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Student News 2011

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Dorchester Greenway Field Project Receives APA-MA Student Planning Award
December 7, 2011
In what has become something of a tradition at UEP, one of the groups from UEP's Field Projects course has received a prestigious award from APA-MA, the Massachusetts chapter of the American Planning Association.

The 2011 Dorchester Greenway team has been selected for the Student Planning Award, to be officially presented on December 16th. The team was made up of Ronak Dave, Rui (Renee) Guo, Christina Kim, and Jessie Partridge. Their project in Spring 2011 for the Department of Conservation and Recreation examined potential routes for a multi-use connector trail in Dorchester.

In 2010, the Watertown Community Path team was awarded a different award by APA-MA, the Outstanding Planning Award for Best Community-Wide Project. In previous years, other teams have received the APA-MA Student Planning Award, as well as several awards from AICP, the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Congratulations to the 2011 Dorchester Greenway team!  Read the report >

Julia Ledewitz '12 named to US World Triathalon Team
October 12, 2011
It's been an interesting few months for GSAS urban and environmental planning student Julia Ledewitz. In August, she was one of only twenty graduate students nationwide to receive a 2011 Switzer Foundation Fellowship, and in September she was named to the U.S. World Triathlon Team for her age group. Ledewitz earned a spot after finishing in the top twenty at the August 2011 U.S.A. Triathlon National Championships. As a world team member, Ledewitz, a former college swimmer, is eligible to compete in the International Triathlon Union's World Championships, which will be held in New Zealand in October 2012.

Ledewitz became interested in triathlons after discovering long-distance running.

"I was always told that I was a water-athlete," she said. "When I moved to Boston, I realized that one great social network was running—with people, outside! I did my first outdoor runs in August 2008 with a fun low-key running group, but then I got injured in 2009. I nursed myself back to health by getting back in the pool and starting cycling. From there, someone suggested I try a triathlon, since I had some experience in all three sports—biking, running, and swimming. My first Olympic-length triathlon was the Lobsterman 2010, and I won my age group. My results from that race qualified me for the 2011 nationals, so I decided to get serious about triathlons in 2011. This season, my first for triathlon, I have competed in five triathlons so far and two duathlons. I placed first or second in my age group in most of them and won overall for the Lowell Mill City Triathlon, which was a huge thrill."

In the months ahead, Ledewitz will be training, writing her thesis, and working—as the sustainability coordinator for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. When asked how she does it all, Ledewitz stressed the importance of planning.

"It's really a testament to simple planning and a poor social life," said Ledewitz, laughing. "Actually, I have a great time mixing business and pleasure. I used my Fourth of July break to interview an architect for my thesis while on a training ride. I overlap much of my work at MIT with my research for the Switzer Fellowship, and I also use my workouts as social time with friends—often followed by much-needed libations at a local watering hole. Planning is the key, as is making sure you're focusing on the task at hand—as completely as possible. I get each thing done and check it off the list. There's no fretting over missed workouts; sometimes life, school assignments, work deadlines, or parties happen and that's a good thing!"

Read about Julia Ledewitz's triathlon experiences on her blog.

Research of Christina DiLisio '11 published by the APA
September 9, 2011
Christina DiLisio '11 recently had her research about the role of urban and regional planners on food policy councils (FPCs) published as a report by the Planning and Community Health Research Center of The American Planning Association. The report, Food Policy Councils: Helping local, regional, and state governments address food system challenges, is the first in a series of Food System Planning Briefing Reports — a regular series highlighting how planners can work with partners in the food systems sector and use creative strategies to achieve economic, social, environmental, and community goals.

Working under the direction of then manager, Kimberley Hodgson, Christina reviewed existing FPC literature, identified FPCs in North America working with urban or regional planners, conducted interviews with FPC members and planners, and analyzed findings. The report includes an overview of FPCs, a matrix of planner functions on FPCs, and lessons learned.

Christina hopes this work will fill a gap in both the food systems and planning literature by offering practicing planners helpful information that demystifies food systems work and the planner's role in it.

Melissa Shakro '11 has research accepted for publication in Journal of Maps
August 23, 2011
Melissa Shakro '11 had a proposed submission accepted by the Journal of Maps for their special issue on "Innovations in Spatial Demography". Melissa's research stems from her thesis which combines a historical record of address-located building permits with census data to explore growth and residential neighborhood change in Austin, Texas, from 1995-2009.

