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K-State Today

June 18, 2018

Regional & community planning graduate student earns national scholarship from Stein Institute

By Thom Jackson

Rial Carver, a graduate student in regional & community planning in the College of Architecture, Planning & Design, has received a $10,000 scholarship from the Clarence S. Stein Institute at Cornell University.

The institute supports the research, teaching and community service of students and faculty who have demonstrated an interest in the ideas of Clarence Stein as expressed in his book, "Toward New Towns for America." Stein was a leading urban planner and architect in the 1950s who designed communities with walkability and public space in mind.

Carver's project aims to better understand how people identify with their neighborhood, what variations occur among residents in neighborhoods along an urban to rural gradient, and what sort of underlying neighborhood conditions — proximity to school, food and healthcare — impact perceptions of a neighborhood's identity.

Carver, who was raised in Richmond, Virginia, and later attended Virginia Tech, earned a bachelor's degree in environmental policy and planning with a minor in civic agriculture and food systems. After graduation, Carver worked as the sustainability coordinator for Virginia Tech Dining Services where she oversaw the Reusable To-Go container program, Zero Waste events and the Dining Services Farm at Kentland. While working at Virginia Tech, Carver started to become familiar with strategic planning, and realized that a master's degree in regional and community planning would be a good fit for her. Carver plans to graduate in spring 2019 with a master's degree in community planning and is excited to facilitate community planning efforts with a food systems and sustainability lens.

"I am so proud of Rial, as her major professor, for being a recipient of the nationally-competitive Stein Institute research grant,” said assistant professor Hyung Jin Kim. "Rial has been an exceptionally engaging, bright and mature student. She is very diligent and responsible for what she has to do, and always accepts advice willingly and enthusiastically.

"Through her master's research, Rial hopes that her research outcomes can provide a basis for understanding community's social needs by employing the urban-to-rural gradient research tool for shaping new planning perspective on the definition of 'community,' in comparison with Clarence Stein's neighborhood unit concept," Kim said.