Laura Trudell talks about 3rd year

A day in the life

Laura Trudell talks about 3rd year


Many of the class projects involve studying areas within Halifax in depth. I enjoy doing that on my own time anyway, so it was awesome to find out that I get to enjoy it for school as well.

Mapping out a career

When she was younger, Laura Trudell experienced the Maritimes as part of the requisite family vacations. But they were enough to whet her appetite for coming back to explore Nova Scotia herself.

“My sister and her husband live here, and I’ve been fortunate that they’ve shown me the province via hikes and day excursions outside the city,” she says. “This summer, my friends and I visited the entire province, from beaches to historical sites and all around the Cabot Trail.”

The Markdale, Ontario native wanted to go to school in a city where she had some family, and originally looked at Dal’s Community Design program as a way into applying to Architecture. She quickly discovered, however, that she was better suited for a career in planning.

“I realized that architecture really focuses on single buildings and their sites, but I much prefer understanding and relating all the components of a city or region together,” she says. “I enjoy understanding the complex interactions between the built environment and social aspects of the people in the space and how they use and enjoy it.”

Laura is now gearing up to work on her Environmental Design Honours thesis in fourth year. She’ll be making use of her specialty in geographic information systems (GIS) and cartography that she’s honed in her first three years. But it’s the interdisciplinary aspect of community design that she really enjoys.

“Within one project, I can study everything: policies, geology, history, social interactions, economics, industry, transportation, climate, and politics,” she says. “I also like that it can be a very social and people-oriented discipline. Our classes are small and there’s a lot of group work, so we really get to know one another. Everyone has a diverse background and we’ve all shared stories and become closer. As a planner, this skill at communicating and working together with everyone is important.”

After she graduates, Laura plans on pursuing a master’s degree in a field dealing with GIS, and then starting a career in government as a park planner for national or provincial parks, or working in natural resource management. Wherever she ends up, she won’t soon be forgetting her time exploring Dal and Halifax.

“I’ve enjoyed discovering new parts of the city that I wouldn’t have visited otherwise,” she says. “Halifax is full of life and energy and I plan on trying to see and experience as much of it as I can while I’m here. And I enjoy the university atmosphere here, with so many students engaging in social activities, and interacting with one another.”