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SPIA Student Society

The SPIA Student Society was formed in October 2020 by a few SPIA students who were in UAP 1004: Introduction to Careers in Urban Affairs and Planning class together. The idea came from Professor Ralph Hall and Chris LaPlante, who had envisioned the potential for an organization like this and had been trying to get something off the ground for a few years. Several students took charge and went through the formal process to get the organization approved.

The main goals of the society are to foster a sense of community among SPIA students as well as to provide networking and career opportunities. We hope that the society serves as a place where SPIA students can come together to serve the community and make the school their own. Currently, there is no clear way for students to voice their concerns and opinions and the society gives them a place to be heard by the SPIA and Virginia Tech faculty and administrators.

We are currently building the framework of the society, strengthening bonds between students, and trying to grow membership. In the future, we hope to hold networking events as well as hosting our own career fair – one that is specifically catered to our students.

All SPIA students are welcome! We want this society to be one that fosters discussion and hears the voices and ideas of all. If anyone has any questions, feel free to contact Amy Lynne Denny, the society president, at


President - Amy Lynne Denny

Amy Lynne Denny is a junior majoring in Environmental Policy and Planning. She has a particular interest in the intersection between economically feasible and environmentally sustainable community planning. Her main goal for the SPIA Student Society is that it connects students to each other and the faculty and that the community built within extends past graduation.

Vice President – Kevin Jenks

Kevin Jenks is a sophomore majoring in Smart and Sustainable Cities and he looks forward to working on projects that specifically relate to sustainable land usage and development. His main goal for the SPIA Student Society is to provide each member with the resources and connections they need to be successful post-graduation. 

Treasurer – Kelsey Drake

Kelsey Drake is a Navy Veteran and a Junior majoring in Environmental Policy and Planning and minoring in Spanish. Their major interests are Global Sustainable Development and International Policy. They want to help shape the SPIA Student Society into a community for the betterment of students, faculty, and alumni. 

Secretary – Rachel Inman

Rachel Inman is a sophomore majoring in Smart and Sustainable Cities and minoring in Landscape Architecture. Her main interests are in sustainable design and development, green infrastructure, and urban analytics. Rachel’s main goal for the SPIA Student Society is to help connect SPIA students with each other, faculty, and other professionals.

Public Affairs Liaison - Dalton Kaiser  

Dalton Kaiser is currently a Sophomore standing as a Junior majoring in Smart & Sustainable Cities as well as minoring in Geographical Information Systems (GIS). His particular interest involves urban and regional planning, local government management, and working with maps. His main initiative for the SPIA Student Society is to spread the word about the group throughout SPIA so that faculty and students can come together and build social connections, academic connections, and real life skills that will last a lifetime.