April 2019 DEI SPOTLIGHT
Name: Ana Paula Pimentel Walker
Preferred Pronoun: She/Her/Hers
Affiliation/Title: Assistant Professor, Urban and Regional Planning
Degree(s): Law degree, Master of Urban Planning, Master of Latin American Studies, Ph.D. in Anthropology
Home Country: Brazil
Language(s) Spoken: Portuguese (native), Spanish (I lived in Argentina), and English
Gender Identity: Female
On my mother’s side, my great-grandfather came to Brazil from Italy and my great-grandmother was indigenous. My great grandfather never recognized my grandfather. So my siblings and I were told to deny our Italian blood. On my father’s side, the origins are unknown. We strongly suspect that my grandfather had Italian origins and my grandmother had African and Indigenous origins. Everyone in my family simply identifies as Brazilian because our origins lack proper documentation. My family also identifies in different shades of brown, and I consider myself as light brown.
Favorite Food: Thai, French
Other Identities: I also feel part of the U.S. since I have spent half of my life here. In California, I had many Brazilian American friends and was active in professional Latina organizations.
Favorite book and why: Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment had a great impact on me. The search for a free and just society, the power of ideas, and the psychological depth of the characters’ moral and ethical dilemmas are timeless.
Favorite thing to do when not at TC: I like to dance tango and samba, read poetry, and listen to jazz, chorinho, and opera. These days I mostly enjoy driving my kids around and watch them sing, play music, and compete in chess tournaments.
DEI Contribution/Highlight: My research, teaching, and service at Taubman College have focused on amplifying the voices of informal dwellers (Brazil), migrants (Michigan), and other minorities in the planning process, while identifying, evaluating, and promoting participatory mechanisms that promote socially and environmentally just cities. I also work towards fostering diversity and inclusion in the classroom and the planning profession.
Why is diversity, equity, and inclusion important to you? Intellectual and cultural diversity are means to achieve social change for a happier and healthier society. Inclusion and equal opportunities for all social groups is simply the right thing to do.