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Announcing Our 2017 LAF Olmsted Scholars

The Landscape Architecture Foundation is delighted to announce the two winners and six finalists for its 2017 Olmsted Scholars Program, the premier leadership recognition program for landscape architecture students.

Headshot of David de la Cruz, 2017 LAF National Olmsted Scholar
Davíd de la Cruz, University of Washington

Davíd de la Cruz, a master’s student at the University of Washington, was selected as the 2017 National Olmsted Scholar and recipient of the $25,000 graduate prize. He will leverage the award to work on environmental justice issues in his home community in South Central Los Angeles. Davíd plans to work in partnership with educators, school administrators, and students at under-resourced high schools to collaboratively identify and implement a landscape invention project that will cultivate self-expression and environmental remediation. This proposal expands on Davíd’s 2016 “Lot Liberation” event, which gathered local artists, key community members, activists, and local vendors to transform vacant lots into bursts of art, color, and hope. Davíd graduates with a Master of Landscape Architecture in June 2017.

Headshot of Lauren Delbridge, 2017 LAF National Olmsted Scholar
Lauren Delbridge, Virginia Tech

Lauren Delbridge, an undergraduate at Virginia Tech, is the 2017 National Olmsted Scholar and recipient of the $15,000 undergraduate prize. She will use the award to further her research to define strategies to remediate coal ash ponds and rethink the design of highly disturbed sites to increase public awareness and environmental literacy. She plans to travel to notable sites where disturbed lands have been successfully reclaimed or remediated, using her observations to create a collection of case studies that can be used as an educational tool, a public resource, and a foundation for further design research. Lauren graduates with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture in May 2017.

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

2017 National Olmsted Scholar Finalists

Top row: Graduate finalists; Bottom row: Undergraduate finalists

  • Headshot of Catharine McCord, 2017 National Olmsted Scholar Finalist

    Catharine McCord
    University of Colorado Denver

  • Headshot of Ruth Nervig, 2017 National Olmsted Scholar Finalist

    Ruth Nervig
    City College of New York

  • Headshot of Ylan Vo, 2017 National Olmsted Scholar Finalist

    Ylan Vo
    Washington University in St. Louis

  • Headshot of Kristi Lin, 2017 National Olmsted Scholar Finalist

    Kristi Lin
    University of California, Davis

  • Headshot of Nathania Martinez, 2017 National Olmsted Scholar Finalist

    Nathania Martinez
    University of Florida

  • Headshot of Stephen Zimmerer, 2017 National Olmsted Scholar Finalist

    Stephen Zimmerer
    The Pennsylvania State University

Two independent juries of leaders in the landscape architecture profession selected the winners and finalists from a group of 50 graduate and 31 undergraduate students nominated by their faculty for their exceptional leadership potential. These top students earned the designation of 2017 LAF Olmsted Scholar and join the growing community of 549 past and present Olmsted Scholars. See all past winners and finalists here.

Now in its tenth 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.

2017 LAF Olmsted Scholars (Graduate)

In addition to the winner and finalists, the graduate nominees from each university are recognized as 2017 LAF Olmsted Scholars, which denotes distinguished student leadership in landscape architecture.

Alexis Alvey, Florida International University | Christopher Anderson, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry | Atyeh Ashtari, University of Illinois | Austin Bamford, Rhode Island School of Design | Andrew Barringer, The Ohio State University | Lauren Bergenholtz, University of California, Berkeley | Ryan Bowen, Auburn University | Ryan J. Coates, University of Manitoba | Colin P. Curley, University of Pennsylvania | Caroline Donaldson, Clemson University

Joni Emmons, Louisiana State University | Jacob Ferreira, Boston Architectural College | Susie Gomez, Utah State University | Kamila Grigo, University of Toronto | Hans C. Herrmann, Mississippi State University | Donielle Kaufman, University of Southern California | Jonathan Knight, Kansas State University | Ann Mai, University of Texas, Arlington | Nuo Man, Iowa State University | Ethan McKnight, University of Minnesota

