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Community & Regional Planning




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 has 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.