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Announcing LAF's 2015 National Olmsted Scholars

The Landscape Architecture Foundation is delighted to announce that Grant Fahlgren, a master’s student at the University of British Columbia, and Maria Muñoz, an undergraduate at Louisiana State University, were selected as the 2015 National Olmsted Scholars.

Grant receives the $25,000 graduate prize and intends to use the award to expand his research of collaborative partnerships between indigenous communities and designers in the Cascadia Bioregion. This research will help elucidate the connections between traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and landscape architecture and provide a foundational knowledge to inform future collaborations. Grant is pursuing a Master of Landscape Architecture and expects to graduate in November 2015.

Maria receives the $15,000 undergraduate prize. Building on her heritage and experiences in Puerto Rico, Maria plans to use the award to research the island’s network of local vendors and their sources of homegrown agriculture products. Through interviews and mapping, she will document the social networks and marketing strategies of the growers, yielding knowledge that can help increase the growth potential of the homegrown food to the local market system. Maria graduates with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture in May 2015.

Also honored are six National Olmsted Scholar Finalists, who each receive a $1,000 award. The graduate finalists are:

  • Andrea Johnson, City College of New York
  • Teresa Pereira, Temple University
  • Harris Trobman, University of Maryland

The undergraduate finalists are:

  • Erin McDonald, Iowa State University
  • Nathaniel Oakley, University of California, Davis
  • Daniel Zhicheng Xu, Purdue University

Two independent juries of leaders in the landscape architecture profession selected the winners and finalists from a group of 43 graduate and 29 undergraduate students nominated by their faculty for their exceptional leadership potential. These top students earned the designation of 2015 University Olmsted Scholars and join the growing community of nearly 400 past and present Olmsted Scholars.

The 2015 jurors for the graduate award were: Mark Dawson, FASLA, LAF Board President and Managing Principal at Sasaki Associates; Chad Danos, FASLA, PLA, ASLA President-Elect and Director of Landscape Architecture at Duplantis Design Group; D’Arcy Deeks, President and CEO at IRONSMITH; Chris Fannin, Senior Vice President and Director of Planning at HOK; Daniel Martin, Director of Marketing at Permaloc Corporation and Partner at Land8 Media; and Sara Zewde, 2014 National Olmsted Scholar (Graduate) and MLA student at Harvard University.

Jurors for the undergraduate award were: Kona Gray, ASLA, LAF President-Elect and Principal at EDSA; Mark Focht, FASLA, PLA, ASLA Immediate Past President and First Deputy Commissioner at Philadelphia Parks & Recreation; Jim Laiche, Water Conservation Business Manager at The Toro Company; Bradford McKee, Editor-in-Chief of Landscape Architecture Magazine; Lucinda Sanders, FASLA, CEO and Partner at OLIN;  Fritz Steiner, PhD, Dean of the School of Architecture and Henry M. Rockwell Chair in Architecture, University of Texas at Austin; and Erin Percevault, 2014 National Olmsted Scholar (Undergraduate) and BLA student at Louisiana State University.

Now in its eighth year, the Olmsted Scholars Program is the premier national award and recognition program for landscape architecture students. The program honors students with exceptional leadership potential who are using ideas, influence, communication, service, and leadership to advance sustainable design and foster human and societal benefits. The Olmsted Scholars Program is made possible with support from Lead Sponsor: The Toro Company; Annual Sponsors: EDSA, HOK, OLIN, Sasaki Associates, IRONSMITH, Thomas C. and Gerry D. Donnelly, and Steven G. King, FASLA; Promotion Partner: American Society of Landscape Architects.

LAF is grateful to the many individuals and organizations that provide financial support towards fulfilling our mission to support the preservation, improvement, and enhancement of the environment.

Much of what LAF is able to accomplish would not be possible without the thought leadership and financial investment of our major supporters, including ASLA, which provides over $125,000 of in-kind support annually.