Student Profile – Rosemarie Fusco, Urban and Regional Planning Master’s Student

Rosemarie Fusco is working on her Master’s Degree in our Department of Urban and Regional Planning. She appreciates the ability to get world class technical training across all disciplines offered in our college.

What have you valued most about your time at the College of Design, Construction and Planning?
The College of Design, Construction and Planning (DCP) is a dynamic environment due to its interdisciplinary structure and its position within the larger University system. In DCP, we benefit from small classes in each respective department and close contact with our professors and advisers. Yet, we have access to a wide spectrum of courses, subject matters and specializations within the college itself and an even larger selection of classes from the university for our electives.

The technical training in DCP has been an extremely valuable resource for me. GIS training is available through the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and the GeoPlan Center, with a strong focus on people-driven and environmentally conscious solutions.

You can find a high-level of technical training not only in Urban and Regional Planning, but in other DCP departments such as Construction Management (check out the BIM lab) and Historic Preservation (check out Envision Heritage). The ongoing investments of the college to support these networks of technical training and the development of the FIBER project are extremely encouraging.

Because of the emphasis on technical skills, our student body is generally excited about research possibilities and proud of our body of knowledge. In addition to valuing the hope and drive of the DCP leadership, I would say that I value the relationships with the faculty and staff of Urban and Regional Planning the most. There is always someone who wants to listen to my thoughts and advise me on my goals.

I feel energized and strong due to the support system of the department and I have full confidence that the teams at my department level and at the DCP college level will help to guide me in whatever endeavor I pursue with my research. That support is a valuable resource and it encourages myself and other students to explore more expansive ways to contribute to the professional field of planning.

What class have you enjoyed the most so far at DCP?
In Spring 2018, I had the enormous pleasure of taking DCP6931, Sea Level Rise and Coastal Cities – an interdisciplinary field course which tackled current and future coastal flooding issues in St. Augustine, Florida. This course was coordinated by the Florida Climate Institute and offered by the Colleges of Design, Construction & Planning, Engineering, Law and Journalism.

DCP6931 is an example of how DCP embraces and offers great opportunities for students to become engaged in professional study outside of the college itself – but maintains its small-scale strength which is technically focused, closely supported research. Working in interdisciplinary teams, our class conducted scenario analysis exercises to envision how two variables (pace of sea-level rise and adaptive interventions) affect the impacts that St. Augustine may experience as a result of sea level rise.

In the scenario analysis exercise, we developed alternative policy, design, infrastructure and communication paths for the coastal city. Then we spent five intensive days in St. Augustine visiting relevant sites and hearing from experts in a variety of fields to inform our scenario analysis. At the end of it, we presented to city staff, the public, AND the mayor (gulp!) – which was a great learning experience.

Essentially, this uniquely DCP course was simply awesome and I personally benefited from its material. The course work was challenging and inspiring, the professors from each college went above and beyond to expose students to leaders in each field and the chance to represent each individual field of study gave us (students) a chance to experience what real-world consulting would be like.

Not to mention, the course addressed an immediately important challenge for the state of Florida by engaging with emerging urban design, policy and communications. I feel there is extreme value in any course that exposes me to field work, focuses on relevant situations and asks for hard work on problem-solving. And DCP offers many of these courses. I would encourage anyone to take this course in 2019 and to pursue other interdisciplinary experiences through DCP in general.

What will you take away from your time here at DCP?
Urban and Regional Planning is a citizen-centered field of study and is professionally devoted to integrity and to caring for our communities. This attitude and commitment is echoed throughout DCP and I see it wherever I go. Whether at talks with the Dean, at Graduate Student Body Meetings, at the many DCP organized conferences or just chatting with students in the labs, caring for the built and natural environments around us and for the cities in which we wander is at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts.

As I go out into the field and enter the job market, I look forward to representing the elements of DCP focus. I know that the extreme dedication of DCP to the places that we love and live in is an important contribution to Florida and to the Gator Nation.

I also feel that one particular thing I will take away from the Urban and Regional Planning department is a love for research culture. I have learned quickly that we cannot make the right decisions for the places that we love without informing ourselves about all the variables, AND that we cannot make the right decisions without sharing research.

Interdisciplinary research is one of the most important aspects of our design, construction and planning processes, and the DCP research culture shares information across boundaries and professions to inform the very best decision-making.

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