The Class of 2019: Kerri May, MCP ’19

The Class of 2019: Kerri May, MCP ’19

Student spotlight: Kerri May
City and Regional Planning, ’19
By Lauren Hertzler


After graduating with an architectural engineering degree from Drexel University, Kerri May hopped over Market Street to Penn for her master’s. Now in her second year at the School of Design, May is studying City and Regional Planning with a concentration in public and private development.

Enthralled by her schoolwork, May says PennDesign has provided unique opportunities that she feels grateful for—spanning from tuition scholarships, travel weeks for classes, and even landing a summer internship at Tesla.

But, most transformative for May, she says, has been the exposure she’s had to PennDesign’s talented professors, as well as inspiring students.

“They are really some of the most interesting people I have ever met,” she says. “Everyone comes from different backgrounds, bringing different perspectives to the table. It’s definitely been eye-opening.”

She’s also been provided opportunities to participate in fascinating, useful work, that has the potential to impact her beloved Philadelphia—the city she was born, raised, and educated in. One of her studios in particular, taught by Ariel Vazquez, the acting project architect at Blackney Hayes Architects, challenges May and her fellow classmates to develop strategic programs to help Puerto Ricans who have moved to Philadelphia after being displaced from their homes by Hurricane Maria.

The hope, May says, is to design plans that can aid these folks today, and if anything similar were to happen in the future.

“We’d hope these suggestions would help the city be more proactive instead of reactive,” she says.

Participating in a program that helps her own city is inspiring, May notes. “It’s all about giving back.”

Kerri May is a  2018-19 recipient of the Robert A Fox Fellowship, which supports the City and Regional Planning program at PennDesign.