Why did you choose The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture?
I was drawn to the program because of its emphasis on design theory as well as its location. Austin is a thriving and growing city situated at the intersection of multiple unique ecosystems with aquifers, springs, and endemic species. The relationship between people and nature is at the core of Landscape Architecture, and Austin is a great place to study the tension between these systems.
Describe your current role and the work that you do.
I work as a designer at Siglo Group, a local firm that specializes in ecological systems for conservation planning, urban planning, and landscape architecture projects. I work at a variety of scales, from planning for water quality and availability at the watershed level, to informing design and planting decisions at a local park.
What’s something you’ve worked on recently?
Earlier this year I was fortunate to work on the Lake Monona Design Challenge while working as a designer for Agency Landscape + Planning. We were one of the three teams chosen to develop a scheme for the waterfront and present it to the community. It was an incredible special experience as I went to Madison as an undergraduate student and frequented the waterfront often.
How did UTSOA prepare you for your career?
Design is a multi-faceted and iterative process, and we all fold into it differently. UTSOA allowed us to explore our interests, while still being held to the real challenges of our chosen project site. Faculty encouraged us to find different sources of inspiration, be it ecology, the surrounding community, or even a poem, while answering to the existing systems at play. This balance allowed me to quickly hone in on my personal interests and develop my voice as a designer.
What is an important lesson you learned here that has stayed with you?
Every project is different and will bring a lot of unknowns. Stay calm! It was a lesson I needed to learn early on, because the curveballs and learning never stop.
What were some of the more memorable classes or experiences from your time at the school?
So many to choose from! Drawing entanglements taught by Phoebe Lickwar taught me about non-traditional means of studying and capturing landscape. Traveling to Ecuador for Advanced Studio was also a trip, pun intended. We experienced a lot from visiting the dense urban center of Quito to going on birdwatching tours in the Andean jungle.