APA Foundation: Nurturing Future Planners

This post is one of a series showcasing the work of the APA Foundation. Learn more about the Foundation’s three priority initiatives: Research, Community Assistance, and Scholarships.


A long-time initiative of the APA Foundation is the Judith McManus Price Scholarship, a program that funds women and minority students interested in pursuing careers in the public sector. In 2017, six students were awarded McManus Price scholarships through a competitive process.

Judith McManus Price Scholarship

Judith McManus Price, a planner for more than 30 years before her death in 2001, was an exceptional woman with extraordinary talents that she freely shared, not only with her family and friends, but also with her community, her colleagues, and her profession. She served the public sector in a variety of planning positions facing challenges with strength and optimism — her trademark. Her husband, Thomas Price, continued her gift of sharing with a generous endowment to the Judith McManus Price Scholarship to help women and minority students enter the field of planning.

This scholarship is awarded annually to students intending to pursue careers as practicing planners in the public sector, and are able to demonstrate a genuine financial need. Awards will range between $2,000 and $5,000.

2018 Applications will be due June 1, 2018. Check this page in early April for application forms. Winners will be announced in August.

Hadley Peterson, a graduate student at Florida State University (FSU), was one of the 2017 McManus Price awardees.

As any student will tell you, balancing internships, school, and community activities is no easy feat. Hadley, however, is committed to public service and knew that taking the time to apply for the McManus Price scholarship opportunity would be worth the investment:

“The public service focus of the scholarship was what drew me to the scholarship. Ideally, in my career, I would like to continue either in the public sector or nonprofit sector with planning.”

Building on her undergraduate studies in Spanish linguistics and international studies, Hadley became interested in planning while working with Habitat for Humanity in Quito, Ecuador. The chance to partner with community members and to learn about the built environment intrigued Hadley.

Cities were no longer just streets and houses, but were places to connect with neighbors, to celebrate shared history. It was that combination of people and place that made planning a fit.

I’m really interested in facilitation and community engagement. And how planners can ... create a more equitable city and accessible city. And, I guess that’s why I love planning, just working with people to broaden access and connection across people. ... There’s a place for everyone in planning.
Hadley Peterson, 2017 Judith McManus Price Scholarship Recipient

As president of the FSU Student Planning Organization, Hadley works to awaken others to the possibilities of planning. As APA Ambassadors to FSU undergraduates, high school students — and even elementary school students — Hadley and the Synoptikos team share planning principles and listen to student perspectives.

“Just to see the ways that kids and young people approach the world around them has been really eye-opening," Hadley said. "And, we have really taken this opportunity to show them that there’s this whole other thing called ‘planning’ that connects these dots.”

Ambassadors for Planning

The APA Ambassador Program is a volunteer activity led by members of APA with the goal of increasing awareness and understanding of the power and value that the planning profession brings to communities. Particular emphasis is placed on reaching audiences of diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, and economic backgrounds.

Interested in being an APA Ambassador? Contact APA Customer Service for more information.

Florida State University students share Box City with elementary school students. Photo by Hadley Peterson.

Now in her second year at FSU, Hadley is approaching graduation, grateful for the scholarship opportunity and the chance to launch her career this summer:

“I was going to be a part-time student, but the scholarship let me stay on full time," she said. "[The opportunity to go to school full-time] has been a huge blessing.”

Interested in What APA Has to Offer Students?

Advice from Hadley:

  1. Take advantage of APA’s free student membership
  2. Sign up for newsletters from APA Divisions
  3. Attend the networking events sponsored by your APA Chapter or section
  4. And don’t forget to check out APA scholarship opportunities

Opportunities to connect with peers and mentors, attend resume clinics, and participate in mock interviews are part of the 2018 National Planning Conference: planning.org/conference/careerzone/#students.

Interested in Supporting Students Like Hadley?

The APA Foundation awards scholarships to make the planning profession more diverse and accessible to those of limited means. If you would like to learn more about investing in future planners, contact us at scholarships@planning.org.

Top image: Florida State University planning students at an APA Florida Chapter Conference. Photo by Hadley Peterson.


About the Author
Elizabeth Hartig is a consultant for the APA Foundation.

March 9, 2018

By Elizabeth Hartig