Student Blog -by Cale Brodersen

Hello everyone! My name is Cale Brodersen, and I am a second year master’s student studying Community and Regional Planning (CRP) from Lincoln, Nebraska. Follow me this year to see what life is like as a graduate student and to see what the planning students are up to!

After receiving my bachelor’s degree in business management, I spent some time travelling. I visited 18 different countries and countless large cities where I was awed by the complexity and unique nature of the world’s urban areas. I wanted to learn more about what makes a city great and what it takes to ensure that people have a good quality of life. This led me to the CPR program, and I could not be happier with what I am learning.

Aside from class, I work as a Sustainability Specialist for the UNL Office of Sustainability where I work with faculty, staff and students to introduce programs on campus that reduce the negative impact that our university has on the environment. Additionally, I serve as the current president for SPAN, the Student Planning Association of Nebraska, and I am a representative for our program on the executive board for the American Planning Association Nebraska Chapter, which is the professional organization for planning.

Nov. 20th

Most MCRP students have either part-time or full-time jobs. Either way, gaining work experience while getting your master’s degree is the best way to jump start your career and be marketable upon graduation.

I currently work as a Sustainability Specialist with the UNL Office of Sustainability. In my role, I coordinate some of our campus engagement programs, collect data and develop reports relating to campus operations and infrastructure (regarding waste and transportation, for example), help students develop their sustainability projects and assist in data reporting. I work with an amazing team, and I love having a part in driving a culture of sustainability forward at the university. Send me an e-mail at if you would like to learn more about what we do or how you can get involved!

Oct. 30th

Planning is such a great field because you can use the same skillsets to work on so many different issues: transportation, housing, environmental conservation, economic development, community development and so much more. SPAN, UNL’s student planning organization, brings a diverse range of planners to our meetings to teach us more about what a career looks like in each of the different disciplines. Every time that we have a speaker, I think to myself “I could definitely see myself doing what they are doing!” It can be hard to narrow down the areas of interest, but it is a great problem to have!

This week, Grant Daily with NeighborWorks Lincoln and the South Salt Creek Community Organization talked to us about all of the amazing work they are doing with community development. It’s people like Grant and organizations like these that make Lincoln such a great place to live.

Oct. 16th

While in Chicago last weekend to support the Huskers at the away game, I went on an Architecture/Planning boat tour that goes on the river right through the city. This was an amazing opportunity to see great examples of planning concepts that I’ve learned about in class and see where the work of planners and architects overlap. When traveling, always take advantage of the opportunities to learn something new!

After a period of heavy industrialization and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Chicago has done an incredible job of beautifying the city, creating more open spaces and enhancing the air and water quality. I was the only one on the tour visually freaking out with excitement over the planning history and mentions of notable planners like Daniel Burnham, but I wasn’t ashamed for a second!