Emma Reed graduated from San Jose State University’s (SJSU) Urban and Regional Planning Department with a Masters Degree in Urban Planning (MUP) in May 2014. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies and Planning from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and a Certificate in Homeland Security and Emergency Management from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
During her time at SJSU, Emma held the positions of Treasurer and Speaker Series Coordinator on the board of the student-run Urban Planning Coalition (UPC) where she planned and facilitated the UPC’s Annual Fall Symposium focused on Planning for Healthy Communities. Emma was awarded the College of Social Sciences Dean’s Scholarship to study abroad on a month-long urban planning program in Curitiba, Brazil. She was also a recipient of the California Planning Foundation’s Roundtable Memorial Scholarship and San Jose State University’s Student Leadership Award.
For many years, Emma has had a passion for understanding and improving the built environment as it relates to emergency management and planning. She began her career working for UCSD’s Department of Continuity and Emergency Services where she started as a student intern conducting research for her Senior Thesis and eventually became a Continuity Planner for the campus. Her interest in hazard mitigation planning prompted her to pursue a graduate degree at SJSU focused specifically on planning for natural hazards and environmental planning. She gained professional experience at several agencies while in graduate school, including the City of Sunnyvale’s Department of Public Safety, the City of San Jose’s Environmental Services Department, the City and County of San Francisco’s Planning Department, the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s Office of Water Resources Planning and Policy, and the City of Foster City’s Fire Department.
Since October 2014, Emma has been a planner at Michael Baker International in Oakland, California where she specializes in hazard mitigation and emergency planning. There, she authors hazard mitigation plans, emergency action plans, emergency operations plans, local flood safety plans, as well as other planning documents for Cities, Counties, and Public Agencies. She also reviews hazard mitigation plans submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by various jurisdictions throughout FEMA Region IX to determine their approval status.
One of Emma’s career goals is to one day work for FEMA planning for and responding to declared disasters and conducting field research. Her advice to current or potential planning students is to follow your passion and persevere. Studying urban planning enables students to better understand how our society functions and helps us discover fields of work that we never even considered to be planning-related.