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M.U.R.P. Student Lands Prestigious Internship

Pavneet Kaur, a second-year student in the Wilder School’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning program, will intern this summer at Esri.
Pavneet Kaur, a second-year student in the Wilder School’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning program, will intern this summer at Esri.

By Pamela Stallsmith

Pavneet Kaur, a second-year student in the Wilder School’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning program, is the recipient of a competitive summer internship at a leading international producer of mapping and spatial analytic software.

Kaur will work in Esri’s Professional Services Department at its Vienna, Va., office from mid-May through early August, helping clients with their company products during her 12-week internship. Esri builds ArcGIS, the world’s most powerful mapping and spatial analytic software. GIS, or geographic information systems, is designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present spatial or geographic data.

“I am really excited and honored to be part of such a prestigious internship,” Kaur said. “The program will be a good platform to hone my GIS skills and learn from the top experts in the field.”
She will graduate from the Wilder School with her M.U.R.P. degree in December, in addition to receiving a GIS certificate.

Kaur, who has a 3.87 grade point average, came to the United States two years ago from her native India. There, she earned her Master of Business Administration in urban infrastructure and real estate management from Amity University in Noida with a 3.97 grade point average. She received a bachelor’s degree in technology, with a focus in urban and regional planning, from Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar. She is fluent in English, Punjabi and Hindi.

"We're proud of Pavneet," said Damian Pitt, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Urban and Regional Planning and Studies program. "Esri is a very important company in the planning world and a variety of other professions. This is a great opportunity for her and the Wilder School."

Kaur recently learned that she will receive the VCPA – T. Edward Temple Scholarship, which is given annually to an outstanding graduate planning student.

“I want to be an urban planner because I want to do something for the community,” she said. “Inclusive planning is so important to making places livable and to promoting better communities.”

“My husband and family are so supportive, which is why I have been able to further my education,” she said.

She’s carried a heavy workload. Kaur takes four classes a semester, in addition to course-related jobs.

Currently she’s a graduate research assistant at the Wilder School’s Center for Urban and Regional Analysis, where she’s working on Metro View, a regional information and analysis system that provides insights into the 17-jurisdiction Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Last year she worked as a planning intern at the GRTC Transit System in Richmond, where among her responsibilities she analyzed bus routes and stops to increase ridership and revenues and used the ArcGIS software to make maps.

“I want to be an urban planner because I want to do something for the community,” she said. “Inclusive planning is so important to making places livable and to promoting better communities.”

From a young age Kaur has been concerned about issues such environmental degradation and social equity. “There is a need to build inclusive and sustainable communities to celebrate unity in diversity.”
While a student in India, she had two-planning relating internships, conducting market research and analyzing data.

“Urban planning is my passion and I want specialize in GIS as I love mapping, analyzing patterns and solving spatial problems,” she said

Kaur has high praise for her Wilder School professors.

“The faculty at the Wilder School are so encouraging and supportive,” she said. “They bring out the best in you.”