Joanna Simon

Master of Urban Planning

Joanna Simon

Please describe what you were doing before you came to NYU Wagner?

Before coming to Wagner I worked in environmental advocacy and education. I worked for Hudson River Park as well as a nonprofit organization and I knew that I was interested in pursuing a career in sustainability and place-based learning. I was also an avid city cyclist and as a result was interested in street design and cycling infrastructure. I decided to enroll in an Urban Planning program in order to pursue these interests and build on my experiences.

Please describe how your experiences at NYU Wagner prepared you for your career?

Wagner laid an excellent foundation for understanding public policy and research and allowed ample space for exploration of self-guided interests. I was able to utilize my Capstone experience, faculty guidance, and my working at Wagner’s Rudin Center for Transportation to learn and fine-tune data and geospatial analysis skills to pair with my public policy coursework. This experience and freedom to explore a wide range of topics and technical skills was invaluable for me at the time and in preparation for my career. After graduating from Wagner, I worked for a bike share company where I was able to work with city agencies to create maps and plans for micro-mobility program launches and expansions. This entailed pairing demographic and mobility analysis with geospatial concepts and public policy awareness. I am able to use many of these skills in my current role at Apple where I work to research and analyze data and features for Apple Maps.

How did you find your first post-NYU Wagner job?

My first job post-NYU was with a small bike share startup. I took a part-time role with the company while I was finishing my degree (and working another part-time job). The job involved mapping bike share stations in cities for launch and drawing plans in Computer Aided Design (CAD). I taught myself CAD on the job and spent a lot of time traveling, but the gamble came with a reward as bike share boomed in popularity soon after I started. The part-time job quickly led to a full-time position and the company that I was working for grew and was acquired within 2 years. It was a fast paced environment and I learned a lot in a short amount of time.

Please describe what impact you hope to make through your career and/or organization?

I have gained a unique perspective thanks to my prior experiences and education at Wagner. Specifically, I plan to always keep accessibility in mind and use critical thinking to approach my work in a holistic manner.