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For as long as I can remember, sustainability, creativity, and innovation have been at the forefront of my passions. Every year I would create a map of the mall for Black Friday with locations, hours, and the best deals from each store to maximize our time and efficiency. This kept everyone happy and also gave us a clear path to navigate the crowded mall.

My 14th birthday party was Amazing Race themed, as I partnered with local businesses to create challenges at each location and a map for my friends and I to navigate the neighborhood. Born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, I love the sights and sounds of the city. The architecture and history captivate me, but the complex network of streets that make up the city plan (or lack thereof) disheartens me.

These are just a few examples of things that led me on the path to GeoDesign. I knew I wanted to harness my creativity and implement my love for planning and spatial awareness abilities without being in a field quite as rigid as architecture. When I found GeoDesign at USC, the interdisciplinary approach to learning about the built environment was the perfect fit for me.

I have always been fascinated by the built environment, but it was not until I started my time in GeoDesign that I understood those words. The built environment: so many of my passions culminate into those words, and so much of what I was looking for in a college education is fulfilled by GeoDesign. I was eager to start taking classes throughout the disciplines within GeoDesign, and was excited as I started figuring out my specific interests. I have time and again found myself gravitating towards the sustainability aspects of policy, planning, architecture, GIS, and so many of the other courses I have taken thus far. I have been able to focus on this through different projects and opportunities in GeoDesign classes and internships.

Most notably, I was fortunate to take Professor Leilei Duan’s SSCI 402: Geospatial Technology Management for Sustainability Science course. I have the opportunity to create a project for submission to Esri’s 2020 ArcGIS StoryMaps Competition for the Sustainable Development Goals that was recognized as one of ten finalists. My passion for innovative sustainable change in cities, and how the COVID-19 Pandemic has been affecting that, was evident in my Story Map ( Navigating the challenges of the pandemic in real-time while also working to create a sustainable solution through this story map solidified my interest in innovative sustainable change.

I joined the team at the USC Office of Sustainability to kickstart an exciting project that will result in an interactive Sustainability Map of USC. This project combined my ever-growing passion for sustainability with my GIS skills and, once completed, will be a useful tool in understanding all the aspects of sustainability here at USC. I find it rewarding to apply the skills I have learned in my courses to a project that will directly affect the whole USC community.

I look forward to my final year at USC and using all the tools that GeoDesign has given me to form a portfolio of projects that will allow me to carve a career path where I can make a positive impact on the built environment through sustainability and innovative ideas.