April 15, 2018 at 7:11 pm

Happy Beginnings | Senior Receives Prestigious Graduate School Offers

Brooke Siggers, portrait

Brooke Siggers

Editor’s Note: The Happy Beginnings series features recent College of Arts & Sciences graduates who are getting started in careers, graduate school and service.

by Kristin Distel

Senior Brooke Siggers will attend the urban planning master’s degree program at Tufts University this fall, having received offers of admission from a variety of prestigious programs, including Ohio State University, Columbia University, George Washington University, New York University, University of Virginia, Cornell University, and Georgetown University.

At OHIO, Siggers is majoring in Urban Planning & Sustainability, Global Studies: War and Peace, and Political Science. She also has a minor in African American Studies.

Siggers notes that OHIO geography faculty Dr. Geoffrey Buckley, Dr. Amy Lynch, and Dr. Yeong-Hyun Kim were instrumental in helping her navigate the graduate school application process.

Preparing for Graduate School

In order to select the programs to which she would apply, Siggers carefully investigated each school’s benefits and offerings.

“I did extensive research to find out where my specific interests regarding urban planning and sustainability are taught. I checked out the curriculum, what the faculty had been working on, and checked out what current students had to say about the program,” she explains.

She cites Lynch’s classes as particularly formative in preparing her for graduate school coursework.

“Her classes were fast-paced and immersive, which gave me a very good opportunity to understand through hands-on classwork the responsibilities of city planners and the various factors to be taken into account when decision-making,” Siggers explains.

The Far-Reaching Effects of Gentrification

Siggers’s primary area of research is the effect of gentrification on inner-city neighborhoods.

“Within the last decade or so, young, affluent people have become more interested in living in inner-city neighborhoods. Poorer communities, usually comprised of people of color throughout history, were forced to live in inner-city neighborhoods because they couldn’t afford to live in tangential suburbs,” Siggers explains.

The economic effects of this displacement form the basis of Siggers’s research.

“Cities are now orienting funds and revitalization projects toward the enticement of these younger, wealthy populations to induce economic development, displacing lower-income households into other areas because of heightened costs of living,” she adds.

At OHIO, Siggers gained the academic foundation necessary to study gentrification through the lens of urban planning.

Finding Her Purpose—Urban Planning

Siggers’s interest in this subject was sparked when she was a sophomore at OHIO. She was enrolled in a Sustainability Studies theme course, and Buckley served as a guest lecturer. This lecture served as Siggers’s first introduction to the subject that would become her area of specialization.

“I had taken Dr. Buckley’s environmental geography course, which was required for my Global Studies major, but I had never heard of urban planning. I listened to his lecture the following year in my sustainability class, and later went to his office hours to see whether I could pick up Urban Planning as a third major,” Siggers explains.

From there, Siggers pursued urban planning with determination and unwavering interest.

She attended Buckley’s Education Abroad program in Scotland, where she took two planning classes: “The City and the Environment” and “History of Planning.” Additionally, Siggers completed an internship with Athens City Planner Paul Logue.

An ‘Extremely Enlightening’ Capstone

Siggers, who hails from Cleveland, notes that the subject of gentrification is personal to her, as urban sprawl has begun to mark her hometown.

“I’ve witnessed this drastic shift in real time,” she explains. “I decided to dedicate my research to learning the social science behind what I’ve seen in my hometown, as well as how gentrification culminates in other cities.”

Siggers’ capstone allowed her to combine her firsthand experience with rigorous academic research, ultimately giving her a much more thorough understanding of gentrification on a national scale.

“My capstone project was extremely enlightening,” she says. “This comprehensive research project allowed me to evaluate methods that cities across the United States use to dismantle gentrification,” she explains. “It also allowed me to view Cleveland through tangible data, to supplement what I have been seeing in my city all this time.”

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