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Summer Internships Set for LAF Ignite Students

The first students in the new LAF Ignite scholarship-internship-mentorship program have secured summer internships at organizations across the U.S.

The four LAF Ignite participants, along with four of the finalists, are set to gain valuable experience with a variety of firms and studios, giving them a firsthand look at how landscape architects and allied professionals work together to create impactful projects across scales. Internships are a critical component of the Ignite program as LAF and partner organizations work to support diverse up-and-coming designers on their academic journey and beyond.

"We are so grateful to all of the firms, organizations, and agencies that applied to be part of the inaugural year of Ignite. LAF sees this as a partnership in the success of Ignite and the participants. The time they put into their applications and the process demonstrates the commitment that they are making to the future of the profession," said LAF Deputy Director Rachel Booher, who has led the development of the LAF Ignite program.

She added, "Recognizing the significant impact that the internship experience can have on a designer’s career path, we are thrilled that the students were able to interview with 21 firms, organizations, and agencies, and ultimately made their final selections after thoughtful considerations and deliberations – with many wishing they could intern with more than one. We congratulate the students on the time and work they put in!"

LAF Ignite is a multi-year program for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) landscape architecture students, providing winners with an annual $10,000 scholarship, annual paid summer internship, and access to mentors throughout their educational path. Each year, 3-5 students are selected to participate in the program until they have completed their landscape architecture degree.

Summer 2023 Internships

The first four Ignite participants selected their internships from the 45 firms, agencies, and organizations that applied as potential internship providers. With support from LAF, they weighed considerations, selected 3-4 organizations to interview with, polished resumes and portfolios, participated in formal video interviews, and made their final decisions after receiving offer letters.   

Naomi Canino, Rhode Island School of Design
Sasaki –
Boston, Massachusetts

As part of a project team delivering real-world solutions to clients, Naomi’s internship will give her the opportunity to further her working knowledge of design inspiration and iteration, technology, and best practices. Naomi will work alongside a diverse group of design professionals and get hands-on experience, develop valuable professional connections, and gain a deep understanding of how a leading firm operates and innovates.

Ezra Lewis, University of Georgia
Mithun –
 Seattle, Washington

Ezra will have an opportunity to work on integrated design teams as well as landscape prime projects representing various scales, whether it’s planning for climate resilience and adaptation at the neighborhood scale or site-specific design for parks, green stormwater infrastructure, affordable housing, educational environments, and creative workplaces. There will be opportunities to work on projects, individual interests, and have weekly discussions with leadership in different practice areas to gain a more comprehensive understanding of all facets of an integrated design firm.

Shantol Morgan, University of Washington
Walker Macy –
Seattle, Washington

As an intern at Walker Macy, Shantol will be integrated into multiple project teams and learn how real-world projects are designed and developed, which may include working on projects with an environmental focus on restoration and sea level rise, education, cultural institutions, or public engagement. Shantol will have the opportunity to develop new skills, receive guidance and mentorship, establish relationships, and see various scales and project types to help influence career goals and preferences.

Charlye Stewart, University of Pennsylvania
OLIN – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Charlye’s work will be rooted in a collaborative, ongoing OLIN Labs research initiative that will provide firsthand experience working with real-world applications of theory and practice among a network of colleagues and project design collaborators in allied fields of architecture, planning, and engineering. The internship could include work on projects for major cultural spaces, social and environmental justice, and give Charlye the chance to be part of transformational and novel design projects.

In addition to the inaugural cohort of Ignite participants, LAF recognized five finalists who can take advantage of special mentorship and internship opportunities. LAF worked with four of these finalists to secure summer internships from among the Ignite internship providers.

Isiah Dashiell, University of Maryland
Unknown Studio – Baltimore, Maryland

With Unknown Studio’s diverse portfolio of projects, Isiah will have an opportunity to work on designs across a variety of scales in urban and rural landscapes. The internship will give Isiah exposure to and experience working with technical drawings, (grading, CAD, detailing), research and site analysis, the formation of proposals and presentations, and model making – along with other skills and a new network of professionals.

Maurice Gaston, Illinois Institute of Technology
SmithGroup – Chicago, Illinois/Ann Arbor, Michigan

As an intern with SmithGroup, Maurice will spend the summer with a multinational, integrated design firm comprised of 1,300 experts across 19 offices in the U.S. and China. Maurice will be exposed to SmithGroup’s sustainable, future-focused solutions for healthcare providers, science and technology organizations, higher education and cultural institutions, urban environments, diverse workplaces, mixed-use and waterfront developments, and parks and open spaces – all backed by research, data, and advanced technologies and design thinking.

Kareem Harris, University of Wisconsin
Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC (WRT) – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania/San Francisco, California

At WRT, Kareem will have the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, from public realm design like streetscapes and plazas to climate adaptation efforts including shoreline systems and sea-level rise mapping – with many other projects across scales. While specific tasks will vary by project, his work may include design representation graphics, preparing construction documents, participating in fieldwork and construction observation, and conducting urban design analysis – all with an eye on context, natural systems, demographic analysis, and other constraints and opportunities.

Amira Slocum, North Carolina State University
Design Workshop – Raleigh, North Carolina

With Design Workshop, Amira’s internship will include project research, site visits, sketching, computer production, design reviews, and marketing proposal assistance. She will work on a variety of projects and scales. As part of Design Workshop’s dynamic, creative design environment, Amira will gain valuable resume and skill-building experience.

Thank You to the Ignite Internship Providers

The internship component of LAF Ignite gives students a chance to explore different career paths in landscape architecture — including those in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors — while developing their skills, resume, portfolio, and professional networks. To ensure a healthy and supportive environment for Ignite students, organizations interested in hosting summer interns must apply through LAF and meet requirements for the internship experience, pay a living wage, and a demonstrate a commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

Thank you to the 45 firms, agencies, and organizations who applied to be an Ignite internship provider for summer 2023! LAF will begin accepting applications in September for potential internship providers in summer 2024.

ABLE | BrightView | Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy | City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development | Civitas, Inc. | CMG | Design Workshop | EDSA, Inc. | Engineering & Land Planning Associates, Inc. | Environmental Works - Community Design Center | Goode Landscape Studio | HILLWORKS: Landscape + Architecture | Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects | Indiana University - Capital Planning and Facilities | Jacobs | James Corner Field Operations | KOMPAN Play and Fitness | Land Restoration School | Mayors' Institute on City Design | Mithun | MKSK | MNLA | New York Power Authority - Reimagine the Canals | Office of James Burnett (OJB) | OLIN (OLIN Partnership, Ltd.) | Phronesis | RDG Planning & Design | re:public studio | Reed Hilderbrand | RELM | Rundell Ernstberger Associates, Inc. (REA) | Sasaki | SCAPE | SmithGroup | Stantec | Studio-MLA | SWA Group | SWA/Balsley | TBG Partners | The Nature Conservancy | Unknown Studio Landscape Architecture & Urban Design LLC | VIA Design | Walker Macy | Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC (WRT) | Walt Disney Imagineering

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.