Internship Spotlight: Carlisle Master Plan Steering Committee & Barrett Planning Group

Current Tufts student David Jiang shared the following about being a Summer Intern with Barrett Planning Group for the Carlisle Master Plan Steering Committee 

What did you do as an intern at this organization?
I collaborated closely with the Carlisle MPSC and Barrett Planning Group (the consultancy hired to guide the Master Plan) to perform research and moderate community engagement events. My roles eventually expanded to involve leading my own research initiatives and creating an educational StoryMap to help town residents understand Carlisle town issues.

How did you find this internship?
Carlisle MPSC sent a postcard mailing to town residents (including my family!) encouraging public engagement with the Master Plan initiative. I became interested in getting involved with the town’s management of its environment and natural resources (important in a community that is over 35% conservation land and 70% forested) and called to ask if they needed an intern to contribute to research and inject fresh input into this town project. The rest is history.

What did you enjoy most about your internship?
I really enjoyed being able to lead my own research projects and dive deep into learning a variety of municipal-related issues. Furthermore, I enjoyed interacting with the public and reaching out to professionals in the community planning industry and hearing their insights.

What did you find challenging?
The independent nature of my role in the project was hard to deal with in the beginning, as I was putting a lot of time engaging in a project of my own creation that I wasn’t sure would work/get a useful result in the end. Furthermore, working in a team primarily consisting of people much older than myself was a bit tough, as I had to overcome personal barriers of asking questions and challenging ideas in discussion spaces. However, I am happy to say I have overcome these challenges.

What advice would you offer to someone who wants to make the most of an internship like yours?
Local politics and issues often flow under the radar, however, they form the fundamental building blocks of our communities. It is not as glamorous at times, but it is very important to our everyday lives and fortunately is one where it is very accessible for people who care about social change to make a real difference. I appreciate how real and local the issues are, which allows me to get into the thick of studying them, as well as working with people who truly care about ensuring a bright future for the community.

About the Organization

Carlisle Master Plan 

Authorized by the Carlisle Planning Board and supported by the Carlisle Select Board, the Master Plan Steering Committee (MPSC) manages the master plan process, work plan, schedule and budget. In 2021 the Master Plan Steering Committee’s responsibilities include hiring and working with a part time Project Manager/Planner, providing volunteer teams to do specific issue research and analysis, and regular reports to the Planning Board and other town boards as needed.

By Sheryl Rosenberg
Sheryl Rosenberg Associate Director