Summer Internships Provide Invaluable Insight for CRP Graduate Students
With assistance from AAP Connect and the city and regional planning's (CRP) Cooperative Summer Internship program, 39 CRP master's students spent the summer interning at placements in both the U.S. and abroad.
Leigh Scudder (M.R.P. '19) arranged an internship at the Santa Fe County Planning Department in New Mexico through recent grad Jacob Stock (M.R.P. '17). Scudder worked alongside Stock and two other Cornell planning alumni in the Open Space, Trails, and Parks program that carries out projects across 6,600 acres of parks and natural spaces throughout the county.
"Santa Fe is fascinating and easily one of the most unique places in America given that it's the oldest capital city in the country and the second oldest inhabited city," noted Scudder. "It's important to understand the stories of the unique agricultural communities living just beyond the city boundaries too, as well as those of the indigenous people in the state of New Mexico, as they are are just as central to the story of the 'land of enchantment.'"
Rhea Lopes (M.R.P. '19) and Khyati Rathore (M.R.P. '19) spent their summer in Surakarta, Indonesia, where they interned with the Yayasan Kota Kita Foundation.
"Kota Kita's support of my direct engagement with local people and community leaders, and the freedom to direct my area of research made my internship very engaging," says Rathore. "Working with them opened up opportunities for me to engage in projects related to community development, economic inclusion, informal economy, climate change resilience, and informal mobility. And while Kota Kita collaborates with large international agencies such as the Ford Foundation, UN-Habitat, and the Asian Development Bank, they also work very closely with the community groups through engagement workshops. They play a key role in bridging the gap between the community members and the government of Indonesia, as well as the other development organizations."
The Keithley Professional Bridging Internship program sponsored three internship positions in Cleveland, Ohio, that were filled by Carolyn Gimbal (M.A. HPP '19), Noah Schumer (M.R.P. '19), and Francis Wang (M.R.P. '19). The annual sponsorship program is separate and in addition to the CRP co-op. It is mainly supported by Joe Keithley who initiated the partnership with Cornell in order to bring engaged and talented students to organizations across the city.
Schumer interned at Thriving Communities Institute, which establishes and supports county land banks, conducts property surveys, plants trees, secures funding for demolition and greening, and does cutting-edge urban research throughout Ohio. Wang had a summer placement in Cleveland at University Circle Incorporated, a "community service corporation responsible for developing, serving, and advocating for University Circle as a vibrant and complete neighborhood without borders." Gimbal interned at the Cleveland Restoration Society (CRS).
"I may not have considered Cleveland without the support from Joe Keithley, and I've formed valuable professional connections with everyone at CRS," says Gimbal. "I primarily worked on two projects — the National Register Nomination paperwork for the Levi Scofield House, and a survey of 75 homes built in the 1950s by African American developers in Cleveland's Ward 1 for the Ohio Historic Inventory. I definitely left with a greater appreciation for Cleveland's history and everything its neighborhoods have to offer."
The Cooperative Summer Internship provides students between the first and second year of the M.R.P. and M.A. programs with an opportunity to begin research in their specific field of interest and gain valuable firsthand experience. The part-time nature of the internships also provides students with adequate time to begin work on final exit projects. AAP Connect, the college's career services organization, facilitates the internships with local, regional, national, and international organizations.
By Edith Fikes