Tuesday, May 15, 2012

In recognition of her being and extremely engaged, dynamic, productive and successful student, Urban and Regional Planning presented the annual American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Outstanding Student Award to graduating Planning student Robyn Fennig on May 2, 2012. Breaking from tradition, the award was presented by a fellow student, Hannah Papineschi (pictured on the left). Robyn stood out among her peers due to her outstanding contributions to our program, the University, and the planning profession at both the state and regional levels. 

As the APA Region IV student representative, she developed career training opportunities for students and contributed to the development of an AICP student mentoring program. She is also student representative for the Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Division of APA, and serves on the Membership Development Committee of the Iowa APA chapter.

In our program, Robyn has been an extremely active vice-president, president and fundraising committee chair of the Urban and Regional Planning Student Association (URPSA). Within URPSA, she coordinated social events, including the new student orientation, a “lunch and learn” series where students present their work, and, even more significantly, timely workshops about the ongoing ideological attacks on the planning profession and strategies to respond to politically heated situations (in October of 2011).

Her ongoing contribution to the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities, our Capstone Field Problem course, is also outstanding. Her group identified and mapped assets and conducted feasibility and policy analyses for distributed renewable energy production in the City of Dubuque, Iowa. The results of this innovative project were presented at the Jakobsen Conference on the UI campus in March and at the National APA Conference in Los Angeles in April. This is the first time a student capstone project is presented at local and national conferences.

Robyn is also very active at the University level. She organized a highly successful Bike to Campus Day during the UI Sustainability Month. She serves as graduate representative on the Recreation Services Presidential Charter Committee. She also reviews research and travel research grants for the Executive Council for Graduate and Professional Students. In addition, she is actively involved in Women’s Ultimate Frisbee, coaching the B-team and coordinating the Women’s College Division 1 Conference.

In addition to her studies, Robyn has obtained significant professional experience. She worked as a Research Assistant with the UI Office of Sustainability. She worked as a TA in economics courses for Prof. Aaron Strong, with whom she also conducted an independent research study. Off-campus, she helped update the Wisconsin Enhanced Hazard Mitigation Plan, conducting statewide risk assessments and setting up strategy for data collection on state critical facilities. The plan was recently approved by FEMA. She is also engaged with Cedar County Emergency Management, supporting the county with community outreach, developing local floodplain management programs, and working with municipalities on floodplain map updates to ensure compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program. To support her work on hazard mitigation, Robyn took the FEMA Emergency Management Institute training.

Robyn joins a long list of distinguished program students who have received this honor. Congratulations Robyn!