Meet our Alumni: Susan Hopkins

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Susan Hopkins lives in Detroit where she works as a program manager at the Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP). Her position at the DDP is part of the Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program, a two-year program administered by Wayne State University and funded by the Kresge, Hudson-Webber, and Skillman foundations. Before moving to Detroit, Hopkins worked for ECONorthwest, an economics and finance consulting firm based in Eugene.

What Community Service Center (CSC) program(s) did you work with?

Community Planning Workshop(CPW)

What year(s) were you affiliated with the CSC?


My most memorable experience or greatest accomplishment at the Community Service Center and its programs was…:
Working on a CPW project in Redmond, OR as a first year, I realized as our team gave results to the City Council of Redmond how different it is when the stakes are more or less higher than a typical student project. My eyes were opened to the way it feels to be accountable for the information being delivered, the anxiety (or motivation) to make sure everything is accurate because it’s your reputation on the line–and these are real clients paying real money for the work. You cannot manufacture that kind of real world experience in a typical academic setting. It’s something you have to experience and feel to fully understand.

The most critical skill(s) I learned from being engaged in CSC programs are/is….:

Learning to read a complex situation. For example, the dynamics and interactions with paying clients. What are people in a meeting saying vs. thinking? What does our client really want? The value of CPW is that you can participate in that kind of real world interaction and then afterwards debrief with the team and someone like Bob Parker, who can then help you dissect what just happened.

Basic Skills : Learn Microsoft Word and Excel. Knowing 20% more than the average person will get you far. Though it’s not rocket science, colleagues have remarked that I am a magician just because I know how to use styles, can figure out page breaks and can create pivot tables.

What was your first job after engaging with the CSC, with what organization and where?

My first job was a full service development firm in Portland, Oregon called WRG Design. My role was to coordinate the pre-development process, pulling together all the different pieces that go into a development project: site selection, market studies, traffic studies, site plans, and civil engineering plans, architectural plans, zoning permits, environmental permits, etc. It was a fantastic place to work. I loved working with all the talented and committed people in that field. And it was a wonderful way to learn about all aspects of the development process.
What professional organizations do you belong to?

Women’s Transportation Seminar: WTS
Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association: OAPA
Urban Land Institute: ULI

What advice would you give someone just entering this field?

Don’t hold out for the job that perfectly aligns with 100% of your ideals and principles. Keep an open mind to possibilities and explore your job opportunities.

Call to Action / Plug Something: Find me here, Register for my workshops, Subscribe to our newsletter, Visit my website, Follow us on Facebook, Support us, Attend this event , Find out more here, etc.

Want to participate in the Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program?
The Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program will soon begin its search for the second cohort of fellows. The program combines two years of full-time employment with executive development-style education. There will be extensive networking opportunities, along with professional coaching and mentoring.

More about the Community Planning Workshop(CPW)

See Susan @ Rebuilding Communities Symposium: Eugene & Portland, Oregon / February 6-7, 2013

Meet our RARE participants: Carrie Courtney & City of Port Orford

Port Orford Ocean Resource Team: Coast.  Ecosystem Based Management.

Carrie received his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Buena Vista University.  As a student, Carrie studied abroad for a semester at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia.  While in Australia, she interned with the Western Suburbs Regional Organization of Councils (WESROC).  As an intern, Carrie created case studies in the areas of sustainability, including case studies focused on native vegetation, sustainable travel and photovoltaic cells.  After attaining her Bachelors Degree, Carrie decided to apply to the RARE Program in order to gain the skills necessary to help communities advance in a sustainable, environmental fashion.   Following her year with the RARE Program, Carrie hopes to find a long term job that suits her educational background and professional goals.

Placement: City of Port Orford

Population:  1,153

Location:  Port Orford

Sponsor:  Port Orford Ocean Resource Team

Supervisor:  Leesa Cobb

County: Curry

Port Orford Ocean Resource Team: Coast.  Ecosystem Based Management.

The Port Orford Ocean Resource Team (POORT) is a nonprofit that was founded in 2001 to work on a community-based fisheries management project.  The organization is directed by a board of five local commercial fishermen and operates on the principles of Ecosystem-based management and the triple bottom line: ecology, economics, and equity.  POORT’s projects include influencing state and federal fisheries policy, economic development based on the marine economy, targeted conservation initiatives, and local social justice initiatives.

The RARE participant placed with the POORT will network with multiple agencies and NGO’s. Specifically, the RARE participant will recruit and manage volunteers, provide marine education to school children, improve website skills by updating POORT’s website, organize an event, and learn to manage a process to advance the Interpretive Center building project.  Regular contact with commercial fishermen will provide the RARE participant with a rich understanding of fishing history, culture, economics, and an education in the challenges of sustaining a resource based business.

More on RARE

More on Planning, Public Policy and Management at the University of Oregon.

Meet more of our RARE participants here!

Now accepting applications. Applications must be received by April 26, 2013. Apply Now!

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