To view Marcella's paper, Planning for Sustainable Aquaculture: Tilapia farming in the United States, China, and Honduras (co-written with Anna Wolf), click here. The paper was prepared for the required specialization course UPP 570: Environmental Planning & Policy.
What is your academic and work background? What did you do before enrolling in the MUPP program at UIC?
I have a dual bachelor’s in Biology and English, and I worked for the past ten years as an environmental scientist in consulting firms. Other accomplishments include becoming a LEED AP and volunteering through Engineers Without Borders-USA. After college, I joined AmeriCorps and then moved to Istanbul; both experiences exposed me to diverse communities.
What attracted you to planning and made you decide you
wanted to be a planner?
During my work as an environmental scientist, I was fortunate to have many projects that exposed me to the environmental assessment of proposed development projects. Through this, I realized I wanted to focus my expertise on environmental planning and policy, and work on a municipal or regional scale.
Why did you want to study planning at UIC?
Before enrolling, I spoke with several planning and policy professionals who spoke highly of UIC’s program and the strong alumni community. I also hoped to become involved with one of the many research centers based in CUPPA.
What are some of the highlights of your time as a student--classes, projects, internships, volunteer involvement?
I’ve enjoyed all my classes, particularly those that help me create a planning framework for my technical environmental knowledge. I’m a research assistant in UIC’s Urban Transportation Center, where I am helping to develop a tool to quickly evaluate the sustainability of proposed rail projects. Other highlights include the team projects required by the 506 Plan Making Studio class.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
My goal is to transition into a public sector career in environmental planning and policy, preferably based in the Chicago area. I would also like to work or volunteer on environmental planning projects for communities in developing nations.