Why I'm majoring (or minoring) in Urban Studies: The moment that I discovered the Urban Studies major I knew it was what I wanted to do considering how perfect of a combination it is of my previously separate interests in architectural design and policy regarding social issues such as mass incarceration and public housing. I've always been fascinated by the way that we activate the spaces we inhabit and the way that physical spaces dictate social interactions and social order that we're a part of, partially resulting from my experience growing up in the liberal yet gentrified Bay Area. I wanted to major in Urban Studies to employ myself with the skills to understand the dynamics and design of these cities and spaces so that I can use that understanding to effect whatever level of positive change within these spaces, whether through policy or urban and architectural design or some combination of both.
What I like best about Urban Studies: A part from incorporating two of my most prominent individual passions in architecture and policy, Stanford's Urban Studies program excited me in its commitment to incorporating real world experience into the educational process. Specifically within the Urban Society and Social Change concentration, public service is an integral part of the curriculum which is something I hadn't regularly encountered looking at other majors. I think there's a lot of value in interacting with the people and communities within which you're trying to affect and change and I think it's amazing that this major and concentration prioritize that as an integral part of the students' education, I think it offers a level of understanding and engagement that wouldn't be possible sitting in a classroom - specifically with issues related to urban studies which are so dynamic and changing and intrinsically tied to human nature.
Favorite class / professor (and why): Accessing Architecture Through Drawing with John Barton because it pushed me every single day in challenging the way I think and perceive and interact with the world and spaces around me.
Favorite book (and why): Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. I don't know if I can properly articulate why it's my favorite book but I think it has to do not only with its poetic nature and its self awareness but because it manages to really powerfully present the intensity of bigotry and simultaneously present the fullness of black culture and identity in America by exploring the emotional state of both the victims and perpetrators in these interactions, and Ellison manages to do all of this in a really beautiful and meaningful way through an engaging narrative.
Other academic interests (major, minors): Double minors in Art Practice and Political Science
Extracurriculars: Member of Stanford in Government (Community Development), Coordinator of Frosh Service Liaison Program, Member of Stanford Outdoor Outreach Program, Tour Guide at Stanford Visitor Center