It was the Peace Corps that brought Justin Lovell (MS Public and Urban Policy, ‘09) to The New School. After obtaining his undergraduate degree in Recreational Administration from San Diego State University and spending two years as an Environmental Education Volunteer with the Peace Corps in Bolivia, Lovell realized he wanted to become a manager at the local government level. He began searching for graduate programs and discovered The New School was one of few universities chosen by the Peace Corps as a partnering institution and offered the Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship Program for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV).
Along with the fellowship program, Lovell says he was intrigued with the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment’s hands-on coursework that emphasized real-world practice and impact. He used that hands-on approach for many of the projects and collaborations he conducted with the Public and Urban Policy Program. For example, his capstone project was an in-depth assessment of how the Planning Department of Ulster County, New York, could advocate for planning issues within a new county government structure. In the Urban Policy Lab, his team worked for the mayor of Kingston, New York, and researched how the city could start the revitalization of their midtown neighborhood.“This project got to the forefront of [questions like] what are federal funds, different funding options, and how economic development works in a local government,” explains Lovell.After graduating from The New School, Lovell started working with the City of South San Francisco as a Financial Analyst. Since then Lovell was promoted and now is the Public Works Administrator, where he currently works on the city’s downtown parking program, transportation, and sustainability projects. As he works through these projects, he says he is applying the theories, values, and tools developed through his experiences at Milano.“The two most important lessons I learned (at The New School) were: One, being able to take a policy (with no prior knowledge), research it, and come up with recommendations while engaging in the dialogue of what is currently happening and thinking of how to stay at the forefront, and two, dealing with equity and social justice issues by providing effective policy solutions that are equitable and help a broader range of people,” he says.