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People > Student Profiles > Lyndsay Carlisle

Q. What made you enroll in the Undergarduate Program in Urban Studies and Planning at MIT?

Carlisle: It's kind of a long story, but I originally came here to be a chemical engineer because I loved chemistry in high school and wanted the engineering background so that I could put my love for chemistry to use to do good things in the world. However, after coming to MIT, I realized that engineering was not for me and that in my career I wanted to spend my time working with people about issues in communities rather than being outside these communities solving problems with other engineers. Accordingly, I started searching for a new major, and I found Urban Studies and Planning, where I discovered that I could combine my interests in international development and community development into one major and work with amazing people whose company I enjoy.

Q. What has been the best part of your experience here?

Carlisle: At MIT I've gotten exactly what I came here to get (and then some). I came here to establish opportunities for myself that would continue throughout my life. With this department as well as through the Institute, I've been able to travel to places like Peru, Mexico, and Amsterdam to do research and project work. I've met people from small communities doing the same kind of work we do here in the States, I've come to understand their situations and struggles, and I’ve been able to help thanks to my training here in the department. I've gotten to live in a foreign country for some months studying environmental and social impacts of border fences, which I wrote a paper over that got published, and I've gotten to partner with people and organizations that I never would have thought existed-everything from small community organizations to foreign government officials to international research institutes. I've researched and made recommendations for touristic infrastructure changes in Mexico as well as for things that can be done to help combat the foreclosure/housing issues nearby in Lawrence, Mass. Overall, I've met and done good work with inspiring people, and this work has taken me to places I never thought possible.

Q. What will you do after graduation?

Carlisle: Umm...that's still an open book at this point. I will be most focused on paying off debt to be honest, so I will not be heading straight to grad school. I will probably either teach full-time, get a planning job somewhere for a few years, do some more international work/travel, or some combination of all of the above. The long-term vision is to do community development work in Latin America someday though.

Q.Do you have any recent papers or projects you feel especially proud of?

Carlisle: My article, Walls and their Impacts in a Worldwide Historical Context was published last year.