Dr. Harriel is an Associate Professor of Democracy and Civic Engagement in DUSP and is the Executive Director of MIT COLab. She has over 20 years of practitioner experience in urban planning with a focus on community and economic development, anchor institutions and civic engagement. She has led community transformative work as a senior leader at two community development corporations, a cross-sector collaborative neighborhood development non-profit, and a national community economic development funding agency. She received her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania where her research focused on colleges and universities as anchor institutions in urban areas, she holds a masters degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is an alumnus of Auburn and Tuskegee Universities.
Dr. Harriel is an active member of Civic Designers - a collective of people who come together around projects designed to strengthen democratic practice.