What is your current job and how did your planning degree prepare you for it?
I currently work as the Economic Development Manager for the Northern Kentucky Tri-Economic Development Corporation. My job within the organization is to create and provide information on available real estate, industry and demographic trends to support attraction, and expansion of those primary industries. My urban planning degree gave me a framework for thinking about economic development on a regional scale and its impacts on individual communities. I still use the technical software skills I learned in grad school almost every day.
I began an internship in economic development and planning with the City of Urbana’s Community Development Department during my final semester of graduate school. My internship duties included reviewing and updating zoning documents, creating business databases, and responding to business inquiries. After graduation, I stayed on with the City of Urbana and ultimately accepted a job as the Economic Development Specialist.
Why did you choose to study urban planning?
My Bachelor’s degree is in Business Administration, which provided me a solid foundation in topics like finance, accounting, and economics. However, after I graduated I decided that private sector corporate work wasn’t for me, and so I ultimately chose to get my Master of Urban Planning—and my concentration in Local and Regional Economic Development—so that I could use my business skills to further the goals of communities trying to foster and grow robust local economies.
What advice would you share with someone who is considering a career in urban planning?
Do not be afraid to reach out to people who are more experienced than you to ask for their advice or opportunities. Everyone remembers what it was like starting out, and they will usually help when they can.