CUPPA

BA Program in
Urban and Public Affairs

412 S. Peoria St.
Suite 315 M/C 350
Chicago, IL 60607

(312) 413-2565
mwilso25@uic.edu

Student Profiles

Your interests:
My interests include any/all issues regarding social justice, international affairs, environmental issues, and gender and women's issues. I am completing a minor in Gender and Women's Studies.

Your future academic and/or professional plans:
Upon graduation I hope to continue the research that I have done for my Senior Capstone Project by working to create a strong Green-Collar Job Economy in Chicago and in the United States. I also plan to travel and teach English in South America. I may pursue a career in the Peace Core and hope to work in the United Nations or possibly become the U.S. Secretary of State.

Why did you choose UPA?
I chose the UPA program; because it is an interdisciplinary program and was able to prepare me for an interdisciplinary career/future/world. The service learning aspects (capstone project and internship opportunities) of the major were able to further my understanding of Urban and Public Affairs. The major has given me the tools necessary to begin to work toward a brighter future, one city at a time.

And last, but certainly not least, have you volunteered?
I was a community organizing intern at the Institute for Community Empowerment and worked on a campaign for affordable homeownership opportunities in the historic Bronzeville community on the Southside of Chicago. I went door to door educating the community about homeownership issues and to get a petition for a referendum regarding affordable homeownership signed by Bronzeville residents. I learned a great deal about the challenges and rewards of community organizing.

I'm a senior at UIC with a major in Urban and Public Affairs. I never wanted to declare a major for fear of being trapped in it, but I finally found a major that suits me. I interned at The Resurrection Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing affordable housing and education to the neighborhoods of Pilsen, Little Village and Back of the Yards. I'm a member of Student Outreach Services, which is a student organization at UIC that addresses issues of interpersonal violence. In October 07, I conducted an "item drive" and collected school supplies and clothes which was all donated to two women's shelters in Chicago. I still don't know what I want to be "when I grow up", but I feel pretty confident that what I'm learning in the Urban and Public Affairs program will be useful no matter where life takes me.

I am a fourth-year student at UIC and a former History/English double major. I am a member of UIC's Feminists United (FU) and Men Against Sexual Violence (MASV) student groups, and I currently work as a research assistant at the Urban Transportation Center. My interests within the UPA program include housing, active transit, urban agriculture, and gender/LGBT rights. This past summer, I traveled to London with CUPPA's Great Cities program; now that I have returned, I am working on my Senior Capstone with the Resurrection Project, a non-profit that works to preserve low-income housing in the Pilsen neighborhood. I have also interned in the communications department of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, a non-profit in Wicker Park that works in the areas of sustainable development and green infrastructure.

Your interests:
I am majoring in Urban and public affairs and my minor is sociology. My interests are the city's transportation system and the analysis of the policies that regarding to city spacing.

Your future academic and/or professional plans:
I would like to obtain a master degree in urban planning. In addition, I wish to gain more city experiences in Hong Kong after I graduated.

Why did you choose UPA?
Before I immigrated to the United States, I was greatly inspired by Hong Kong's spatial and transportation system designs. During my freshman year in college, I was searching for a flied that interests me and would enable me to pay for my cost of living in the future. Finally, I discovered the UPA program which seems to meet these critiques. Therefore, I transferred from the northeastern university to UIC for joining the UPA program.

Have you had study abroad experience?
No, but I wish to study in London for a few months if possible.

Have you had any internship experience?
I had an internship experience with Pui Tak Center, a non-profit organization that assists youths to establish the skills that required for their career success. My responsibilities were to oversight the participants and to cooperate with the other team leaders to design the means to accomplish the given assignments.

Your interests:
My interests center on multilateral educational reform, innovative youth engagement, social justice activism through intellectual/creative development, and critical identity studies. I strongly believe a convergence of the above can positively impact young people and adults in reciprocal ways.

