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In keeping with our tradition of interviewing new team members, we asked our new Intern, Connor, a few questions so that you all can get to know him! 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Hi! I’m Connor Franklin Rey. I was born and raised in La Mesa. When I was 13 years old I moved to Tempe, Arizona and lived there for the past decade. This last Fall I graduated from Arizona State University with my BA in Art Studies.

I began my studies at ASU with a passion for art and its potential to facilitate positive social change. I quickly expanded my interests towards urban planning after finding it frustrating to navigate the auto-dependent Phoenix Metropolitan Area. As I learned more about the subject, I began to appreciate its inter-connectivity with other passions of mine including safety, social justice, climate change, architecture, and design.

I intend to go to graduate school to study transportation planning. In the meantime I’ve moved back home to San Diego, and am excited to be near family, as well as to be working with the great team here at Circulate doing such important work.

How did you become interested in Circulate San Diego? 

I discovered Circulate while listening to an episode, “Talking Headways Podcast,” on which Jeff Wood interviewed Colin Parent about the team’s work. I was delighted to learn of a nonprofit invested in equitable, clean, safe, healthy, and diverse transportation right in my hometown.

I happened to listen to that podcast at the right time. I was planning to move back to San Diego after I graduated, and I wanted some professional experience in transportation before applying to graduate school. Circulate seemed like the perfect fit because of the crucial projects they’re working on and the diverse perspectives each member brings to team. I sent an email immediately after listening to the podcast, and luckily things worked out!

What is your biggest achievement to date? 

I went to the California DMV and survived.

If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor? 

Aldo Leopold -  A mountain man. A farmer. An ecologist. A philosopher. What’s not to love about Leopold? He wrote so beautifully and persuasively about our relationship to nature. His work put concisely into words a lot of thoughts and feelings I’ve had about our current environmental predicament. His understanding about humanity’s place in the biological community was not only on point, but also so ahead of his time. Frankly, I think we still haven’t learned Leopold’s lessons as a culture. And he was working in the 40s!

I’ve learned a lot from his writings but I know I could learn more from him in person. His life and work is such an inspiration to me. I think A Sand County Almanac should be required reading. Plus he just seems like a great hang.

Close runner up is Greta Thunberg. I think she speaks beautifully on climate change. Also, she pulls no punches and I live for it. Call them out Greta!!!

Why are you most excited to be part of Circulate San Diego?

I’m excited to be working with such a great team from a variety of backgrounds. It allows me the opportunity to learn about a bunch of potential career paths from planning, to policy work, to advocacy, to politics.

I’m also thrilled to be actually contributing to the efforts of making transportation in San Diego more sustainable, equitable, and safe. I’ve learned a lot about these issues in college. While that was great, it feels really good to be rolling up my leaves and doing the work to find solutions.