PEOPLE - Alumni Stories
Conversation with Chris Tirri, MURP 2022
Dec 22, 2022
My Rowan University Experience
Rowan offered me my first job after I finished my first master's program in English at University of Delaware in 2014 as an adjunct professor in the Writing Arts department teaching College Composition I and II. I've been teaching in that department in different capacities ever since. Then, in the summer of 2020—at the height of quarantine and working full-time in the insurance industry—I stumbled upon a seemingly random advertisement on LinkedIn for a new graduate program in Urban and Regional Planning at Rowan. After reading about all the various disciplines that planning encompassed, I applied and was swiftly accepted as part of the program's first cohort alongside some really wonderful people. Two and a half years later, I'm graduating with my M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning and a certificate of graduate studies in Sustainability Studies, as well as with a wide variety of publications, presentations, and real-world projects on my C.V.
Working in the Community Planning + Visualization Lab
I've had the pleasure of working with Dr. Meenar every semester of my master's program, either as his student in his graduate courses (including my capstone Planning Studio) or as his graduate research assistant. He has been instrumental in guiding me through the treacherous waters of academic scholarship and helping me publish my first academic journal article, with two others currently in-progress. Working in his lab has also allowed me to apply my writing and editing skills to polishing undergraduates' work for publication and to assisting with drafting a grant proposal to NASA's Earth Science division, which Dr. Meenar was awarded in Fall 2022. While I have not accepted a full-time position in the field just yet, I am confident the writing and research skills I've honed in Dr. Meenar's lab will make me a strong candidate as I apply for jobs in the historic preservation realm.
My ideal career goal would be to work in historic preservation, specifically in the preservation, restoration, and display of commercial architecture that captures America's mid-century spirit—road signs, motels, amusement parks, and other architectural oddities. On a more practical level, I hope to work in a city that takes preservation seriously as a valuable tool for sustainability and resiliency planning AND has the funding to support preservation efforts at all scales. And if planning doesn't work out, then maybe I'll work for a non-profit agency that specializes in rehabilitating cats with special needs or the Pokémon Company—my other two great loves!
Preservation has always been a passion/hobby of mine, and I would love to keep that passion alive even if I don't get a job in the field. I'm also an amateur urban explorer, and I love to discover and document abandoned places wherever I live and travel. One big item on my bucket list is to travel the world and visit every former Olympic city and photograph whatever ruins remain. My other major interests include Pokémon (I will never be too old to catch them all!), going to concerts (my biggest financial vice), and spending time "down the shore" with my family and all our pets.