Tony Tonnu is a graduate student in Urban and Regional Planning with a concentration on Transportation Policy and Planning at the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA. He is particularly interested in the intersection between technology and infrastructure, such as the possible future of autonomous cars and “smart cities.” He is also interested in people of color communities and equity and access to resources, from food to transportation to economic opportunities.
During his undergraduate career at UCLA, Tony worked and participated in a variety of different activities. He was a staff member for an Asian American student organization and helped organize events and presentations, applied for funding, and represented Asian American students on campus and their concerns regarding UCLA.
Before becoming a “double Bruin” and attending graduate school, Tony taught technology at Brawerman Elementary School West. He not only taught students K-6 how to use iPads and iMacs, make movies using iPads, and build and program robots, but he also learned about successful community building from the students themselves.
While teaching young minds was a fulfilling experience, Tony wanted to make a bigger impact. During the summer of 2014, he participated in Asian Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance (APIOPA)’s “Bike to Japan” program, where participants rode in bike tours around underserved communities such as Chinatown, Watts, and Little Tokyo, and learned about urban planning in a local, community context. This program inspired Tony to apply to UCLA Luskin’s Urban and Regional Planning program.
As the 2016-17 recipient of a David Bohnett Foundation/UCLA Luskin internship award, Tony will be working at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. He looks forward to examining the future of smart cities and how they will impact the built environment.