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Meet the 2015 National Olmsted Scholar and Finalists: The Undergraduates

The Landscape Architecture Foundation’s 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.

Here, we showcase the 2015 undergraduate winner and finalists, who were announced last spring. An independent jury of leaders in the landscape architecture profession selected them from a group of 29 undergraduate students nominated by their faculty for being exceptional student leaders. The winner receives the $15,000 undergraduate prize and each finalist receives $1,000. All of the 2015 Olmsted Scholars will be honored at LAF’s Annual Benefit in Chicago on November 6.


National Olmsted Scholar Maria Muñoz of Louisiana State University

Maria discusses her research on food security in Puerto Rico and how enhancements to the existing network of local vendors and their sources of home-grown agricultural products could offer a more environmentally sustainable and resilient type of agricultural system.



Finalist Erin McDonald of Iowa State University

In this slideshow, Erin reflects on what landscape architecture and art mean to her. She also discusses opportunities as she embraces her new city: Houston, Texas.


Finalist Nathaniel Oakley of the University of California, Davis

Nathaniel shares his interest in finding sustainable and regenerative design solutions for landscapes affected by large-scale and aging flood control infrastructure, using the examples of the Devil’s Gate Dam in Pasadena and the Arroyo Seco channel in Los Angeles, California.

Finalist Daniel Zhicheng Xu of Purdue University

[Video coming in December]

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.