URP Mentorship program completes its first year

The program runs September to April and pairs graduate-level planning students with practicing planners to foster relationships and hone professional skill.

April 25, 2022

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning is concluding the first year of its student mentorship program. The program, which runs September to April, pairs graduate-level planning students with practicing planners to foster relationships and hone professional skills. The pilot of the mentorship program paired two on-campus MURP students and two online MURP students with alumni from a variety of professional planning backgrounds: 

– Andrew Beasley (online MURP) & Zach Shrader, AICP (Transportation Planner at CDM Smith) 

– Alex Eide (campus MURP) & Rachel Mandell, AICP (Senior Planner at UF Planning, Design, and Construction) 

– Nicole Hall (online MURP) & Amanda Chornoby, AICP (Project Manager at Renaissance Planning) 

– Elisabeth Staten (campus MURP) & Doug Kelly, AICP, CSI (Land Development Planning Manager at England, Thims & Miller Inc.) 

The following are some reflections from students and their mentors as the Spring 2022 semester comes to a close: 

Elisabeth Staten“The mentorship program was extremely helpful for me in preparing for applying for my first job post-graduation. Doug helped and encouraged me through the whole process and offered a lot of advice about different companies and cities, my resume, and how to prepare for interviews. His advice helped me secure my dream job working on complete streets with the City of St. Petersburg! 

Rachel Mandell“It has been very rewarding to watch my mentee grow over the past several months. I feel as though we’re exiting the mentorship program not just as mentor/mentee, but as friends and colleagues. As an emerging planner myself, I understand the benefits of having a mentor in your court. I hope to continue to be an ally and advocate for my mentee as they transition into the professional world.” 

Amanda Chornoby – “The UF URP Mentorship has been a great way for me to stay connected with my Alma Mater as well as give back to the planning community. It is always interesting to see what the next generation of planners is learning in school and how this can be applied to the way I think about planning. I would highly recommend any UF URP students and practicing planners get involved with the Mentorship program! 

Andrew Beasley – “Having Zach as a mentor through my master’s research was a great resource. I was able to get his perspective at different points of the process, from writing mechanics to prep for the defense. At times, Zach was a sound board for my thoughts as I tried to organize them into my research, which helped immensely. The master’s research project can be intimidating when starting out but it was helpful to have the support of someone who’s been through the process.

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