This summer, I crossed the line from college student to young professional. I’ll admit that I was a bit apprehensive about leaving the tight community that is Ohio State, but my fears were unfounded. I’ve loved my experience this summer as a Cleveland Foundation intern placed in the planning department at Shaker Heights, and I’ve found an exciting and dynamic community of people working for positive change here in the Cleveland region.
My internship at Shaker Heights has been a perfect fit for my interests. I’ve been responsible for implementing an on-street bicycle routes plan, a process that has involved hours of researching bike routes across the country, riding my bike on the proposed routes, leading a focus group meeting, and preparing a grant application. At every stage of the project, I’ve worked with my five colleagues in the tight-knit Shaker Heights Planning Department, and they’ve helped push the knowledge I gained as a city and regional planning major to new levels.
In addition to bike routes, my internship has included work on an ongoing project to create a transit-oriented street, attending an architectural board of review meeting, and assisting with the day-to-day operations of the Planning Department, such as answering phones and taking trips all over Shaker to photograph houses for building permits or historic preservation awards. Thanks to my time at Shaker, I now know that urban planning is the career for me.
The defining feature of this internship has been the professional development seminars. I look forward to each week’s trip to a new neighborhood, and I love learning about the organizations that are making a difference in the region. These weekly meetings—and the candid discussions with Mayor Frank Jackson and Cleveland Foundation president Ronn Richard—have given me a new optimism and belief in Cleveland. The internship has been everything I hoped for and more, and I’m confident that the experience I’ve gained this summer will be invaluable as I start my career.
Each week we use this space to give each of our interns the chance to reflect on their internship experiences. Graham Welling, a senior at The Ohio State University, has been placed at the City of Shaker Heights (Planning Department). Graham will be responsible for developing the city’s On‐Road Bicycle Route Network Plan. He will also investigate ways to create a transit‐focused residential street with an RTA rapid station at one end for the Transit Village Plan and Alternative Energy Study.