Student Q&A: Paige Peltzer (MUP ’16)

Paige PeltzerHometown

Atchison, Kansas

Undergraduate school/major

University of Chicago, Political Science

What was your work experience/background before coming to the GSD?

I worked for two years at a public policy research institute in Chicago.

Why did you decide to pursue planning as a career?

I wanted to seek solutions to urban issues like access inequalities and affordable housing shortages in a sustainable manner, taking into consideration the built environment.

What made you decide to come to the GSD?

Speaking with current students last year who spoke highly of their studio experiences and the quality of course offerings at the GSD and across the campus. I knew I would be surrounded by passionate students, and I think that’s been true.

What are your main interests in planning and concentration area?

Economic and community development.

What was your impression of Harvard and the GSD before you came?

Dark, serious, artsy, and architecturally focused.

How has your impression changed since coming to the GSD?

My peers are extremely passionate and take their studies seriously, but they’re also really fun people to work and hang out with. Turns out, the school is very artsy and design-focused.

Are you involved in any student groups? What have you gained from the experience?

I’m involved with the student-led Community Development Project (CDP) group. I’ve really enjoyed my involvement with this group. This semester we’ve worked with Fitchburg, MA on their downtown revitalization strategy. I’ve learned a lot in the process already, and really enjoyed visiting Fitchburg and talking with the city’s planners. It was great to see how they think about their town and what they’re struggling with in order to make it a better place.

What has been the most surprising aspect of the GSD?

How down to earth the people in my program are. Also, the sheer amount of lectures and workshops offered. It’s impossible to keep up.

What has been your favorite class or project? Why?

I enjoyed the final site development project I worked on for my real estate finance and development class. It was great to work with designers, architects, and public policy students and see how everyone contributes in different ways to a finished project.

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

I worked and read quite a bit in the summer before coming to the GSD. The reading list provided to new students probably helped more than anything. I also tried to enjoy myself while I could and have fun. I definitely don’t regret that.

What are your career ambitions?

I’m not sure, but I think I’d like to work in a public department of community and economic development.

Previous Project?

I created a newsletter for a policy consortium as a side project.