Active Alum: Liz Ruess
Share |

Liz Ruess

Q: Which ACSP member school did you graduate from?

A: San Jose State University (May 2011)

Q: What degree(s) do you hold?

A: Masters in Urban and Regional Planning

Q: Where are you working today?

A: City of Saratoga

Q: Why did you select your particular specialty?

A: I interned with two non-profits during grad school, interned with a local municipality the year after graduating, then worked as a project manager for a real estate development firm. After several years in development, I decided I wanted to be back on the other side of the table and be a city planner. I really enjoy the variety of municipal planning. I get to work with the public, all other departments at City Hall, at our Committees, Commissions, and City Council. I learn so much from my co-workers in other departments who include other planners, building inspectors, the public works department, the City Manager's office, finance, recreation, etc. The variety of projects I get to see makes every day interesting and constantly challenges me to grow and learn.

Q: Is there a particular class or professor that made a great impact on you? How so?

A: I really enjoyed GIS with Rick Kos. Learning how to collect, sort, map, and present data was fascinating to me and so important in the planning field.

Q: What future goals do you have in your field?

A: I am currently studying for the AICP exam, so passing that is my short term-goal. I'd like to continue to push myself by taking on larger more complex projects. Ultimately I'd like to be a Planning Manager or Community Development Director for a Bay Area Municipality.

Q: Any advice to current or potential urban and regional planning students?

A: Network, network, network. Attend events, go to the conferences, and schedule informational interviews. My contacts and references that I have built during and after grad school have played a huge role in the jobs that I've been offered since graduation. Planning is a small world; your relationship with fellow planners is incredibly important.



The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning promotes education, research, service and outreach in the United States and throughout the world by seeking to:

  • recognize diverse needs and interests in planning;
  • improve and enhance the accreditation process, and;
  • strengthen the role of planning education in colleges and universities through publications, conferences, and community engagement;
  • extend planning beyond the classroom into the world of practice.


2927 Kerry Forest Parkway • Tallahassee FL 32309