DURP ʻOhana News

Sara Bolduc, PhD 2018, our first Board Member with a PhD!


Sara started her academic journey at the University of Hawai‘i in 2005, pursuing a Bachelor Degree in Geography. She was first attracted to DURP by a “Planning Job Fair” held at Saunders Hall just outside of DURP in late 2006. At the time, she was mother to a young boy, and looking for ways to enter the job market in Hawai‘i but had no idea how to promote her skills as a "geographer". She noticed that the DURP job fair featured firms looking for official positions as "planners"; a profession she had never heard of.

Sara applied to UH Mānoa in January 2007 as an unclassified Graduate Student, to explore planning. She registered for two courses and was offered a Graduate Research Assistantship immediately after enrolling, under the supervision of Professor Luciano Minerbi, to work on identifying the cultural landscape of a newly recognized historic national trail on the Island of Hawai‘i (for the National Park Service's Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail (ALKA). Sara not only decided to pursue a MURP, she also completed her Area of Concentration paper (now called a Capstone) utilizing the data and support from that project (thanks to Luciano Minerbi and to Aric Arakaki, from NPS ALKA).

After graduating in 2009, Sara went to work in the private sector at John M. Knox and Associates (JMK Assoc.), while also pursuing a new goal: A PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from DURP. Sara's work at JMK Assoc. included several socio-economic impact studies and program evaluation projects over eight years. Some of these were locally important projects such as the socio-economic study that was part of the Kaka‘ako Community Development District TOD Overlay Plan Final Environmental Impact Statement (a Hawai‘i Community Development Agency Plan); technical studies for the county of Maui about locally appropriate economic development strategies on the Islands of Lanai and Molokai; and external evaluations for large nationally funded research programs at the University of Hawai‘i and the University of Guam (among many more).

Sara has also taught several courses at DURP since 2011, including teaching DURP’s first online PLAN 310 class (DURP’s introductory course to planning), which she continues to offer each Summer, and PLAN 412 (an introduction to Environmental Assessment) a course that is recognized as a methods course to be used toward the MURP Degree.

Sara’s dissertation research focused on planning for collaborative natural resources management groups. Her dissertation, “Assessing Collaborative Governance Through Alternate Rationales: A Case Study of Watershed Partnerships in Hawai‘i”, focused on identifying ways to evaluate the success of collaborative natural resource management efforts including suggestions to the State of Hawaii about how to best track and identify ways to demonstrate the impact of their investment into such Programs over time. Sara has now opened her own consultancy firm in Hawai‘i, Sara Bolduc Planning and Evaluation LLC, (check out her website at https://www.sarabolducplanningandevaluation.com) and hopes to continue offering courses at DURP as she feels a strong connection to Hawai‘i, to DURP, and to sharing the significance and exhilaration of planning to future generations.

Kristi Dinell