MURP Alumni Profiles

Prospective students often ask, "What can I do with a MURP degree from CU Denver?" Our program prepares students to work in diverse areas of planning around Colorado and the United States. Check out the profiles below to read alumni stories about how CU Denver MURP helped them meet their career goals. 

Nancy York_edit

Nancy York '99

Open Space Planning Supervisor, Jefferson County


What have you been up to since you finished the MURP program?
Upon graduation I moved to Washington, DC for three years to work in the field of international development at both World Learning, a nonprofit devoted to civic engagement and global education and International Resources Group (IRG) devoted to natural resource management and climate resilience. I then returned to Colorado and worked at an engineering firm for one year before accepting a position with Jefferson County as a planner. After five years working on development review and long-range plans, I worked for the City of Golden on the Golden Vision 2030 Plan for one year and ultimately moved back to Jefferson County, but this time, Open Space, as a planner, Partnerships Coordinator and currently Planning Supervisor. I couldn't love my job more.

How did you become interested in your field?
I've loved the idea of community planning since I was a little girl playing with endless arrangements of blocks on a street grid, imagining what the sense of place felt like in my make believe worlds. As I delved deeper into the nuance of planning, I grew to love both advocacy planning at a grassroots level and ultimately environmental planning, which is a marriage of all that I love about the field.

What have been the biggest challenges in your career?
Bridging the gap between the hard sciences and soft sciences. In environmental planning I interface regularly with biologists, ecologists, etc., so catching up, knowledge-wise with the approaches taken by hard scientist professionals has been a challenge but has helped me expand my understanding of related fields.

What do you find most rewarding about your career?
For me, working in the field of land conservation has been a two-fold joy. I have the privilege of being part of preserving open space in Colorado for its ecosystem services, a critical part of the fabric of any community while at the same time providing a nature-based experience for open space visitors benefiting them in a powerful mind, body, health way.

In what ways has your MURP degree had an impact on your career and who you are today?
I chose the MURP/MPA dual degree path and I'm so grateful every day for the planning theory coupled with the public affairs background in my day-to-day work in local government public service. Today I'm a happy planner working in a dream job in the dreamy state of Colorado. So very lucky.

What would you say to a prospective student that is considering CU Denver's MURP program?
I can't recommend the program more. I had an incredible experience and love that CU Denver's MURP program really has its finger on the pulse of western planning challenges. It's a rich experience and worth all the time and energy.

What was your favorite part about your time at CU Denver?
Being in the middle of the city and enjoying not just the experience, but the faculty's expertise, including interesting and diverse adjunct professors.

Do you have any advice for recent MURP graduates looking to break into the planning field?
Internships and job shadowing are great opportunities. Attending public meetings, including county commissions and city council hearings are also great experiences for those interested in public sector work. Networking with alumni!