Long-session Sustainability Studies Teaching Assistant with MA
Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning
Andrea "Christina" Wirsching, is a PhD candidate in the Community and Regional Planning Program at The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), and a fellow in the National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (NSF IGERT) program at UT Austin in Sustainable Energy and Smart Grids. She is also in the Graduate Portfolio Program in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at UT Austin. Originally from Laredo, Texas, Christina’s research examines the multilayered contexts in and of planning to critically inform community planning and scholarship. She holds a Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning degree as well as a BA in Geography from UT Austin, where she established a strong foundation in environmental resource management and secondary science education.
Her master’s research focused on historiographies in planning. Her thesis examined the controversy within the historical context of the Holly Street Power Plant and surrounding Mexican American neighborhood, connecting to her deep familial ties in this East Austin, Texas neighborhood. Christina’s passion for giving back to her community continues to be evident in her current interdisciplinary academic pursuits. Christina’s dissertation research incorporates traditional impact assessments and spatial analyses of communities effected by the oil and gas industry with histories of governance and land development, with the goal of painting a more nuanced picture of what this looks like on the ground and how we got there. She is conducting her study along the Texas-Mexico border in Webb County, Texas, where Laredo is the county seat.
Christina served as a member of the UT School of Architecture Diversity Task Force, part of the leadership teams of student organizations focused on diversity, and, in her professional pre-graduate school life, worked in STEM academic student affairs and graduate recruitment for historically underrepresented student populations at UT Austin. She is qualified to teach a variety of courses related to planning and research methods, ranging from history and theory, research design and methods, critical cartography and practical applications of GIS, to courses similar to one she designed and taught, Latino Urban Studies, which integrates Mexican American and Latino Studies and planning. Her course was the first of its kind at UT Austin designed and taught by a planning scholar.