Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

Breaking News

Just Moving the Letters Around: SCU to USC

Ben Frazier ’14 worked with professors Lisa Kealhofer, Lee Panich, and Iris Stewart-Frey on a GIS project that is mapping the cultural resources at SCU through time.


I am currently a first-year Master of Planning (MPL) student at the University of Southern California (USC), with a concentration in transportation and infrastructure planning. The MPL program consists of a lot of reading and a lot of group projects. The information provided by my ESS classes (environmental justice, demography, climate science & environmental technology, to name a few) at SCU have laid a solid foundation for me to build upon. Additionally, the technical skills I’ve acquired, particularly GIS, has proven to be invaluable both academically and professionally during my internship with the City of Los Angeles, in the Department of Transportation’s Bicycle Outreach and Planning Program.

USC is different from SCU in a number of ways. The school is considerably larger, has a massive graduate student presence (more grad students than undergrads), and has a campus culture centered around football. Our smaller MPL community has allowed for tighter bonds to be formed between fellow MPLs and our professors; very similar to what I experienced at SCU with both ESS and Political Science.

Overall, I’m very happy here. Los Angeles is a planner’s sandbox with so much new development and transit expansion currently happening. I’m learning more and more everyday and enjoying all the things USC and Los Angeles have to offer. All this was made possible by the great faculty, staff, and students at Santa Clara by preparing me to excel with these opportunities. Go Broncos!