Skip to main content

Announcing Our 2018 Olmsted Scholars

The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is delighted to announce that Elizabeth Camuti, a master’s student at the University of Virginia, and Karina Ramos, an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, were selected as LAF’s 2018 National Olmsted Scholars.

Headshot of Liz Camuti
Liz Camuti, University of Virginia

Liz receives the $25,000 graduate prize and plans to leverage the award to continue her ongoing research about new forms of socio-ecological infrastructure for isolated populations threatened by climate change and extreme weather, specifically the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Her work advances a design methodology that couples advanced digital technologies with local knowledge. Liz will use the award to support travel, tools, and surveillance technologies to better understand how infrastructural improvements implemented in the wake of recent storms might interface with new forms of human occupation. Liz graduates with a Master of Landscape Architecture in May.

Headshot of Karina Ramos
Karina Ramos, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Karina receives the $15,000 undergraduate prize and will use the award to design a physical plan for Puente Piedra, an emerging town 55 km away from Lima, Peru. Inspired by David Gouverneur’s “informal armatures” approach, which provides a framework for the processes of informal urbanization, Karina will first conduct case study research in her hometown of Los Olivos, an adjacent district that evolved through the planned growth and development of an existing informal settlement. She plans to present her findings and recommendations to Peru’s federal housing and urban development agency. Karina graduates this spring with a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture.

2018 National Olmsted Scholar Finalists

Each graduate finalist receives a $5,000 award. Each undergraduate finalist receives a $3,000 award.

  • Rachel Ison
    Rachel Ison (Graduate) University of Southern California


  • Nicholas Jabs
    Nicholas Jabs (Graduate) University of Pennsylvania


  • Steven Nuñez
    Steven Nuñez (Graduate) University of Texas at Arlington


  • Toni Candanedo
    Toni Candanedo (Undergraduate) Arizona State University


  • Bryce Donner
    Bryce Donner (Undergraduate) University of Florida


  • Karen Lomas-Gutierrez
    Karen Lomas-Gutierrez (Undergraduate) University of California, Davis


Two independent juries of leaders in the landscape architecture profession selected the winners and finalists from a group of 50 graduate and 35 undergraduate students nominated by their faculty for their exceptional leadership potential. These top students earned the designation of 2018 University Olmsted Scholars and join the growing community of 634 past and present Olmsted Scholars.

2018 LAF Olmsted Scholars (Graduate)

The 2018 jurors for the graduate award were: Adam Greenspan, LAF President and Principal at PWP; Shawn T. Kelly, ASLA President-Elect and Principal of Kelly Design Group, LLC; Kimberlee Douglas, Associate Professor and Director of the Landscape Architecture Program at Philadelphia University; Susan Szenasy, Director of Design Innovation, Metropolis Magazine; Brian Jencek, Principal at HOK; Skip Graffam, Partner and Director of Research at OLIN Partnership; and David de la Cruz, 2017 National Olmsted Scholar (Graduate) and Project Manager at Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust.

2018 LAF Olmsted Scholars (graduate)

First row (left to right): Sadiqa Ansari | Pennsylvania State University, Kristin Antkoviak | Arizona State University, Patrick Beech | University of British Columbia, Mingjie Cai | Rhode Island School of Design, Lin (Flora) Chen | University of Oregon, Carly Clevenstine | West Virginia University, Gabrielle Comeau | The University of Texas at Austin, Justin De Vesta | Cal Poly Pomona, Stacy Ester | University of Colorado Denver, Phillip Fernberg | Louisiana State University; Second row: Courtney Fernelius | Utah State University, Caroline Finck | Kansas State University, Sara Hadavi | University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Rachel Hamrick | Auburn University, Ngoc Ho | Iowa State University, Nancy Jones | Ball State University, Brad Kindler | University of Arizona, Sara Lawler | University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Rebekah Lawrence | Virginia Tech, Jacqueline LeBoutillier | The City College of New York; Third row: Abigail Leonard | Morgan State University, Wencan Li | University of Idaho, Jia Lu | University of Toronto, Dominic Mack | Florida International University, Lindsey Naylor | North Carolina State University, Christopher Nelson | University of Florida, Minh Nguyen | University of Oklahoma, Jean Ni | University of Washington, Luke Nichols | University of Minnesota, Saket Patel | Boston Architectural College; Fourth row: Estello-Cisdre Raganit | Harvard Graduate School of Design, Dingding Ren | Texas A&M University, Nicole Rivera | SUNY ESF, Laura Robinson | University of Maryland, Daniel Rose | University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Danielle Schwartz | University of Georgia, Margot Shafran | Washington University in St. Louis, Zhaowei Si | Clemson University, Kari Spiegelhalter | Cornell University, Shannon Sylte | University of Michigan; Fifth row: Alexa Vaughn | University of California, Berkeley, Tyson Watson | Texas Tech University, Kari Williams | Rutgers University, Garth Woolison | University of Manitoba, Zhimin Yang | Illinois Institute of Technology, Tatiana Zakharova | University of Guelph

2018 LAF Olmsted Scholars (UNDERGraduate)

Jurors for the undergraduate award were: Stephanie Rolley, LAF President-Elect and Professor and Department Head at Kansas State University; Vaughn Rinner, ASLA Immediate Past President; Paul Voos, Department Chair at Morgan State University; Zach Mortice, Architectural Journalist and Web Editor at Landscape Architecture Magazine; Jim Laiche, Water Conservation Business Manager at The Toro Company; Tao Zhang, Principal at Sasaki; Ron Kagawa, Landscape Architect at Kimley-Horn, and Lauren Delbridge, 2017 National Olmsted Scholar (Undergraduate) and Landscape Designer at LandDesign.

Portraits of 2018 graduate landscape architecture students recognized as LAF Olmsted Scholars

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

Thanks to the generous support of LAF’s 50 & Forward Campaign donors, starting in 2018, the Olmsted Scholar finalist awards increased from $1,000 to $5,000 for graduate students and $3,000 for undergraduates.

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.