To view Rachel's project (co-authored with Anna Selgert),Water & Energy Conservation Plan for the Poornima Group of Colleges, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, click here. The project was built with experience gained in 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 completed my B.S. in Diplomacy and International Relations with a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ.
What attracted you to planning and made you decide you
wanted to be a planner?
In undergrad, I studied abroad in Dubai, and the disparity in income and infrastructure from the old parts of town to the new, huge skyscrapers in the west of the city inspired me to study international cities when I returned to Seton Hall. As I looked toward my future, I realized that I was more interested in how people interact with urban spaces than I was in inter-state governance. I also realized I was more interested in practical applications of theory, and that I was far more likely to be able to form solutions to pervasive and complicated urban problems by working on the ground rather than in a large multi-national organization. Urban Planning covered all of these aspects, and allowed me to study what I am actually interested in—cities and the people who live in them.
Why did you want to study planning at UIC?
After several years on the East Coast, I was ready to come home to the Midwest. I knew that studying international development would be more difficult here, but I also was aware that the opportunities Chicago offered outweighed those difficulties.
What are some of the highlights of your time as a student--classes, projects, internships, volunteer involvement?
The professors at UIC have been the highlight of my time here. Each one has a unique perspective and teaches planning theory from a different viewpoint. This diversity in views has allowed me to determine what my own view of planning is. In addition, all of my professors have been willing to provide assistance to students, whether in finding an internship or creating graphics for a masters project.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see myself beginning to make a difference on an international scale.