Senna Phillips

Bend, Oregon

I knew that the unique freedom I would have in AAP to explore classes in the College of Arts and Sciences would give me the opportunity to pursue a minor in creative writing along with my degree in URS.

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

I originally came to Cornell as an English major in the College of Arts and Sciences with an interest in urban issues. During my first semester here, I enrolled in the required URS first-year class, American Cities. Immediately struck by the unique sense of community within the major, I found myself eagerly signing up for more courses in URS in the spring. Ultimately, I made the decision to internally transfer to URS after my first year at Cornell. While I was nervous to transition, I knew that the unique freedom I would have in AAP to explore courses in the College of Arts and Sciences would allow me to continue with English. This freedom has given me the opportunity to pursue a minor in creative writing along with my degree in URS.

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

The Organization of Urban and Regional Studies (OURS), an undergraduate club for URS students, has contributed significantly to my sense of belonging. When I joined the major my sophomore year, this club gave me a chance to use upper-level students as a resource and gave me a place to meet new students in the major. Building a connection with a professor in the department also allowed me to feel more engaged with the department. Through this professor, I was able to clarify my interests within the major and translate these interests into career goals. He has also been able to help bridge the gap between planning and English by helping me research the use of comics in transportation planning.

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

Extracurricularly, I am the president of OURS and a member of Humor Us! Sketch Comedy. Some of my interests include drawing comics, painting, and writing poetry and short fiction. What I love most about URS is that all of these extracurricular interests are encouraged to inform my work within the major.

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

After graduation, I hope to alleviate low-income travel burdens by bringing more diverse modes of public transportation to cities, reducing the need for car ownership.