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Community and Regional Planning

Community & Regional Planning

Students

Fall 2017 Entering MCRP Cohort 

Chelsey Begay

Master of Community & Regional Planning

From To'Hajiilee, NM 

[I came to the Community and Regional Planning Department because of] the lack of planning knowledge in Native communities. I would like to be able to inform Indigenous communities about the fact that they should have a say in how their communities are developed.

Nathan Begay

Master of Community & Regional Planning

From Gallup, NM

The built environment has always fascinated me as a child, and seeing how cities and small towns manifest their histories, cultures, and communities through its physical elements.

I am incredibly intersted in how the built environment can address the social inequities certain populations face. I hope to one day use my knowledge to conncet with communities and have the ability to make a change within their community.

Ricardo Carbajal

Master of Community & Regional Planning

From New Mexico

I was attracted to the Community and Regional Planning program because there is diversity that I wasn't about to find in other programs. The Indigenous Planning Program was of particular interest to me, as it is a unique program regarding indigenous issues and rights.

I believe that the CR+P program here at UNM allows a student enough flexibility to pursue interests outside of traditional classroom environment. The faculty is all very helpful. The professors are all knowledgeable in planning, but also in helping to show different perspectives from different stakeholders who aren't necessarily represented in the traditional framework.

Norman J. Cooeyate

Master of Community & Regional Planning

From Zuni, NM 

Born and raised on the Zuni Indian Reservation, I have always had a passion for the health, welfare and safety of my community. I received my BA in Native American Studies from UNM in 2017. Prior to returning to UNM, I managed the Diabetes Prevention Program in my community for 13 years before turning my interests to politics. As a Governor for my Pueblo (2007 - 2011), I advocated for improving basic living conditions within my Pueblo, and surrounding communities.

I currently work at UNM fulltime. I plan to utilize my education to support planning responsive to people and places, while creating community-based plans, programs and policies which support the unique cultural architectural designs, environment and resources of this state.

Amye Cutlip

Master of Community & Regional Planning

From Paden City, WV

My interest to transition into a public service career brought me to the CRP program at UNM. When I finish the program, I want to focus on affordable housing in the non-profit sector.

Muhammad Afzaal Hussain

Master of Community & Regional Planning

From Pakistan

Pakistan is only a little bigger than the size of Texas, bit it has a population of two hundred million people. Our metropolitan cities are facing rapid population growth, rural urban migration, resource scarcity, socioeconomic inequality and severe poverty. An effective and fair distribution of resources is required for raising the standards of living for people.

I joined the MCRP program because I want to learn the skills of community development, transportation planning, economic, political, social, legal and technical perspectives of land use and urban planning. Pakistan is suffering from illiteracy, poor health and sensation conditions, natural disasters, urban slums, poor public services and futile economic development projects.

Andy Jones

Master of Community & Regional Planning

From Taos, NM

Where I'm from, people drive miles and miles and then go back inside. I'd like to use my education to discourage such practices.

Ellen Loechner

Master of Community & Regional Planning

From South Elgin, IL

I was drawn to CRP because of the interdisciplinary nature of the program, and the commitment to environmental issues and social justice. I hope to work towards improving sustainable water practices and wildlife conservation in our built environments.

Sergio Lozoya

Master of Community & Regional Planning

From Albuquerque, NM

The veil of the city is lifted in planning, and as planners we have the potential to impact many lives.

When I finish the MCRP program at UNM, I am either going into project management at CNM (Central New Mexico Community College), or will be looking to get a position at a planning firm.

Erika Robers

Master of Community & Regional Planning

From Albuquerque, NM

I have a dedication to social and environmental justice. After teaching, organizing and working for non-profits for the last 20 years, I realized that I wanted to contribute to environmental conservation through environmental planning.

UNM's Community and Regional Planning supports an ethic and framework of planning that is in line with my values. I was excited to find a planning program that serves the community and the land instead of being motivated by profit.

Hodgin Serrullo

Master of Community & Regional Planning

From Nairobi, Kenya

I have an undergraduate degree in Construction Management. Coming from a socio-economic background of a developing nation, the rapid urbanization of rural areas, towns and cities has led to the need of planners in the building industry. Construction projects not only need to be business oriented but community based too. This inspired me to major in Physical Design in CRP.

Sara Twiss

Master of Community & Regional Planning

From Schurz, NV

I am a proud member of the Walker River Paiute Tribe. After receiving a bachelor's degree in Humanities, my employment has been within my tribe's organization. I became active with my tribal community planning services. I presented my endeavors to summer youth workers, elementary students, and at tribal council sessions. Through the Emerging Indigenous Leaders Institute, I built my leadership skills committing to the protection and perpetuation of the rights, education, and lifeways of Indigenous Peoples. At the international level, I was a participant at the United Nations Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues.

My passion has always been community driven and Indigenous nation-building, and this has led to me UNM Community and Regional Planning program with a focus on Indigenous Planning. After I complete my thesis study, I will expand my knowledge of the regional tribes of the southwest and continue to create community based learning projects to connect students and tribal entities in lifelong partnerships.

