Alyssa Bryson
Deputy Director

Alyssa is the Deputy Director of CoLab. In this capacity, she oversees program development, working to ensure strategic alignment and execution across CoLab’s diverse projects throughout the Americas. Previously, Alyssa led CoLab's Inclusive Regional Development work and collaborated with community, university, business, government, and NGO partners throughout Latin America and the Caribbean - primarily in Colombia, Chile, and Puerto Rico - to strengthen the involvement of marginalized communities in the formulation of development priorities and articulate efforts on the local, regional, and transnational scales. 

Before coming to MIT, she worked with the United Nations Development Fund for Women in Ecuador and Colombia on projects dedicated to promoting economic and civic participation in the Andean Region. Ms. Bryson holds a BA in Political Science from Northwestern University and a Masters in City Planning from MIT. Her Masters thesis used participatory mapping to examine how residents use their physical, sociopolitical, and economic mobility to adapt to situations of severe violence in peripheral neighborhoods of Bogotá, Colombia.

Alison Coffey
Research Associate

Alison is a Research Associate working with the Inclusive Regional Development team to support and document processes of alternative development at the sub-national level in Latin America. Since joining CoLab, her work has involved supporting capacity building for regional and territorial planning in Colombia and facilitating participatory action research processes in northeastern Brazil. Alison also contributes to the construction of learning and leadership networks between CoLab partners, with interest in how knowledge about innovation and development is produced and exchanged at community, regional, and transnational scales.

Alison completed her Masters in City Planning from MIT in June 2015. Prior to that, Alison worked extensively with community-based research initiatives in Latin America, with a focus on urban and community development in contexts of territorial conflict. She holds a B.A. from Tufts University in Latin American Studies and Urban Studies. 

Dayna Cunningham
Executive Director

Dayna is Executive Director of CoLab. Prior to CoLab, as Program Director of the ELIAS Project, an MIT-based collaboration between business, NGOs and government, she worked with leaders using profound innovation processes to create multi-sector initiatives for economic, social and environmental sustainability. Before that, Dayna worked as an Associate Director at the Rockefeller Foundation supporting efforts to explore changing racial dynamics and new conceptions of race in the U.S., as well as civil rights legal innovation. Prior to the Rockefeller Foundation, Dayna worked as a voting rights lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, litigating cases in Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi and elsewhere in the South, and briefly as an officer for the New York City Program at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Dayna is a 2004 graduate of the Sloan Fellows MBA program of the MIT Sloan School of Management. She has an undergraduate degree from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and a juris doctor degree from New York University School of Law.

Nick Iuviene
Program Director, Just Urban Economies

Nick Iuviene is the Program Director of Just Urban Economies at CoLab. His work focuses on urban economic democracy projects including the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative and the Emerald Cities Collaborative. Previously Nick worked as a community organizer in the Bronx and was co-founder of BlackLeaf Studios, a technology development firm in Brooklyn, NY. Nick has a Masters degree in City Planning from MIT. His graduate thesis, "Building a Platform for Economic Democracy: A Cooperative Development Strategy for the Bronx", looked at how to develop cooperative networks in communities as the organizational infrastructure for socially equitable and environmentally sustainable economic development.

Katherine Mella
Program Associate

As Program Associate, Katherine is coordinating the development of a Community Health agenda and relevant prototypes, like the Bronx Healthy Buildings Program, with the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative (BCDI) and partners. 

Katherine also supports a group of key Mel King Community Fellow alumni as they work together to strengthen their collaboration across sectors and grapple with how low-income people of color can shape the economy. Katherine will also assist with prototyping activities to further collaboration as well as developing and testing economic democracy models. Examples include an experimental financial product for union members in Massachusetts and a three-site project, which seeks to leverage the Affordable Care Act and emerging health reform initiatives to drive the connections between health, wealth, and resilience in California, New York, and Florida. 

Katherine earned her Bachelor’s degree from Brown University in Urban Studies and completed her Master’s in City Planning at MIT. Prior to earning her Master’s, she was a research assistant for a Cambridge-based entrepreneur working on projects across a variety of sectors, including energy and affordable housing.

Yorman Nunez
Program Manager, Community Engagement

Yorman is interested in playing a role in lifting people out of poverty through redesigning the economic system that is our economy. His commitment to designing systems to address the causes of poverty emerged out of his work as a community organizer with the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC), where he organized young people around issues of sustainable economic development, education, and voter education. It was during this time that Yorman co-founded the Urban Youth Collaborative, a city-wide youth organization working on education reform. He moved on from NWBCCC to lead a career in electoral organizing, where he managed many political campaigns. He currently coordinates the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative, a local effort in the Bronx that seeks to leverage local assets to drive economic development strategies targeted at building wealth and ownership among low-income residents. Yorman, a lifelong resident of the Bronx, has taught both community organizing and spoken word at the high school level.

Allegra Williams
Campus and Community Learning Director

As the Director for Campus and Community Learning, Allegra facilitates cross-disciplinary research and knowledge co-creation, supports practice-based learning engagements, and develops programming to connect campus and community audiences with CoLab’s work, values, and partner networks.

Having spent the better part of the past decade working as an urban planning practitioner, community activist, and educator, Allegra firmly believes that the city should be used as a classroom and that education should serve as a means for social change. Most recently, as leader of CoLab's work around arts and social change, Allegra developed a deep appreciation for the value that aesthetic inquiry can bring to traditional planning education and to broader economic democracy through the support of collaborations between urban planners and socially-engaged artists. Prior to joining MIT, Allegra led a variety of collaborative community revitalization initiatives, including the transformation of an abandoned pocket park with diverse public art and programming, the creation of a seed grant program to fund citizen-engaged neighborhood improvement projects, and the development of a Comprehensive Sustainability Plan for a local municipality. Allegra holds a BA in Community Development and graduate degrees in Regional Economic and Social Development and Community Psychology.