Our AICP Outstanding Student of the Year award goes to Nate Mueller this year. Nate stood out among several competitive candidates because of his excellent academic performance and his leadership to our community.
Nate is an outstanding student in our program, and our faculty unanimously agreed on his nomination. We would put him in the top 3% of all our graduates. His performance was excellent as a student, research assistant, and teaching assistant. He is a strong leader in the student community and takes leadership in classes, group work, student association, and social occasions.
Nate’s concentration is Transportation and he took various courses in transportation and GIS. His GPA clearly indicates that he excelled in his coursework. He always shows strong enthusiasm in learning and developing his analytical skills. His products are always carefully prepared and often go beyond expectation. He is not only an excellent analyst, but also a friendly and warm team worker, skilled writer, and effective presenter.
Nate worked as a research assistant for Dr. Laurian and Dr. Nguyen in the School of Urban and Regional Planning, and helped them in data collection and analysis. He also worked as a teaching assistant for Analytic Methods in Planning I and II, which are required courses for quantitative analysis. As an intern for the Iowa Legislative Services Agency, he developed his GIS skills even further by updating and organizing annual department data from 21 state agencies.
Nate is a diligent person and a great team-worker. He demonstrated remarkable leadership and analytic skills in group project environments as well. During his residency in SURP, he took leadership in four very successful group projects. One of them is the student capstone project called Field Problems, in which he is working for the city of Dubuque, IA to explore the potential for developing alternative mode-sharing transportation. Nate leads the analysis, discussion, and planning of the project and the group has been making steady progress towards success.
We are impressed by Nate’s intellectual ability as well as his independent, responsible, and dependable personality. He received the largest number of nominations for this award, both from faculty and students, which is more evidence of his strong commitment to the community. We believe that he will succeed in his planning career, and that he will contribute to his region and community after graduation.