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Urban Matters Lab

Program Overview

The Urban Matters Lab builds on the four pillars of the John Martinson Honors College at Purdue University. The lab employs an interdisciplinary approach to the exploration and study of a range of urban matters, and also facilitates a pedagogical and exploratory journey for students to understand why the ‘urban’ matters. It fosters community engagement through interactive experiential opportunities across the Greater Lafayette area and beyond. It offers students the opportunity to develop their leadership skills through volunteer and internship opportunities in the community. The lab also creates opportunities for students to undertake interdisciplinary research through HONR courses and mentoring by Dr. Krishna. 

Visit to view the lab’s students team members and current projects, including the Black Heritage Sites Project, which Dr. Krishna is working on in collaboration with Indiana Landmarks’ Black Heritage Preservation Program.

Program Courses

HONR 299: The Global City

HONR 299: Urban Matters Lab


Team Members of Urban Matters Lab

Urban Matters Lab Director

Ashima_Krishna.jpgDr. Ashima Krishna, Director of Urban Matters Lab


Dr. Ashima Krishna is an architect and historic preservation planner whose research spans two principal domains: the management of historic urban landscapes and adaptive reuse of religious historic structures and landscapes. In particular, Dr. Krishna focuses on the intersection of historic preservation with community development and equity issues–and resulting policy challenges.


Student Team Members

image.jpeg.webpNah'Shon Williams

Hailing from South Bend, IN, Nah’Shon Williams is a young man destined to discover the lost stories of years gone by. Nah’Shon is a freshman currently attending Purdue University on a full tuition scholarship as a Posse Scholar. He is currently majoring in History, with the hope to become a museum curator. In his free time NahShon enjoys studying history, watching documentaries, and making music.

Stuti Varma.pngStuti Varma

Stuti grew up in West Lafayette, surrounded by a rich and diverse community with Purdue University in her backyard. Pairing that with her love of structures, she strives to learn everything she can about various cultures and their built history. Stuti is currently an incoming sophomore at Purdue University, majoring in Civil Engineering. Outside of academics, she enjoys playing sports, writing, and building.



Jonny DongJohnny Dong

Johnny Dong is currently in his second year at Purdue University, where he serves as a PA in Health and Human Science. As a first-generation college student, Johnny derives great motivation from his Chinese parents to accomplish remarkable feats and make them proud. Apart from his academic pursuits, Johnny finds joy in motorcycles, video games, and engaging in physical exercise.



Kreesha SahaKreesha Saha

Kreesha Saha is an incoming sophomore at Purdue University, majoring in biology. She is native to West Lafayette and enjoys learning more about the history of her community. In her free time she enjoys reading, listening to music, and dance.

Student Course Projects


More about Urban Matters Lab


Questions can be directed to Dr. Ashima Krishna, Clinical Associate Professor, John Martinson Honors College,

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