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Price Undergrads Explore DTLA – By Todd Nguyen PPD 14′

Posted on by Derek Robinson

The “Trojan Family”, “Lifelong and Worldwide, and “Fight On!” are just some of the staple phrases any USC Trojan may have heard.  With these phrases in mind, I experienced them all when I participated as a featured panelist for the incoming Price undergraduate DTLA Walking Tour.

I recounted my story to the students by sharing my background as a 2014 Bachelor of Science Policy, Planning, and Development (PPD) and Architecture minor graduate.  I was candid to say that I didn’t enter USC’s PPD program right away but began as an aspiring architect.  I challenged the students to reflect on why they’re in school and if this were the right program.  For me, I’m passionate about impacting people and although architecture provided a micro-level impact, I wanted to go bigger, that’s how I came across urban planning – why not impact people on a city if not global level?

I’ve been fortunate enough to make those large impacts as I began my career at Caltrans (State of California Department of Transportation) and have now recently joined WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff as a Transportation & Environmental Planner for the California High-Speed Rail.  The Price program prepared me for these opportunities as I shared with the students three prominent aspects of Price: Industry Leaders and Faculty, Diverse Curriculum, and Professional Development.


MetroLink Visit – Fall Orientation 2016

For me, professional development is what I found to be the most excelling part of my time at Price as I’ve been exposed to many professional organizations and work experiences that I may have not gotten anywhere else.  One of the best experiences afforded to me by the Price school was my chance study abroad in Australia at the University of Queensland.  The Price curriculum is so diverse and flexible that it not only enhances technical training but also the ability to pair it with study abroad.

When I was with the students, I can see there was a lot of information coming their way and some of the pieces of advice shared by the other stellar alumni like stay involved, try everything, and don’t be afraid to fail were just some of the highlights.  I shared with the students, “This is your program so define your own level of success”.  I know for students it can get hectic with a new environment and new life but rest assured to pause in those moments and enjoy.

Fight on!


Todd Nguyen

B.S. in Policy, Planning, and Development c/o 2014

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