Community Development and Planning (CDP)

CDP Internships and Field Research

CDP students have participated in internships and field research to gain practical experience with nonprofit, grassroots, or government organizations.

Some recent internship experiences of Community Development and Planning students include:


Christine Dunant (TA/B.A. ‘09/CDP/M.A. ‘10) interned at the Worcester county District Attorney’s office, researching demographic information of victims of domestic violence as well as the outcomes of the cases while looking for trends in the data. This information is being used to assist with better supporting and solving domestic violence issues.

Sarah Edwards (CDP/M.A. ’10) was the education coordinator for the Organization for the Assabet River (OAR), a small science-based advocacy watershed organization. She was in charge of their summer education activities, which included free weekly workshops for youth that focused on how our actions affect our watershed. These were located in Westborough, Marlborough, and Stow, Mass. She also coordinated the Intel-OAR Environmental Innovators Contest, where 22 area high school student teams proposed innovative projects that could better the quality of the water in the Assabet River watershed. It aimed to foster scientific awareness and research capabilities in the next generation of innovative thinkers. 

Bekki Jankoviak (CDP/M.A. ’10) interned with the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy in Boston. The internship involved planning the organization’s annual conference, which brings together members and stakeholders from across the state. She worked throughout the summer to secure presenters, create the event schedule and plan the logistics, identify sponsors and donors for the event, design and distribute publicity, and apply for continuing education credits for the workshops. During the school year, she worked with the City of Worcester to conduct a Waste Hauler Survey. As part of its Climate Action Plan, the City of Worcester is seeking to increase commercial and residential recycling rates. Jankoviak was responsible for designing the survey, conducting background research, contacting and interviewing the haulers, and writing the final report of the results.

Brandi Remington (CDP/M.A. ’10) spent ten weeks in a principled nonviolence training program through the Metta Center for Nonviolence Education in Berkley, Calif. Throughout the ten weeks she worked for the Friends Service Committee in Oakland helping them to compile information on healing justice work being done in the Bay Area. She also spent at least one day a week exploring the world of principled nonviolence with the Metta Center, studying the works of Gandhi and King while participating in workshops on self nonviolence, service, social movements and nonviolence, and nonviolent communication. The entire experience helped to supplement her experience at Clark by providing new ways of operating in the midst of the crises her classes have focused so closely on, as well as new ways of looking at conflict in urban settings. This new lens took away the complications of the situations and brought them back to the human factors of conflict including needs and emotions.


Erin Burns-Maine (SOC&UD/B.A. ‘08/CDP/M.A. ’09) interned as a staff assistant to Continuum of Care Advocacy & Education for the Central Mass. Housing Alliance. She worked both on the reapplication of the Continuum of Care grant and management of all 24 subgrantees’ funding. She also runs the monthly Housing, Homelessness, and Benefits meetings, which convenes over 40 providers and organizations to discuss the issues of housing and homelessness in Worcester.

Caitlin Sullivan Hanson (CDP/B.A. ‘08/M.A. ’09) has interned for the past two years at the Jane Fund of Central Massachusetts. The Jane Fund offers financial assistance to women who cannot afford to exercise their legal right to abortion services by making pledges towards their procedures. Hanson assists at the intake hotline with three other volunteers discussing ways to pay for the procedure and making pledges directly to the clinic to cover any remaining costs. She also continues to serve as the secretary of the board at the Jane Fund.

Angela Romeo (GVT/B.A. ’08/CDP/M.A. ‘09) interned at One Family Inc. where she developed a community organizing manual and training program, and supported system changes in departments on community-campus organizing efforts.

Yelizaveta Ruzer (GVT/B.A. ’08/CDP/M.A. ‘09) interned as the project director of the Sunset Russian Tobacco Education Project, a Russian language community health project, at Bay Area Community Resources. Ruzer’s responsibilities included assisting in research of low-income, multi-unit housing with a high rate of Russian smokers in San Francisco as well as creating surveys for the project. She was also involved with organizing and editing documents, attending staff meetings, working with Russian immigrants on health-related issues, translating documents into Russian, creating a database of all low-income housing units in San Francisco, and attended a conference on “grandfathering” in housing development.

Quinton Robinson (CDP/M.A. ’09) is working as a research assistant on the Worcester Weed and Seed Grant with Laurie Ross and Amar Cid (CDP/M.A. ’08).


Etel Capacchione (CDP/M.A. ’08) was appointed by the Worcester City Council to serve on the City of Worcester Advisory Committee on the Status of Women. The purpose of this Committee is to promote and advance policies that affect women in Worcester. In fall 2007, she was hired as a consumer mediator with the Mass. Office of the Attorney General.

