Kara Dudek


Urbana, Illinois

What is your current job and how did your planning degree prepare you for it?

I am currently work as Planning Assistant for the Urbana Park District. Working as a park planner is particularly enjoyable, continuously changing and an incredible way to use planning to give back to the community. My favorite thing is that I get to use all of the graphic programs I learned from my planning degree—Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop and SketchUp. Memos, reports and other forms of written and verbal communication are all part of my job. Sometimes I know I’ll be presenting at a meeting, and other times individuals will approach me in the park in ask questions about current projects.

Prior to my full-time job, I had a summer internship working for Farnsworth Group, Inc., an architecture and engineering firm that has offices around the state and nation. As Planning Intern I worked on both comprehensive plans and bicycle master plans. These bicycle master plans lead me to where I am today, working in recreation planning.

Why did you choose to study urban planning?

Urban Planning was a natural fit for me because of the way both technical/ analytical work and creativity are combined. 

What advice would you share with someone who is considering a career in urban planning?

My advice for anyone considering a career in urban planning is to absolutely pursue it. Even if you’re unsure of how you would use it, you will find an application that will fit your personality—transportation, historic preservation, land use, sustainability, or for me, park and recreation planning. 

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