Traci Sanders

Master of Urban Planning

Traci Sanders

Why did you choose Wagner for graduate school?

I had been out of school for five years before I decided to pursue a graduate degree, and a series of very fortunate events led me to Urban Planning.  The two most important factors in my decision were 1) the program had to be located in New York City, and 2) it had to be the right fit, meaning I wanted to make sure I felt comfortable within the social and intellectual environment.  I had visited Pratt Institute and Columbia University, but I knew at the first NYU Wagner Open House that this was the place for me!

How did you find your first post-Wagner job?

I found my first job post-Wagner through the NYU Wagner Capstone. One of my fellow group members had been working for a land use practice at a prestigious law firm in New York City.  At some point during Capstone, I had mentioned to my classmate to keep me in mind if she were ever to consider leaving her position. She reached out to me a few months after graduation, and I began working for that land use practice in winter 2011.

How did your Wagner experience prepare you professionally for what you are doing today?

New York City was really an extension of the Wagner classroom. In-class learning was supplemented in three important ways: 1) encouragement to work an internship in your field prior to graduation; 2) attending panels and forums that drew on the expertise of local practitioners, academics, and thought-leaders across a variety of disciplines; and 3) the second-year Capstone experience which really forced me to begin to apply all of that theoretical and analytical learning. I left Wagner knowing I wanted to work in our nation’s cities helping to shape domestic policy and with a solid base of hard and soft skills that I continue to develop and hone in my continued pursuit of that goal.