Robin Franke

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My mom has a habit of misplacing her car in parking lots. She tells me that when I was three years old, I led her to the car when she had no recollection of where it was. It seems that I have always been spatially aware of my surroundings. I love to think about place and then ask why it’s there. My interest in GeoDesign lies in the formation and expansion of cities. When looking down at Los Angeles from an airplane, I see the history of the city displayed before my eyes. At night, when cars are zipping down the 405, the city gets a pulse. The city is a body – it’s alive and it’s growing. I want to help the city grow in a smart and sustainable way.

Since my time at USC, I have been part of numerous research projects in the Spatial Sciences Institute. In my freshman year, I was a research assistant for Dr. John Wilson and his team to create a 3D model of the University Park Campus. In my sophomore year, I worked with Dr. Yao-Yi Chiang and the USC Shoah Foundation to record and represent the journey of various Holocaust survivors in a geographically and visually compelling way. In the summer of 2016, I was a USC Dornsife Gateway Scholar and had the opportunity to intern at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. My tasks included using GIS to create and modify databases and collected field data with survey technologies around the property. In the Fall 2016 semester, I am working with the City of LA and the Spatial Sciences Institute to analyze crime in Los Angeles and produce deliverables that will help aid Mayor Eric Garcetti in developing crime-related policies.

As a GeoDesign major, I have had the opportunity to pursue my passion with these amazing experiences that I couldn’t have had anywhere else.

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