Melissa Kaplan-Macey

Master of Urban Planning - 2001

Connecticut Director
Regional Plan Association
Melissa Kaplan-Macey

Why did you choose Wagner for graduate school? 

I chose Wagner because I was looking for a graduate program that offered a strong policy curriculum and engaged faculty in the context of New York City. The Urban Planning program provided an amazing opportunity to connect academic and experiential learning. Wagner's faculty and alumni have been a central part of my professional network throughout my career.

How did being in New York impact your professional journey?

New York City is an amazing learning laboratory for urban planners. I had never spent time in New York before I came to Wagner, but I was immediately drawn into the city's rhythm and culture. It was a fantastic place to both study and live urban planning. It still is - I came to New York City for Wagner and 15 years later, I'm still here.

From Wagner faculty who provided me with the references that helped me land my first job out of grad school to fellow alumni who are now my colleagues, my connection with Wagner has been strong and influential throughout my career as a planner in New York City.

Describe your current job.

My current role is Connecticut Director for Regional Plan Association. For over 90 years RPA has been recognized as a distinguished leader in research and policy making for the tristate region. I currently lead RPA’s research, planning and advocacy activities in Connecticut. My job is to work with business, government and community leaders to create and advocate for forward thinking actionable policy that will help shape sustainable growth in the state and the region.