Principal Investigators

Marie Price (email)is a Professor of Geography and International Affairs at George Washington University. A Latin American and migration specialist, her studies have explored human migration’s impact on development and social change.  She is a non-resident fellow at the Migration Policy Institute and the President of the American Geographical Society, the oldest geographical society in the United States.  Locally, she serves on the Board of the Dream Project, a not-for-profit registered in Virginia that supports immigrant and undocumented student’s access colleges through scholarships, mentoring, and advocacy. Her current research is on the spatial dynamics of immigrant inclusion and exclusion.

Her publications include co-authored report Migrants’ Inclusion in Cities: Innovative Urban Policies and Practices (2012, United Nations), co-edited book Migrants to the Metropolis: The Rise of Immigrant Gateway Cities (2008, Syracuse University Press), and the co-authored textbooks Diversity Amid Globalization: World Regions, Environment and Development, 6th edition (2014, Prentice Hall) and Globalization and Diversity: Geography of a Changing World, 5th edition (2016, Prentice Hall).  She has also published over 50 refereed articles and book chapters.  Price earned a Ph.D. and MA in Geography from Syracuse University and a BA in Geography from the University of California, Berkeley.  She has been on the faculty of the George Washington University since 1990.

Lisa Benton-Short (email) is an urban geographer with an interest in the dynamics of the urban environment from many angles, including planning and public space, urban sustainability, globalization, and immigration. 

Dr. Benton-Short has written extensively on the urban environment.  She has authored eight books, including The Presidio: from Army Post to National Park (1998); Environmental Discourse and Practice (1999) and Environmental Discourse and Practice: a Reader (2000) and Cities and Nature (2007 and 2013), Migrants in the Metropolis (edited with colleague Marie Price, 2008).  She is also the editor of Cities of North America: contemporary challenges in U.S. and Canadian Cities (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014). Her most recent book explores planning and development on the National Mall and is titled The National Mall: No Ordinary Public Space with University of Toronto Press. It is scheduled for the press in 2016.

She is currently working on several collaborative research papers on sustainability, including work with colleague Melissa Keeley (Geography).  Together, they are examining ways that U.S. cities are planning for sustainability.  She is also working on articles about sustainability education and the interdisciplinary challenges of sustainability as a pan-university effort.

Dr. Benton-Short is currently Chair of the Department of Geography and a Senior Fellow at the Sustainability Collaborative.

A native of California, she received her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in 1986 and her Ph.D. in geography from Syracuse University in 1997.


Elizabeth Chacko (email) is Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences at the George Washington University, where she is also Associate Professor of Geography and International Affairs. 

Elizabeth’s research focuses flows of people, capital, ideas and technologies and their impacts on economic, social and cultural geographies. She has conducted field work in her research projects related to migration, urbanization, and globalization in the United States, India, Ethiopia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Elizabeth is currently engaged in research on international students in the United States and Singapore, return migration of Asian Indian professionals from the United States to India, and immigration from Ethiopia to the United States and the effects of these flows on identity and inclusion in cities, neighborhoods, and spaces within them. 

Elizabeth was awarded a Fulbright scholarship in 2013 to research the integration of Asian Indians (Singapore natives, naturalized citizens and permanent residents) in Singapore.From 2009-2015, she was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Population Reference Bureau, a research and policy institute based in Washington, DC. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Cultural Geography.

Her publications include two co-authored textbooks Essentials in World Regional Geography and Contemporary World Regional Geography: Global Connections, Local Voices. She has also published 30 refereed articles and book chapters. Elizabeth Chacko earned her Ph.D. in Geography from UCLA, an MA in Geography from Miami University and a BA (Honors) from the University of Calcutta, India.

Samantha Friedman (emailis an Associate Professor of Sociology.  She received her Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography from Penn State University.  Her research focuses on housing market discrimination, racial and ethnic segregation, and the neighborhood attainment of racial and ethnic groups by nativity, generation, socioeconomic status, and familial status.  Dr. Friedman is currently studying the impact of housing on asthma and the effect of religion on housing discrimination.  She recently completed a Fulbright fellowship doing a comparative study of residential segregation by socioeconomic status between Turkey and the U.S.  Dr. Friedman is co-author of The Housing Divide: How Generations of Immigrants Fare in New York’s Housing Market (2007) and has published articles in several journals including Demography, Social Problems, Social Science Research, and Urban Studies.  She is the lead author of the HUD-sponsored study, An Estimate of Housing Discrimination against Same-Sex Couples (2013).

Research Assistants

Zhaohui Li(Zach) is a current MA candidate in geography at the George Washington University.

Taylor Elwood is a MA student in the Public Policy Program at the George Washington University.

Patrick Ryan is a current MA candidate in geography at the George Washington University.

Devin Keithley received a MA in geography from the George Washington University in May 2005. He is currently employed at the Map Network in Washington, DC.

Jennifer Brown received her MA in geography from the George Washington University in May 2004. She is currently employed as a GIS analyst for Whole Foods in Austin, Texas.

Sapna Shah received her MA in sociology from the George Washington University in May 2004. She is currently employed at the U.S. Census Bureau in the Washington D.C. area.