Audrey Wachs

Larchmont, New York

When I visited, I was impressed by how many students (current and prospective) seemed to match enthusiasm for place with a deep commitment to social justice.

Why did you choose Cornell and AAP?

When I visited, I was impressed by how many students (current and prospective) seemed to match enthusiasm for place with a deep commitment to social justice. I also liked the program's flexibility: its core classes expose you to planning thinking and methods, while the distribution requirements allow you to shape your education according to your interests. Lastly, I wanted to be close(-ish) to New York City, because that's where I'll be returning when I'm done with school.

What inspired you to join the field of city and regional planning?

Before coming to Cornell, I was a reporter and editor at a New York City–newspaper that covered architecture, urban planning, and design. I loved that job, but after writing about plans and planning, I knew I wanted to be in a field where I could work on problems that manifest spatially.

What experiences have contributed to your sense of belonging at AAP?

Last semester, after spending an ungodly amount of time in the Sibley computer lab working on final projects, a few classmates and I bonded over our shared misery and salt-and-vinegar potato chips. I can't say I'd do it again, but it was very heartwarming to hear friends cheer ArcMap after it ran my 22-step model without crashing.

What are your extracurricular interests and how have you incorporated them into your college life?

I'm the co–social events coordinator for CRP, so I get to drag everyone out of Sibley to go bowling, drink beers, or do other fun things at least once per week. Work-life balance is important to me.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time at AAP and after graduation?

I want to try every apple variety in the Mann Library apple vending machine and go to at least one lecture per week. After graduation, I'm aiming to work on climate change adaptation issues in New York City.