Your future academic and/or professional plans:
After receiving my degree in UPA, I plan on securing a job that will advance my leadership and management skills, as well as inform my future decision(s) of which post-graduate degree(s) to pursue. Throughout all my endeavors, I hope to incorporate world travel and exposure to different cultures.

Why did you choose UPA?
I began college as a student in political science but switched to UPA because I was intrigued with the idea of having a built environment serve as a unit of research and analysis. Studying cities has not only furthered my insight into society’s complexities; it has provided me with somewhat of a writing/drawing board where I can transform abstract theories about the world into concrete applications and practices.

Have you had any internship experience?
In 2008, I had the opportunity to work for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Indian Environmental Office. I currently intern for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in the Community Affairs Office. Both offices are located in Chicago.

Your interests:
I am interested in working in the field of educational administration to help disadvantaged communities succeed.

Your future academic and/or professional plans:
Ultimately my goal is to shape existing policies in order to improve failing inner-city schools. 

Why did you choose UPA?
I chose UPA because I am interested in public policy.

Have you had any internship experience?
During my sophomore year in the UPA program, I've had an internship experience through an independent study with the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness.  The experience was rewarding and enlightening because I was able to demonstrate my strong leadership skills through initiating a food pantry event while raising awareness of hunger and homelessness.

And last, but certainly not least, do you work on the UIC Campus?
Currently, I work on UIC's west campus as an assistant building manager.  Being a student employee is beneficial because you are able to work flexible hours that fit your schedule as well as meet other hardworking students employees.

Your interests:
My interests within the urban planning realm include mass transit expansion, physical and cultural geography, sustainability, architecture, and politics.

Your future academic and/or professional plans:
After obtaining my Masters in Urban Planning and Policy (MUPP), I plan on working for the Chicago Transit Authority's Planning Department or any of the other transit agencies in the Chicagoland Area. Working for the Department of Planning and Development for the City of Chicago is also enticing.

Why did you choose UPA?
I chose the UPA program because it is my calling. I have always shown interest in everything Chicago since I was young (my parents can vouch for that!) The program combines all of my interests into one major and its 30 person cap has made classes more engaging.

And last, but certainly not least, have you volunteered?
Currently, I am the President of the Student Alumni League (SAL) here at UIC. We strive to serve the campus community, ignite school spirit, and foster success in our membership. We plan events on campus, such as Homecoming and Grad Finale, and volunteer at various Alumni Association events. Volunteering with SAL has taught me how network with my fellow peers and colleagues, as well as the intricacies of the University's bureaucratic system.

Your interests:
My interests are in fighting for social causes of women rehabilitation in blighted areas struck by poverty and social disorder, understanding Slum ecology, urban growth and development and working on slum redevelopment.

Your future academic and/or professional plans:
Your future academic and/or professional plans Finish my Masters in Public Administration and work with NGO's and IGO's and make a significant positive change in the society.

Why did you choose UPA?
UPA curriculum benefits me in better understanding the causes that are of great interest to me. Coming from a developing nation like India, UPA curriculum helps me widen by understanding of causes resulting in making of slum and increasing poverty. UPA's curriculum lays the foundation in learning how to formulate policies, collaborate with organizations and get a deeper understanding of various urban issues.

Have you had any internship experience?
While in India, I have worked with YMCA, fighting against issues of slum eviction in Bangalore, India. Promoting women's education and making them understand their right.

And last, but certainly not least, have you volunteered?
Volunteered with CRY, educating poor street children and through a school program 'adopt a kid' pooled in money through donations to provide schooling and better housing to slum kids. I volunteered in a shelter for disabled and handicapped people, often abandoned by their family. My experiences designed my interest in life that now I am working towards fulfilling.

Your interests:
I am eager to learn as much as I can about Chicago, and in the field of urban studies I am especially interested in public education, public transportation, political accountability, community organizing, and community service. I don't have a concentration in UPA yet and I am considering a minor in Italian.

