New Sustainable Urban Planning Newsletter Features Students & Faculty

September 5, 2020

Sustainable Urban Planning Newsletter July 2020

The inaugural issue of the Sustainable Urban Planning Program (SUP) program newsletter features:

  • Student Highlights: Interviews with three students about their experiences in the program;
  • Student Projects: Examples of recent hands-on student projects;
  • Faculty Highlights: Snapshots of faculty activities, such as research projects and publications;
  • Career Outlook: Information about urban planning career trends and employers of our graduates.


Clinton Markwell, Student Interview

Clinton Markwell


Clinton Markwell, one of the three SUP students highlighted in the July 2020 issue, anticipates graduating this December. He shared his perspectives on sustainable urban planning before coming to GW, as well as during the program, in a Q& A interview format.


What were you doing before applying to the program?
After completing my B.A. in Philosophy, I worked in operations and manufacturing in the racing industry for five years and gained valuable experience managing and wearing multiple hats in a small business environment. With that business experience, I transitioned to sales and operations in multi-unit property management and commercial real estate. I managed and lead sales teams with a focus on accountability, reporting, and operational efficiency. I then had a unique opportunity to shift into medical device sales, where I focused on capital equipment account management at hospitals and surgery centers.

What is your particular area of interest in urban planning?
I am interested in the intersection of health, planning and urban resilience.

What prompted you to apply to the program?
While working in commercial real estate I observed first-hand the negative impact of poor planning and development practices. I transitioned into medical device sales with the hope of working with technology to create healthier outcomes for people. In many ways, I achieved that goal every day. My reach, however, was restricted to a small number of individuals. I joined the program at GW because it would allow me to apply what I learned in medical device sales and commercial real estate to a larger scale. As an urban planner, I could be part of a profession that plans for healthier outcomes for communities, cities and regions.

What have you learned thus far that had the most impact on you or was your favorite part of the program?
I am thrilled by the fact that climate change and adaptation planning has been a common thread throughout my time in the program. Understanding the relationship between cities and climate change from the perspective of an urban planner is a critical skill. The course curriculum not only prepares students to work in various fields of urban planning fields, it also educates students about the intricacies of climate change policy and the science that backs it.

What is your capstone/research interest?
My research is focused on how nature-based design affects public health.

Do you have any advice for prospective students?
Join the Sustainable Urban Planning Student Organization. Attend community support events with your classmates. Get involved in activities with your professors, classmates, alumni and friends of the program. It will greatly enrich your experience!

Each student has a unique journey in the program and valuable experiences to share. Download the July newsletter (PDF) to read two more SUP student features, Shannon Tokumaru and Corinne Schober, as well as information about the urban planning career outlook, recent faculty research and hands-on student projects.


Download the July issue of the SUP newsletter (PDF)