When Maggie Carlin was exploring potential college majors, one particular field, community and regional planning, seemed to stand out to her.
"It was definitely a smaller field and I kind of came across it by chance," said Carlin, who began her career as a planner with MIDAS Council of Governments in March. "It is actually part of the college of design at Iowa State because it is creative, but it's also structured and I felt like that was a good mix of traits that I have."
Carlin first came on board with MIDAS part time while finishing her degree in community and regional planning, and full time after graduation.
Maggie Carlin, planner with MIDAS Council of Governments, looks over one the city plans she will be working with in the future. Carlin joined the MIDAS staff part-time in March and came on full-time in May after graduating from Iowa State University.
As a planner, Carlin will be working with a six-county area consisting of Webster, Calhoun, Hamilton, Humboldt, Wright and Pocahontas counties helping them with any county or hazard mitigation plans they may have, and with the smaller communities to develop city plans. She will also report to various boards and city councils and attend meetings in the communities she serves.
"I look forward to meeting people out in the small communities," she said.
Another aspect of her job is to make sure that each hazard mitigation plan is reported to and meets the requirements of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"All of those plans have to be approved by FEMA," she said.
Carlin will also help the communities and counties served by MIDAS by writing and applying for grants.
"I'll be learning more about that in the coming months. Those skills will be good to learn," said Carlin.
Carlin said she was drawn to the field of planning because of its diverse background.
"It's such a broad field," she said. "I'm already working on many different projects, but they are all different and not related. You're never doing the same thing every day."
Carlin said she has enjoyed seeing some of the plans she has assisted with be put into action.
"It's just fun to see the projects come together and seeing how they are changing local communities for the better," she said.
As she gains experience, Carlin said she looks forward to meeting officials in the cities and counties served by MIDAS.
"I'm looking forward to getting out and exploring some of the communities I have seen on our maps but that I haven't been to yet," she said.