Fall 2016 Entering MCRP Cohort

Curtis Sanders

Master of Community & Regional Planning

I am a lifelong New Mexican, born and raised. I grew up in Las Cruces, which is a sleepy city of 100 thousand people. It's still very much a small town in a big town's body, and it still retains some of the rural charms of its past (and present). Las Cruses is also very multicultural city, with a vibrant and visible Mexican population, which greatly influenced my childhood and worldview growing up. I love coming from a community that's main language is spanglish. I love that mariachi was a music class in my high school. I love coming from a community where the Las Cruces High v. Mayfield football game will still put 30 thousand of Las Cruces's residents in the stands for at least one game a year. What I love most about Las Cruces, however, is that (outside of high school football) people really do get along. Las Cruces could easily fall victim to prejudices and tensions that occur in other border towns, but for the most part it doesn't. I always felt a sense of community in Las Cruces that was welcoming and proud of its multicultural heritage, and I think other communities could learn from that. I also spent much of my upbringing at my relatives' houses in Los Angeles and South Dakota. This showed me the full range of what a community could look like, from isolated rural farmhouses and total cultural homogeny, to a sprawling megalopolis with practically every culture of the world represented somewhere and all the issues that come with major urban life.

I came to UNM because … I loved the messages of sustainability, social justice, and design that were offered by the CRP program. My primary focus is community development, more specifically, the development and promotion of the arts. 

Katie Dix

Master of Community & Regional Planning

Historic Preservation & Regionalism Certificate

Despite the fact that natural resources have defined the economy, culture, and history of Baltimore, residents and planners have abused and overused them for nearly a century. Aside from environmental decline, the city faces many other challenges; poverty, crime, systematic racism, poor public transportation, and food insecurity plague the urban community. Some of these challenges are directly related to historic actions taken by the City’s Planning Department. I was born in this city and lived there my entire life before moving to Albuquerque to attend UNM for graduate school. It was difficult to leave the place I had always called home- especially because I loved the work that I was engaged in; but I was ready to return to academia, challenge my perceptions, and evolve into a visionary planner.

I came to UNM because … the mission of the school resonated with me: planning to not only enhance the resources and built environment of a community but also its culture. I appreciate the fact that this program is responsive to population needs and addresses concerns related to social justice and cultural sustainability. I intend to focus my work on community growth and cultural sustainability through effective land use. I also hope that my career allows me to explore complex connections to the landscape and restore significant structures so that may continue to contribute to the health of our cultural landscape.

Tara Kane Prendergast

Master of Community & Regional Planning

My heart will always belong to the mountains, but many places have shaped my growth. I was born and raised in rural western Colorado, spent my last two years of high school in Northern New Mexico, and lived on the East Coast for seven years. I’ve also spent a significant amount of time with my grandparents in Mexico, and have had the incredible privilege of living for months at a time in various places throughout the Global South.

I came to UNM because … Three things primarily attracted me to UNM’s MCRP program: the social justice focus, opportunity to study and work in indigenous communities, and the affordability of the school. I came to planning from working on community development and racial justice issues in the non-profit sector. My intention in returning to school was to further my skills while having the chance to synthesize and reflect on the work I had been doing “on the ground.” I intend to continue working on issues at the intersection of poverty, inequality, and, increasingly, climate change adaptation. I care about supporting communities in exercising their collective agency, building capacity, and strengthening resilience.

Muhammad A. Hussain

Master of Community & Regional Planning

I was born to a “Primary School Teacher” in the bordering District (OKARA) of the Punjab Pakistan. Being a son of a school teacher learning became my passion. The country where I live faces multiple socio-economic problems, including poverty, corruption, and terrorism. Pakistan is only a little bigger than Texas, but it has a population of two hundred million people. Our metropolitan cities are facing rapid population growth, rural-urban migration, resource scarcity, socioeconomic inequality and severe poverty. An effective and fair distribution of resources is required for raising the standards of living for people living under the poverty line. The economy is suffering because large numbers of young urban youth are unproductive and unemployed. They don’t have access to quality education, health care or employment opportunities. This is a leading cause of poverty and restlessness in communities throughout the country. Traffic jams, poor urban transport systems and infrastructure are also problems. A lack of basic infrastructure for education has contributed to unemployment and crimes.

I came to UNM because … I want to learn the skills of economic, political, social, legal and technical perspectives of housing, community development, and planning. Pakistan is suffering from illiteracy, poor health, natural disasters, urban slums, poor public services and futile economic development projects. I am interested in developing skills and knowledge to understand and become a part of managing these processes. My long-term goal is to work in community development in Pakistan. I want to devise a policy to protect open agricultural land and provide affordable housing for low-income communities in collaboration with the local authorities. I want to be a part of a comprehensive process to develop my community’s own vision for a better future and positive social change.

Jason Herman

Master of Community & Regional Planning

I was born and raised in Albuquerque, which I left for Florida after finishing high school. After eight years in Florida with a new family, I returned home to New Mexico to pursue a degree at UNM. I am a third generation Lobo with my grandfather getting his law degree at UNM in the 60s and my mother earning her Master’s in education in the 80s.

I came to UNM because ... I began at UNM in the BAEPD undergrad program and found the natural continuance of my education to be the MCRP program. Since having children my intention has been to raise them here in New Mexico leading me to look for ways to specialize in community and policy issues specific to the region. The MCRP and Water Resources dual degree program provided me with everything I was looking for and was a rewarding as well as challenging path. I hope to find work in the areas of policy and community collaboration so that I may guide and affect change within the community I live and work.

Sky Tallman

Master of Community & Regional Planning

I grew up in New Mexico and have lived in Germany, Austria, Japan, and New Zealand and I am fluent in German and Spanish. I spent the last six years teaching history at The MASTERS Program Early College High School in Santa Fe.

I came to UNM because … my planning interests include predictive modeling, retrofitting suburbia, economic development, affordable housing, zoning and land use. The choice to study urban planning came partly as a protest against the status quo and a conviction that through planning many critical aspects of the human condition can be improved.