Vrunda Vaghela

MUP - 2014

Director, National Initiatives
Enterprise Community Partners
Vrunda Vaghela

Why did you choose Wagner for graduate school?

I was immediately impressed by the curriculum, which showed a balance of theory and practice in a tactile and dynamic environment. I appreciated that the Master of Urban Planning program was housed within the School of Public Service, indicating that the program was mission-driven, focusing on public good, and covered a greater range of cross-cutting issue areas within the context that I was in search of.

How did being in New York impact your professional journey?

As many say, New York City is an urban planner’s playground, and it really served as a laboratory during my time at NYU. Not only was there a robust history to learn from, but we also got to live the impacts of old and new policies and programs in real time. For example, Hurricane Sandy hit during my time at NYU, and I found many ways to get involved with the city’s recovery and resilience-related work through fellowships, internships, and research projects to influence city policies. Working with professors, practitioners, and community residents on post-disaster planning efforts while attending Wagner was inspiring and gave me a strong direction for my professional path forward.

Describe your current job.

I support the launch and implementation of various initiatives that focus on cross-sector and community collaboration for issues relating to affordable housing, public health, economic mobility, and climate resilience. The primary goal of our work is to lead systems and market change to advance equitable outcomes, promote inclusive community development, and decrease displacement and spatial segregation.