Student and Alumni Spotlights

Justin Alexander

Intersecting public service, community design and participatory planning

Justin Alexander

Urban Planning and Design, Class of 2022

  • Hometown: New Port Richey, Florida
  • Interests/hobbies: short story-writing, photography, urban sketching

Justin arrived at Rutgers having been shaped by childhood interests in medicine and community service—and with an expectation that he would someday become a doctor. But he was also interested in a career in public service and found himself fascinated by the communities in and around Tampa, Florida, where he grew up.

An introductory course in urban planning taught by Professor Barbara Faga inspired Justin to pursue the subject. From there, he discovered the Bloustein School’s Urban Planning and Design program. Though unfamiliar with the subject, he knew he wanted to learn more about a career where he could improve communities through policy and urban design. Professor Faga, whose expertise in public participation overlapped with Justin’s research interests, mentored his departmental honors research project. This further inspired him to consider participatory planning in his future research and career.

As part of the Urban Planning and Design major, Justin is working toward completing the Certificate in Community Sustainability. He is also involved in several student organizations on campus, serving as the Undergraduate Chair of EJB|DESIGNS, the Co-President of the Bloustein Public Service Association, and Campus Section Editor of the Eagleton Political Journal. Justin has also used his student membership with the American Planning Association to attend industry events, build his professional network, and bring resources to his peers at the Bloustein School.

Looking ahead, Justin plans to attend law school in the fall of 2022 and is considering pursuing a dual J.D./Master of City Planning. Justin would like to practice law at the intersection of planning, design, and public policy, with an eye to consensus-building and community participation.

Advice for prospective students: Get involved early with the student organizations and resources available at the Bloustein School. Also, take early advantage of free student memberships to professional organizations, such as the American Planning Association.