Student and Alumni Spotlights

Divya Mahadevan

Spanning regional contexts for international planning and development

Divya Mahadevan

Master in City and Regional Planning (MCRP), Class of 2023

  • Hometown: Kochi, India
  • Certificate/Specializations: International Development/Community Development, Housing
  • Personal interests: television, media, and film; geeking out about being part of a live audience on the late-night shows in NBC studios; traveling and exploring new cities; trained Indian Classical dancer since the age of 7

Divya is originally from India but grew up in Kuwait, both of which have drastically different economic climates. During an annual visit to her home country, she was startled by the contrasting living conditions. The noticeable differences in roadways, traffic, waste management, and housing quality made her want work to enhance the livelihoods of the people in her home country. Having earned a Bachelor of Architecture from American University of Sharjah and worked in the field for several years, she decided to realign her architecture and design practice towards international planning by working towards a master’s in urban planning in the U.S.

Knowing that she wanted to study in the U.S. northeast made Rutgers an easy choice. Her first connection to the Bloustein School was through a virtual meet and greet, where she discovered the flexibility in scheduling, courses, and concentration areas was one of the school’s most valuable assets. By approaching her master’s degree holistically, she has been able to gear her interests toward community redevelopment and transformation, which can easily span across regional contexts and into international planning and development.

At the Bloustein School, she also keeps busy as the treasurer for Bloustein Graduate Student Association (BGSA) and serving as social media manager for the International Development Interest Group (IDIG). She is concentrating her studies in international and community development and housing.

In addition to her academic studies, she is working as a bus surveyor at the Voorhees Transportation Center, which provides introductory experience in the planning and surveying fields. This summer, she is working as an engineering audit intern at the New York City Office of the Comptroller. Post-graduation she aspires to work for an NGO or other organization that carries out development projects in areas of need and emergency, such as neglected local communities or dislocated neighborhoods in the regional and international context.

Advice to prospective students: Capitalize on the freedom of flexibility in this program because it is one of the strengths of the Bloustein School. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to professors and students, you won’t be surprised to find out how nice and helpful Blousteiners are!