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Announcing the 2024 LAF Olmsted Scholars

The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is delighted to announce the 94 exceptional student leaders honored in our 2024 Olmsted Scholars Program, including two National Olmsted Scholar winners and six finalists.

Named for Frederick Law Olmsted, the LAF Olmsted Scholars Program is the premier leadership recognition program for landscape architecture students. Now in its 17th year, the program honors students who advance sustainable design and foster human and societal benefits through ideas, influence, communication, service, and leadership.

This year, 52 graduate and 42 undergraduate students were nominated by their program faculty for their exceptional leadership potential. These students earn the designation of 2024 LAF Olmsted Scholar and join a community of 1,163 LAF Olmsted Scholars named since the program’s inception in 2008. 

From these 2024 Olmsted Scholars, two independent juries selected two National Olmsted Scholars and six National Olmsted Scholar Finalists, who receive financial awards and additional recognition. See all past winners and finalists here.

National Olmsted Scholars

The graduate winner receives a $25,000 award, and the undergraduate winner receives a $15,000 award.

Nina Weithorn
University of Southern California

Nina Weithorn, a Master of Landscape Architecture student at the University of Southern California, is the 2024 graduate National Olmsted Scholar. Nina has a background in agriculture and environmental science and has worked as a garden educator and collaborated on the establishment of food justice initiatives in her hometown of Los Angeles. For two years, Nina has been working with the town of Allensworth in Tulare County, California, to develop an agroecological farm to revitalize soils, create space for community food production, and provide resources on agroecology. She plans to use her award to continue her work on the Allensworth Agricultural Experiment Station (AAES), testing soil-building techniques inspired by African Dark Earth and cultivating climate-adapted and culturally significant crops in collaboration with Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities in Allensworth. She plans to share lessons from this project in the form of an Agroecological Landscape Design Toolkit inspired by Tuskegee's Agricultural Bulletins—a place-based guide to transforming degraded landscapes into vibrant, food-producing ones.

Julia Li
The Pennsylvania State University

Julia Li, a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture student at The Pennsylvania State University, is the 2024 undergraduate National Olmsted Scholar. A Schreyer Honors Scholar, Julia is also pursuing a minor in meteorology. Merging her design and scientific training, Julia is passionate about creating tangible solutions that mitigate the consequences of climate inequality. Building from her honors thesis, she intends to use her award to work on climate change in the Kilombero Valley in Morogoro, Tanzania where she previously studied abroad. She plans to engage villagers of all ages with researchers at the Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Center (UEMC) and park rangers from Udzungwa Mountains National Park (UMNP) to catalyze a two-part climate resilience training and response strategy that includes both weather data and forecasting alongside generational knowledge. After finishing her BLA, Julia plans to stay at Penn State to earn an MS in Landscape Architecture.

National Olmsted Scholar finalists

The three graduate finalists (top row) each receive a $5,000 award, and the three undergraduate finalists (bottom row) each receive a $3,000 award.

  • Coronado

    Cameron Coronado
    University of Oregon

  • Keskeso

    Aya Keskeso
    Kent State University

  • Veloso

    Tatiana Veloso
    North Carolina State University

  • Perez

    Juan Perez
    University of Florida

  • Sanders

    Madison Sanders
    University of Oregon

  • Sedlacek

    Ellen Sedlacek
    Louisiana State University

2024 LAF olmsted scholars (Graduate) 

In addition to the winner and finalists, the graduate nominees from each university are recognized as 2024 LAF Olmsted Scholars, which denotes distinguished student leadership in landscape architecture.

2024 olmsted graduate nominees


First row: Emily Beeson, University of Colorado Denver | Jonathan Berlin, The Pennsylvania State University | Maggie Brand, Auburn University | Ryan Byrne, Temple University | Grace Canady, Texas A&M University | Jordan Cantafio, University of Manitoba | Kate Chesebrough, Cornell University | Mary Christensen, University of Maryland | Aishwarya Dharmarajan, University of California, Berkeley | Torey Erin, University of Minnesota | Alzira Fernandes, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Second row: Laurie Ferreras, Rutgers University | Kesari Fleury, The University of Texas at Austin | Molly Foote, Clemson University | Abbey Freed, University of Tennessee | Umme Haque, Texas Tech University | Claire Heidenreich, University of Calgary | Clara Jimenez, Louisiana State University | Margot Kopache, University of Guelph | Matthew Lewis, Morgan State University | Liz Marthaler, Ball State University | Addison Martin, Utah State University