Julia Ledewitz '12 awarded Switzer Environmental Fellowship
June 2, 2011
Julia Ledewitz '12, was one of twenty recipients of the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation Environmental Fellowship for 2011. One of the nation’s most prestigious environmental policy recognitions, Switzer has been supporting emerging leaders committed to solving real world environmental problems since 1986. More information on the Switzer Fellowship is available on their website.

Gabriel Holbrow '12 wins awards in two competitions
June 1, 2011
Gabriel Holbrow '12 won awards in two separate competitions in early May.

First, he competed in the 11th Annual Affordable Housing Development Competition this spring, on a team with Harvard students. Their project for the Somerville Community Corporation (SCC) proposed an affordable housing development at the Firehouse Commons in Somerville. The cash prize for second place was $6000, split between SCC and the student team. UEP students have participated in this competition in the past, and it bears similarities to UEP's Field Projects course.

Then, on May 17, Gabe attended the spring 2011 meeting of the Northeast Arc Users Group, held at Smith College. In the poster contest, his poster, entitled "Measuring Walkability Using Distance to Destinations along a Network," was selected by meeting participants from the seven posters on display at the meeting. The poster was created for the Introduction to GIS class at UEP. View more posters from Tufts' own poster expo.

The Spring NEArc meeting is a day of presentations and workshops for users of ArcGIS software in the Northeast. NEArc also hosts an annual conference in the fall. Learn more >

First-year Jesse Steadman selected for Environmental Leadership Program
May 5, 2011
UEP first-year student Jesse Steadman was selected for the the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP). It inspires "visionary, action oriented and diverse leadership to work for a just and sustainable future."

The ELP Fellowship Program targets emerging environmental and social change practitioners eager to connect their specialized work to larger environmental and social concerns. The Fellowship Program offers intensive leadership and skill training, regional networking opportunities, and time for personal and professional reflection. Consisting of three retreats and additional optional trainings, the curriculum helps emerging leaders hone their leadership styles, improve their strategic communications, and strengthen their outreach to diverse constituencies. Learn more >

First-year student wins research visualization award
April 18, 2011
First-year UEP graduate student, Rui "Renee" Guo, and UEP Assistant Professor Justin Hollander won first place in the Visualizing Research @ Tufts Awards program under the Non-Interactive Media category.

Team Watertown 2010 Receives AICP Student Project Award
February 10, 2011
The 2010 UEP Field Projects team working on the Watertown Community Path (above) has received a third prestigious award for its work: a national Student Project Award from the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), the professional institute of the American Planning Association (APA). Last spring, working with the Town of Watertown Department of Community Development and Planning, the Watertown Citizens for Environmental Safety and the Watertown Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, the five-member Field Projects team created a concept plan for the Community Path, "The Watertown Community Path: Linking Watertown's Past to its Future," in report and video format. The five graduate students — Kris Carter, Eric Giambrone, Eunice Kim, Michelle Moon and Jong Wai Tommee — will be recognized in the Application of the Planning Process category. Their award and two others are to be presented during the APA/AICP Annual Business Meeting on Tuesday, April 12 in Boston, during the 2011 annual APA convention.

The Field Projects course is taught by Rachel Bratt and Rusty Russell, with the latter the advisor to the winning project team. The other two student projects to be recognized in April are from the University of Oregon for an analysis of a local food market, in the Applied Research category, and from the University of Washington for a feasibility study of a proposed bike-share program in Seattle, in the Contribution of Planning to Contemporary Issues category.

Field Projects Team Presented with Proclamation for Work in Watertown
January 28, 2011
Second-year UEP students Jong Wai Tommee, Eunice Kim and Kris Carter received a Proclamation from the Watertown (Mass.) Town Council on January 25 in recognition of their Field Projects Team's work on the Watertown Community Path. The proclamation, presented by Town Councilor Susan Falkoff (on the right), congratulated the team (including UEP students and team members Michelle Moon and Eric Giambrone, and their Field Projects Advisor, Rusty Russell, not pictured here) for their work on the Community Path, which in December earned an Outstanding Planning Award from the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Planning Association.