Bridget graduated in 2020 and ventured cross country to California. Bridget currently works for RANA Creek Design in Carmel, CA., a small firm known for its ecological restoration

1. Tell us a little about your career trajectory since you graduated from UT.
Initially I began my career with Carducci Associates, a small firm in San Francisco, CA. During my time there I created proposals, and assisted in the design and facilitation of our public outreach and public engagement. I had the opportunity to join RANA Creek Design toward the end of 2022. RANA has been an exciting place to continue my professional growth as we have a wide range of allied professions in office. I have had the chance to collaborate with our biologist, and have expanded my native plant knowledge through RANA’s Nursery. Due to my prior experience with proposals I continue to be a part of the proposal and quals process at RANA. I continue to value opportunities to learn where I can by taking on different aspect of a project. I currently am embarking on that “wonderful” journey known as irrigation design (I will admit, as low person in the ranks, I inherited learning it when our irrigation guru moved on).

2. Tell us a bit about your current firm and projects or type of work you are doing.
RANA specializes in ecological restoration and as such we are often sought by other landscape architect firms as specialist when a project has a large ecological restoration aspect. While it is the skills of our biologist and ecologist that they seek, this information needs to be translated into design. Since 2017, RANA has been collaborating with GGN (Seattle) on India Basin Shoreline Park, a project that creates connectivity and accessibility along the San Francisco Bay, linking the Bay Trail and the Blue Greenway. I have recently been assigned to support this project and I am incredibly excited to contribute.
3. What drew you to landscape architecture?
An odd opportunity to watch an old gardener maintain a row of roses on an estate/horse farm in Lexington, KY set me on the path to Landscape architecture… (it’s a long story). Watching him I had the thought of “wouldn’t that be an amazing job-- to care for such a place…” But the thought didn’t stop there. It leaped from that of maintaining what someone else created, to being the creator of something meaningful. Honestly that was just my “ah-ha” moment. In hindsight, there has always been something pointing me in the direction of LA.
4. What skills that you learned in your MLA program have you found to be the most

The concept of iterations. Quick iterations, and lots of them. “Hurry up and fail”, get all the mediocre designs out of the way so you can find the successful designs. During desk crits I always felt like SoLA faculty would say something to the effect of “okay, good… what else?” it was that constant question of “what else” that I now ask myself. And when I can no longer answer that question I take my sketch to a teammate and ask them “what else”. Generally that gets things going again, until neither one of us can come up with another “what else” (or until our lead tells us it is time to put something concrete down… whichever comes first).

5. Do you have any advice for future landscape architecture students?
Graduating in mid pandemic made it challenging to find a job. One of my greatest tools to combat this was networking. I cannot reiterate enough the power of networking!!! I remained (and still remain) active in ASLA. I embedded myself in my local chapters Emerging Professional group and was invited to join a group of well respected, established professionals on a special project. Not only did I learn a lot during this time, but I earned references that carried a lot of weight behind them. Beyond that, you never know when someone will be that one person who knows someone who is looking for someone exactly like you (and yes, it often is that convoluted!) And in the reverse, you never know when you will be that person who has something to offer.

6. How would you summarize what you do?
I have been known to tell people “I cannot believe I get paid to draw pictures and take walks through some of the most spectacular landscape this country has to offer…” - And
while I say that very tongue in cheek, it is not inaccurate. To be completely accurate though, I analyze existing sites and take notes of where they succeed and where they fail. I research histories, city codes, county codes, and at times state code. I spend hours in CAD, and almost as many hours in InDesign. But in the end, as part of a team, I help restore ecologies that have all but disappeared. At the same time I help to make them accessible so that those who choose to, can experience them. Sustainability baby! It’s a thing!
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