Taubman College Students and Faculty Recognized with MLK Spirit Awards

Each year, the North Campus Deans’ MLK Spirit Awards honors the students, organizations, staff, and faculty of North Campus colleges who exemplify the leadership and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through their commitment to social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. The annual awards are hosted by the academic units housed on the University of Michigan’s North Campus as a part of U-M’s MLK Symposium to honor and commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. King.

The 2023 MLK Spirit Award winners from Taubman College are:

Robert Goodspeed, associate professor of urban and regional planning

Goodspeed was recognized for his inclusion of critical perspectives on racism in his classes and his research on racially restrictive covenants, evictions, and public transit.

“Receiving this award came as a surprise to me since I feel I am still on my journey to pursue racial justice in my work. It is a privilege to work with so many excellent students and collaborators to explore how the urban planning field can more deeply and effectively advance racial equity,” said Goodspeed.

Anna Lam, M.U.R.P. /  M.B.A ’23

Lam was recognized for her dedication to equitable affordable housing development and for creating safe community spaces at times of social unrest.

“The BLM movement in 2013 was a pivotal moment in my life. It led to my work in understanding residential segregation and housing inequalities. It propelled me to participate in creating the built environment in hopes of producing positive life outcomes for those that needed it most. Since then, I’ve continually realized that we are stronger and happier as a society when we actively cultivate community and support. After all, ‘We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly,'” said Lam.

Mehrdad Shahraeen, M.S.D.M.T. ’23

Shahraeen was recognized for his role as president of the Iranian Graduate Student Association (IGSA).

“This is a bittersweet moment for me because I am among the people currently impacted by the heartbreaking news in Iran. I will always try to advocate for our community to advance, so they can make a safer and happier environment for all in the community. My heart beats for our people, and my engagement in all events in our community makes me feel more alive and uplifting. It gives me great pleasure to support the students’ sense of community and belonging, and I’m truly grateful to receive this recognition,” said Shahraeen.

Several other Taubman College community members and teams were nominated for awards: Srishti Jaipuria, M.U.R.P. ’23; Walter Hunt, M.Arch. ’23; the Radical Planning Course Development Team, including student organizers Kira Barsten, M.U.R.P. ’23, Kathryn Economou, M.U.R.P. ’23, Vaidehi Shah, M.U.R.P. ’24, and Griffin Sproul</strong>; M.U.R.P. ’24; Kit McCollough, lecturer in architecture; and The Agora Journal of Urban Planning and Design.

Learn more about each of Taubman College’s award recipients, as well as the other recipients, on the North Campus Deans MLK Spirit Awards webpage.