To view Sarah's paper, The Village of Melrose Park: Pre-planning document, click here. The paper was prepared for the required core course UPP 502, Planning Skills.
What is your academic and work background? What did you do before enrolling in the MUPP program at UIC?
I have a Bachelors of Science in Architecture and minor in Urban Design from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. I also studied at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad for a semester of Urban Design Studio my senior year. After graduating I worked in a small Architecture office in St. Louis for about a year before deciding to return to Grad School for Urban Planning.
What attracted you to planning and made you decide you
wanted to be a planner?
I was a little disenchanted with architecture after spending a year working in an office. I have always enjoyed design, but it seemed like the best way to really affect people through changes in the urban environment was through Urban Planning. I won’t claim to have figured out my specific interest or specialization, but so far I’ve really enjoyed learning the planning and policy side of things. I think it has begun to help inform my design education.
Why did you want to study planning at UIC?
I’ve always loved Chicago, and UIC had an interesting urban planning program. I think it just worked out for me.
What are some of the highlights of your time as a student--classes, projects, internships, volunteer involvement?
I have had an internship working the CDOT’s Bike Program helping them roll out the city’s new Bike Sharing System! It has been a really fantastic experience, and I have totally become a bike nerd (which I never saw coming). I’ve also really enjoyed getting to know other student in the program. It’s been wonderful working with such a diverse group of students with such varied life and work experience. I’ve been really impressed by everyone.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
If I had a penny for every time someone asked that I think I’d be a millionaire, or at least have enough to buy a soda in the CUPPA basement. If I had my way, in five years I would have some slick job working in a cutting-edge planning and urban design firm helping to improve communities I care about. Either that, or getting my PhD researching something I became obsessed with while studying for my Master’s at UIC. I would love to work in Chicago for some time, so in 5 years I’m guessing I’ll still be in Chicago, but I hope to move around later in my career to see more of the US and abroad.