#GLI- Public Policy

Tag: #GLI- Public Policy

A Career as a City Planner

by Jonathan Hogan

If you have ever looked at the city of Appleton, wondering why it’s dominated by one road, or why it possesses high-rises, a career as an urban planner might be worth exploring. In this article, we’ll do just that by diving into the responsibilities of an urban planner, their typical career paths, as well as the job outlook and salary for future urban planners. 

Responsibilities

Urban planners, most basically, can be understood as architects of entire cities, and are broadly responsible for the layout of the built environment. Outside of this broad definition, it is quite hard to define the responsibilities of an urban planner. Some urban planners, for example, work to optimize public transportation infrastructure by proposing sweeping plans. Some specialize in zoning laws and work with developers and other government departments to regulate private development. And others become experts on managing a shrinking city in an environmentally responsible manner. A good demonstration of the diversity of tasks that urban planners complete comes in the form of Elicia Elliot, and urban planner in Toronto, who goes from meetings with “engineers, lawyers, communications people, architects, urban designers, landscape architects, finance and risk people” one day, to commissioning a train “in the field” the next (Nath). Despite the desperate nature of the profession, however, urban planning tends to be united by a common interest in improving the quality of life for individuals interacting with a built environment. To learn more about the specifics of urban planning, I would recommend this interview with the aforementioned Elicia Elliot.

Career Path

Just as the responsibilities of Career Planners vary dramatically within the field, the career path to becoming a Career Planner can be quite diverse. Generally speaking, an undergraduate degree in Government, Engineering, or Environmental Studies is desirable (McKay). There was no mention of Global Studies on any career websites; however, it seems highly likely that a Global Studies major, especially one focusing on cities, would be well-positioned for a career as an urban planner. After receiving a bachelor’s, it is typical and often required to pursue a two-year master’s degree in urban planning from a University accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board. While pursuing a master’s degree, it is typical that students take internships as urban planners to strengthen their resumes and gain real-world experience (“How to Become a City Planner // Archareer.”).

Job Outlook

After earning a Master’s degree in urban planning, one is finally qualified to be employed as an urban planner. After landing that first job, it is typical for new planners to work under the supervision of their more experienced co-workers. In their description of the job outlook, the Princeton Review states that after roughly five years in the industry, urban planners typically become more specialized and adept at handling the often complex bureaucratic and political environment of planning. After ten years, the Princeton Review argues that it is expected that urban planners assume leadership positions within their agency or company and assume mentorship roles for newer planners.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median income for urban planners to be $75,950, and the industry is expected to grow by 7% by 2030 (“Urban and Regional Planners: Occupational Outlook Handbook.”). Urban planning placed #2 for Canadian Business’s 100 Best Jobs of 2016 (Nath).

Jonathan is a Third Year German and Government major. He works aas a Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

Works Cited

“City Planner.” City Planner Careers | The Princeton Review, Princeton Review, https://www.princetonreview.com/careers/162/city-planner.

“How to Become a City Planner // Archareer.” The #1 Free Architecture Job Board //Archareer, https://archareer.com/how-to-become-a-city-planner/.

McKay, Dawn Rosenberg. “Urban Planner Job Description: Salary, Skills, & More.” The Balance Careers, https://www.thebalancecareers.com/urban-planner-or-regional-planner-526078.

Nath September 18, Ishani. “What It’s Really like to Be an Urban Planner.” FLARE, 18 Sept. 2018, https://www.flare.com/work/what-its-really-like-to-be-an-urban-planner/.

“Urban and Regional Planners: Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 8 Sept. 2021, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/urban-and-regional-planners.htm.

An Interview with an Ambassador

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak with former Ambassador and Lawrence alumni Christopher Murray to learn more about life as a Foreign Service Officer (FSO) for the State Department. Among his many postings as an FSO, Ambassador Murray has served as the Ambassador to the Congo, Chargé d’affaires in Brussels, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Algiers and Lebanon. Here are some of the key takeaways of our discussion:

The work of an FSO is often predicated upon cultural integration and personal relations…

As a young FSO following the mining industry and transportation network in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ambassador Murray was encouraged to engage with the local community by higher-ranking officers. By integrating with his local community and eventually becoming an officer at his community’s golf club, Ambassador Murray was granted a much more authentic understanding of both the mining industry and those associated with it. For those who are interested in becoming an FSO because they are interested in engaging with foreign cultures and languages, it would seem that doing so is not only possible during one’s career, but necessary—at least as a lower-ranking officer—if one wishes to do their job well.  

FSO’s do have some agency regarding their postings…

FSOs, while carrying out the policies of the Executive Branch, are not supposed to assume independent political stances. Yet, what if one fundamentally disagrees with the politics that they are being asked to represent? Ambassador Murray himself served during a period when many of his colleagues vehemently disagreed with President Reagan’s South Africa policy and he made it clear that, although FSO’s have little agency regarding the policy of the Executive Branch, they do have agency pertaining to where they serve. Most of those FSO’s that disagreed with the U.S.’s South Africa policy simply refused to serve in South Africa.  

Rank isn’t everything…

Ambassador Murray spoke briefly about the promotional culture in the Foreign Service, stating that many young FSO’s fixate on quick promotions and climbing the hierarchical ranks of the State Department. Yet, although Ambassador Murray was granted the highest-ranking position in the Foreign Service, he himself was promoted very slowly throughout the first half of his career. In his experience, however, those who are promoted the quickest are not necessarily those who are the best at their jobs, but rather those who are deployed to countries that are largely hostile to the U.S. For a fulfilling experience as an FSO, Ambassador Murray insists that intrinsic motivation and a certain amount of perspective regarding the promotional system within the State Department are essential.

