Josh Rotbert

New York, New York

I was most attracted to the passion of students and faculty from a diverse set of backgrounds, who were committed to achieving a set of shared goals through critical thought and action.

Why did you choose Cornell and AAP?

With Cornell's long history of producing innovative thinkers, I was confident that my time here would be spent among people seeking to enact genuine change in the world. AAP also brings together an eclectic group of teachers, students, and professionals — all dedicated to solving some of the most pressing issues of our time. In the end, I was most attracted to the passion of students and faculty from a diverse set of backgrounds, who were committed to achieving a set of shared goals through critical thought and action.

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

Coming from a background in anthropology and geography, I wanted to immerse myself in a practice-based field focused on the improvement of social, political, economic, and environmental problems. My interest in social science, geospatial technology, and design inspired me to join a field dedicated to developing solutions to the emergent issues that face our collective humanity.

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

Smaller class sizes and a diverse roster of courses to choose from has been really great for developing close ties with my fellow students. I have found like-minded people in each and every course, workshop, or seminar I have attended. This has been especially true in workshop courses, where I have formed great relationships through working in project-based groups. Outside of the classroom, the students, faculty, and staff are extremely genuine and inviting — there is always something interesting to do or be a part of on campus or in town.

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

I think having activities outside of regular coursework is extremely important for maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Having worked as a bicycle mechanic for a number of years, I continue to enjoy tinkering with my bicycles or working on various repair and design projects around the house. To express my creative side, I enjoy spending time with my own graphic design and cartographic illustration projects. I also really enjoy watching films and reading science fiction to help me unwind.

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

During my time at Cornell I hope to continue to develop my skills and knowledge as a critically engaged and motivated student. I think that the most important thing I can accomplish through my time here will be in applying the experiences I have had in and outside of class, toward future projects and positions. After graduation, it is my desire to develop myself as a more holistic planning practitioner, one who strives to incorporate the knowledge, skills, and values I have received here toward meaningful future work.

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