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PEOPLE - Alumni Stories 
Conversation with Jonathan Hansel, CEP 2023


How was your Rowan experience?


Jon: My experience at Rowan University began in Fall 2021, my sophomore year of college. As a transfer student, it took some time for me to adjust to the new setting. However, from the beginning, I truly felt right at home in the Department of Geography, Planning, and Sustainability. All of my professors in the department were truly wonderful and helped me grow both academically and personally. One class I particularly enjoyed was Planning Practice, Law, and Ethics with Professor Tara Paxton because I loved learning about the aspects of urban planning that tied into government and the law. Also, I served as the Vice-President of the Rowan University Student Planning Organization (RUSPO). Overall, the people I have met at Rowan, including my professors, classmates, and friends, have all contributed to making Rowan feel like home to me. While I will be sad to leave Glassboro behind, I will take the lessons I have learned while at Rowan with me in the future. 


When did you begin working at the Community Planning + Visualization Lab? Did this help shape your future work goals?


Jon: I began working at the Community Planning + Visualization Lab in June 2022, the summer before my senior year. While working at the CP+VL, I contributed my efforts to a variety of tasks such as writing a literature review about participatory housing design, updating GIS shapefiles, facilitating the distribution of a survey, transcribing survey responses, and more. While working on these projects I gained knowledge that has been extremely valuable to me in both academic and professional settings. A favorite activity of mine was done in connection with both the CP+VL and the Planning Studio class where I got to be a part of a focus group as a note-taker. I learned that I love engaging directly with others about their opinions and hope to gain more experience conducting focus groups in the future.

Where do you see yourself in the near future? What about in the distant future?


Jon: In the near future, I plan on staying at Rowan for the upcoming 2023-2024 academic year to complete my graduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning as a member of the Combined Advanced Degree Program. Afterward, I still do not have a clearly defined path that I know I am going to follow. At the moment, I am considering doing the AmeriCorp program, and then will hopefully pursue law school afterward. Regarding the distant future, I am still unsure but have a few general ideas of where I would like to end up. For my career, I hope to be a lawyer, professor, or any other career that would have some element of being in service to others. Most importantly, I see myself happy, healthy, and raising a family.

What interests/hobbies do you have? 


Jon: My main interest is politics/government. I particularly enjoy keeping up with the Supreme Court and various elections happening around the country (and the world). Some hobbies of mine include watching movies, listening to new kinds of music, and spending time with family and friends. Further, I enjoy going on adventures to new destinations, especially historical sites, museums, and in nature. I like to push myself into trying new things and am hoping to go skydiving sometime soon!

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