company where I now work. Thanks to Mike Jammen and Aubrey Cannuscio, both of whom I met through the fellowship, I got my foot in the door here at Two Trees. More importantly however, in pursuing redevelopment in New York City, I often think about the legacy of Heather Smith and the role of the built environment in shaping our attitudes toward the past and present. Thanks to this legacy, I feel humbled and inspired to be a part of building this City's future.
"On a personal level, my commitment to carry on Heather Smith's legacy of honesty and ethics has continued to drive me. I am an active member of my new community here in Brooklyn, and I am very engaged in the dialogue around beneficial real estate development strategies for both Brooklyn and New York as a whole."
Hongyu writes: "The fellowship has inspired me to live up to Heather's spirit and integrity, as well as her commitment to the wellness of the society. I enjoy the global exposure in my current job as Vice President of Goldman Sachs, and I devote myself to community services outside of my work. I want to thank the Heather Smith Foundation and CRE for providing me with all the opportunities."
Tamara writes: "I am currently working in New York in Lehman Brothers' Global Real Estate Group. Being a recipient of the Heather Smith Memorial Fellowship has made me feel even more deeply my responsibility to actively support the continued and increased presence of women in real estate. With this in mind, I have endeavored to present myself as a potential resource, mentor, and advocate for younger women in the industry or those who are interested in real estate finance."