What department are you a graduate student in?
I am currently a second-year master’s student in the department of Urban and Regional Planning! If all goes well, I should be able to graduate this coming May.
Why did you decide to go to graduate school?
As a little girl I was obsessed with one day having “Dr” behind my name. I am a first-generation student, so I had no logical reasoning or rationing of how to do this. Quickly in the third grade I realized I was not good at science and would never be a medical doctor. Fast forward to when I was accepted to FSU in 2017 through CARE, I became fully involved with the CRE, The Globe, The Center for Leadership and Social Change, and fell in love with social sciences. A leap of faith to join planning graduate students on a trip to Guatemala introduced me to the field of Urban Planning and the rest is history! I am incredibly fortunate to be within a department who believes in their students as humans and as professionals.
Did your interests change throughout your program?
My interests have done a trip around the world and back! I was always heavily in love with how minority communities, especially Latin communities as a Puerto Rican, were affected by different situations such as disasters and colonialization. Through my graduate studies I have worked towards a certificate in Unmanned Aircraft Systems with the EMHS department, I have grown to learn the implications of policymaking on vulnerable populations, and although I would never admit it, I have grown a fan of transportation networks. DURP as a department pushes their students to think critically of all aspects from environmental to plan implementation and I have benefited profoundly from the multi-disciplinary perspective! Especially as a research assistant for the Mark and Marianne Barnebey Planning and Development Lab.
What do you want to do with your advanced degree?
As of right now, the plan is to hopefully continue my education and complete a PhD in Planning. My aspirations are to continue researching how minoritized community’s redevelopment through collective action post disaster! I imagine one day teaching other first-generation students the world of social sciences and being able to see the light of students plan for a future they can envision themselves in!
Karina Amalbert is a Master’s student at the FSU Department of Urban and Regional Planning.