Dear Svitek Family, 

As the semester is drawing to an end I have been reflecting deeply on my experiences during my final semester at UVM. Among the many opportunities I have been fortunate to participate in over the past couple of months, my internship with Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront certainly stands out as the most life changing. When I was first offered the position, I was ecstatic, as it was a position I had been eyeing for over a year. Unfortunately, as a busy, financially autonomous student I was not in a position to accept an unpaid role.

Thankfully, I was introduced to the amazing gift your family offers Rubenstein students on an annual basis in order to pursue their educational and professional goals. Thanks to your generosity, I was able to personally experience that freedom and for that I am truly grateful.

Throughout my time in my role at BPRW, I was able to play an integral role in the development of a GIS (geographic information system) Action Plan for the Department, advance my GIS skills through daily projects, gain experience working at a municipal level, and build a multitude of professional connections throughout the City of Burlington. In addition to all the tangible skills I developed through this role, I also believe that this position couldn’t have come at a better time in my life. As a second semester senior I, like many others, are in a place where we must determine “what’s next?”

During my time at BPRW, I applied to a few graduate schools for Urban and Regional Panning, a path I was interested in, but still unsure of even during the application process. As I experienced the different roles throughout the Parks Planning Division, spoke with my new mentors, and participated in new and innovative projects it became increasingly clear that grad school was the right decision. I now plan to attend the University of Colorado Denver in the Fall of 2017 and hope to continue pursuing my interests in the realm of park planning.   

Without the generosity of your family, I would never have been able to have this amazing experience or the opportunity to meet some of my most influential mentors. I admire the support you offer to the Rubenstein community and hope that you understand how great an impact your family has had on my life, as I’m sure you have on others’ as well! Thank you again for supporting my ambitions and giving me the ability to spend my last semester pursuing a field I am truly passionate about.


Sarah Shaffer


Sarah Shaffer