Planning student puts knowledge and skills to work with UN internship


Michael Wanamaker

Catyana Falsetti, a graduate planing student at Arizona State University’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, spent the summer at the United Nations in New York City as part of the United Nations Population Fund Internship Program, where she had the opportunity to transfer her classroom knowledge to making an impact on the global scale.

The UNFPA Internship Program provides a small group of outstanding graduate students with first-hand knowledge of the day-to-day working environment at the United Nations. As part of the UN team, interns work directly with career professionals and senior management, participate in high-profile conferences, and contribute to the analytical work and organizational policy of the United Nations. The internship provides hands-on experience in field development and exposure to new environments and individuals from different cultural backgrounds. A UNFPA Internship is a proven way to gain knowledge, skills, and experience while establishing important connections.

Falsetti focuses her graduate studies on sustainable and resilient design, place making, human population demographics and the study of the impact that these factors have on the environment. The UNFPA internship is an ideal start for her future career as an urban and environmental planner, giving her direct exposure and practical experience at the global level. “I want to be part of a team that works on specific problems to create sustainable, resilient projects, and gain a wider understanding of global trends and solutions,” said Falsetti. “I strongly believe that understanding population demographics and the effective use of demographic information is key to successful future planning.”

“The UNFPA program is a fantastic opportunity for a student to apply their planning skills in an international context and learn about the opportunities and challenges of global policy development,” said Meagan Ehlenz, assistant professor in the school's planning program. “Catyana is a great addition to ASU’s MUEP program. She consistently seeks to apply planning principles to different contexts across the world, from population trends in Brazil and their effects on women to the historical implications of discriminatory legal practices of land use.” After completing her master’s degree, Falsetti plans to work for an organization that implements positive change where she can use her creative talents to assess, design, and develop large-scale projects that are environmentally friendly and adaptable.

The School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning's master of urban and environmental planning program is a transdisciplinary, professional degree program that prepares graduate students for leadership roles in the public and private sectors. “The MUEP program allows our students to learn about planning theory, develop professional skills, and apply that knowledge to the practice of planning in our communities – here in the Valley, as well as across the U.S. and globally,” said Ehlenz. “The urban and environmental planning field provides many opportunities to be innovative and build stronger communities – whether in the Midwest or Northeast segments of the US, the rapidly growing cities of Africa and India, or right here in the Valley.”