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Supporting UCLA urban planning students in their understanding of the multiple forces that shape a community’s well-being.
Adam Monaghan’s introduction into the world of urban planning was as fortuitous as it was unexpected. After graduating from Boston College with a theology degree and a penchant for travel, Monaghan left home to fulfill a two-year commitment with the Peace Corps. He was assigned to Honduras to work as an urban planner — a field about which he knew very little at that time.
When his stint with the Peace Corps ended, Monaghan and a friend went to Nicaragua on a surfing trip. They settled in the town of Gigante and put to use the urban-planning skills they’d learned in the Peace Corps. They founded Project Waves of Optimism to help the small fishing village capitalize on its inevitable transition into a tourist destination and create development in a sustainable way.
When Monaghan was finally ready to pursue a Master of Urban and Regional Planning, he chose UCLA Luskin. With help from an urban planning fellowship for students who demonstrate innovation in projects that have solved problems or helped transform communities, Monaghan’s initial goals were to focus on regional and international development and to learn geographic information systems. Instead, he ended up choosing the design and development concentration and becoming interested in real estate — and is now ready to take the next steps in his urban-planning career.
Making the move from surfing tourist to community organizer requires a special kind of curiosity and unique approach to problem solving. Encouraging students who think differently is important, but the rising cost of pursuing an advanced degree can make it difficult or impossible for those same students to pursue higher education and research unless they receive financial backing.
UCLA has a proud tradition of preparing leaders from all parts of society who go on to serve all parts of the world. Your gift to help fund Urban Planning Fellowship Fund ensures that more students can pursue their dreams to change communities worldwide.
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