Skip to content Skip to navigation

Sean Volavong

Sean Volavong

About

Why I'm majoring (or minoring) in Urban Studies: Growing up in a low-income community faced with economic disadvantages, I am passionate to develop and organize communities for positive change. Furthermore, from studying and living in the Bay Area, I have encountered urban development dilemmas such as unequitable affordable housing and accessible transportation that has hindered the quality of life of those living around me. By majoring in Urban Studies, I hope to learn the socioeconomic, academic, and urban planning contexts to mitigate these dilemmas in the Bay Area and beyond.

What I like best about Urban Studies: I love the Urban Studies community! Since the program is small, a feeling of intimacy flows through our peer advising events, our fabulous faculty advisors, and the growing relevance of the topics and discussions held in our classes and affiliated courses.
 
Favorite class / professor (and why): URBANST 123: Approaching Research and the Community with Clayton Hurd. The course exposes the nuances and necessities of community-based research in a traditional academic environment such as Stanford. Through readings, discussions, and planning a summer or year-long community-based project in the class, I reinforced my passion for an equitable social impact that involves all stakeholders (the community) rather than those with more academic, social, or political power that one would find in many urban planning and development situations.
 
Favorite book (and why): The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The innocence and freedom themes throughout the short but sweet novel reflect on how much my personality has positively and negatively changed since entering
Stanford and towards the end of my time here.
 
Career goal / Future plans: I hope to either pursue a career in urban planning (with a focus on housing policy) for rising and/or disadvantaged communities around the State of California or either enter the social impact
consulting world to improve the efficiency and productivity of nonprofits and philanthropic organizations around the United States.
 
Honors Thesis: During the summer of 2018 and during the 2018-2019 academic year, I will be researching and be writing an honors thesis that focuses on community-based reactions and measures on increased gentrification and the need for affordable housing developments in Northwest Arkansas. The area is one of the fastest growing regions in the United States due to the presence, headquarters, and investments of three Fortune-500 companies (Walmart, J.B. Hunt, and Tyson Foods) into the area. Although I call the area my hometown region, the physical and social infrastructures has changed dramatically during the short timespan of my college career. I am passionate to understand and create a collective community-based impact as I create deliverables not only for Stanford but also for those living in Northwest Arkansas to recommend short and long-term political and social actions.
 
Extracurriculars: Co-Director of Housing Equity for the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU); Residential Assistant for Narnia.
 
Something else you should know about me: I'm a black belt in Taekwondo!