Making a lasting impact on the lives of everyday people is the goal of the city of Milton’s newest addition to the planning department, Amanda Rice. A native of Columbia, South Carolina, she graduated with a degree in Political Science from the College of Charleston in 2013. From there, she went on to experiment in an array of fields until she discovered a passion for advocacy work. Rice found her niche when she began her role as the Internship Coordinator at Brownstone Construction Group. At Brownstone, she was able to utilize her political expertise, fulfill her desire to give opportunities to students who were often overlooked, and satisfy her craving to problem solve. As the Internship Coordinator, she developed the program curriculum, geared towards civil engineering and architectural high school and college students from diverse backgrounds, created assignments that included planning and transportation design concepts, public involvement meetings, and research. It was at Brownstone, Rice said, where she discovered the planning profession. Co-workers suggested it would be the perfect field to allow her to exercise her talents in community engagement, advocacy, and solving issues affecting the everyday person. In 2017 Rice decided to leave her job and pursue a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (AAMU).
While at Alabama A&M University she continued to work with students as a long-term substitute teacher and remained active in the community through the Urban Planning Association student group. Rice became a leader amongst her cohorts and assisted professors in their research in walkable neighborhoods and community development. Projects she enjoyed the most consisted of activities that required walk audits, community assessments, and teaching others about the planning profession. Rice was selected out of hundreds of applicants to participate as a 2018 Summer Transportation Program for Diverse Groups (STIPDG) where she interned at the Indiana division of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). It was in Indiana that she discovered a need for advocacy in the Environmental Justice field and went on to write research papers on the topic during her final months at AAMU. Rice graduated in May 2019 with a 3.9 GPA, and the City of Milton was the first to discover her talents, post-graduation.
She will be taking the lead on a variety of projects in the near future, including the city’s Youth Council. She will conduct historical research within local heritage sites in city neighborhoods and work in environmental programs.