Jenna is from Knoxville, Tennessee and is a 5+1 student in her final year of the program.
1.    What was your undergraduate experience and how did it influence your decision to pursue a MLA?
I started at UT in architecture. That was where I first learned about the built environment and how to think like a designer. I loved the creative challenges of architecture. In my fourth year of undergrad, I, along with my project partners, designed a community center in a neighborhood of Chattanooga. This neighborhood suffers from redlining and lacks adequate tree canopy. It became clear from meetings with the neighborhood’s residents that designing the landscape of the site would be just as important as designing the building. Working on this project inspired me to learn more about landscape architecture; so, I applied to the graduate program after this semester.
2.    What activities do you pursue outside the school?
Volleyball is my favorite way to spend my time; I play pickup volleyball at a local recreation center every week. I also love hiking and camping. Currently, I’m honing my skills as an amateur mycophile and am passionate about pawpaw trees! I’ve also recently gotten into contra dancing with the group that meets next to campus on Mondays. You should check it out!

3.   Do you have any advice for future landscape architecture students?
Don’t enter school thinking that you know what landscape architecture is. Design school will change the way that you see the world. Be open to the ideas and tactics that your professors suggest; inspiration for landscape design can come from anywhere. Also, spend time working in studio- being there with your classmates will ensure some great memories.
4.     Do you have a favorite studio project you have worked on?
Last semester, my studio partner and I examined a (real) proposal to use nuclear bombs for oil extraction in the Athabasca Oil Sands of Canada. We imagined a future for the area where atomic bombs are used to mine oil. This developed into the creation of a religion focused on managing nuclear waste and public perception of scheduled atomic bombings. For our final review, we sewed cloaks and made masks and presented our prophetic landscape as members of the Atomic Fellowship. It was pretty crazy but so fun to work on!
5.     What do you or will you miss about Knoxville?
I’m grateful to live so close to the mountains and the National Park; you’re never in want of good hiking or backpacking around here. I will miss Cruze Farm ice cream and Yassin’s Falafel shop. I’ve also been lucky enough to take the free trolley to class for the last four years.
6.     How has your perception of landscape architecture changed over time?
I’ve learned that “nature” means a lot of different things and that every landscape project doesn’t include plants. In fact, landscape architecture encompasses so many things. I’ve come to appreciate weeds.
7.     What are you currently working on in studio?
Currently, I am working on a redesign of Market Square (Knoxville’s town square). It’s a personal project for me because I was born and raised in Knoxville. I want to root Market Square in Southern Appalachian to help connect Knoxvillians to the land on which they live. I’m using barn quilts as inspiration for paving patterns and Appalachian balds to design landforms.
8.     Did you have an internship or externship experience? What did you learn from it/them?
I interned with FFKR Architects in Salt Lake City, Utah for two summers. Working in a desert climate has introduced me to a new set of challenges in landscape architecture (and a new plant list). I enjoyed visiting construction sites and seeing how pavers get laid or how a seatwall is put together.
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