Ignite is a multi-year program with three core components: an annual scholarship, summer internships, and ongoing mentorship through one-on-one mentors, cohort mentorship, and access to a larger network of subject matter experts.
Each year, LAF selects 3-5 students to participate in Ignite. Participation in the program is ongoing until the student has completed their landscape architecture degree provided that they remain enrolled and in good academic standing. As such, each new cohort joins the group from past years, with up to 15 Ignite participants total.
Ignite involves monthly individual and group check-ins, in addition to the three core components of the program: a multi-year scholarship, internships, and mentorship.
Each Ignite participant receives one $10,000 award for each academic year, from the year they are selected to the year they graduate. The scholarship may be prorated for partial years.
Participation in the internships and mentorship aspects of Ignite, as well as the monthly check-ins, is required for payment of funds.
LAF works with each Ignite participant to arrange a paid internship in landscape architecture for each year the student remains in the program. Internship options are guided by the student's area of interest as well as the availability of opportunities. The internship is a chance to explore different career paths in landscape architecture, including those in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. It is also an opportunity to make money, develop skills, and build a network of professionals.
With the support of LAF, Ignite participants are required to:
- Develop a resume and portfolio
- Interview with the internship provider prior to being awarded an internship
- Participate in 2-3 check-in calls with LAF during the internship to report on progress, challenges, and any areas of concern
- Meet the stated objectives of the internship
- Present to their Ignite cohort about their internship to share their experience and what they learned
LAF screens all internship providers to ensure that they pay a living wage and have undertaken efforts to create an inclusive workplace. At this time, LAF does not pay for nor arrange housing or transportation for student internships.
The mentorship component of Ignite includes:
- One-on-one mentorship with a landscape architecture professional
- Cohort mentorship with a cohort facilitator
- Peer-to-peer mentorship with other Ignite students
- Opportunities for meeting with subject matter experts
Each Ignite participant is matched with a one-on-one mentor based on mutual areas of interest, the mentor's experience, and their ability to contribute to the knowledge and growth of the student. This mentor works with the student for the duration of their participation in the Ignite program (and beyond!). They are expected to meet regularly (mostly virtually) based on a mutually agreed upon schedule.
Cohort mentorship is led by a facilitator during virtual meetings (see below) to support Ignite students in navigating the path to becoming a landscape architect and supporting the students professional development. Peer-to-peer mentorship occurs through scheduled meetings (see below) and informal opportunities to engage with other Ignite participants. Through LAF's expansive network of leaders in landscape architecture, Ignite students can connect with experienced professionals in their area of interest.
The mentorship aspect of Ignite was developed in partnership with landscape architect Kendra Hyson.
Ignite students participate in regular virtual meetings (up to 12 per year) with the LAF Program Manager and/or cohort facilitator to share successes, discuss challenges, and take part in opportunities for fellowship and career development. The format of the check-ins varies by topic with some held individually, with small groups, and with the full group of Ignite participants.
Ongoing opportunities for communication and engagement with other Ignite students and alumni are provided to enrich the overall experience.