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Name Lydia Scott

MUP 2014

Hometown Paoli, Pennsylvania

Undergraduate school/major Penn State University/History, Philosophy, Labor Studies

Why did you decide to pursue planning as a career?

I decided to pursue planning as a career because it seemed like an ideal intersection between all three of my undergraduate disciplines, while providing the chance to make a positive difference in a community.

What made you decide to come to the GSD?

I loved the atmosphere of the GSD and Harvard, the number of resources and opportunities available to students, and the emphasis on a studio-based curriculum in the first year as a way to gain project-based, hands-on experience right away.

What are your main interests in planning and concentration area?

Right now, I’m considering Urban Design, Housing, and Real Estate and Urban Development as concentrations (though this could change!).

How has your impression changed since coming to the GSD?

Fortunately, my impression of the GSD has remained positive, though GSD students do not interact with the rest of the university as much as I was expecting. There is also more variety in the workload for the courses than I had anticipated as well – more emphasis on “big ideas” and concepts rather than just papers or exams.

What has been the most surprising aspect of the GSD?

I was most surprised by the accessibility of the instructors: they’re available to meet and discuss any issue, whether for a class or just to talk, and treat us more like colleagues than students.

What has been your favorite class or project? Why?

My favorite class so far has been first semester core studio. We were exposed to a variety of different skills required by planners, from new computer software to working efficiently in a group setting, and it required students to really use their imaginations when confronting a planning problem.

What did you do over the summer? How did that add to your education and goals?

Though I spent last summer transitioning from undergrad to grad school, this summer I hope to get an internship that will offer the experience of actually working on a real-world project with the planning skills I’ve learned so far in my first year of the program.

What are your career ambitions?

Eventually, I hope to work in some way with the creation of cultural districts and adaptive reuse for community development and revitalization, whether through a non-profit, with a city, or privately.


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