The SNEAPA Conference seeks to provide students within the field of planning with valuable opportunities to learn and network. This year, we are offering several student activities such as professional mentoring for both students and young/emerging professionals, a student display, and an opportunity to earn free registration by volunteering.

Student Volunteers

Students are eligible to volunteer at the SNEAPA Conference in exchange for free registration. Being a student volunteer will require your hands-on assistance for up to two hours each day. If you can only attend one day of the conference, we will arrange for your volunteer tasks to fall on the day you can attend. The rest of the time at the conference is yours to join the scheduled activities, attend sessions, and engage with other conference attendees. Note that neither student volunteers, nor registered student attendees, will receive lunch tickets with their conference registration so please plan accordingly.

The tasks of a student volunteer will vary but generally consist of helping at the conference registration table, taking tickets at lunch, serving as an aid to speakers for handouts or other speaker assistance, and any other conference support that may be needed. If you are able to help out for a few hours on the evening before the conference (Wednesday, Oct. 25) this would be particularly appreciated and would allow you to complete all of your required volunteer hours in advance.

In order to register as a student volunteer, please email the following information to
– Your name;
– School/University you attend;
– Your phone number (primary means of being in touch on conference days);
– Your email (primary means of being in touch prior to conference);
– List the specific days of conference you will attend;
– Indicate if you are available to help on the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 25.

Student Poster Symposium

studentposters In an effort to highlight student (or group) projects and provide an opportunity to network with professionals at the conference, students have the opportunity to display their current or previous semester work.

Visit the Poster Symposium Page for more information and how to register for this exciting event!

Professional Mentoring Luncheon – Friday, October 27th

What can I do with my planning degree? Do I want to work in the public sector or private sector? What is planning like in the real world?

The conference will include an opportunity for students to attend a free professional mentoring luncheon to be held as a separate event concurrent with the conference lunchtime on Friday, October 27, 12:30-1:30PM. This luncheon will allow you to join in an informal round-table discussion with professional planners from a variety of backgrounds in order to hear about their experiences and ask any questions you may have. There is no need to register for this event in advance so please keep this time marked on your calendar. Thanks to conference sponsors for providing food for this engaging event!  Light lunch will be provided.

Lunch Mentors:

Roberta Groch- Assistant Chief, RI Division of Planning
Roberta Groch, AICP is the Assistant Chief of Economic Development and Special Projects for the State of Rhode Island’s Division of Planning. She is charged with managing planning and development projects and providing economic development assistance to municipalities. Roberta has over twenty years of experience in public sector planning. She worked for the East Providence Waterfront District for ten years, helping to redevelop over three hundred acres of underused and contaminated land along the Providence and Seekonk Rivers. During her six years with the City of Providence’s Department of Planning, she worked on the construction of the Woonasquatucket River Greenway, the I-195 relocation project, and the redevelopment of brownfields into public parks. As a planner for the Town of Framingham, Roberta led downtown revitalization and streetscape initiatives, the redevelopment of a historic firehouse into a community center, and reviewed development plans for large corporate headquarters. She has a Master’s degree in Community Planning from the University of Rhode island and a Bachelor’s degree in English from Boston University.

Sarah Ingle- Principal Planner, Rhode Island Public Transit Authority
Sarah Ingle is a Principal Planner at the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. Since joining RIPTA in 2014, her work has focused on strategic planning, policy development, federal compliance, and grant management; she is currently leading an update of Rhode Island’s Coordinated Public Transit/Human Services Transportation Plan. With a background in economic development, downtown revitalization, and urban placemaking, she coordinated RIPTA’s first Municipal Listening Session in December 2015 and seeks to strengthen RIPTA’s local partnerships statewide. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Boston University and a Master’s degree in Historic Preservation from Columbia University.

Joelle Kanter- Program Manager, The Providence Foundation
Joelle Kanter, AICP, is the program manager for The Providence Foundation, a private sector nonprofit economic development organization that focuses on revitalizing downtown Providence. Her projects include the development of a vehicular wayfinding system, creation of downtown maps & guides, and the organization of a recent downtown living tour. As a volunteer, she has coordinated the Jane’s Walk festival in Providence for the past two years, and has been involved in several other organizations such as Rhode Island for Community & Justice, Providence Preservation Society, the Manton Avenue Project, and the American Planning Association’s Rhode Island chapter. Joelle graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a BA in History and an MS in Community & Regional Planning.

Allen Penniman- Principal Planner, City of Providence
Recently named to Providence Monthly’s “Ten to Watch in 2017”, Allen Penniman is a principal planner for the City of Providence and an instructor at the Boston Architectural College. Prior to moving to Providence, Allen managed master plans for global design firm, Sasaki; and he has practiced urban planning in a diversity of contexts from Beijing to Aruba. Allen holds a Master’s in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor’s in Urban Studies from Connecticut College. In all his work, Allen’s ambition is to foster equitable and inspiring redevelopment in urban communities.

Craig Pereira- Senior Planner, Horsley Witten Group, Inc.
Craig Pereira is a Senior Planner with the Horsley Witten Group, Inc. in the Providence office and has fifteen years of professional experience in community planning. His specific expertise is in municipal planning and community outreach, hazard mitigation and emergency response planning, climate change and adaptation planning and public health planning, assessment and implementation. He has presented at several regional workshops on the intersection of planning and public health and led a statewide training on Emergency Action Plans for both publicly and privately-owned dams. He also has experience working with federal clients (US EPA and Indian Health Services), geographic information system (GIS) mapping, analysis and modeling and a background in Landscape Architecture. Craig is a Certified Charrette Planner with the national Charrette Institute and also a Certified Floodplain Manager through the Association of State Floodplain Managers.

Chelsea Siefert- Director of Planning, Town of South Kingstown
Chelsea Siefert is the Director of Planning for the Town of South Kingstown, where she sets policy for development review, crafts zoning ordinance amendments, and guides municipal decision making. Prior to being employed by South Kingstown, Chelsea was a Principal Planner with the Rhode Island Division of Planning, where she was responsible for the development of the Comprehensive Planning Guidance Handbook series, and provided a variety of technical assistance to Rhode Island’s municipalities. Ms. Siefert received her Bachelor of Arts in Politics from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, and her Master of Community Planning from the University of Rhode Island. Chelsea is currently the Treasurer of the Rhode Island APA Chapter.


For any questions about student activities at the SNEAPA Conference, please email us at

Schools Involved in Past SNEAPA Conferences:

Boston University
Brown University
Clark University
Harvard University*
Roger Williams University
Tufts University*
University at Albany, SUNY*
University of Connecticut
University of Massachusetts, Amherst*
University of New Haven
University of Rhode Island
Wentworth Institute of Technology
Westfield State University
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Yale University

*PAB Accredited Planning Program