Making your way into any career can be a challenge, especially for those with little to no experience within their field. Luckily, Clemson’s MCRP students have the opportunity every summer to work at a multitude of different agencies across South Carolina, the United States, and beyond as part of their summer internship requirement. These internships provide an excellent opportunity for students to gain early career experience in planning and related fields, as well as network with potential future employers. This year’s MCRP students worked in a variety of locations all the way from Birmingham, Alabama, to Atlanta, Georgia, to Rochester, New York. There was even one student who worked in Beijing, China. However, a large portion of internship opportunities were right here in the state of South Carolina. A few of our Chapter’s members that worked within the state shared some of their early career experiences from this summer and how it has benefitted them as they prepare for a career in planning.
“This summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to work with the Community Development department at the City of Greenville. During my time, I was able to research and draft a potential accessory dwelling unit ordinance; help design a form-based code for the Village of West Greenville; and research potential land-use issues associated with micro-breweries, wineries and brewpubs. This experience has helped transfer the theoretical skills I have learned in class into the technical skills planners need to create quality places to live. Additionally, the experience has introduced me to wonderful people within the planning profession, but also to the delightful people within the communities we help serve.”
“I interned for the City of Conway’s Planning & Development department over this summer. Working for the City of Conway was an exceptionally beneficial experience for me as a planner, as it is one of the fastest growing cities in South Carolina. The growth provided me with the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects over the course of the summer. My main responsibilities included: reviewing residential and commercial plans, reviewing downtown structures for the potential expansion of our downtown commercial historic district, implementing changes to the zoning ordinance, developing goals and strategies for the population element of the comprehensive plan, and preparing materials, packets, and issue papers for the Community Appearance Board. Through my internship with the City of Conway, I improved with time management, multi-tasking, and communication – all of which are essential skills for a future career in planning. My goal after graduation is to work as a practicing planner in South Carolina, which I think both my internship with the City of Conway, as well as my previous internship with Horry County as a historic preservation planner, have well prepared me for.”
“This summer, I worked for Beaufort County’s Traffic and Transportation Engineering Department. Working in a transportation engineering department provided me with a unique experience because a large part of engineering is planning for future demands as well. Some of my projects reflected how the traffic engineering department plans to meet the transportation demands of Beaufort County. One of the main projects I took on was compiling a traffic volumes report on some of the major roadways in the county. The report analyzed the Annual Average Daily Traffic counts at various locations along the roadways for the past five years. It was interesting to see the growth in traffic volumes over the past five years and how it matched up with the current growth development occurring in the county. Another project I was involved with was the inventory and mapping of bike and pedestrian facilities in the county. I mapped out where the current and proposed pathways are located using an ArcMap application. My data contributed to the future development of the East Coast Greenway through Beaufort County. I believe working on a variety of transportation projects and gaining a new experience in a specific specialization of planning has helped broaden my expertise and will be useful throughout my future career.”
“I spent this summer as an intern for Greenville County Planning Department. I was involved in a number of interesting projects including the creation of a zoning ordinance amendment and the development of several area plans. One of my favorite activities this summer was following the rezoning process from start to finish. I have continued my internship this semester and am currently helping revise the future land use map and produce geodatabases for scenic corridors and special purpose districts. My internship continually reinforces the concepts I learn in class, and I think my experience in the public sector will serve me well no matter what path I choose. I have a more thorough understanding of the planning process and feel I am equipped for the workforce. I am grateful to Greenville County and Clemson for allowing me to enjoy this experience.”
We would like to give a special thanks to all of the planning agencies across the state that continue to provide such great opportunities for Clemson MCRP students and those interested in a future career in planning. It is through their continued support and education that our profession and interest around planning is able to grow and thrive throughout South Carolina.