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  • Writer's pictureBryant Phillips

The Berkley Group Internship Program

In the spring of 2018, we developed an internship program in hopes of attracting students who aspired to become leaders to help build and transform communities. Members of our staff reached out to former professors and colleagues at Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, and George Mason University to help find students with interests in the fields of:

  • Planning & Urban Affairs

  • Public Administration

  • Public Policy

  • Environmental Engineering

  • Stormwater Program Development/Administration

Between these four universities, we received resumes from nearly 40 students who were interested in an internship opportunity with the Berkley Group. We hired three current students as interns and two recent graduates as part-time Planners to assist Berkley Group staff with land use planning and ordinance development, interacting with public officials, land development plan reviews, design standards, transportation project development, sustainability/resilience initiatives, and other public policy initiatives.

Matt Becker – Planner, Virginia Commonwealth University

Matt graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he completed a Bachelor's in Urban and Regional Studies and a Master's in Urban and Regional Planning. Matt has worked in economic development for the City of Norfolk and for the Greater Richmond Partnership, and has also worked in campus planning for VCU Planning and Design. Since joining the Berkley Group, Matt has been providing planning support services, both on- and off-site, to the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission.

Starla Couso – Planner, Virginia Tech

Starla joined the Berkley Group in May 2018 after graduating from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Policy and Planning. Starla has conducted research for the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service to update the lists of species of conservation concern and native plant material for two national forests. Additionally, she was a part of Virginia Tech’s Collegiate Wind Siting Team that placed 2nd in the 2018 Competition sponsored by the Department of Energy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory. As a part of the Berkley Group team, Starla has been working with Prince William County to update their Comprehensive Plan and small area plans, as well as working on the Lexington Comprehensive Plan update.

Emily Gore – Planning Intern, University of Virginia

A graduate student at the University of Virginia, Emily is working towards her Master’s in Urban and Environmental Planning. She holds Bachelor’s Degrees from UVA in Urban and Environmental Planning and Foreign Affairs, and previously served as a Transportation Fellow for JAUNT, a regional public transportation system for the Charlottesville region. Emily has been assisting Todd Gordon with the Town of Middleburg Comprehensive Plan update project.

Grace Leonard – Planning Intern, Virginia Commonwealth University

Grace is a graduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she is pursuing a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, with a minor in Geography, from the University of Richmond. She also holds a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Studies from the University of Richmond. Grace brings extensive community engagement experience to the team, and she previously served as an intern for the Chesterfield County Planning Department. Grace has been primarily working on the Middleburg Comprehensive Plan update since joining the Berkley Group.

Katie Simon – Planning Intern, George Mason University

Katie is working on her Master of Public Administration degree at George Mason University. She has her Bachelor’s in Theater Arts from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and she brings a wealth of experience in nonprofit management, outreach and civic engagement, and political campaigning. Katie has been providing support on a variety of projects, including the Lexington and Middleburg Comprehensive Plan updates.

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