Campus: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo -- April 17, 2000

March Cal Poly Grad Is First Winner Of New National Planning Award

A recently graduated Cal Poly student has been named to become the first recipient of a top national award for leadership in community planning.

On Tuesday (April 18), Alison Pernell, who completed the requirements in March for her bachelor's degree in city and regional planning, will receive the American Planning Association (APA) Distinguished Leadership Award for a Student Planner. The presentation will be in New York City during the 2000 National Planning Awards luncheon sponsored by the APA and the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) as part of their National Planning Conference.

In accepting the award, Pernell will be in the company of New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, receiving the APA's Distinguished Leadership Award for an Elected Official, and long-time planning guru and author Frederick Bair, winner of this year's Distinguished Leadership Award for a Professional Planner.

"The list of planning-related projects (that Pernell completed as a student) reads more like the credits of someone who has been a practicing planner for several years," according to the APA. For that record and her academic achievements, the organization chose her from a field of 121 nominees to be the first recipient of the new student leadership award.

Pernell has been especially interested in environment-friendly "sustainable" development and in advocating student involvement in local environmental efforts. For her senior project, she drew up a detailed plan for future development at Cal Poly's Student Experimental Farm and led the construction of a small straw-bale structure at the site.

Among her class work, she helped write a draft general plan for the city of Atascadero and facilitated two community design workshops there. That class project, incidentally, won the AICP's top national Student Project Award for "best applying the planning process," which will be presented Monday at the New York planning conference.

Pernell also developed designs for redeveloping Old Town Lompoc, presenting her ideas to the mayor, city staff and community.

During an internship at the Solar Living Center in Hopland, she conducted a study of public agencies and their acceptance of technologies that contribute to sustainable development.

A Northern California native, Pernell graduated from Enterprise High School in Redding in 1995. She now works at the Roseville land-use and environmental planning firm of Quad Knopf.

The City and Regional Planning Department is one of five departments in Cal Poly's College of Architecture and Environmental Design.

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