Urban Planning Internship Experiences

April 30, 2019

All MS Urban Planning students complete a summer internship between their first and second year.

Students build connections and learn essential professional skills.
Master of Science in Urban Planning students.
Professional summer internship experiences.
Local, national, and international.
Summer between first and second year.

Our internship coordinator, a practicing planning professional, guides students through the process of seeking out internship positions and equips them with professional skills that ensure their success.

Rahul Tuladhar (MSP '18) was an international student from Nepal and researched a number of organizations in his home country and other developing countries before finally choosing to complete his internship at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Nepal. The WWF was looking for an intern to complete analysis for their 10-year Strategic Action Plan using GIS and Remote Sensing tools. “I chose WWF because I am passionate about wildlife conservation and this was a way to merge my studies, my interests, and do something that is good for my country. I was able to work on my thesis while learning new skills. It was a great experience!” 

Monica Landgrave-Serrano (MSP '19) came to the University of Arizona’s MS Planning program after completing her undergraduate work in architecture overseas. Her interest in land development led her to pursue an internship with the City of Tucson in the Planning and Development Services Department. There she worked on a variety of projects, including conducting research and compiling databases of zoning and land development policies, administrative decisions, and implementation metrics of the local general plan, Plan Tucson. She attended various events and public meetings. “I got to experience what it is like to work in the land development planning arm of the City of Tucson. It was interesting and challenging work. I value that I had this opportunity!”

Moises Lavoignet (MSP '19) spent his summer working for Kitchell in Phoenix, Arizona. Kitchell provides a spectrum of services relating to building structures, including general contracting, construction management, real estate development, program management, engineering and architecture, and facilities management. Moises was trained in OSHA workplace safety regulations, earned a remote pilot license to fly drones, and learned how to do 3D laser scanning. He worked on a various projects, composing design drawings and illustrations. He also competed in a design competition. “Overall, this internship was very helpful for me because I learned the construction process and the safety requirements that every new project must follow. Learning 3D laser scanning and flying drones are competitive skills I had the chance to develop, that will make me more competitive in the job market.”

For her internship, Nejlah Hummer (MSP '17) joined the team at Southwest Fair Housing Council, a local Tucson non-profit dedicated to providing comprehensive services to achieve and preserve equal access to housing for all people. Working for the Executive Director, Jay Young—also a graduate of the CAPLA Masters in Planning program—Nejlah worked on an interdisciplinary project team to develop a series of maps entitled Tucson’s Opportunity Index. Using GIS to map 22 different metrics, the Opportunity Index highlights areas within the Tucson region where opportunities for education, housing, economy, transportation, and health and environment exist. “The internship allowed me to expand my knowledge of fair housing regulations. It was also a good networking opportunity for me. I made connections with housing practitioners in Tucson and around the country.”

Kyle Packer (MSP '19) is pursuing dual masters, one in Planning through UA CAPLA, and the other in Business Administration through UA Eller College. He has taken advantage of multiple internships, including at Sierra Vista Metropolitan Planning Organization, City of Tucson Planning and Development Services, and the City of Tucson Economic Initiatives Office. With the Economic Initiatives Office, he assisted with mapping annexation processes regulated by state law and impacted by different financial incentive programs. “It has been enlightening to participate in these various internships. Each place has its own specific focus, and its own culture. I like that I have been able to make contributions that are appreciated and that have been helpful.”

Rachel Smith (MSP '18) was hired on to the Town of Oro Valley’s Planning Department as a planning intern in the Community & Economic Development Division. She worked part-time with a team of planners on various projects, one of which she proposed for self-study to analyze the housing stock available within the town. “I enjoyed the variety of projects I worked on! I helped put on a “Chalk the Block” event one week, then played developer the next week, and researched livestock allowances, then helped write zoning amendments the next. I attended public meetings and learned so much overall. It helped me to understand what things I like about planning work.”

Anthony Aceves (MSP '19) went through the Mattamy Homes Planning Internship program. The program is designed to develop a broad background into the different divisions of the company, and the skills necessary to learn the basics of real estate development and residential home building. “I knew I wanted to gain experience in development and this was the perfect opportunity. I valued working alongside experts in the field. It has given me exposure I would not have gotten from studies alone, and helped me gain competitive skills.”


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