URP Student Awards 2021
May 17, 2021
The faculty of the UF Department of Urban and Regional Planning (URP) are pleased to announce the recipients of the annual student awards for 2020-21. The awards recognize graduate planning students in the masters (campus-based and online) and doctoral programs for achievements overall and for specific planning topics. Several awards were created by, or in honor of, persons and organizations of special significance to the URP Department and the planning field. When provided by the sponsors, several of the awards come with monetary supplements to assist the students with their continued academic and professional endeavors. Congratulations to all the award recipients!
APA/AICP Outstanding Student Award
The American Planning Association and American Institute of Certified Planners presents the Outstanding Student Award to one graduate student in each accredited planning program. This award recognizes a student who has performed well in class, demonstrates leadership, and shows promise of early achievement in the planning profession. The recipient will receive a certificate from the American Planning Association and will be recognized on the APA’s website.
The recipient of the 2021 APA/AICP Outstanding Student Award is Samantha Kanach. Samantha excelled overall in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program with outstanding academic achievements, including a strong focus on social equity, beginning with her senior capstone in Sustainability and the Built Environment and continuing through her master’s thesis examining the equity impacts of community engagement practices during the pandemic. She served the URP Department as the student representative on a faculty search committee, and she led the UF Student Planning Association (SPA) as Secretary and founder of the SPA Book Club. In addition to this award, Samantha’s peers voted her as the SPA Student of the Year! Congratulations Samantha!
Peter J. Kanavos, Sr. Memorial Award
The Peter J. Kanavos, Sr. Memorial Award is given in honor of Mr. Kanavos, who founded the Flag Development Company. The award fund was established in 1991 by the family and friends of Mr. Kanavos. Generally this award is presented to an outstanding student who is interested in real estate development; however, the donors to this fund do not limit the award to students with this focus.
The recipient of the 2021 Peter J. Kanavos, Sr. Memorial Award is Joe Dever. Joe was recognized by the faculty for his academic accomplishments while in the master’s program, particularly in the fields of land use and transportation planning. Joe also has extensive professional experience in development, including serving for two years on the Planning Commission for the Town of Chapin, South Carolina. Congratulations Joe!
Ulla Rydberg Memorial Award
The Ulla Rydberg Memorial Award is given in honor of Ms. Rydberg, who was a researcher in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the time of her death in 1991. She was particularly known for her work to provide housing for seniors, and she is remembered for her openness and generosity. This funded award honors her commitment to gerontology and other forms of social planning by recognizing an outstanding student focusing on one of these fields.
The recipient of the 2021 Ulla Rydberg Award is Chad Davis. Chad has academic and professional achievements in community place-making, equity, and inclusion. His master’s research project is What About Us? An Examination of the Lives of the Displaced. Chad lives and works in Tampa, FL. Congratulations Chad!
Margaret E. Raynal Memorial Award
This award is given in honor of Margaret E. Raynal, who was the statewide trainer for the Florida Traffic and Bicycle Safety Education Program in the URP Department until her death in 1996, which resulted from an automobile-caused bicycle crash. At Raynal’s memorial service a letter from Gov. Lawton Chiles was read which praised her exemplary commitment and character. This funded award is presented to an exceptional student who specializes in environmental or transportation planning, particularly alternative forms of transportation, or health education.
The recipient of the 2021 Margaret E. Raynal Award is Slade Downs. Slade’s thesis is focused on the traffic calming effects of Tallahassee’s canopy roads. He was also President of the UF Student Planning Association (SPA) this past year. Congratulations Slade!
WRS Infrastructure & Environment Inc. Award In Memoriam of Mario Ripol
WRS Infrastructure & Environment, Inc. established this award in memory of Mario Ripol, who was an MURP graduate and research associate in the GeoPlan Center when he was killed in an automobile crash in 2000. This award is presented to an outstanding student who specializes in information technology for planning.
The recipient of the 2021 Mario Ripol Memorial Award is Katelyn Page. Katelyn was recognized for her outstanding academic record and research on the impact of street design elements on property values. Katelyn is an Associate Planner for the town of Jackson, Wyoming. Congratulations Katelyn!
Jim Beeler Public Service Memorial Award
This award is given by the Department of Urban and Regional Planning in honor of James Nevin Beeler, Jr. who graduated from the MURP program in 2011 and passed away in 2012. Jim was active in local political and civic circles everywhere he lived. He was not afraid to get involved in public controversy and public service. Before becoming a URP student, he served on the Tampa-Hillsborough County Planning Commission and worked on several campaigns for area politicians. This award is presented to students who engage in public service and make a difference in their communities.
The recipient of the 2021 Jim Beeler Public Service Memorial Award is Heather Glisson. Heather is a Planning Technician for the City of Green Cove Springs, FL. This summer she is conducting her master’s research project about sustainable local waste management systems. Congratulations Heather!
Paul and Malea Zwick Graduate Student Award
The Paul and Malea Zwick Graduate Student Award was established in 2018 by URP Professor Paul Zwick and his wife, Malea. This funded award recognizes a student who has best integrated innovative use of technology into their solution for urban and regional planning problems or research.
The recipient of the 2021 Paul and Malea Zwick Graduate Student Award is Wei Zhai. Wei’s doctoral research working under Dr. Zhong-Ren Peng is focused on urban and regional responses to extreme events such as hurricanes. Wei has achieved the remarkable feat of publishing eight peer-reviewed journal articles while at UF. He also received a prestigious Microsoft AI grant. Congratulations Wei!
Carl Feiss Urban and Environmental Design Award
URP alumni and friends established the Carl Feiss Urban and Environmental Design Award in memory of Carl Feiss, who was among the founding faculty of the UF Department of Urban and Regional Planning. He was trained as an architect and was instrumental in founding the planning professional nationally through his work on affordable housing, historic preservation and other regional planning priorities from the Roosevelt (FDR) to the Kennedy administrations. This funded award is given to accomplished students showing significant future promise based upon studio work, papers, or presentations in urban and environmental design.
The recipient of the 2021 Carl Feiss Urban and Environmental Design Award is Margot Maurer. Margot’s master’s thesis, The Spatial Dimensions of Social Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise in Charleston County, embodies the spirit of the Feiss Award. Margot was a Graduate Assistant for two years with Dr. Kristin Larsen, and she served as Vice President of the UF Student Planning Association (SPA). Congratulations Margot!