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|Student Spotlight: Nicholas Ryu|
After growing up in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, Nicholas C. Ryu attended the College of William and Mary (2013) and double-majored in Sociology & Environmental Policy. While in college, Nicholas was an active member of the Kappa Delta Rho national fraternity and served as the Sustainability Chair of Alma Mater Productions (a campus programming board dedicated to promoting sustainability and environmentally-related events for students). Nicholas also completed a summer internship for the Environmental Protection Agency working on closeout project documents for Project XL.
Upon graduation, Nicholas yearned to explore other sustainability-related fields as he sought to cultivate his young professional career. He first worked for DuraCoat Products Inc. as an Environmental Health and Safety Intern. He then finished one term of AmeriCorps Service working for the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. Following that, he became an ORISE Fellow for the Department of Energy’s State Energy Program (from 2014 to 2016) where he focused on supporting staff with grants project management, analyzing energy metric data, and attending energy-related conferences throughout the country.
Realizing that cities are the nexus of population growth, large environmental impacts, technology, and innovation, Nicholas chose to attend the University of Southern California’s MPL program in the Price School of Public Policy as a Dean’s Merit Scholarship recipient.
Seeking to start his career in his hometown of Los Angeles by learning about Los Angeles sustainability issues and developing professional connections, Nicholas has taken advantage of numerous opportunities offered through his MPL graduate program. His graduate student experience so far has been very fruitful. He is working on his third internship with the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments EnergyWise program. His previous internships included working with the Los Angeles Clean Technology Incubator (on grant task deliverables for the Regional Energy Innovation Cluster team), as well as the Beach Cities Health District where he analyzed Vision Zero traffic collision data and rewrote the Green Team office sustainability plan.
Nicholas is an advocate for his graduate program as well, serving as the vice president for the Associated Students for Planning and Development and a Price Student Ambassador.
Academically, Nicholas enjoys the student curriculum and learning opportunities provided by his graduate program. He enjoyed doing research with Professor Marlon Boarnet on a California Department of Transportation white paper studying the “Economic Benefits of Placemaking.” Sustainable Land-Use Concentration’s Methodology and Smart Cities & Climate Change Infrastructure Brazil Laboratory are his two favorite classes as they relate to his interests in energy analysis methodology, and planning.
Upon his graduation in May of 2018, Nicholas hopes to work for either a local or regional government agency, or utility in Los Angeles related to sustainability and renewable energy planning and then move onto a Ph.D. program in Urban Planning or Environmental Policy.
In his free time, Nicholas enjoys ultimate Frisbee, basketball, stand-up comedy, playing videogames, and attending his United Methodist Church.
Here’s more from our conversation with Nicholas:
Q: Which ACSP member school do you attend?
Q: What specialty are you studying?
Q: Why did you select your particular specialty?
Q: Do you have a current job or internship in your specialty?
Q: Is there a particular class or professor that has made a great impact on you? How so?
Q: What's your favorite project you’ve worked on, in class or in practice?
I hope to work for either a local or regional government agency, or utility in Los Angeles (such as the Los Angeles Mayor's Office of Sustainability or Los Angeles County) related to sustainability and renewable energy planning for at least a few years and then move onto a Ph.D. program in Urban Planning or Environmental Policy. Then, I hope to become a professor that can teach students about sustainability and energy planning in urban areas while also being a mentor that can help students start their sustainability or urban planning career.
Q: How has planning school changed your daily habits?
I also think it has enhanced my cultural knowledge and critically think how peoples' lives will change in cities over time due to new planning initiatives or if planning will be affected with new technological innovation or cultural change.
Q: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Q: What is the title of the last book you read? What did you learn from it?
Q: What’s your favorite color and how would you creatively incorporate it into a planning project?
I'd incorporate silver into a planning project presentation background talking about reaching certain project goals that have peoples' quality-of-life and well-being in mind (such as through Vision Zero or EcoDistricts/Transformative Climate Change Communities). This would show that planning can achieve an ideal world with cities that are safe, clean, and affordable communities.