Updated: Jan 9
Every month, the APA-IL will turn the spotlight on members who are making an impact in Illinois urban planning and with the APA-IL. These members exemplify the APA-IL's determination to Make Great Communities for All in Illinois!
This month, we talk with...
Planner I, Tri-County Regional Plan Commission
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Hartford, CT. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Urban and Community Studies at the University of Connecticut. After graduating from UConn I joined Americorps where I got a placement at Central Connecticut State University’s Office of Community Engagement. It was at this position that I first started getting experience with community engagement. Then after my year of service with AmeriCorps I went to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to gain my Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning. After graduation I started working for Elevate Energy as an Outreach Coordinator where I further sharpened my community engagement skills. By hosting events and attending community meetings educating the community on energy efficiency. I worked for Elevate for a year and half then I started working with TCRPC as a planner.
What are some of your current or notable projects?
During my time with TCRPC, the two projects that are notable to me have been working on Tremont’s Comprehensive Plan and TCRPC’s monthly newsletter. Tremont’s comprehensive plan is the longest project that I have worked on and it’s still not done. This was one of the first projects that got assigned to me when I got started at TCRPC. My experience during the whole process has been enjoyable and the steering committee that was assembled has made the process very easy. They are eager about the plan and want to make it as good as possible so they come to the meetings prepared and ready to participate. My favorite part of the process was when we visited the high school and gathered input from the students. A draft of the plan has been created and we are currently in the 30-day public comment period.
At TCRPC we have a monthly newsletter that is meant to highlight the different projects that the office is working on or different funding opportunities. One of my first tasks when I got hired was to help get the newsletter up and running. It was a long process to develop the newsletter and to get the design right. We also wanted to create a process that was streamlined to reduce the workload of creating the newsletter month to month. Eventually we created a final product that we are proud of and the response that we have received from our audience has been overwhelmingly positive.
How have you been involved with the APA-IL?
My current role with APA-IL is that I am the Chairperson for the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. This Committee is responsible for looking to promote and incorporate DEI within APA-IL as an organization. I have only been the Chair of this Committee for less than a year.
What was the best piece of advice that you have received?
When I was in high school I had an Italian teacher that told me to be a sponge not a brick. He went on to explain that when you splash water on a brick the water just goes over the brick. The brick doesn’t take in any of the water. But if you splash water on the sponge the sponge absorbs the water. What he meant by this analogy is that as you go through life, soak up as much knowledge as you can from your experiences. I took this as don’t be afraid to be curious, try new things, and take every opportunity that you feel will be beneficial to you. This mantra helped me get to where I am today and so far it’s been an interesting ride and I’m sure the future has more exciting things in store further down the road.