What is your current job and how did your planning degree prepare you for it?
I work as a Planner for Fairbanks (Alaska) North Star Borough focusing at the intersection of policy, land use and economic development. During graduate school, I worked as a research assistant under the supervision of Prof. Stacy Harwood in collaboration with University of Illinois Extension and Spoon River Partnership for Economic Development. I completed economic development studies for the City of Canton, IL that prepared me for my current responsibilities.
Why did you choose to study urban planning?
I studied planning because I am fascinated by cities. I wanted to help cities to steer the development of their physical, social and economic space to ensure resiliency, opportunity and quality of life. Urban Planning is an interdisciplinary field of study that provided me an opportunity to explore economic development and real estate in addition to the conventional land use and transportation planning.
What advice would you share with someone who is considering a career in urban planning?
Planning offers the opportunity to work with people so always look for such opportunities where you can contribute in a planning project. Work with you supervisor to craft a capstone project that assimilates your career goals, theoretical background and helps you develop leadership, collaboration and interpersonal skills.