Internships are ideal…

The Foreign Service, while offering opportunities to extensively engage with politics, languages, and cultures that would otherwise be inaccessible, is also quite demanding. For security reasons, Ambassador Murray was, for example, forced to largely remain inside of his embassy’s compound at multiple postings. Additionally, FSOs are expected to rotate to different posts in different countries every three years. Thus, the Ambassador highly recommended pursuing an internship with the State Department before committing to a career in the Foreign Service. One of the most prominent internships for the State Department is called the “Pathways Internship.” The application for next year’s summer Pathways Internship will be posted on USAJOBS in the coming months. If you have any questions about resumes, interviewing skills, or anything else professional development-related, be sure to schedule an appointment with GLI’s Ty Collins by clicking here.  

Jonathan Hogan

Jonathan is a Second Year German and Government major. He works as a Career Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

The Council on Foreign Relations Summer Internship

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is currently offering a host of internship opportunities for the upcoming summer. Ranging from Latin American Studies and Middle East Geopolitics to Editorial and Circulation, CFR has something for everyone in the GLI community. But what is the Council on Foreign Relations, and what do these internships entail?

              Throughout CFR’s history, it has remained committed to internationalism and political relevance. The founders of CFR first conceptualized the League of Nations, a precursor to the United Nations. During the Great Depression, when U.S. sentiments rose in support of isolationist foreign policy, CFR vehemently argued for internationalism. In CFR’s quarterly journal—Foreign Affairs—George Kennan released his influential” X-Article,” which introduced the idea of the “containment” of the Soviet Union to U.S. the foreign policy apparatus. Since the end of the Cold War, CFR has reoriented itself around new security concerns such as climate change, terrorism, cyber security, and human security. CFR has also integrated domestic policy to its repertoire with the understanding that certain domestic policies, such as education, are especially relevant to U.S. foreign policy. Members of the council on Foreign Relations rank among the most influential diplomatic, political, entrepreneurial, academic and media figures in the world and range from former President Jimmy Carter to George Clooney.

              As one might imagine, an internship with CFR is highly competitive; however, if you manage to land an internship, CFR will ensure that you aren’t just getting coffee. Cybele Mayes-Osterman of College Magazine writes that “The Council on Foreign Relations gives its interns the most close-to-reality experience of working for a political journal” (Source). During their tenure at CFR, interns are assigned a single research project, for which interns work alongside some of the brightest minds in foreign policy and often see their work published in CFR’s journal, Foreign Affairs. In conjunction with their research assignment, interns are invited to attend all Council meetings and round table discussions, ensuring that interns have access to both the professionals with whom they are conducting research and the broader array of council members. CFR demands professionalism and hard work from its interns; however, the personal and intellectual growth, not to mention the $15 per hour payment, makes the internship well worth the work.

              Internship positions for the Summer of 2021 are being filled on a rolling basis and can be found here. To apply, one must submit both a resume and cover letter. Additionally, a short skills-oriented test may be required depending on the position for which one is applying. If you decide to apply and need help with an element of the application (learning about resumes for the first time, interview prep, cover letter clean-up), feel free to schedule a meeting with me, Ty Collins, or any of our other amazing Career Center colleagues here.  

Works Cited

Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, www.cfr.org/.

Mayes-Osterman, Cybele. “CM’s Guide to the Council on Foreign Relations Internship.” College Magazine, 12 Dec. 2019, www.collegemagazine.com/cms-guide-to-the-council-on-foreign-relations-internship/.

– Jonathan Hogan

Jonathan is a Second Year German and Government major. He works as a Career Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

NGO Spotlight: The Brookings Institution

If you are a member of the #GLI Career Community and are pursuing a degree in Government, you are most likely familiar with the name Brookings Institution. With this prominent and highly respected institution’s summer internship application now open, a more detailed understanding of the institute and the internship is warranted.   If you are interested in learning more about the Brookings Institute because you plan on applying for the internship, or because you simply want to know more about arguably the most influential think tank in the U.S. (and perhaps the world), read on!

The Brookings Institution, founded in 1916 as the “first private organization devoted to analyzing public policy issues at the national level,” analyzes policy issues and suggests policy solutions for an incredibly broad range of topics. A quick glance at the Brookings Institution’s website reveals that the institution covers issues ranging from state and local governance to national education policy to global poverty. The Brookings Institution has over 300 scholars dedicated to developing deeper understandings of their respective issues. Furthermore, given the Brookings Institution’s center-left political stance, scholarly positions are often held by top-ranking members of the Democratic executive branch during terms in which Republicans hold the executive branch. Given the institution’s close ties with government and its unrivaled reputation as a respectable center-left think-tank, research conducted at Brookings is often considered by federal lawmakers in the bill-writing process. Perhaps most excitingly—at least from the perspective of undergrads—is that the Brookings Institution offers internships year-round. At the moment, the summer internship application period is currently open.

If you would like to apply to the Brookings’ summer internship program simply click here.  Internships are specified by foci, ranging from events and communications internships to research internships on a  myriad of issues. To apply, you will need a resume, a cover letter, and your academic transcript. If you are accepted, you will also need two letters of recommendation.  Should you need help with your interviewing skills, your resume, or your cover letter you can schedule an appointment with Ty Collins at the Career Center at any time by clicking here. The application window for the summer internships closes on February 28th.

Jonathan Hogan

Jonathan is a Second Year German and Government major. He works as a Career Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.