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Announcing Our 2016 LAF Olmsted Scholars

The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is delighted to announce the two winners and six finalists for its 2016 Olmsted Scholars Program, the premier leadership recognition program for landscape architecture students.

Headshot of Azzurra Cox, 2016 LAF National Olmsted Scholar
Azzurra Cox, Harvard University

Azzurra Cox, a master’s student at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, was selected as the 2016 National Olmsted Scholar and recipient of the $25,000 graduate prize. Azzurra will leverage the award to continue her research around a vision for the revival of Greenwood Cemetery, an endangered heritage landscape, which was the first non‐denominational commercial cemetery for African Americans in the St. Louis area. By grappling with deep questions about race, remembrance, and the political agency of landscape, she hopes that the site can serve as a case study for how landscape architecture can help expose and valorize narratives that have been unrecognized. Azzurra graduates with a Master of Landscape Architecture in May 2016.

Headshot of Casey Howard, 2016 LAF National Olmsted Scholar
Casey Howard, University of Oregon

Casey Howard, an undergraduate at the University of Oregon, is the other 2016 National Olmsted Scholar and recipient of the $15,000 undergraduate prize. Casey will use the award to expand on her team’s “Living Filtration System” concept, which won the design round of the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge. The concept integrates living microorganisms with renewable materials to improve upon an existing technology commonly used to drain agricultural fields, and she wants to explore how it could be used in horticultural and stormwater management solutions. Casey graduated this spring and would like to continue her education by pursuing a Masters in Environmental Studies.

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

2016 National Olmsted Scholar Finalists

Top row: Graduate finalists; Bottom row: Undergraduate finalists

  • Headshot of Jorge Alarcon, 2016 National Olmsted Scholar Finalist

    Jorge Alarcón
    University of Washington

  • Headshot of Olivia Fragale, 2016 National Olmsted Scholar Finalist

    Olivia Fragale
    Boston Architectural College

  • Headshot of Ellen Oettinger White, 2016 National Olmsted Scholar Finalist

    Ellen Oettinger White
    Rutgers University

  • Headshot of Kate Chesebrough, 2016 National Olmsted Scholars Finalist

    Kathryn Chesebrough
    SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

  • Headshot of David Duperault, 2016 National Olmsted Scholars Finalist

    David Duperault
    North Carolina A&T State University

  • Headshot of Lyna Nget, 2016 National Olmsted Scholar Finalist

    Lyna Nget
    University of Washington

Two independent juries of leaders in the landscape architecture profession selected the winners and finalists from a group of 45 graduate and 32 undergraduate students nominated by their faculty for their exceptional leadership potential. These top students earned the designation of 2016 LAF Olmsted Scholar and join the growing community of over 450 past and present Olmsted Scholars. See all past winners and finalists here.

Now in its ninth year, the LAF Olmsted Scholars 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 program is made possible with support from Lead Sponsor: The Toro Company; Annual Sponsors: EDSA, HOK, OLIN, Sasaki Associates, IRONSMITH, LandDesign, Thomas C. and Gerry D. Donnelly, Steven G. King, FASLA, and Bill Main, Hon. ASLA; Promotion Partner: American Society of Landscape Architects.

2016 LAF Olmsted Scholars (Graduate)

In addition to the winner and finalists, the graduate nominees from each university are recognized as 2016 LAF Olmsted Scholars, which denotes distinguished student leadership in landscape architecture.

