Our intern, Connor Rey Franklin, is moving on to great things! We conducted an exit interview with him to share his experience with us and to celebrate his journey forward.
Tell us a bit about your internship?
I chose to intern with Circulate because I wanted some professional experience in the transportation space coming back home from undergrad. I studied art, so I had little experience in this field, but I was thinking of studying urban planning or policy for graduate school. Circulate seemed like a great venue to get an overview of so many of my interests, which it was! I worked with Circulate for about six months, mainly with the policy team. Like everyone at Circulate, I wore a lot of different hats. A little policy research here, some public comment over there, a sprinkling of graphic design all over.
What was your favorite part of the internship?
The people. Not only is everyone at Circulate a delight to work with and incredibly helpful, but every coalition meeting, or advisory committee, or council hearing I attended warmed my heart because I felt like I was in this vast community of people from different walks of life who are working hard to build each other up and foster a better San Diego. From what I can see, that community is only growing. It’s really exciting to be a part of that.
What did you learn from the internship?
A lot of progress has been made, but there’s so much left to be done and it's going to take all hands on deck. Projects like the AHBP and the Cortez Hill project are proving really effective in making San Diego a better place. However, we are still very much an auto-dependent city. We still have a housing shortage. There are still thousands of unhoused individuals in our communities. Our CPGs are still undemocratic. Our transit system under-serves the communities who need it most. 43 pedestrians and cyclists were killed last year. We are not on track to meet our Vision Zero nor our CAP goals. Not to mention the racist police violence and brutality we’ve seen occur on our streets.
But I have a lot of hope. There’s a growing movement of people in this country who are realizing that positive change won’t happen unless we make it happen. It’s really exciting to see so many people become active. I think that it’s a great asset to Circulate, as well. The more people who get involved, the easier it’ going to be to institute the change this team has been advocating for for years.
What are you doing next, and what are your career goals?
I’ve enrolled in an introductory summer course in architecture through UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. After that, I’m not so sure. The world is changing so fast these days. I try not to plan too far in advance. I’m still figuring out what exactly my career will be, but I know it will involve creativity and collaboration to foster more just, resilient, and vibrant communities within the built environment.