The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning

2013 MCMP Graduates


As a native of Salt Lake City I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy a unique urban setting that is minutes from beautiful natural surroundings. The Wasatch Mountains that bound Salt Lake Valley’s growing urban population is home to wildlife, offer amazing outdoor recreation, and provide the natural resources that sustain human life. Watching urban areas like Salt Lake City grow while managing and protecting their natural resources has been a driving force throughout my academic career and has motivated my desire for a profession in planning.

As a University of Utah Master of City and Metropolitan Planning student, I intend to use my degree to create and enhance vibrant communities, while increasing people’s quality of life through smart sustainable planning.


Originally a ballerina from Alabama, I followed my artistic passion to Salt Lake City. While in the west, I became fascinated with the connection of people to the places we live in and how both the built and natural environments facilitate such connections. I became attached to the beauty of the mountains, the natural nuances within our city, and the unique identity and community character of the region. After graduating from the University of Utah with a BS in Urban Planning, I decided to further pursue my interests in historic preservation and urban ecology. My graduate studies focus on rediscovering, preserving, and restoring our communities, specifically illuminating the complexities, interconnections, and importance of maintaining a harmonic relationship between our urban and natural ecosystems.


I obtained a BA in Anthropology from the University of California – Berkeley in 2006. After graduating, I moved to Utah and began to work as an archaeologist. Archaeology instilled in me a sense of wonder and curiosity about the interaction between people and place. Over time, my interests shifted from prehistory to more recent history, and to historic architecture and landscapes. I began working on projects to document and evaluate the historic built environment. As a result, I developed a broader interest in historic preservation and urban design.

I began the Master of City and Metropolitan Planning program at the University of Utah in the fall of 2011. In planning, I am especially interested in historic preservation and urban design. I believe these approaches will help us to create high-quality compact development, which will in turn reduce our impact on the environment. I am also interested in transit planning and transit-oriented development. I hope to combine historic preservation, urban design, and transit planning to develop places that will sustain us and our environment.

2012 MCMP Graduates


I’ve had a fascination with cities ever since traveling to Europe after graduating from the University of Utah with a Bachelors in Film Studies. When I moved to New York City that summer, my passion for cities and public transit grew. I love traveling and experiencing new cities whenever I can. Salt Lake and the U are great places to learn about planning!

DINA BLAES (MCMP, graduated 5/12)

A native of Utah, I moved to New York City to study architecture at Parsons School of Design. After leaving Parsons, and working for a while in a contemporary art gallery in Soho, I returned to school to study art & architectural history at Columbia University. One would think that a degree in architectural history would be about as useful as a degree in philosophy, but to my delight I landed a great job at the Utah Heritage Foundation upon returning to SLC in 1991. I worked as the Assistant Director of this statewide historic preservation organization for a decade. Since leaving UHF, I have been a private historic preservation consultant working with building owners to secure project financing, to apply for federal and state rehabilitation tax credits, and to find the right architects and contractors to complete the job. I also work with municipal planning offices to augment their in-house preservation staff as well as to oversee and complete special projects as needed.

It is the work with cities and towns that prompted me to return to the University for a Master’s degree in City & Metropolitan Planning. Over the last two decades, historic preservation has become more fully integrated with public planning activities and understanding the perspective of planners and the planning field has and will continue to benefit my private practice.

SEAN MORGAN (MCMP, graduated 5/12)

As a Landscape Architect, I have always been intrigued by how people use and enjoy public spaces and I am fortunate to have several years of design experience at various scales, from large-scale community master planning down to the nuts and bolts of construction detailing. However I felt it was time for me to expand my toolbox to include the larger picture of Urban Planning & Design to gain a better understanding of how we as professionals can influence and manage growth and change at a larger scale.

I received my BS in landscape architecture from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA in 1994. After graduating, I spent 12 months traveling throughout New Zealand, Australia and SE Asia exploring how other cultures have dealt with growth and the built form. I started working for a landscape architecture firm in Singapore where I had a great opportunity to start my career designing luxury destination resorts and hotels in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. After a couple of years, I moved back to San Francisco where I worked for a mid-sized architecture and planning firm. As a project manager, I was responsible for overseeing the design and entitlement process for a number of large golf and ski resort community development projects throughout the West Coast and Rocky Mountain regions. While there I was fortunate to be involved in an exciting and controversial community development project in Carbondale, Colorado. Working on this project taught me the importance of understanding the regional significance of land development and incorporating input from all stakeholders through community outreach and the public participation process. Through an integrated design process, the planning team collaborated with the county, the public, and many local organizations to gain a better understanding of the regional issues and what was important to the public. The result was a proposal for a sustainable and unique New-Urbanist development that focused on addressing the issues of affordable housing and transportation. Participation on this project in particular sparked my interest in pursuing a career in Urban Planning & design.


My love for architecture and design developed early in life, as I grew up visiting residential construction developments and looking at floor plans with my parents. While in high school, I helped my dad design our family’s current home and have since continued to assist him with cabin plans. I obtained a BS degree in Architecture from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, but didn’t feel architecture was my dream profession. Urban Design courses in my undergraduate education piqued my interest in the ability to affect change on a larger scale and provide quality environments for the public, which led me to planning. My interests in planning focus on placemaking and community development, specifically the creation of quality environments that foster creativity, interaction, and an exposure to nature.

XI WANG (MCMP, graduated 5/12)

I am a Chinese girl who born and raised in Beijing, the capital of China. I got my Bachelors degree in Landscape Architecture in 2010 at Beijing Forestry University. After gaining the knowledge and skills of landscape design, I chose to study abroad with my strong interests in a larger scale of design – Urban Planning. Currently, as a master student in the City and Metropolitan Planning program at the University of Utah, I’ve narrowed down my varied interests into concentrating on environmental planning and how other planning aspects, say, transportation, land use and management, and population growth, have impacts on global warming and climate changes, especially in developing countries. As we all know, a remarkable growth in China’s population and economy over the past several decades has come at a tremendous cost to the country’s environment. Today, China faces a series of planning challenges to deal with these significant issue and balance the “input” and “output” from our human beings. For future sustainable development as well as our following generations, we should start to think about the environment and do a planner’s job to take actions on what remains on this shared planet.

2010 MCMP Graduates

J.P. Goates (MCMP)

J.P. Goates is a Research Analyst at the University of Utah Metropolitan Research Center and Adjunct Instructor for the Department of City and Metropolitan Planning. He holds undergraduate degrees in Graphic Communication, Urban Planning and a Master of City and Metropolitan Planning. He has a diverse background in graphics, software development, GIS analysis, transportation, and land use planning.

J.P. began his career as a graphic artist and 3D modeler of video game environments. When he was done playing games, he expanded into a real profession of GIS and planning. His background in design, however, has served the planning field well. In addition to teaching, he has worked on numerous transportation and environmental projects statewide in analysis, public engagement, and documentation capacities. As part of the HUD sustainable communities grant, J.P. holds a key role in development of the Envision Tomorrow Plus planning support system.