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Name: Shruthi Arvind
Hometown: Bangalore, India
Education Background: Bachelors of Planning from CEPT University, India
Degree Program: Masters in City Planning, concentration in community and economic development

How did you get interested in such an offbeat, unconventional and interesting field? 

When I was young, I would travel back and forth between Dubai, UAE and Bangalore, India frequently. Every visit stoked my curiosity as to the differences that existed between both cities such as road quality, housing stock and environmental characteristics. When I realized I could academically study the reasons behind these differences and understand what made cities tick, I knew planning was the course for me!

What was your background prior to coming to PennDesign? 

Before pursuing my graduate education at PennDesign, I was an undergraduate student of Planning at CEPT University, India from 2011 to 2015.

Why did you choose Penn? 

Traveling 8000 miles for my graduate studies was not an easy task! I conducted extensive research on various planning programs in the US and I loved Penn’s design focus and interdisciplinary nature. I was fascinated by work done by the student body and the strength of the faculty members.

What has been your favorite class so far? 

Although I’ve only had a couple of classes so far, I love Prof. Amy Hillier’s Introduction to Community and Economic Development. I believe this class with equip me with skills to tackle issues of community development in a sensitive and inclusive manner.

What are you learning right now that will help you in the future? 

I am developing skills in areas like GIS and statistical software that is very important to the field. Knowledge of the history and theory of planning have also helped me understand the importance of research writing in academia.

What do you like best about Philadelphia? 

I love the fact that Philadelphia is so walkable. I live in West Philadelphia and the commute to college is really enjoyable because of the compact and green street network.

What kinds of activities and/or organizations are you involved in? 

I am a member of the Real Estate Club at University of Pennsylvania and work as a United Nations Online Volunteer in my spare time. I am also a part of the South Asia Center at Penn.

What are your career ambitions? 

In the long term, I would love to work with a global organization like the United Nations, specifically in their poverty alleviation programs in Asia and Middle East. For now, I would like to work with community development and economic revitalization groups.

You can email questions for Shruthi at shruthia@design.upenn.edu and follow her blog.