Rachel Mandell, Class of 2020

Rachel Mandell, URP Alumna and Campus Planner, awarded 2023 UF Superior Accomplishment Award

Rachel Mandell, class of 2020, received the UF Superior Accomplishment Award in March 2023.

March 16th, 2023

Rachel Mandell, Senior Campus Planner and former URP alumni, has been recognized for her outstanding work on UF’s Conservation Area Land Management (CALM) plan update. She recently received the Superior Accomplishment Award for her contribution, which she humbly credits to the hard work of her team.

The Superior Accomplishment Award recognizes employees who have made outstanding contributions in their field. Rachel’s exceptional work on the CALM project is a testament to her dedication and commitment to the university’s mission.

The CALM plan update project demonstrates the university’s commitment to preserving campus conservation areas. These areas, which comprise 31 spaces, offer multiple values to the campus community:

“[The conservation areas] are living labs for research, they provide stormwater treatment and flood control, they support biodiversity and wildlife, they provide opportunities for mindfulness and recreation, and they are an essential feature of what makes the University of Florida’s campus such a unique place to be.”

Lake Alice, one of UF’s most frequented conservation areas.
© University of Florida/ Lyon Duong, UF Photo Gallery

As a Senior Campus Planner, Rachel is responsible for overseeing the campus master plan and assisting in the long-range planning efforts that guide the land use and landscape of the university. She prioritizes public participation in the planning process and works closely with stakeholders — including students, faculty, staff, and city officials — to ensure that the process is transparent and collaborative.

Rachel’s engagement with the Department of Urban and Regional Planning includes hiring two interns from the program to work with her on the CALM project. She also participates in the mentorship program, guest lectures for the Colloquium course and the Cities of the World class, and encourages to get involved with campus and city planning.

Rachel’s post-grad involvement with the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program has helped to shape her role at UF Planning, Design and Construction. The URP department has been excellent in assisting her in spreading the word about opportunities for student involvement in projects. She said, “I cannot speak highly enough about the interns I’ve worked with through the MURP program. I know that with hiring students from this program, my expectations are always exceeded in the quality of work produced.”

Looking back at her time in the MURP program (2017-2020), Rachel advises prospective students to pursue planning as a profession. She believes that UF has an incredible program and credits it for teaching her to think holistically and approach a problem from many different perspectives.

“The [MURP] program taught me how to be resourceful and to advocate for the value of transparency and collaboration in the planning process.”

Rachel’s passion and dedication to her work makes her an invaluable asset to the university. With her hard work and the support of her team, she continues to make a difference in the greater UF community. The CALM plan update is just one example of her contribution to the university’s mission and her dedication to go above and beyond.

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