Meet VP Group
The Viking Planners Group is comprised of 22 graduate students nearing the completion of their Master’s level coursework at Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs.
Mackenzie will be graduating May 2017 with her Masters of Urban Planning and Development with a concentration in Geographic Information Systems. She currently holds a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University in Geography and loves all things maps. For the last 3 years she has worked as a Senior Admissions Counselor at Cleveland State University, actively recruiting students from the Parma-area of Cleveland as well as New York and Pennsylvania. When she isn’t traveling for work she is traveling for fun and just spent the previous winter holiday in Ireland. In her spare time, Mackenzie enjoys backpacking, video games and attending music festivals.
Shannan will be graduating in May 2017 with her Masters in Urban Planning & Development with a concentration in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Previously, she earned a BA in Geography and a BA in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. For the Geauga Lake Project, she is managing surveys, conducting housing research, and working on conservation site development. Shannan is passionate about community engagement and creating vibrant, equitable and sustainable neighborhoods. In her spare time, Shannan enjoys exploring all things new, spending time at Edgewater Park, and cooking for family and friends.
Austin Bloom is pursuing her Masters of Urban Studies with a concentration in policy analysis. She is set to graduate in May 2017. Austin holds a bachelors degree in Economics from Marymount University in Arlington Virginia. She hopes to work in economic development in the future, with the hopes of improving the City of Cleveland. When she isn’t studying, she enjoys traveling, and is always planning her next adventure.
Alyson will graduate in May of 2017 with her Masters in Urban Planning and Development with a concentration in Real Estate Finance and Development. She currently works for MidTown Cleveland, Inc. Prior to MidTown, Alyson worked in the Real Estate Capital Markets Groups at both Key Bank and the Royal Bank of Canada. Alyson has her BA in Economics and Psychology from Bucknell University and her JD from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. For the Geauga Lake project Alyson is working on zoning, development and finance.
Drew is a Masters of Urban Planning and Development (MUPD) student, receiving a concentration in housing and neighborhood development. His main interests are in transportation planning and college/university campus planning. Drew is a graduate of St. Lawrence University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Education. He grew up in Buffalo, NY...Cleveland is the furthest south he's ever lived (it feels tropical)!
Darren M. Cross is s graduate student in the Masters of Urban Planning and Development program at Cleveland State. He is scheduled to graduate from the program in May 2017. Darren's interested in community development, environmental and sustainable planning, and historic preservation. Darren completed his undergraduate degree at Ohio State University in 2007 with a concentration in Sociology. In addition to going to school, Darren enjoys volunteering for various organizations around Cleveland, going to concerts, and brewing beer at home.
A graduate student in the Masters of Urban Studies, Ralph has a concentration in Real Estate Development & Finance. He received his bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame College in Psychology. Ralph is currently a researcher at The Cleveland Clinic. In his spare time, he enjoys growing and judging orchids at competitions. For the Geauga Lake study, Ralph is addressing the development and financial aspect.
Isabel is receiving her Master’s degree in Urban Planning & Development with a concentration in Real Estate Development & Finance. She received her Bachelor's degree from Cleveland State University in Urban Studies with a concentration in Planning in 2013. Isabel works in commercial real estate brokerage in the CBRE Cleveland office. She specializes in the positioning and disposition of assets prime for redevelopment, with a strong focus in urban based real estate projects.
Tom is graduating with his Master's of Urban Planning and Development in July 2017. He has a particular interest in transportation planning, historic preservation, and local governance. He received his Bachelor's degree in politics from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He currently works in the undergraduate admissions office at Cleveland State University. Tom lives in downtown Cleveland and has been car-free for nearly seven years.
Simon Husted is a graduate student pursuing a Master's of Urban Planning and Development at Cleveland State University with a specialization in Geographic In formations Systems. Simon is keenly interested in studying the rust belt region and initiatives that turn their economies around. Simon is a former daily newspaper reporter and currently a research assistant at CSU's Center for Economic Development. Simon earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in news journalism with a minor in electronic media production at Kent State University. You can follow Simon and what he is up to at https://www.instagram.com/simonghsays/.
Alex will graduate May 2017 with his Master’s Degree in Urban Studies (M.S.). His area of concentration is Real Estate Finance. Alex attended Fordham University and eventually earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies from Cleveland State. Prior to that, he earned an Associate’s Degree from Cuyahoga Community College. Alex currently works as the Government and International Affairs Coordinator under Chief Valarie McCall in the City of Cleveland Mayor’s Office. In his spare time, Alex enjoys hiking, working with plants, real estate, and playing golf. Alex is leading the "rails to trails" bike path proposal for the Geauga Lake project.
