To view Abby's paper, Moving Forward: Supportive Housing
Organizational Capacity Assessment, click here. The paper was first developed in the required specialization course UPP 541, Community Development II: Practice, then supplmented and applied as the final report for UPP 590, Professional Practice Experience (internship).
What is your academic and work background? What did you do before enrolling in the MUPP program at UIC?
I received my Bachelor ’s degree from the University of Chicago in Law, Letters & Society in 2006. Since then, I worked in the legal sector before deciding to go into urban planning. I have experience in community organizations, including the Crow Hill Community Association in
Brooklyn, NY, and the supportive housing organization featured in this report. I also have experience in environmental planning, specifically water resource management at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, MN, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, the Alliance for the Great Lakes, and the Metropolitan Planning Council, all in Chicago, IL.
What attracted you to planning and made you decide you
wanted to be a planner?
My desire to work in an interdisciplinary, dynamic field that touched on human rights, social justice and environmental protection first led me into the legal field, but after first hearing about urban planning from a class with urban sociologist Saskia Sassen in my first year of undergrad, I realized that planning actually brought the mix of policy, sociology, law, economics, history, architecture, social justice, sustainability, and on-the-ground action that I was looking for.
Why did you want to study planning at UIC?
UIC is the best school in the Midwest and the only one in Chicago. After living in Chicago during college, I wanted to stay in the city and UIC is the only game in town, as I have learned from meeting UIC alumni all over the city.
What are some of the highlights of your time as a student--classes, projects, internships, volunteer involvement?
What’s been very different in this program and in planning from my undergrad experience is the extreme focus on group work, presentation skills, and project-based assignments. I have learned so much through these experiences that have translated directly to the skills necessary for the various jobs and internships I have held since. UIC’s ability to place students in relevant and meaningful internships is one of its greatest strengths.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I hope to be working full-time in water resource planning or community
development (though, preferably both!) at either a regional nonprofit organization or a federal agency.