Students speaking at Park(ing) Day.

Alumni Stories

Alumni Stories

The School of City and Regional Planning (SCaRP) at Georgia Tech is proud to present SCaRP Stories, a collection of personal narratives from our alumni reflecting on their life and career after SCaRP. These stories showcase the diverse and impactful ways that our alumni have applied the knowledge, skills, and values they learned at SCaRP to shape the future of cities and create positive changes in their communities. They also highlight some of the memorable experiences, valuable lessons, and influential people and concepts that our alumni encountered during their time at SCaRP. 

Bill Huang

Bill said:

"SCaRP helped to expose me to all the different sides of planning as they had a wide array of courses available to explore. The program and people are connected to what is happening in government, media, academia, and firms in Atlanta and abroad. You could actively be working on or around a project you just read about last week in the news. The alumni network and cohort cohesiveness helped me work in the roles I wanted to and benefit from communal resources. The professors in the SCaRP faculty are fantastic and are intensely interested in the topic matters that they specialize in, so they are always willing to talk about interests that align."

Jennifer Ball

Jennifer said:

"My Georgia Tech City Planning graduate degree was quintessentially influential to my career. What I learned as much as where I learned it allowed me to discover an aspect of the planning field and a career trajectory that I never would have imagined otherwise. An internship and off-campus GRA position that I found through the program's connections to industry and faculty relationships with the community led me to a two-decade career in Downtown place management. The knowledge and skills I learned, along with the context and people of Georgia Tech uniquely prepared me for a role that I have loved."

Portrait of Jeremy Ward

Jeremy said:

"My time at Georgia Tech was two years of hard work along top-notch professors and students who were intelligent, passionate, and diverse in their specific interests. Classes were great, but I learned so much from the countless hours in (academic) conversation with fellow students, wherein I was able to ascertain the truth and flesh out my own beliefs regarding urban and economic health. Graduate school should heartily challenge your presuppositions and introduce you to new ideas so that you emerge battle-tested and wiser, and the SCaRP program certainly did that for me."

Portrait of Rod Arroyo

Rod Said: 

"The decision I made to spend two years at Georgia Tech for my city planning degree provided me with rewards I could have never imagined the first day I walked into the Old Civil Engineering building on campus. All the key ingredients for success were right there: brilliant faculty members who cared about the students, small class sizes to facilitate learning, an amazing lab right outside our doors - the City of Atlanta, and fellow students with a similar passion for the profession. The graduate program at Tech offered a curated blend of planning theory, academic rigor, and practical application at the community level."

Portrait of Chris McGarry.

Chris said:

“I was fortunate to have the ability to work with multiple advisors to focus on additional areas of interest that gave me a well rounded foundation for my post-graduate career.  My class (2000) was an exceptional team to be a part of.  I am so proud of where my classmates have ended up.  Additionally, the Graduate Research Assistantship program was an absolute game changer for me.  To be able to get real world experience and pay my tuition at the same time was a fantastic opportunity.” 

Portrait of Woody Giles.

Woody said:

“I would not be where I am today without my Master's degree from Georgia Tech. The most important aspect of the program was networking and getting to meet planning professionals from different sectors of the Atlanta planning world. Without those connections, I would not have been able to find the job that I enjoyed so much and that allows me to make a big impact!” 

Portrait of Tricia Draycott.

Tricia said:

“This degree led me to three different places - each time climbing up a rung on the planning career ladder. After 15 years as a professional planner, I moved to the UK. Planning laws, rules, regulations and practices are very different here and even though I tried to gain employment as an entry-level planner, I was unsuccessful. However, I am without doubt that because I had a progressive and productive career in planning, I was able to secure a position with the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. My Georgia Tech degree is my most prized accomplishment in my life.” 

Portrait of Woody Giles.

Steve said:

“The program changed the trajectory of my career.  I did a 180 from my previous work as an environmental engineer to become a transportation planner and engineer.  One of the best decisions of my life!” 

Portrait of David Harding

David said:

“Although I only worked for six years as a planner, three as a Planner I and Planner II for Orange County, Florida, home of Disney World, and three as the City Planner for the City of Winter Park, Florida, my planning education served me well for the ensuing 37 years of my career as a city manager. Particularly in Florida, land use and transportation are a major concern of municipal and county government."

Portrait of Carson Cooper.

Carson said:

“I really enjoyed that the students in SCaRP come from a wide range of backgrounds, which isn't always typical in a graduate degree program. I learned so much from my fellow classmates and really enjoyed working together on projects or studying together on tests because everyone brought something different to the table. Working with lots of different people was also a great skill to practice in school because planners have to do that all the time in the field. I think working with all the different perspectives within SCaRP really prepared me for working in a people-centered profession.” 

Portrait of Alton Pullon.

Alton said:

“I am confident that I would not be where I am today without my degree from Tech. This degree landed me the job I wanted coming straight out of school. Not only was I well prepared for the job, but I had knowledge about technologies that my new employer had only begun to explore. I was an instant “plug and play” team member and I was able to start contributing on day one. This has given me a great edge in the workforce and has contributed to my ongoing success.” 

Portrait of Jaqueline.

Jacqueline said:

"My SCaRP graduate education experience and degree provided me with a strong planning foundation that allowed me to secure a variety of planning positions including working as a local land use planner, transit planner, and environmental planner. During the span of my career, I have had the opportunity to meet mayors, Congressman, and Senators while managing environmental studies for multi-million dollar airport development projects."


Portrait of Joe.

Joe said:

"I have been a practicing planner and public servant for over thirty years, helping communities to improve, including my home.The coursework on public policy, project economics and land use/transportation planning have been especially helpful to my role as a small town Mayor. We have limited resources but a great need to improve our infrastructure, so the planning skills come in handy helping to guide my town."


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