Sam Limerick headshot

Master of Science in Architecture Design and Research
Master of Urban and Regional Planning


/ Recent Taubman Graduate

Sam Limerick

Getting to know classmates in my cohort, as both friends and colleagues, has been a priceless component of my experience at the University of Michigan. I am inspired by my cohort’s diverse passions, interests, and deep knowledge every day!

Allen, TX, United States

Degree Program(s)

Graduation Date
May 2023

Academic Areas of Interest
Environmental Justice & Policy, Land Use and Environmental Planning, Climate Resilience, Food Systems, Transportation Planning, Spatial & Analytic Methods

Hobbies or interests outside of academia
Climbing, surfing, cooking

Why did you choose Taubman College as the right program for you?
I added my M.U.R.P. degree in my second year after a process of discernment and evaluation of other dual-degree programs at Michigan (e.g., Ross, Ford). I came to Michigan as a SEAS student; a huge part of choosing Michigan was its clear respect for cross-disciplinary study, as evidenced by the many formal dual-degree programs, which I knew I was interested in pursuing. I knew I wanted to work in climate resiliency and adaptation when I started at Michigan, but quickly learned a great deal more about the critical importance of the built environment in assuring a more sustainable future and knew urban planning was the right path for me. After learning more about the coursework and research at Taubman, applying for the M.S./M.U.R.P. dual-degree program with SEAS and Taubman was an obvious choice!

What is special or excites you about the Taubman community?
Within Urban Planning, both professors and students are working on a diverse range of issues both within the school and partners across the university, country, and world, which lends itself to a lot of intellectually stimulating conversations and many fascinating projects that you can work on, both within Taubman and across the university. Ask a student in the year(s) above you or a professor who shares your interests about opportunities that might be of interest!

If applicable, tell us about studio culture – what is inspiring or innovative or unique?
My experience with studio culture is limited to URP 550 — Planning Representation and Communication. I loved that course, and I am taking courses in Urban Design and Design Visualization/Communication through the Landscape Architecture program in SEAS this coming semester to continue learning more about studio culture and urban design methodologies. Though MURPs may not be architects or urban designers, we will certainly work with these professionals in our career. An understanding of studio culture can build both professional empathy and practical design skills applicable to urban planning work. I encourage all M.U.R.P.s to find a way to integrate studio-style (and/or any other experiential) learning into their academic program.

Describe your experience with faculty and professional staff during your time at Taubman?
My interactions with faculty have been very rewarding. I have had the opportunity to sit in on research lab meetings, hear talks from academics working on cutting-edge planning work, and contribute to community-engaged research projects, based on my engagement with faculty outside of the classroom. Approach professors who share your interests and ask about ways to learn more about their work outside the classroom, including projects they might be working on that need research assistant support!

Program leadership is open to hearing comments, critiques, and ideas/pitches from students. I had the incredible opportunity to contribute to the creation of Radical Planning (URP 611), a new, student-developed course offering that seeks to confront the status quo of existing planning practices (and curricula), and to make space to interrogate the role of urban planning in the spatial production of inequity in the built environment. Professors like Robert Goodspeed, Larissa Larsen, and Ana Paula Pimentel Walker were incredibly supportive of this effort, including ideation, logistics, and finding funding to bring speakers to campus.

What benefits have you experienced being part of the University of Michigan?
Getting to know classmates in my cohort, as both friends and colleagues, has been a priceless component of my experience at the University of Michigan. I am inspired by my cohort’s diverse passions, interests, and deep knowledge every day! I know that this group will be an incredible resource as we all move into our careers and call upon each other for advice, references, or to pitch an idea. Michigan is a top-tier research institution; though the MURP is a professional, terminal degree, the opportunity to be close to (and directly participate in) research work of such a high caliber has absolutely enhanced my educational experience. We are practitioners grounded in a strong knowledge of contemporary academic literature pushing the profession and practice of planning forward.

What do you like most about being part of the Ann Arbor community?
Living in Ann Arbor means living in a politically engaged and progressive community that is making transformative investments in high-quality urbanism and climate action. You are surrounded by smart and passionate people on and off campus. Ann Arbor hits a sweet spot for proximity to urban amenities like nightlife & restaurants, access to nature, and walkability/bikeability.

What advice would you give prospective students as they consider Taubman College?
Become involved in working for social justice and a better world within the Ann Arbor community (e.g., try being an activist/volunteer for an advocacy org, show up to city meetings, respond to calls for community engagement, etc.) in the ways that make the most sense for you. This allows you to participate in positive social change while also helping you sharpen knowledge of substantive issues you care about. You’ll also develop a keener sense for power, politics, and coalition building, which will be invaluable to your training as an architect, urban designer, or urban planner. When the challenges we collectively face as a community and world seem daunting, don’t despair — organize!

What are your plans after graduation?
Take time to rest and travel in Spring before my formal job hunt begins in earnest in Summer. I will be seeking roles in consulting, municipal/state/federal government, or research-oriented non-profits/think tanks.

Additional advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective students?
Consider living in a housing cooperative (search ICC Ann Arbor on Google)! You will meet incredible people, eat amazing food, learn about community owned/managed housing, and live much more affordably than you would in an Ann Arbor apartment or rental house. Baker House (Central Campus) and Escher House (North Campus) are amazing options for Taubman graduate students. The ICC has 16 houses to choose from!