Cote, like many undergraduates, enrolled in university directly after high school and says there was some slight “nudging” toward SFU from his parents who had both studied here. Cote says it took him some time to figure out what to major in: “You know, you finish high school and somehow you’re supposed to know what direction you want to go but I had no idea. I took a whole range of courses from economics, philosophy, and history.” History and political science were where Cote found his interest and passion, and he served on New Westminster city council for several years before beginning his Masters in Urban Studies. He was motivated towards a deeper understanding of urban development and to be able to address the city’s planning and transportation issues.
Urban Studies was a great fit, Cote says, and the flexibility of studying part-time in the program was a big draw. The program drew a dynamic mixture of working professionals, which, Cote says, provided a unique opportunity for applied study: “I was exposed to much of the theoretical background on important urban issues but also, and I think other students experienced this too, I saw what others had to say from the perspective of their own professional backgrounds: whether they were in planning, engineering or coming from the not-for-profit sector. All the classes had really great discussion and we were all committed to and invested in raising the level of discussion.”