Meet our Graduate Students

Meet our Graduate Students

Meet Our Urban & Regional Planning Graduate Students

Welcome to the M.S. in Urban & Regional Planning program at Rowan University! Launched amidst the challenges of the pandemic in the Fall of 2020, our master's program has attracted a diverse cohort of passionate students dedicated to shaping sustainable and inclusive communities. Get acquainted with some of our current students as they share their backgrounds, experiences, and insights for aspiring planners.

Robert Chiaravalloti

Robert embarked on his master's journey in Fall 2022 through the Advanced Dual Degree program, seamlessly transitioning to full-time status in Fall 2023 after completing his undergraduate degree in Community and Environmental Planning. During his academic journey at Rowan, he delved into urban planning, driven by his observations of development impacts in his hometown. His internship experience as a zoning officer in Verona, New Jersey, further fueled his commitment to addressing over-development issues. Post-graduation, Robert aims to leverage his passion for transportation and municipal planning in his role at Howell Township's land use office.

A standout educational moment for Robert was his visit to Cramer Hill Waterfront Park in Camden, New Jersey, during the Planning Studio project, where he witnessed transformative changes.

Robert's advice to fellow students is to immerse themselves in planning topics outside the classroom and dedicate time to study diligently.

Jonathan Hansel 

Jon, an undergraduate alum of Rowan University, seamlessly transitioned into the master's program in Fall 2022 as part of the Advanced Dual Degree program. With a degree in Community and Environmental Planning and a minor in GIS, he embraced planning's multidisciplinary essence. His fascination with viewing the environment through various lenses, such as politics, history, and the environment, led him to explore transportation and land use planning. Post-graduation, Jon contemplates participating in an AmeriCorps program or embarking on his planning career in a new city, with potential aspirations in law.

Jon was the recipient of the Jeff Janota Memorial Scholarship awarded by the American Planning Association New Jersey Chapter in 2023. His most cherished educational experience was the Smell Studio class, which offered unique insights into sensory perceptions and environmental experiences.

Jon advises prospective students to align their aspirations with program offerings to ensure a fulfilling academic journey.

Mercy Patrick

Mercy transitioned from Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto State (Nigeria) to Rowan University's master's program in Fall 2023, driven by her desire to enhance community experiences while fostering growth and sustainability. With a keen interest in housing needs and environmental protection, she envisions contributing to planning organizations post-graduation.

Reflecting on her journey, Mercy finds every experience memorable, emphasizing the transformative nature of her academic pursuit.

Her advice to aspiring planners is to pursue planning wholeheartedly, recognizing its potential to address societal needs effectively.

Vincent Palmieri

Vincent, with a B.S. in Environmental Science from Stockton University, embraced our master's program in Summer 2022. Drawing from his professional planning experience with the Monmouth County Parks System and Brick Township, he aspires to enact positive change through regional planning implementation. Vincent's passion for environmental planning, sustainability, and smart growth fuels his commitment to community betterment. Post-graduation, he aims to obtain licensures while continuing his work with Brick Township and venturing into private consultation.

His most cherished educational memory involves fieldwork done for the Planning Methods class, enriching his understanding of planning methodologies.

Vincent encourages students to approach the program with enthusiasm, assuring them of comprehensive preparation for the planning field.

Larisa Paxton

Larisa commenced her master's journey in Fall 2022, building upon her B.S. in Biological Sciences from Rowan University. Her professional stints at various planning departments underscore her commitment to environmental protection. Inspired by the prospect of integrating environmental concerns with land use planning, she envisions a career in government service post-graduation.

Attending the 2023 National Planning Conference New Jersey Reception stands out as Larisa's most memorable experience, fostering connections with peers and mentors.

She urges prospective students to embrace the program's flexibility and diverse opportunities, trusting in the guidance of dedicated faculty members.

Ciara Wenger

Ciara, a trailblazer in the Advanced Dual Degree program, transitioned to full-time graduate status in Fall 2023, leveraging her dual undergraduate degrees from Rowan University. Introduced to planning during her freshman year, she found her calling in environmental planning and sustainability. Post-graduation, Ciara plans to explore opportunities in governmental positions, building on her internship experience with Monmouth County's Planning Board.

Her standout educational experience was the Planning Ethics class, offering invaluable insights from the instructor who is a seasoned practitioner.

Ciara advises students to embrace the program's breadth, encouraging exploration and collaboration to shape their professional journey.

Ben Woodward

Ben, equipped with a B.S. in Environmental Science from Rider University, embarked on his master's journey in Fall 2022, driven by a passion for community service and meaningful research in planning. His diverse interests span food systems, urban design, and accessibility, underscoring his commitment to inclusive and sustainable development. Post-graduation, Ben aspires to contribute as a city or municipal planner.

His attendance at the 2023 APA Planning Conferences stands out as a memorable and enriching experience.

Ben encourages students to remain open-minded, seizing opportunities to engage with diverse research projects and build their professional repertoire.



Student profiles created by Ciara Wenger