2016 graduate LAF Olmsted Scholars


Keni Althouse, Utah State University | Bridget Ayers Looby, University of Minnesota | Hannah Barefoot, University of Virginia | Micaela Bazo, University of California, Berkeley | Melanie Bowerman, University of Georgia | Derek Brandt, University of Colorado, Denver | Jonathan Cardenales, Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico | James Carroll, City College of New York | Kearney Coupland, University of Guelph | Scott Douglas, University of Illinois

Lee Eubank, University of Arizona | Molly Fancler, University of Southern California | Miao Fangzhou, Iowa State University | Anezka Gocova, University of British Columbia | JinHee Ha, Cornell University | Molly Hendry, Auburn University | Elise Hunchuck, University of Toronto | Gisele Kennedy, Morgan State University | Beth Krehbiel, Kansas State University | Shannon Loewen, University of Manitoba

Rachelle McKnight, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry | Sana Mirza, Clemson University | Amina Mohamed, University of Maryland | Leslie Moma, Mississippi State University | Caitlin Morrissey, Temple University | Jeremy Munns, Cal Poly Pomona | Sarah Newton, University of Tennessee | Keegan Oneal, University of Oregon | Briana Outlaw, North Carolina State University | William (Alex) Pisha, The Ohio State University

Molly Plummer, The University of Texas at Arlington | Alba Rodriguez, Arizona State University | Veronika Schunk, Florida International University | Micah Stanek, Washington University in St. Louis | Neive Tierney, The University of Texas at Austin | Yu Tong, Texas A&M University | Stephen Ulman, Illinois Institute of Technology | Nelle Ward, University of Massachusetts Amherst | Chase Weaver, The Pennsylvania State University | Nate Wooten, University of Pennsylvania

Tianyi Zhang, Louisiana State University

2016 LAF Olmsted Scholars (Undergraduate)

In addition to the winner and finalists, the undergraduate nominees from each university are recognized as 2016 LAF Olmsted Scholars, which denotes distinguished student leadership in landscape architecture.

2016 undergraduate LAF Olmsted Scholars


Michael Abate, University of Massachusetts Amherst | Jeremy Auer, Washington State University | Kathryn Cannon, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo | Ry'yan Clark, Louisiana State University | Richard Conte, The Pennsylvania State University | Garrett Craig-Lucas, Cornell University | Thackston Crandall, Clemson University | Hannah Cusick, University of Illinois | Jose Devora, Cal Poly Pomona | Yi Ding, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Mariel Fink, The Ohio State University | Susan (Emily) Finley, Mississippi State University | Carter Gresham, Virginia Tech | Kim Jacobs, University of Maryland | Austin Cary Javellana, Iowa State University | Hannah Moll, University of Arkansas | Cody Myers, Philadelphia University | Jordan Pawlik, Purdue University | Miriam Porter, University of Guelph | Breanna Robles, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Andrew Sargeant, Temple University | Kaitlin Stein, Texas A&M University | Bradley Turner, West Virginia University | Hailey Wall, Utah State University | Cresha Wee, Michigan State University | Ka Ying Yang, University of Rhode Island | Boya Ye, University of California, Davis | Michelle Ye, North Carolina State University

Thank you to our 2016 juries

The jurors for the graduate award were:

  • Kona Gray, LAF President and Principal at EDSA
  • Vaughn B. Rinner, FASLA, ASLA President-Elect and consulting landscape architect
  • Jody Rosenblatt-Naderi, Director of the Graduate Program in Landscape Architecture at Ball State University
  • D’Arcy Deeks, President and CEO at IRONSMITH
  • Daniel Martin, Director of Marketing at Permaloc Corporation and Partner at Land8 Media
  • Stephanie Pankiewicz, Partner at LandDesign
  • Grant Fahlgren, 2015 National Olmsted Scholar (Graduate) and MLA student at University of British Columbia

The jurors for the undergraduate award were:

  • Jennifer Guthrie, FASLA, LAF President-Elect and Founding Principal at Gustafson Guthrie Nichol
  • K. Richard Zweifel, ASLA Immediate Past President and Professor Emeritus at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
  • Maria C. “Tina” Gurucharri, Associate Professor and Landscape Architecture Department Chair, University of Florida
  • Po-Sun Chen, Executive Director and Vice President of BrightView Design Group
  • Gina Ford, Principal and Chair of Urban Studio at Sasaki Associates
  • Jim Laiche, Water Conservation Business Manager at The Toro Company
  • Maria Muñoz, 2015 National Olmsted Scholar (Undergraduate) and BLA student at Louisiana State University

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.