Sarah Williams

Sarah Williams, PLA


Early Childhood Health Outdoors (ECHO) Design Manager

National Wildlife Federation

Denver, Colorado

What have you been up to since you finished the MURP program? 

I am an Associate at Norris Design. Norris Design is a multidisciplinary firm that focuses on planning, landscape architecture, graphic design, and project promotion. At Norris Design, I focus primarily on design (all stages), residential planning, and city approval processes, to the completion of landscape architecture construction documents and construction management in the field. I would like to say I am an ace of all trades. I can wear the planning hat at one moment and then switch to the design and contracting hat as well. I work with city and county officials, developers, architect, engineers, and contractors to manage a project from start to completion.

***Note: Since this interview, Sarah has taken a position with the National Wildlife Federation as an Early Childhood Health Outdoors (ECHO) Design Manager. 

In what ways has your MURP degree had an impact on your career and who you are today?

My MURP degree has impacted my career through educating me on how government and policy planning work in shaping our urban settings. I really enjoyed learning the planning history, planning policy and law, and urban design techniques that shape our communities. The MURP program helped grow my understanding of community development and social justice issues as well.

What would you say to a prospective student that is considering CU Denver’s MURP program?

I would recommend you analyze why you are going into the program and really understand what outcomes you would like to achieve. Think about a few questions: Will the educational benefits outweigh the costs of the program? Is it a worthwhile return on investment and in your future goals? I would also recommend doing internships, networking, and working in firms while going through the program. Having a portfolio at the end of the program as well as networking will go a long way in getting your foot in the door at the end of the program. If you have a deadline but there is also a networking event, try to take some time out of your day to go the event. School is important but what is equally important is the outcome after you graduate. Use your college time to take chances on design and projects, work on things that cultivate your passion in the industry, and get you a step further in your career when you are all finished up.

What was your favorite part about your time at CU Denver?

My passion in the industry grew at the Colorado Center for Community Development in grant writing, community development, schoolyard/playground development, and health care design. I also loved commiserating and studying in studio with my fellow classmates. I think some of my favorite memories come from the friendships I gained in studios working on projects together all night long as well as the pranks we would pull on each other.