1. Tell us a little about your career trajectory since you graduated from UT.
I finished the MLA program in 2019, not really sure how or where I wanted to begin my career. All I knew was that the part of the MLA program that I enjoyed most was creating beautiful graphics. To me, an idea or concept for a project becomes even more rich and alluring if you can illustrate your ideas through graphic renders. I ended up accepting a position at a private engineering firm in Knoxville, working as a marketing coordinator. While not exactly what I had planned, this job ended up being a terrific learning experience for the next three-ish years. I was able to learn an entirely different design language as well as help with drafting MEP and Architectural drawings for large industrial projects across the southeast. I was then contacted by Brad Collett, the director of the Tennessee RiverLine initiative at UT, to see if I'd be interested in applying for a position on his planning and design team. As a former graduate assistant to Brad, I had the great fortune to work on the early developmental stages of the RiverLine initiative, creating graphic illustrations for presentations and publications. To be able to return to that work was such an exciting opportunity!
2. Tell us a bit about your current firm and projects or type of work you are doing.
I am now a Planning and Design Specialist with the Tennessee RiverLine. This initiative has an incredibly ambitious vision of creating a continuous system of recreational, environmental and economic opportunities along the entire 652-mile reach of the Tennessee River. As part of the Planning and Design team, we are currently engaging with
rivertown communities to develop design plans for specific project sites of their choosing. This community engagement work, along with pushing the overall mission of the Tennessee RiverLine, allows me to return to the creative and graphic design work that I enjoy so much.
3. What is your team like?
I love my work team. What's funny is that we are all graduates of the MLA program and have all been taught by Brad Collett. We just couldn't get enough! But really, I have never been surrounded by such inspiring and creative souls thus far, professionally. The office has such a great culture that encourages each of us to think outside the box when it comes to design. It is a young program, but one that I feel really proud to be a part of.
4. What do you wish other people knew about our MLA program/Landscape Architecture/Solar?
The MLA program can set you up to be successful in so many more facets than just a straightforward landscape design focused career. In my opinion, the program lends itself to all kinds of niches within the arts including installation, fabrication, graphic design, story telling, and more that can be applied towards all kinds of professions. I went into the program having a more narrowed view of what landscape architecture is, and discovered that it is actually incredibly broad in it's potential. For me personally, it was very exciting to not feel boxed into a specific professional trajectory, and instead feel like I could explore which avenue of design really spoke to me and my interests.