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Where are you currently located, and what are you up to?

I am currently living in downtown Buffalo, New York. I am pursuing the Juris Doctor and a Master's in Urban Planning program at the SUNY Buffalo Law School. I currently work at the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation and also have a research assistantship with my former Property Law professor. In the summer of 2014, I received a Buffalo Public Interest Law Program Fellowship and interned at the Mayor's Office of Strategic Planning for the City of Buffalo. For 2015, I intend to pursue a legal internship at the Corporation Counsel's office for the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency. I also intend to work for GAR Associates.

I also recently formed a start-up company with several friends. We purchased the domain name We will be participating at a technology conference at the American Planning Association Conference in Seattle in spring 2015. Ideally, I'd like to build up this company to a national level. If that doesn't work out, I intend to work as a municipal attorney, concentrating on real property law, real estate, and zoning. Eventually I would like to get into consulting in a capacity that allows me to use both my urban planning and legal skills.

How did you become interested in history?

In 6th grade, when I saw the passion my teacher, Mrs. McCarthy, demonstrated for the subject. During my AP history class in high school, I read "A People's History of the United States" and "The Jungle" which changed everything I thought I knew, and I realized I couldn't stop there.

How did Fredonia's Department of History prepare you for your current job/future plans?

Fredonia's history program taught me valuable research skills. It also taught me to view events from various perspectives, aiding my ability to think critically. For example, while I was working for the City of Buffalo, I reviewed proposals for a lending program. I had to consider the viewpoints of the real estate developer, the residents, the office workers, and the neighboring businesses. Analyzing the proposals from different perspectives helps you answer more difficult questions like: Will neighboring residents be forced to relocate due to increasing rents? Are measures being taken to promote sustainability and environmental conservation? Is the building designed in a manner conducive to pedestrian, cyclist, and automobile use? The types of detailed analysis and critical thinking required in situations like these transcend dollars and cents. I believe the history department at Fredonia was crucial in helping me develop these perspectives and tools.

What advice would you give to incoming freshmen about the History Department?

If it's not too late, and you have the GPA, get into the Honors program. You get first pick at classes and have access to some of the coolest courses on campus. While there is more work involved, they are so interesting and memorable that it will be well worth it. Do the readings and take notes on every one. Visit your professors during their office hours and converse with them whenever possible. Study hard, but also join some social groups and stay active. If you don't establish the correct work-life balance early on, you will either burn out or drop out.

History Department

  • E332 Thompson Hall State University of New York at Fredonia Fredonia, NY 14063

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