Price Student Q&A: Isaac Lemus

Isaac Lemus

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
Major: Urban Studies & Planning

Q. What inspired you to choose your major?

A. Having a major in Urban Studies and Planning seamlessly blends together my varying interests. From a calculated perspective, I’m looking at the numbers that come along with urbanity, the raw data and economics of it all. Then there is the social dimension, where it’s important to understand the impact government, culture, and community can have on a certain space. Lastly, there’s the principle of design: how can beauty and aesthetic come to fruition on a physical level? With all three approaches in hand, I can satisfy the traits of who I am while also contributing to the efficiency, practicality, and beauty of a place.

Q. What opportunities has Price afforded you?

A. As one of only a few Public Policy institutions in the country that offers undergraduate degrees, Price has given me the opportunity to pursue my aspirations from day one. Not only have I been exposed to material and courses in my unique passion, but I’ve also been given direct connection to distinguished professors and faculty. Sitting in Price classes and learning from Price professors has granted me both a link to knowledge as well as a source of inspiration.

Q. What skills have you developed in your time at Price?

A. Through the semesters, I’ve garnered a balance of both theory and experience. Lectures and seminars have provided me the fundamental knowledge of policy and planning, while studio and project-based classes have developed my presentation, drawing, and collaborative abilities. Just as our future professions focus on the entire process of implementation, so does the Price curriculum.

Q. Tell us about your internship experience.

A. As a Price student, the learning opportunities don’t end in the classroom. Two semesters ago, while taking PPD 300: Social Justice Issues in Public Policy and Planning, my policy group and I were able to dive into Los Angeles and shed some light on the representation of the LGBT community within our public education system.

Q. What class have you enjoyed most at Price and why?

A. Without a doubt, one of the most enjoyable classes I’ve taken thus far has been RED 425: Designing Livable Communities with Professor Elizabeth Falletta. This studio/lecture course successfully brought to life everything I had previously studied regarding great design and careful planning. After being assigned redevelopment sites in the Los Angeles Arts District, I spent the next 15 weeks acting as both the developer and designer. This process solidified my understanding of the differing roles and how vital dialogue is to molding great communities. Presenting my final project was probably one of the greatest feelings I’ve had at USC.

Q. What are your future career plans?

A. My overall goal is to one day be an urban designer, where I can more thoroughly explore the intersection of government regulation and artistic expression.

Q. What is the best advice anyone has given to you regarding your education?

A. Don’t be afraid to break the paradigm. In college, and even outside of academia for that matter, it is far too easy to follow the philosophies of those before you who have already been successful. But these said individuals didn’t get to where they are by simply adhering to the status quo. Question everything. Disagree. Propose an alternative. Form your own belief. You could be the next revelation.