Alexandra Mei, Harvard University | Kristen Sullivan, Cal Poly Pomona | Nicolas Odekon, The University of Texas at Austin | Adele Pierre, University of Guelph | Samuel Quick, Morgan State University | Dylan Reilly, University of Maryland | Michael K. Ross, Texas Tech University | Elizabeth Sacks, Ball State University | Danielle Schwartz, University of Georgia | Andrew Sell, University of Michigan

Caley Shoemaker, University of Tennessee | Katharine Shrosbree, University of Idaho | Kyle Sitzman, Cornell University | Alexandra Danielle Stoicof, University of Arizona | Jiaming (Jamie) Sun, Illinois Institute of Technology | Carlin Tacey, Virginia Tech | Rosy Tapia, University of Massachusetts, Amherst | Mark VandenDungen, University of British Columbia | Sean Vanderslice, Temple University | Nicole Wagy, The Pennsylvania State University

Bonnie Kate Walker, University of Virginia | Adam Walters, North Carolina State University | Rachel Ware, University of Oklahoma | Paula Wheeler, Arizona State University | Hua Yan, Texas A&M University | Thomas Young, Rutgers University

2017 LAF Olmsted Scholars (Undergraduate)

In addition to the winner and finalists, the undergraduate nominees from each university are recognized as 2017 LAF Olmsted Scholars, which denotes distinguished student leadership in landscape architecture.

Feras Abdallah, The Ohio State University | Victoria Bruskin, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey | Christopher Creasey, Utah State University | Morgan N. Dunay, University of Kentucky | Hillary Eppel, University of Guelph | Amanda Flores, Cal Poly Pomona | Hanna Gold, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry | Mark Hirschbeck, Cornell University | Alysa Horn, North Dakota State University | Yixuan Li, University of Maryland

Yisi Liu, Purdue University | Emily Meer, Ball State University | Kathryn Miller, Philadelphia University | Hannah Moll, University of Arkansas | Jacob Oswald, Iowa State University | Blane Potts, Texas Tech University | Curtis Arthur Schaldach, Michigan State University | Victoria Shao, University of Washington | Anjelica Sifuentes, Louisiana State University | Derek Suomi, Temple University

Justin Timko, Clemson University | Chloe Weigle, University of Georgia | Juliana Charity Welch, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo | Ashton Williams, Texas A&M University | Emma Winkler, University of Rhode Island | Yinuo Yin, University of Wisconsin-Madison | Zewen (Allen) Yu, Oklahoma State University

Thank you to our 2017 juries

The jurors for the graduate award were:

  • Jennifer Guthrie, LAF President and Principal at GGN
  • Gregory Miller, ASLA President-Elect and Principal at Morrow Reardon Wilkinson Miller, Ltd.
  • Kim Wilson, Professor and Director of the Landscape Architecture Program at University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • D’Arcy Deeks, President and CEO at IRONSMITH
  • Martin Pedersen, Executive Director of Common Edge
  • Stephanie Pankiewicz, Partner at LandDesign
  • Azzurra Cox, 2016 National Olmsted Scholar (Graduate) and Designer at GGN

The jurors for the undergraduate award were:

  • Adam Greenspan, LAF President-Elect and Partner at PWP Landscape Architecture
  • Chad Danos, ASLA Immediate Past President and Director at Duplantis Design Group, PC
  • Kelly Shannon, Director of Landscape Architecture at the University of Southern California
  • Thomas Donnelly, President of BrightView Group
  • Brian Jencek, Director of Planning at HOK
  • Kelly Rodriguez, Executive Director and Editor of ARCADE
  • Chris Steele, Specification Sales Manager at The Toro Company
  • Casey Howard, 2016 National Olmsted Scholar (Undergraduate) and Landscape Designer at Dougherty 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.