BAUP 2011, Minor in Business
What is your current job and how did your planning degree prepare you for it?
I am currently a planner at Louis Berger (Kansas City office), a global consulting firm. Being part of a company with such a large portfolio of diverse projects, I've had the opportunity to hold key roles in fiber optic permitting projects, interstate transmission line siting efforts, and master planning developments. While these are all very unique efforts, my Urban Planning degree from the University of Illinois was the unifying thread that prepared me for all of them.
Courses I took as part of my BAUP degree challenged me to evaluate my surroundings and how we interact in different environments. DURP's courses are meant to do more than just touch the surface of key subjects like planning policy and law, hazard mitigation, ecology, or GIS. The courses that make up the foundation of my degree taught me to think critically about how each of those subjects could be applied on a broader scale, ultimately providing me more flexibility in my career path.
Why did you choose to study urban planning?
I've always been intrigued by cities. What makes cities grow? How do they adapt to changing circumstances? What factors influence the built environment? What are the best methods of civic engagement? These are all things I've been passionate about for most of my life. Yet I came to the University of Illinois as one of many that make up the league of the "undecided." I toured the Majors and Minors Fair during my freshman year, discovered urban planning as a major, and immediately knew that I'd found my path.
What advice would you share with someone who is considering a career in urban planning?
Challenge yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone. Seize chances to network with fellow planners and learn from their experiences. Take any and all opportunities that come your way, because they almost always open new doors.
The world is constantly changing, and planners are the professionals that guide much of that change. Planning is an exciting and dynamic field for people that have the desire to improve their surroundings. A foundation in urban planning offers career flexibility while preparing you to be a leader in an ever-changing world.