Each year, the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-NC) bestows the Marvin Collins Outstanding Planning Awards on communities in several different categories, as well as one student from each planning program in the UNC System (Appalachian State University, East Carolina University and UNC Chapel Hill) who demonstrate exceptional merit in planning. This year’s award winner from Appalachian is departmental outstanding senior, Rhiannon Reed-Kelly.
Reed-Kelly from Boone is double majoring in Community and Regional Planning and Geography, with a minor in Sustainable Development. Her school work has led her to research relationships between health and the built environment. She also has an interest in studying displacement of people by climate change.
Reed-Kelly is a current recipient of the ASU-LGAA (ASU Local Government Alumni Association, comprised of city and county managers and department heads in local governments in and around N.C.) scholarship in Geography in Planning, as well a past recipient of the nationally competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship during the 2018 spring semester to study abroad in the Czech Republic. Upon graduation, she will enroll in the Sustainable Development program at University College in Cork, Ireland.
“I plan to pursue a Master’s in Sustainable Development and Planning and I want to work in Urban Design, especially looking at the impacts of design on mental and physical health, and environmental wellbeing,” said Reed-Kelly.
Reed-Kelly was nominated by her faculty members and will receive the award at the APA-NC annual conference held in Wilmington, N.C. in October 2019. The North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-NC) is an association of 1,400 professional and citizen planners working to preserve great places and to create a bright future for North Carolina.
The APA-NC Marvin Collins Planning Awards program annually recognizes agencies and individuals that have completed outstanding plans, programs and projects; have excelled as planning students; or have made notable contributions to the planning profession. The awards signify the highest standards of achievement for planning in North Carolina and highlight work that is worthy of attention.
“Rhiannon was a natural choice for this award; she is a young scholar and engaged community member who strives for excellence, and is committed to applying her knowledge and skills to improve conditions for individuals, communities and the natural environment,” said Dr. Elizabeth Shay, assistant professor, Department of Geography and Planning.
About the North Carolina Marvin Collins Planning Awards
The Awards Program is named in honor of the late Marvin Collins, a former planning director for Orange County, N.C., who developed the idea for the program in 1975. He received a Professional Achievement Award from the APA-NC just prior to his death in 1998. For the 25th anniversary of the awards program, the APA-NC Executive Committee recognized Marvin’s service to the chapter by adding his name to the awards program.
About the Department of Geography and Planning
The Department of Geography and Planning promotes the understanding of the spatial dimensions of human behavior within the physical and cultural systems of the earth, and the role of planning in achieving improvement in those systems. The department offers degrees in geography and in community and regional planning. Learn more at https://geo.appstate.edu.
By Ellen Gwin Burnette
Oct. 28, 2019