Your future academic and/or professional plans:
I hope to spend one semester abroad in Italy before I graduate. After I receive my Bachelor's, I don't plan on going to graduate school right away, but I plan on staying in Chicago. Ideal jobs for me would involve working with Chicago Public Schools or CTA, becoming involved with the Chicago 2016 plans if the bid is won, or working with a community organization in the role of liaison to city and/or state government.

Why did you choose UPA?
I took a non-traditional route through my young adult life...I moved around from Wisconsin to Philadelphia to Chicago, and I took a long break from school. From 2006 to 2008, I served as a full-time AmeriCorps member, and I led programs for middle and high school students in dozens of Chicago Public Schools. This experience opened my eyes to a vast array of problems and injustice in this city, and I grew passionate about learning how to create positive, systemic change within the urban framework.

Have you had study abroad experience?
No, but I hope to do so next year!

Have you had any internship experience?
If so, please tell us what organization you worked with, what your responsibilities were, and what you learned from your experience. In the summer of 2008, I was the Development Intern for City Year Chicago, which is the AmeriCorps program that I was previously involved with. In that job, I did a lot of research on individuals and corporations who would potentially donate to the organization. I also worked on applying for federal, state, and foundation grants, and worked with board members on a growth strategy. I learned about the funding side of non-profits, and a whole lot about personal and corporate philanthropy in Chicago. My supervisor required me to subscribe to the free Crain's e-mail list, and it has provided me with a lot of Chicago-specific information that has definitely benefited me in my classes!

And last, but certainly not least, have you volunteered?
Service and volunteering is extremely important to me. While I was in AmeriCorps, part of my job was running a program called City Heroes, and I loved it so much that I continue to be involved. In the program, I spend two Saturdays each month leading a group of high school students from all over the city in workshops and community service projects based on what they think are the biggest problems in their communities. I also volunteer with an organization called Peer Health Exchange, which involves teaching workshops on rape and sexual assault to 9th graders at two Chicago Public Schools.

Your interests:
Broadly speaking, my interests lie in those fields of endeavor that shape the built environment in meaningful and creative ways: urban design and planning, architecture, landscape architecture, etc.

Your future academic and/or professional plans:
After UIC, I plan to pursue a Masters in a design-related field, such as architecture, landscape architecture, and/or urban design. I think it would be great to work in such a field, and perhaps even have my own practice.

Why did you choose UPA?
I chose UPA in large measure because of my travels. I have always been interested in buildings per se, and I intended to study architecture when younger. However, my focus was broadened due to exposure to many ancient cities in Europe. Observing the contrasts between so many different places, I became intrested in learning about the forces that shaped the built environment "beyond the drafting board", and how an urban landscape functioned as a whole. It was only naturally then to pursue an urban planning degree. Thanks to this program, the answers are coming. I also chose UPA because of Chicago, which I think is the best city in America on so many levels!

Have you had study abroad experience?
As of this writing, I am starting a new semester at the Politecnic University of Milan in Italy through UIC. Last semester I studied at the University of the West of England, in Bristol. These experiences have already been invaluable to my major, and dare I say, my life!

Have you had any internship experience?
After high school I took part in a pre-college internship program in a large architecture firm on the West Coast. I did another such program immediately afterward for the local government in my hometown of Sacramento. It would be impossible to list all the things I learned, however, at the large private firm I learned a great deal about the importance of professionalism and the dedication it takes to get something built, within budget no less. Working for the government, I was most impressed by my exposure to the vast infrastructure that makes civilized life possible (energy, water, waste disposal, roads, etc.), and just how little we even think about it.

And last, but certainly not least, have you volunteered?
I once volunteered for a year to help restore a run-down church and school in downtown Rockford, IL. This remains one of the greatest experiences of my life. I gained some hands-on skills, and learned how to better appreciate America's built heritage. I also made a fair number of lifelong friends during that time.

Back To Top

Copyright 2009 College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs | Website by Kinetic Media