USC Price School of Public Policy

Price planning students win APA merit award for college prep program

July 6, 2016

Price ASPD students receive APA LA Award of Merit. (Photo courtesy of Shane Swerdlow)

From Price staff reports

In recognition of their community engagement efforts through the Planning for College workshop, the Associated Students of Planning and Development (ASPD) at the USC Price School of Public Policy received the Public Outreach Award of Merit from the American Planning Association’s Los Angeles chapter on June 16. Planning for College gave local high school students the opportunity to visit USC and learn more about urban planning careers and the college admissions system.

Shane Phillips MPL ’15 (Photo courtesy of Shane Swerdlow)

Shane Phillips MPL ’15 (Photo courtesy of Shane Swerdlow)

“By volunteering their time to lead this initiative, our students have shown not only a commitment to service, but also to inspiring future planning students and practitioners,” said Dean Jack H. Knott. “These high school students were also able learn about the college application process, which directly aligns with the university’s and the Price School’s initiative to create access and opportunity. I am very proud that APA LA has recognized ASPD’s planning work and their active community outreach.”

Each year, APA Los Angeles hosts an awards gala to celebrate the exceptional planning achievements of practitioners, educators and students throughout the L.A. region.

In addition to ASPD’s honor, Shane Phillips MPL ’15, project director at Los Angeles Streetcar Inc., was named “Outstanding Young Planner” at the gala. Last year, ASPD received the Academic Award of Merit from APA-Los Angeles for their innovative Neighborhood Bicycle Program, which repurposed abandoned bicycles and distributed them for use in the local community.

Making a difference

On Feb. 17, ASPD students led a series of interactive workshops with local high school students. (Photo by Deirdre Flanagan)

On Feb. 17, ASPD students led a series of interactive workshops with local high school students. (Photo by Deirdre Flanagan)

This past February, ASPD hosted 42 high school sophomores from nearby Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools for its day-long Planning for College workshop. The local high schoolers were able to gain a better understanding of what makes a community thrive and how they could make a difference with careers in the field of urban planning, as well as strengthen their college preparation.

After a full day of hands-on activities and interactive presentations, the students learned more about how planning can change an area, designing a city street with the needs of drivers and pedestrians in mind, and imagining their ideal neighborhood. They also had the opportunity to delve into the college application process through a conversation with Sarah Esquivel, assistant director of recruitment and admission at USC Price.

Workshop volunteers included MPL students Benjamin Frazier, Cassie Gogreve, James Hamilton, Justin Pascone, Gwen Von Klan, Dylan Stevenson, Yurida Ramos, Sabrina Church, Steven Counts Imara and Chris Purcell, as well as MPA student Marilyn Alvarez.

The workshop was done in collaboration with GEAR UP 4 LA, a program that aims to increase student success in high school through counseling, tutoring, mentoring and education about college and careers. This is the third year ASPD has organized the on-campus workshop.