Amar Cid (CDP/M.A. ’08) interned with the Sacramento County Long Range Planning Department where she created maps using ARC GIS, wrote a sustainability grant, and conducted research on sustainable infill development. She assisted the director of the department on researching new infill projects and informational brochures for public planning meetings.

Fauna Shaw (CDP/M.A. '08) interned in Clark’s University Advancement department, where she aided major gift officers and worked with corporate and foundation directors. She also interned at the Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Services in Worcester, where she assisted paralegals by helping clients fill out INS documents, worked on specific cases and called clients to set up appointments. She worked mostly with African refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers.

Sarah Parmenter (CDP/M.A. '08) is working as a research assistant on the Environmental Justice Project, assisting with household vulnerability surveys and working with the Health Outreach Working Group. She is also participating in the Community Development Practicum class with Professor Corey Dolgon at Worcester State, assessing homelessness and political engagement in the Worcester area.

Greg Paskach (CDP/M.A. '08) isworking with Laurie Ross and Ellen Foley on the Charles E. Shannon community safety initiative, a youth violence/gang reduction program. The funding is statewide with several sites across the state working on this initiative. The Worcester Community Action Council and Worcester Police Department have collaborated to conduct a comprehensive youth employment program as a strategy to reduce youth violence and gang activity in the city.  Greg’s role in the evaluation process has been to interview and compile data on participants, providers, and partners.


Erin Anderson (CDP/M.A. '07) interned with the Worcester Women's History Project where she developed an initiative to collect oral histories of local women. WWHP is a non-profit organization that is working with Worcester colleges to create a searchable database of oral history involving women in Worcester.

William Burdick (CDP/M.A. '07) worked on a research project with Laurie Ross locating tobacco vendors in Worcester as part of an effort to reduce teen smoking. He worked as an intern for the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission for three months and continues to work for the City of Worcester in the ITS department, updating GIS layers.

Traci McCubbin (CDP/M.A. '07) worked with Richard Ford on a project in Portland, ME conducting participatory needs assessment on Portland’s refugee, immigrant, and minority communities over a six month period. The goals of the project were to determine the highest priority needs of the communities and to test how successfully participatory tools would work in Portland. Traci was also a volunteer intern for the Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center where she participated in writing a grant and soliciting donations, as well as provided career counseling and assisted clients with their health care.


Tim Dzurilla (CDP/M.A. ’06) is working on a project between Main South, Worcester, Massachusetts and Bello Oriente, Medellin, Colombia, former home of the Pablo Escobar drug cartel and the world’s most dangerous city in 1991. The project started while he was still a student in the Community Development and Planning program at IDCE and has grown since his graduation. It began as a collaboration among the Worcester’s Boys and Girls Club, Clark, and Main South Speaks, an initiative that strives to hear the voices of the city’s most vulnerable populations. This new project, based primarily online, aims to create a global conversation about our lives and our future as youth from worlds apart find common ground with one another in the form of a blog.

Dzurilla writes, “I am currently in Medellín, Colombia conducting research on development, conflict, and information warfare. My day is divided between working with city hall to strengthen social networks in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city and working at an international institution with youth displaced by the violence here.
I have started a project we’re calling, Dream Hunters, connecting immigrant youth in Worcester, Massachusetts and displaced youth here in Colombia through images, teleconferences, and video. You can follow along and participate in the conversation at (You can even help support the project by making a tax-deductible donation on the website.)

In general, life here is one of extremes. I'm plopped in the Andean mountain chain, one of the most beautiful places I have ever lived. The people here are extremely nice, the food is incredible, and the weather is always like the best spring day. On the other hand, the poverty and desperation is horrifying, the streets can be extremely dangerous, and war is underlying in most conversations. There are arts exhibits, international visitors, dance performances, and even on-location photo shoots here.”
You can read more about Dzurilla’s adventures abroad and ideas for development on his personal blog.

Matt Hertel (CDP/M.A. '06) interned with National Student Partnerships in Somerville, MA, where he worked directly with dozens of local residents, helping them to locate a variety of resources including: employment, education/training, housing, legal assistance, and child care. He also helped increase the capacity of the office by forming relationships with social service providers and businesses and developing new resources.

Sasha Hnatkovich (CDP/B.A./M.A. '06) interned with the Worcester Cultural Coalition where his major task was to help create the "Worcester Way," a philosophy of City Making. The project required him to edit many versions of the philosophy, based upon the writings of multiple authors.


Kate Driscoll (CDP/M.A. '05) was an intern with Silent Spring Institute in Newton, MA working with a team to develop an interactive data mapping website. The website, which uses Geographic Information Systems technology, enables users to overplay public health, demographic, and environmental data at the town and census tract level. Silent Spring is a non-profit scientific research organization dedicated to identifying the links between the environment and women's health. It is comprised of a collaborative of scientists, physicians, health advocates and community activists.

