Browse more profiles
Arva Hussain
Arva Hussain


Planned Graduation Year: 2021


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

The MURP program at Portland State is one of the highly ranked programs and the university has the benefit of its downtown location which makes accessibility and connectivity to different agencies and people much easier. I have lived in Portland for the past 9 years now and choosing Portland State for my graduate education was a no brainer. I happened to be in the right place at the right time and with enough support and guidance I am able to pursue MURP at PSU.

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

PPDA absolutely made it easier for me to enter grad school. Being a mother and homemaker for a long time, the decision to pursue graduate education was a big consideration. I knew I was passionate about education and that if I put my heart into something I can positively achieve that goal, but a financial need was imminent. So PPDA almost made it certain and possible for me to pursue MURP at PSU.

What connections and experience did you gain from your PPDA? 

PPDA connected me with Campus Planning Office at PSU where I am currently working as a planning intern. I consider myself fortunate that Prof. Schrock is constantly guiding and connecting with good internship opportunities. I have a long way to go before I can enumerate all the connections and experience I will gain through PPDA. 

What aspects of planning do you like best? Or, what is your favorite part about being a planner? 

I have a bachelor’s degree in Architecture, and planning was always an integral part of architectural design. Every time I designed a project I would think about the experience of people in that space. A well designed space (in architectural terms of light and volume) can almost instantly elevate a person’s perception and experience. I believe a well-designed urban area could have a similar impact on people and more importantly if the place can be used by a diversity of people. Knowing that a planner could impact people’s experience and lives and that I can use this knowledge in a meaningful way is my favorite part of becoming a planner.

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

The issues of sustainability and climate change has always been my concern and therefore my area of interests. Sustainability planning, green buildings, and international developments in planning particularly around sustainability are the subjects that interests me most.

What do you hope to do after you obtain your degree?

I want to work and gain experience in sustainable planning and its impact on the community. I also want to grow my knowledge on the impact of climate change in the planning of urban areas. I know that sustainability is one way we can tackle the environmental problem of climate change, but a lot needs to be done in terms of advocating this practice and educating the public about it.

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

Do your homework, read about the profession and its practices as much as you can. If you have a planning related background, you may want to consider what area of specialization you want to pursue at the graduate level. If you don’t have a planning related background don’t be afraid to explore all the options the program has to offer. In any case, reach out to the faculty/university and ask questions that can guide you in making the right decision for your career. I wish and hope more and more students, who are passionate about planning and education gain from PPDA, so they can be one step closer to achieving their life goals.