What have you been up to since you finished the MURP program?
After graduating in December 2014, I took a temporary job as a Special Projects Planner with the City of Aspen for 9 months. At this job, I reviewed mainly historic preservation projects, assisted with the Design Guidelines, and developed a 3D model for the city itself. After my term ended, I got a job with Jefferson County in Colorado as a Planner where I worked mainly on current development proposals. I worked with Jefferson County for 2 years until December 2017, when I moved up to Bozeman, Montana to take a job as an Associate Planner with the City. It was a great career move as I get to be on the forefront of a growing city, work with current development projects, long range planning projects, and historic preservation projects.
How did you become interested in your field?
I started at University of Colorado Denver in the MS Historic Preservation program in 2012 because my passion lied in preservation practices and historic architecture. Not really knowing what planning was, I had a class my first semester where I was partnered up with someone who was in the MURP program to work on a project. Being exposed more to a “planner’s thought”, I immediately was intrigued about the world of planning. I did some research, talked to advisers at CU Denver and students in the MURP program and realized quickly that I wanted to go down the path of planning. So I enrolled in the program and graduated in December 2014 with a MS in Historic Preservation and Master in Urban and Regional Planning.
What have been the biggest challenges in your career?
Working in the public sector comes with its own set of rules and regulations that sometimes are very difficult (and enjoyable) to follow. It is helpful often having regulations when reviewing projects so that consistency occurs in the planning world. However, it can be very difficult (and heartbreaking) to have to enforce standards that can severely impact the average homeowner and have to enforce rules that I don’t stand behind.
What do you find most rewarding about your career?
What I enjoy most is that the world of planning is constantly evolving. Each project or development proposal has their own set of challenges and it allows me to be a problem solver. I also love working with the community and hearing people out and educating them in the world of municipal planning.
In what ways has your MURP degree had an impact on your career and who you are today?
When I started at CU Denver in the Historic Preservation program, I truly thought I would be moving towards a career of adaptive reuse projects or surveying historic properties. Including the MURP degree really broadened my horizons and have enabled me to look towards other jobs where I can utilize both degrees. I still get to do historic preservation, which is my passion, but I am working on it on a larger scale and helping the community, which became my passion through planning.
What was your favorite part about your time at CU Denver?
The community was amazing. The levels of passion in different realms of planning was fascinating. Also, I really enjoyed my professors and classes.
Do you have any advice for recent MURP graduates looking to break into the planning field?
Frequently, you will have to start off in a job that involves a lot of paper pushing and building permits. It can be a mind numbing job that you feel doesn’t really use your degree and is not what you would expect when you were in school for planning. Stick with it. We all have to start out somewhere and it allows you to gain a lot of knowledge and confidence for moving up in the planning world. And don’t be afraid of changing jobs in your first few years of planning.