Ethan Lawson is a student in the Master's of Urban Planning & Development program (MUPD), with a specialization in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Previously, Ethan worked as an Economic Development Fellow in the City of Cleveland Economic Development Department, where he assisted local small businesses with loan and incentive programs. In 2014 he graduated from Baldwin Wallace University with a BA in Political Science & History and a minor in Urban Studies. Ethan is a Youngstown native and traces his interest in Urban Planning to the revitalization efforts blossoming there.
Sydney Martis is working towards a Master’s of Urban Planning and Development with a certificate in economic development. She currently serves as an Assistant Zoning Inspector and Planner for Concord Township. Previously, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics at the University of Akron. Sydney is passionate about inclusive entrepreneurship, the expansion of equitable economic opportunities and business attraction. Her hobbies include exploring our region’s park systems and pumping iron in the gym.
John is working towards his Master’s of Environmental Studies (MAES) Degree with a concentration in environmental planning. He currently works as a Graduate assistant to Dr. Wendy Kellogg. Previously he worked as an environmental survey intern at TRC Environmental and a sustainability interns at Sherwin-Williams. John did his undergrad work at Cleveland State and earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science with certificates in Sustainable Urban Development and GIS. In his free time, John enjoys hiking up and down mountains and playing Dungeons and Dragons. On the Geauga Lake project, John is researching wetlands design and setbacks and producing maps with the GIS team.
Rachel is a Masters of Urban Planning and Development student who will be graduating in May 2017 with a concentration in GIS. She is interested in the community development-side of planning and has worked as a graduate assistant at Cleveland State University over the course of her study. Rachel graduated from Kenyon College in 2011 with a BA in history and before returning to school worked for Neighborhood Connections and Case Western Reserve University. Rachel loves hiking and in the summer of 2016 hiked the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevadas.
Bianca Rozenblad is earning her Masters of Urban Planning & Development. Her Areas of Interest Include GIS mapping, sustainability, and regional planning. Bianca earned her B.A. from Duquesne University with a concentration in International Relations. During undergrad she interned with the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Planning. During her masters studies she interned with the Ohio Department of Transportation District 12 (ODOT). Bianca is currently working as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority. In her free time she likes to visit the MetroParks, read, and knit.
Pete is a student in the Masters of Urban Planning and Development program with a specialization in Real Estate Finance. He currently works for PIRHL Development as a Development Coordinator on affordable housing projects. Pete graduated from Ohio University in 2007 with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science. For the Geauga Lake project he’s working with the marketing team on the designs for way-finding signage at the site along with other design concepts.
Luke is an MUPD student and earned a certificate in GIS. He currently works as a graduate assistant for the Center for Economic Development at Cleveland State. Luke did his undergrad work at University of Massachusetts Amherst, earning bachelor degrees in Social Thought & Political Economy and in Economics. He enjoys bicycling, reading about urban planning theory, and cooking elaborate vegetarian dinners for his friends. Luke is working on a lot of the development-side GIS mapping for the project, specifically on where to locate buildings on the site and the layout of the mixed-use portion of the project.
Steve is an MUPDD student with a concentration in Real Estate Development Finance. He’s currently a Property Manager in downtown Cleveland for The Frangos Group/USA Parking Systems LLC. Steve is very interested real estate development, specifically the redevelopment of historic buildings. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Akron in Business Administration.
Susan Vincent is graduating with her Masters in Urban Planning and Development in May of 2017. She currently works in the City of Cleveland Mayor’s Office as the Regional Development Associate. Susan previously worked in the City of Cleveland Economic Development Department. Her professional interests center on sustainable community advancement using the tools of community engagement, economic development, and historic preservation.
Arleesha is a Cleveland native and will graduate from Cleveland State with dual degrees in law and urban planning. She’s also earning the Real Estate Finance Certificate. Arleesha is strongly interested in urban development—participating in the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Hines Student Competition and interning for Cleveland Neighborhood Progress. Before CSU, Arleesha attended Bowling Green State University, earning a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice. After her undergrad work, she spent five years as a Probation Officer. Recreationally, Arleesha enjoys riding bikes and traveling with her fiancé and two children. She is currently planning a destination wedding in Africa in 2018.