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Sophie entered the Urban Studies Program with a bachelor’s degree in political science from UBC, and for her, the graduate diploma option was the right fit.
“One of my goals was to get the academic experience to couple with my career experience and work in the industry as soon as possible,” she said. “In retrospect, I’m really glad I went the diploma route.” She pointed out that experience is key to achieving certification by the Canadian Institute of Planners, so for those who are seeking that credential and already working in planning or development, the graduate diploma can be a good path because it minimizes time away from the workplace. “Everybody is different and comes with different experience, so it’s great to have those options,” she said.
Sophie worked in real estate before and during her diploma studies in 2011, and was able to manage her course work by cutting back on work hours. “I had the hands-on real estate experience, and combining that with the history, theory and critical approach the program offered – I thought that made for a really good balance.
Sophie is now an associate at the Vancouver planning and consulting firm, Brook Pooni Associates. One of the things she loves about her job is the wide range of projects she works on, from conversions of small buildings to master plan initiatives, in both the public and private sector. Her main role is that of project manager, while many projects include stakeholder engagement, application coordination, managing complex teams, interpreting data and drafting policy.
While the Urban Studies Program is small, Sophie notes that she regularly encounters fellow alumni in her day-to-day Vancouver work. “It’s funny how many people you meet who have come through the SFU Urban Studies Program.”
Connect with Sophie on LinkedIn.