Alexandra 'Ola' Smialek
Ph.D. Student in Regional Planning
Ola Smialek is a Ph.D. student in Regional Planning at UMass, Amherst. Her research interests relate to economic development and the representation of culture and heritage in local communities. Ola earned a Bachelor of Science in Regional Planning from Westfield State University. Her undergraduate thesis was focused on access to transportation for working class women in Springfield, MA. Graduating as a Commonwealth Honors Scholar, Ola went on to earn her Master of Regional Planning here at UMass, Amherst. During this time, Ola worked as a Research Assistant in the Center for Economic Development and completed a thesis studying the cultural representation of the Polish immigrant community in Westfield, MA. After completing her MRP in 2017, she began her doctorate studies to become even more specialized in the field. For Ola, the classroom has always felt like a second home.
Outside of the classroom, Ola loves television and film and has been known to be the person to beat at movie trivia. As a first-generation Polish-American, Ola is fluent in both English and Polish and is extremely proud of her family’s heritage.
- Teaching Assistant: Intro. to Geographic Information Systems – (Spring 2018/Spring 2019)
- Research Assistant: Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Department – (Fall 2018)
- Research Assistant: Center for Economic Development (Fall 2015 – Spring 2016)