Michelle Bright grew up in the mountains of Virginia, 15 minutes away from the Blue Ridge Parkway, and at an early age was intrigued and inspired by the natural world. This thread of interest continued as she pursued a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies with a minor in Biology at Virginia Commonwealth University. Graduating in 2005, Michelle was an environmental lab technician, then shifted over to environmental consulting focused on freshwater wetlands and aquatic systems. At AKRF Inc., a consulting firm in Philadelphia, she got introduced to landscape architecture and planning practices. Seeing opportunities of melding her environmental, ecological background with design and planning, she attended the University of Texas at Austin from 2010-2013 and received a Master in Landscape Architecture (MLA).
After graduate school, Michelle worked as an ecological designer and sustainable SITES contributor at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and then as a project manager and restoration advisor for the Waterloo Greenway Conservancy. In 2020 she joined Asakura Robinson as a senior designer focusing on parks, open spaces, conservation, climate/resilience, and small area planning. With over 17 years of experience with ecological, environmental, and sustainability thinking, she is a partner at Mend, a multidisciplinary group of designers, planners, and thought leaders. She believes that humans are part of our planet's ecology and that everyone deserves equitable access to nature and park space – thus, her work strives to include all people and is focused on equitable outcomes for the communities she serves.
Michelle co-teaches a living systems course for prospective MLA students at the University of Texas at Austin. She also is active with local organizations and is on the board of Austin Youth River Watch, a nonprofit that transforms and inspires youth through environmental education and community engagement.
- University of Texas at Austin, Master of Landscape Architecture 2013
- Virginia Commonwealth University, Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies 2005