Meet Our Student: Sharmaine Belton, A Master of Science Real Estate Development Student

Second place winner in the University of Maryland Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development Case Study competition

Why did you choose Thomas Jefferson University?

I chose Jefferson because it was the only university that I found that had a program focused on the development side of real estate and not just the financials. I wanted to learn more about how and why real estate is developed and redeveloped. The key theme that made me come to Jefferson was the idea of the 4 Ps: People, Planet, Profit, and Placemaking. This was the only program that focused on how to make the world more sustainable, people-friendly and provide creative placemaking while making a profit.

Where are you from originally?

Palmyra, New Jersey

What is the best part of your studies?

The best part of my studies is learning from professionals and guests in the industries and asking them about their perspectives on the past, present, and future of real estate development. In addition, the group projects on development projects in Philadelphia have been interesting because it allows us to experience the project as if we are the ones developing the sites.

What’s something people would be surprised to find out about you?

This is hard! I have no real estate experience. I went straight from graduating from Villanova University to attending Jefferson. I had one internship during four years of studying. I chose real estate because it sounded more interesting than accounting and because I knew it had to do with more than selling houses as everyone seems to think.

Sharmaine recently won 2nd place in the University of Maryland Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development Case Study competition for her case study on the development of Lincoln Square in South Philadelphia. She entered the competition to tell the story of how a historic trainshed was redeveloped in a way that not only impacts the neighborhood it is located in but the surrounding neighborhoods as well. With the help of developers from MIS Capital and Alterra Property Group, and faculty advisor, Troy Hannigan, Sharmaine was able to submit a well-documented case study on the story of Lincoln Square.

"I was surprised to find out that I placed in the top four because I knew that I had to compete against teams with two to three members. The real surprise is that the judges thought a full team had written my paper. On the day of the competition, I presented my case study, and I was and still am extremely proud of myself. I wanted to represent my school with pride and was honored to be there. When I heard my name in second place, I could not stop smiling. Even though I did not receive 1st place, I am proud to say that I competed with top tier universities and was able to place 2nd. I am proud of my paper and presentation representing Lincoln Square and my ability to represent a young and growing real estate development program at Thomas Jefferson University."