Aliah Marzolf takes participation in an epic project one step further to illuminate best practices in emergency engagement
University of Washington
I am living in Seattle, Washington, and my favorite place to go is Greenlake Park with my cousin’s dog, Macho! It’s a beautiful park that provides plenty of opportunities to have some fun outdoors and get a local respite from urban life or indoor life many of us live nowadays. During the summer, it is a wonderful place to get outside after work and soak in some sunshine while I read a book or walk along the paths circling the lake.
What was your first interaction with a school-community partnership project?
My first interaction with EPIC-Network was during my Masters of Urban Planning studio project to update the City of Sultan’s Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces (PROS) Plan in 2020. During that studio, Marshall Curry gave our class a virtual presentation about how engagement efforts can be conducted for this kind of project and support the community and tips on how to modify our engagement efforts to an online platform due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In that project, I learned how to lead and direct our engagement efforts by hosting public meetings, open houses, and other forms of physically-distant assessment methods to assess what the community was hoping for from their PROS Plan.
How did you first learn about EPIC-N?
I learned about EPIC-Network during my Masters of Urban Planning studio project to update the City of Sultan’s Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces (PROS) Plan in 2020. During that studio, Marshall Curry gave our class a virtual presentation about how engagement efforts can be conducted for this kind of project and support the community and tips on how to modify our engagement efforts to an online platform due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What are some of the top priorities you are working on this year?
One of the top priorities this year is a professional project that I am doing in collaboration with EPIC-Network to complete my Masters of Urban Planning from the University of Washington. This project will provide EPIC-N with an engagement ‘toolkit’ that investigates forms of local government emergency engagement with their residents that can be used and considered by organizations, local governments, and universities during their planning efforts. This project is an explorative research method based on expert interviews and qualitative analysis to discover trends and patterns of successful and unsuccessful modes of emergency engagement.
In what ways are you looking to engage, or work with others, either from within the EPIC-Network, or in general?
During the project that I am working on with EPIC-Network, I will be conducting interviews with professional experts. Some have been active in EPIC-N projects others just identified as experts. The interviews will direct the analysis of the project. I’m eager to listen and learn from these experts in the field that I will be embarking upon after graduation. My concentration is in environmental planning, including management of hazard mitigation and resource management. No matter where I go professionally, I wish to promote successful engagement methods and community building efforts to become more resilient and connected to the people and land around us.
Why do you think the EPIC-Network is important?
Organizations like this are one way that universities, local governments, and private industries will learn from one another and promote integration of projects, teams, opportunities, and more. The skills that students learn from participating in an EPIC program can be fundamental to their actions and choices in the future.
What is your favorite part of the EPIC-Network?
The networking and collaboration potential for the future is one of my favorite parts of the EPIC-Network.
What do you want a community, or university, to know about the EPIC-Network?
The EPIC-Network is a collection of dedicated staff, members, and participants that are knowledgeable and eager to assist in any way they can. That can include engagement options, project completion, grant proposals, and more.
Aliah Marzolf, from Gainesville, Florida, has been living in Seattle, Washington, since 2017. She loves living in the PNW and became a University of Washington Master’s student in 2019 to pursue a career in urban planning. While studying at the University of Washington Aliah also works with Brightmont Academy as a math and science teacher for grades 6-12. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science with a major in Biology and Environmental Studies from Eckerd College in 2016.