News & Announcements

Student of Distinction: Connor Brentar

Connor BrentarCleveland State University celebrates graduating students who have overcome obstacles, made significant achievements or are fulfilling CSU’s mission inside or outside the classroom.

Today, we celebrate Connor Brentar.

Faculty member Beth Nagy nominated Brentar, a second-year student in the Master of Urban Planning & Development program graduating this May. Brentar attended CSU for undergrad, majoring in Urban and Regional Studies, and graduated in May 2022.

“Connor is exceptionally bright, thoughtful, inclusive, and cooperative [and] he seeks to empower others in leadership roles, give voice to neighborhoods experiencing exclusivity from resources, and be an advocate for equitable planning and development in Cleveland,” said Nagy. “He is a genuinely good person who deserves recognition, and I can’t wait to see his future in the Cleveland planning community.”

CSU: Have you had any significant Internships/Co-ops/Careers while at CSU?

CB: I’ve had two fantastic internships while at CSU. The first was in Spring 2022 with the university’s Grounds department; my role involved using geographic information systems (GIS) to help improve campus operations. My second internship was in Summer 2023; I was a part of the Cleveland Foundation internship program and was placed at Bike Cleveland, where I worked on street safety advocacy projects. I started my first full-time job this past January at Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation, using many of the skills and connections that I built during my internships.

CSU: How would you describe the connections you have made with the faculty and staff at CSU?

CB: I have made many meaningful connections with the faculty in the School of Urban Affairs over the last 6 years. It has been clear since I arrived that the faculty members are dedicated to public service, which is very refreshing. I consider many of them to be role models and mentors; they’re all really great!

CSU: How has Cleveland State inspired you for your future?

CB: CSU has inspired me by creating such a hands-on learning environment that connects students to public officials and other public service professionals. Being in an environment full of other people dedicated to public service, especially over the course of my graduate career, has been extremely motivating.

CSU: How do you think you have fulfilled the CSU mission (empowering others, creating knowledge, engaging our community and shaping our world)?

CB: I would like to think that I have been fulfilling the CSU mission through my commitment to continuing my education so that I can make an impact in my career. There are so many skills that I learned through my CSU curriculum that I’m now using in my job to directly benefit the community. CSU has produced so many of Cleveland’s public servants and I hope that I can make an impact as great as them someday.?

I would also like to take this opportunity to recognize the great work taking place in the School of Urban Affairs! The work and learning that happens over there is so important and is actively helping to improve Cleveland. It's also fantastic, now that I am in the field of public service, to see many of my former and current CSU classmates making a difference in their roles.

Congratulations, Connor!