Lara Bold (CDP/M.A. '05) and Mike Colan (CDP/M.A. '05) are doing research on "Best Practices Of Downtown Revitalization" with George Ciccone, Director of Economic Development. They are tasked with doing case studies of various downtown revitalization techniques and examining the impact of current policies, such as tax incentive financing and zoning, as well as exploring other effective tools. They will present their recommendations based on their research to the Office of Economic Development.

Lauren Burkert (CDP/M.A. '05) was the brownfield coordinator with Investar Redevelopment and researches Brownfield Redevelopment and distressed housing project opportunities, assisting in assembling the elements of each project and provides advisory assistance on computer applications development.


Angel Riepe (CDP/M.A. '04) and Colleen Adams (CDP/M.A. '04) interned with the Worcester Housing Authority. They compiled census data on the number of disabled residents in Worcester and conducted individual and focus group interviews to document the housing needs of the disabled in the community. They presented their research to the Housing Authority and received a letter of appreciation from the chairman and former mayor Ray Mariano.

Kendra Fehrer (IDSC/B.A./M.A. '05), Amy Mosher (CDP/M.A. '04) and Jennifer Smith (IDSC/M.A. '04) worked as research assistants with the Clark-based Worcester Educational Partnership (WEP), a high school transformation initiative in Worcester. The research is a four-year longitudinal study examining the impact of small learning communities on high school students. The study aims to harness the students' perspectives in order to inform and guide the small school change process. Throughout the last year the WEP team conducted interviews, led focus groups, and worked with student researchers at each of Worcester's eight public high schools. In the summer the interns analyzed qualitative and quantitative data gathered during the year.

Amy Mosher (CDP/M.A. '04) interned for Greater Worcester Community Foundation (GWCF), doing research to help the foundation improve its environmental grant making. To aid the Water and Land Stewardship (WLS) Fund Committee, she designed and implemented a phone survey to assess the needs, challenges, and achievements of approximately 50 environmentally related community organizations throughout Worcester County. She also began a database and literature review for the foundation and reported preliminary findings and recommendations to the WLS committee.


Annie Gorski (CDP/M.A. '03) interned at the Clean Start Redevelopment Company, a real estate advisory company specializing in the revitalization of underutilized and contaminated properties throughout New England. She studied the steps that the private sector takes to assess, remediate, and redevelop brownfields. Her duties included identifying potential brownfield sites, following up on existing sites with potential developers, and soliciting community input on potential site uses.

Samuel Stratton (IDSC/M.A. '03) worked as an intern for Clean Start Redevelopment Company, incorporating GIS analysis into brownfields redevelopment and into the environmental assessment and remediation process.

Examples of community development internship and field research sites include:

Centro Las Americas

City of Worcester Executive Office of Economic Development

City of Worcester Executive Office of Neighborhood Services

Clark Sustainability Initiative

Clean Start (brownfields remediation)

Friendly House

Greater Worcester Community Foundation

HOPE Coalition

Main South Community Development Corporation

Oak Hill Community Development Corporation

Regional Environmental Council

Romanian Relief Fund

Worcester Common Ground CDC

Worcester Community Action Council

Worcester Housing Authority

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester Public Schools

Worcester Youth Center

Worcester's Neighborhood Cabinet

Worcester Education Partnership

Worcester Education Partnership has received an $8-million Carnegie Corporation grant to implement systemic education reform in Worcester's secondary schools. CDP students are involved in the research on how high school students experience components of the secondary school transformation plan.

Evan Wilson (CDP/M.A. '07) is a member of the Worcester Educational Partnership (WEP) research team, working with Laurie Ross, gathering and evaluating interview data from high school students to help evaluate the implementation of small learning academies within the Worcester public school system. He completed two internships this summer, both of which were connected to the research conducted by Laurie Ross. Working on the WEP research team, he created a summative and analytical evaluation report examining teaching and learning practices from the most recent evaluation. He worked with the city-wide youth program, YouthNet Worcester, in designing, implementing and analyzing participant and parent program evaluations. He also partnered with the Central Mass Area Heath Education Center’s (CMAHEC) outreach worker training program to create a grant template and research fundraising opportunities for organizational development.

Return to top >>

[ Spotlight Profile ]

Amar Azucena Cid
(CDP '08)

As a CDP student, Amar Azucena Cid challenged herself to take a wide range of courses, work part-time, and participate in many extra curricular activities. "The courses I took helped to strengthen my ability to look at how community planning needs a holistic approach, bringing housing, transportation, nutrition, and diverse populations to the table."

Read more | Other profiles