Third row: Rebecca Martin, University of Toronto | Jorge Mayorga, Illinois Institute of Technology | Kylee Monroe, University of Idaho | Iman Moradi Naftchali, University of Oklahoma | Maram Moushmoush, West Virginia University | Mitzi Napoles, Florida International University | Cory Page, Harvard University | Saeed Piracha, The Ohio State University | Sam Pounders, Washington University in St. Louis | Muhammad Ashifur Rahman, North Dakota State University | Sam Nash Riggs, University of Georgia

Fourth row: Adrian Robins, University of Virginia | Oscar Rodriguez Ponce, University of Arizona | Connor Rudmann, Cal Poly Pomona | Maly Sears, Kansas State University | Heena Shrestha, The University of Texas at Arlington | David Smucker, City College of New York | Thea Swift, The University of New Mexico | Mojtaba Tahmasebi, University of Florida | Jeffrey Taylor, University of Massachusetts Amherst | Jarin Subah Tumpa, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign | Kelvin Vu, University of Pennsylvania

Fifth row: Corey Watanabe, Rhode Island School of Design | Natalie Weiss, University of Washington | Julia Wilson, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry | Jillian Ziegler, Boston Architectural College

2024 LAF Olmsted Scholars (Undergraduate)

In addition to the winner and finalists, the undergraduate nominees from each university are recognized as 2024 LAF Olmsted Scholars, which denotes distinguished student leadership in landscape architecture.

2024 olmsted scholars undergraduate


First row: SooBin An, University of Georgia | Jessica Baiza, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo | Alexis Banks, Iowa State University | Serma Basha, Thomas Jefferson University | Ella Braide, University of Kentucky | Victoria Bruno, Cal Poly Pomona | Cynthia Bui, University of California, Davis | Sarah Cope, University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Colleen Dawson, Texas Tech University | Paul Delashaw, Washington State University | Madeline Downer, University of Delaware

Second row: Ishan Ethridge, Cornell University | Jesse Fay, University of Idaho | Alex Feenstra, University of Guelph | Nicholas Gattoni, Michigan State University | Lauren Green, Ball State University | Elisa Gutierrez, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry | Catherine Hale, Boston Architectural College | Rachael Herring, Purdue University | Belle Irwin, West Virginia University | Matthew Jenkins, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign | Carington Light, North Carolina A&T State University

Third row: Kayleigh Lin, University of Massachusetts Amherst | Danny Logue, Temple University | Sofia Lomeli, Arizona State University | Kaylah Lue, Rutgers University | Madison Mohan, University of Maryland | Melanie Monbrod, Oklahoma State University | Emily Moon, The Ohio State University | Connor Nguyen, Virginia Tech | Kennedy Perry, Utah State University | Maria Potvin, University of Rhode Island | Sydney Puentes, Texas A&M University

Fourth row: Keegan Ripley, University of Wisconsin-Madison | Kaye Serapio, University of Nevada | Morgan Sisk, Clemson University | Abby Varga, University of Connecticut | Yixuan Wang, University of Washington

Thank you to our sponsors

The program is made possible with support from: Coldspring, Design Workshop, EDSA, Field Operations, Hart Howerton, HOK, IRONSMITH, LandDesign, OJB, OLIN, Sasaki, Stantec, SWA, Steven G. King, FASLA, and Bill and Kathy Main, Hon. ASLA. Promotion Partner: American Society of Landscape Architects.


The jurors for the graduate award were: 

  • Michael Grove, FASLA, PLA, Principal and Chair of Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering, and Ecology, Sasaki / LAF Board President
  • Jessica Henson, RLA, ASLA, AICP, Partner, OLIN 
  • Veronica Rivera, ASLA, PLA,  Associate Partner, Field Operations
  • Stanton Jones, ASLA, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of Michigan
  • Gail Kutac, Copywriter/Contributor, Madame Architect
  • Kona Gray, FASLA, PLA, Principal, EDSA / ASLA President-Elect  
  • Keith Faminiano, Designer II, Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects / 2023 National Olmsted Scholar

The jurors for the undergraduate award were:

  • Alma DuSolier, Studio Director, Hood Design / LAF Board President-Elect
  • Jim Burnett, FASLA, President, OJB
  • Gary Sorge, FASLA, AICP, Vice President, Community Development and Discipline Leader (Landscape Architecture), Stantec 
  • Ken McCown, ASLA/Assc. AIA, ACD, ILFI, ASAI, Professor, Department Head, and Academic Director of Sustainability Curriculum, University of Arkansas
  • Emily O'Mahoney, FASLA, PLA, Partner, 2GHO / ASLA Immediate Past President
  • Maryam Abutabikh, Landscape Architect Analyst, Kimley-Horn / 2023 National Olmsted Scholar 


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.