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Victor Tran
Victor Tran


Graduation Year: 2018


Why did you choose to pursue a graduate education in planning at Portland State University?

PSU ranks highly nationally for its Master's in Urban and Regional Planning program, and it was one of the very few universities that offered multiple opportunities to have tuition waivers/reductions.

What planning subarea (or class topic) most interests you?

Working with grassroots/community organizations to create plans and strategies to serve the future of their needs. Being able to engage with the public and provide the technical expertise to deliver on what they say is important. On a more personal level, I like thinking about cities as geographies of opportunity for different people, and seeing the overlap between cultures. 

What advice would you offer someone considering a master’s degree in planning? 

Talk to at least 5 people who have done a planning program or are working in urban planning. Before you talk to these people, answer for yourself what you want to do as a career, and how you think a Master's degree in planning will help you get there. Goals and aspirations change over time, so checking in with yourself along the way to ask if an education in planning is still serving you will be important.

What have you done since obtaining your degree, including both professional and civic engagement?

Since graduating (summer 2018), I've worked in private consulting for two different firms: Fregonese Associates and Cascadia Partners. In many ways, I feel like I'm back in school just in the sense of how much new material and skills I'm acquiring on a weekly basis. Besides working full-time, I attend events sponsored by APANO and have started the process of volunteering at the Central Library helping them set up their first ever Mandarin Tech Help program (multilingual program aimed at helping people who have general questions about using technology become proficient). 

What impact did the PPDA have on your ability to enter graduate school/obtain your MURP degree at PSU? 

Everything. I would not have went to grad school without the program, and even though I was accepted into two other grad programs, they did not offer tuition remission programs and given my financial situation I wouldn't have been able to go to any program.

What connections and experience did you gain from your PPDA? 

Not sure if I can fully parse out my connections/experiences gained from PPDA vs. the planning program in general, but my first important connection was to my classmates Mari Valencia and Maria Sipin who I became roommates with in the first year of the program and learned a lot from. Teachers and other professionals in the field became important connections later on. Overall, I’m thankful to a community of friends, colleagues, and mentors who have pushed me to think more critically about planning along the way.