To view Irwing's paper, Looking to the Future of Economic Regions: Study Reveals the Economic Vitality of Chicago & Los Angeles Regions (co-written with Zhaolong Li), click here. The paper was prepared for the required specialization course UPP 531, Economic Development II: Planning.
What is your academic and work background? What did you do before enrolling in the MUPP program at UIC?
Before enrolling in the Masters of Urban Planning and Policy program at UIC I attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) where I received a Bachelors of Science in Urban and Regional Planning in the spring of 2010. After completing my undergraduate degree at UIUC, however, I felt a need to delve deeper and further specialize within the field of urban planning to be able to carry out my career goals. This desire for furthering my education eventually led me to the MUPP program.
What attracted you to planning and made you decide you
wanted to be a planner?
I was first introduced to planning after studying architecture during my first two years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Having felt that architecture was too narrowly focused for my own personal values, I decided to transition to the field of planning where I could apply my acquired design skills into more broadly based issues. Planners’ commitment to alleviating many of our communities’ greatest socio-economic dilemmas drove my decision to pursue a career in this field.
Why did you want to study planning at UIC?
The knowledge and experience obtained through a master’s program in urban planning is something that cannot be undervalued. The training and skills provided to master’s students at UIC are unmatched in caliber and reputation. UIC’s commitment to creating more livable and sustainable communities fits closely with my personal mission of advocating for the improvement of impoverished areas. The academic and relevant real-world experiences that UIC strives to integrate into their graduate planning program makes it truly unique. In addition, the relationship fostered between students and teachers at UIC is something I looked forward to engaging in.
What are some of the highlights of your time as a student--classes, projects, internships, volunteer involvement?
My time at UIC has been a very rewarding experience in terms of the knowledge acquired, the friendships made, as well as the experience gained. While I value every part of my graduate education, a few of the highlights as a student have been working under the supervision of Professor Vidyarthi and Professor Hoch as a research assistant as well as traveling to London during the summer of 2012 as part of the Great Cities London Program.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I enjoy learning from others, especially those with different backgrounds and educations, as well as sharing my own experiences. Therefore, my ideal work setting is to be part of a multidisciplinary firm in charge of large scale development, possibly at the international level. I have a passion for traveling and hope to have a career that will allow me to do so in the future.