The LAF Olmsted Scholars Program recognizes outstanding student leaders from each accredited landscape architecture program in the U.S. and Canada. Olmsted Scholars are nominated by the faculty from each university. Students do not apply directly to the Olmsted Scholars Program.
Step 1: Nominations from Faculty
Each university may nominate one student from each of its LAAB-accredited* landscape architecture programs (undergraduate and/or graduate). Eligible students are graduate students or undergraduates currently in their fourth or fifth year, who have made a commitment to the landscape architecture profession.
The nominee is recognized as an LAF Olmsted Scholar and competes for one of the national awards. For graduate students, the jury-selected National Olmsted Scholar receives $25,000, and three finalists receive $5,000 each. For undergraduate students, the National Olmsted Scholar receives $15,000, and three finalists receive $3,000 each.
To nominate a student, a faculty member must e-mail a completed Nomination Form (available in January) to dcarbonneau [at] lafoundation.org from their university account. The form requires the signature of the department chair attesting that 1) the faculty as a whole supports the nomination(s), and 2) the student(s) have been notified and accept their nomination(s). Nominations are due by February 15.
*LAAC-accredited for Canadian schools
Step 2: Full Submissions from Faculty/Nominees
LAF must receive a complete Nominee Submission Packet in order for the nominee to be eligible for the Olmsted Scholar award and recognition. This packet includes items to be completed by the nominating faculty and the nominee. All nominees with complete submissions will be recognized as University Olmsted Scholars. Nominee Submission Packets are due by March 15.
Step 3: Selection by Jury
The graduate and undergraduate National Olmsted Scholars and up to 6 Finalists are selected by an independent jury of leaders in the landscape architecture profession. Candidates are evaluated on their past achievements and their future potential to influence the landscape architecture discipline. Criteria for selection include the candidate’s leadership potential in (1) the advancement of sustainable planning and design, and (2) fostering human and societal benefits, as assessed through the candidate’s demonstration of:
- leadership and vision
- engagement with current issues
- critical thinking
- communication skill
- personal characteristics and values
When making their nominations, faculty should consider both the recognition aspect of the Olmsted Scholars Program as well as the unparalleled opportunities offered to Olmsted Scholars for ongoing engagement and participation.