Alexandra 'Ola' Smialek
Ph.D. Student in Regional Planning
Ola is a Ph.D. student with research interests that relate to economic development and the representation of culture and heritage in local communities. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Regional Planning from Westfield State University and Master of Regional Planning here at UMass, Amherst. Her undergraduate thesis was focused on access to transportation for working class women in Springfield, MA. During her masters, she 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. For Ola, the classroom has always felt like a second home. Outside of the classroom, she 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)