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Announcing LAF's 2016 National Olmsted Scholars

The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is delighted to announce that Azzurra Cox, a master’s student at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and Casey Howard, an undergraduate at the University of Oregon, were selected as the 2016 National Olmsted Scholars.

Azzurra receives the $25,000 graduate prize and 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. Azzura graduates with a Master of Landscape Architecture in May 2016.

Casey receives the $15,000 undergraduate prize and 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. The graduate finalists are:

  • Jorge Alarcón, University of Washington
  • Olivia Fragale, Boston Architectural College
  • Ellen Oettinger White, Rutgers University

The undergraduate finalists are:

  • Kathryn Chesebrough, State University of New York
  • David Duperault, North Carolina A&T State University
  • 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 University Olmsted Scholars and join the growing community of over 450 past and present Olmsted Scholars.

The 2016 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; and Grant Fahlgren, 2015 National Olmsted Scholar (Graduate) and MLA student at University of British Columbia.

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; and Maria Muñoz, 2015 National Olmsted Scholar (Undergraduate) and BLA student at Louisiana State University.

Now in its ninth 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, LandDesign, Thomas C. and Gerry D. Donnelly, Steven G. King, FASLA, and Bill Main, Hon. ASLA; 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.