Mary Catherine Barganier of Fort Deposit, Ala., a graduate student in the Master of Urban Planning Program in Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies, was recently elected chair of the Student Representatives Council (SRC) of the American Planning Association (APA).

In addition to leading the SRC Executive Committee, she will serve a one-year term as advisor to the APA board of directors, providing a voice for students' interests. Barganier is the only student serving in this capacity.

The SRC is made up of one elected student representative from each APA-recognized Planning Student Organization (PSO), an elected representative from each of six APA regions, the immediate past chair, and the chair. In addition to providing a means for students' interests to be represented within APA, the SRC promotes student participation in the organization.

Barganier began her graduate studies at Virginia Tech in the National Capital Region in fall 2008 while working full time as a geographic information system technician maintaining databases and mapping files for the Frederick County Virginia Public Safety Communications Department 911, Sheriff, and Fire/Rescue.

She transferred to Blacksburg as a fulltime master of urban planning student in fall 2009 and is working as a research assistant on a study of local food systems in North Carolina and Virginia, a project funded by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She expects to graduate in December.

Among Barganier's classes during her academic year in the National Capital Region were two with urban affairs and planning adjunct Terry Holzheimer. Both Holzheimer and Jesse Richardson, an urban affairs and planning associate professor in Blacksburg, supported her nomination for SRC chair.

Holzheimer was elected to a second two-year term as divisions council chair and advisor to the board of directors, affording two of the three advisory positions to representatives of Virginia Tech.

In letters supporting her nomination, Barganier was cited for her impressive work ethic, organization and time management skills, strong planning and writing skills, leadership by example, and for having the ability to fully participate with the APA board of directors and hold her own in a discussion.

Last year, she volunteered her time and services at the annual APA National Planning Conference in Minneapolis.

Barganier earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from Auburn University.



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