Student spotlight: Mengdi Li

 

Degree: Master of Urban Regional Planning

Expected graduation: summer 2018

Home town: Changchun, Jilin Province, China

Why did you choose the School of Social Ecology?

I have a personal interest in urban planning and the School of Social Ecology has a great program in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning.

How did you grow interested in your current field of study?

Previous research and academic experiences in environmental science and engineering led me to the field of urban and environmental planning. My belief in planning as an important tool to improve the living conditions of residents strengthened while I was running environmental analysis on various cities and areas in both China and the United States. Planning could be the very first step to avoid many of the problems people face every day. 

What has been your most memorable or significant experience so far at UCI?

The capstone project of my program. Through the project I had the great chance to work with professionals from the City of Newport Beach on the issue of the urban heat island effect. But more importantly, the guidance that professors and advisers gave is what made the smooth transition for my first step towards professional work. I will always be grateful for that.

How do you envision your degree from UCI opening doors for you or benefitting your career?

The program provides a systematic knowledge of U.S. laws and regulations, such as California Environmental Quality Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. That knowledge will be a great help in my career. The knowledge and professional experiences I accumulated during my time in UCI would be essential to work as a planner or to work with a planner in the future.