Student Spotlight: Becky Dalske
Planning is a crucial skill for Becky Dalske. Having studied environmental engineering and political science, she discovered that these two fields intersected, sparking her interest in the land use and environmental planning industry. Today, she is a land use and environmental planner at LACO Associates, where she works and thrives in a fast-paced environment full of budget and time constraints.
Before she rose through the ranks and became a senior planner, Dalske was an associate planner in need of a formal background in planning to augment her work experience. That’s when she started her online search and chose UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s Land Use and Environmental Planning Certificate Program. “This was the only certificate program I could find that was focused on planning in general,” she says. “I was glad to find a program that fit my interests and accommodated a full-time work schedule, with classes spaced-out throughout the year.”
While the program has core classes that must be completed, the many elective options make it so that you can tailor it to suit your interests.”
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She says one of the benefits of this program is being able to see a new perspective and expand her own. Dalske works a lot with public agencies as a hired consultant, so being able to connect first-hand with public agency planners and better understand their work was valuable. “The interactive nature of the classes allowed us all to share our different perspectives, and thereby hear about others’ experiences,” she explains.
Her instructors’ experiences were a vital part of her success. “I appreciated that all the instructors were not just teachers, but also experts in their fields. As a working professional completing the certificate program, it was very helpful to learn from someone who could directly apply the concepts to real-world projects,” Dalske says.
A few months after completing the certificate program I took the AICP exam and passed it on the first try – a goal I don’t think I would have been able to fulfill so quickly without the certificate program.”
The program provided Dalske with fundamental planning knowledge, planning concepts and an expanded catalogue of resources. Now adapted to the fast-paced nature of the consulting world she works in, she uses these skills in her everyday work schedule and flourishes in a challenging industry.