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CDA Student Spotlight: Mike Thompson

Posted by on Friday, November 4, 2016 in Current Students.


Mike Thompson is a second year CDA student who will graduate in December of 2016.  Mike shared with us some of the journey that led him to the CDA program, some highlights of his time as a CDA student, and some ideas for the future. 

Q. Where are you from?

Minneapolis, MN


Q. What did you do before CDA? 

Immediately before CDA, I worked for a city utilities department cleaning and maintaining water and sewer systems. For three years before that though I worked at an organization setting up summer mission trips in about 20 cities across the US.


Q. Why did you choose CDA?

I appreciated how CDA is crafted to incorporate a broad spectrum of fields within the idea of community development, which results in cohorts bringing multiple perspectives to class discussions and work, and deepens our theoretical framework. Learning from some of the best professors in the world is a pretty solid perk too…


Q. What are your major interests?

I think everyone in CDA has heard my elevator speech by now, but I’m passionate about equitable development of the built environment particularly around housing, transportation, and public spaces.


Q. Tell us about your practicum experience and final project!

Nashville Civic Design Center, or NCDC, is a nonprofit dedicated to design and development education and consultation. My role there has included creating a toolkit and resource for neighborhood associations to assess their neighborhood and incoming development. I also partnered with the TN Department of Health in creating guidelines for health promoting building design for all county health departments’ buildings across TN.


Q. What has been your favorite class & why?

Community Development Theory. It set the contextual foundation for why cities are as they are, it was a unique outlet to nerd out on all the things I love, and because Paul, obviously.


Q. What do you want to do post-graduation?

I plan to continue working within design/development of Nashville’s built environment, shaping it to be more livable and accessible for all people.


Q. What are you involved in on campus?  Off campus?

Where to start… In addition to class and NCDC, I’m working on A People’s Guide to Nashville, a graduate assistant to Paul Speer, a wood working job, and also planning a wedding.


Q. What do you do for fun?

Exploring new restaurants, and doing just about anything outside. In particular lawn games, grilling and bonfires are my jam. (Its community building, right?)


Thanks, Mike, for sharing some of your story with us! 

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