Meet our dedicated

Innovation Team

Robert Brehm

Associate Editor/ Columnist

Robert Brehm leads Urbānitūs’ coverage of issues including urban health policy and steers content innovation. He is currently a Master of Public Health student at the University of Minnesota. He holds a master’s degree in global policy studies from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Brehm has lived and worked in Bolivia and Peru working on various community development projects. He contributed to a 2019 book on emerging policy practices in Latin America, writing a chapter on the prevalence of mental health and substance abuse.

Banu Paksoy

Designer/Webmaster

Banu Paksoy leads the digital design and strategy of Urbānitūs. For many years, she headed international student programs at Fordham University in New York City before pivoting to programming, web design and other emerging tools of digital technology. Before her training in web development at Galvanize in New York City, Paksoy earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Bogazici University and a master's degree in business administration from Bilgi University in Istanbul, Turkey.

Alexandra Shaposhnikova

Digital enthusiast / Digital marketeer / Digital believer

Alexandra Shaposhnikova guides the social media and digital outreach of Urbānitūs. Originally from Kazakhstan, she earned her master’s degree in business administration from KIMEP University in Almaty. Shaposhnikova has also worked as a journalist, with an interest and focus on the changing role of cities and urban issues. Now resident in Moscow, she has worked in the marketing field for several multinational corporations active in Russia and Central Asia. As a Future Leaders Exchange Program student, she attended Forney High School in suburban Dallas, Texas.

Dr. James Schlitt

Public Health Writer

Dr. James Schlitt, an expert in infectious disease and management of public health crises, leads Urbānitūs' coverage of health issues as both contributor and content strategist. He works as a postdoctoral researcher in computational epidemiology and, since 2013, has collaborated on infectious disease challenges with a breadth of state, federal, and international public health agencies. His work has centered on responses to emergencies ranging from the outbreak and spread of COVID-19, to food borne illness contagions, to suicide clusters, and simulated nuclear attacks. Dr. Schlitt holds a PhD in Genetics, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology and a Master of Public Health with a concentration in infectious disease epidemiology. Both his graduate degrees are from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, commonly known as Virginia Tech.