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A transformative experience in the classroom is how Sophie describes her time with the Urban Studies program. Sophie started on the urban track during her undergraduate in geography at UBC, where she had the opportunity to research housing inequality in the United States. She became intrigued by urban policy and how it impacts the lives of marginalized communities. This got her interested in the research, theory and methodology behind urban systems. A co-op position with the City of Campbell River further inspired her educational pursuits in municipal planning.
Currently, Sophie is a senior consultant at Argyle and works on public engagement, public policy and planning-related projects. Typically, she designs strategies to engage the public and stakeholders on projects related to public policies, programs and infrastructure. Sophie gets to work on shaping healthy and sustainable communities in neighbourhoods, cities and regions.
Sophie notes that critical thinking skills from Urban Studies have enriched her life. One thing that attracted Sophie to the Urban Studies program is the in-depth study of theories and the research element of cities and urban policies.
Sophie says, “I remember professor Karen Ferguson’s class Urban Inequality and the Just City. The richness of dialogue and being able to unpack complex ideas with a group of people with different political understanding of the world was intense. It was exciting to be a part of meaningful and rich discussions with a group of peers, to work through tough conversations.”
“It was great that the professors were able to create a space to have transformative and educational moments. It really helped me understand the structural systems that create inequality. I was able to take away some urban theories to help me with my work and in community organizing,” explains Sophie.
“It’s the skills that you take away at the graduate level that you can apply everywhere. With the Urban Studies program, it’s really that critical thinking skill. It’s about looking at policies and asking, ‘why does it have to be this way? How did it get to be this way? What can we do differently to make things better?’ You address and tackle structural issues head-on,” says Sophie.
Read Sophie’s thesis here.