1. Tell us a little about your career trajectory since you graduated from UT.
Since graduating from UT in 2019, I took a year to earn a Master’s in Historical Archaeology in York, England. After that sojourn, I started working at a small firm that specialized in brownfields remediation and municipal planning, often working with small towns in Pennsylvania who were hoping to revitalize their downtowns thanks to the surge in remote work. I spent a little over a year there, then moved to my current position with AECOM working in their federal planning studio where I work on master planning projects for military installations around the world.
2. Tell us a bit about your current firm and projects or type of work you are doing.
I work for AECOM, a global company of about 48,000 that performs everything from archaeological services to design-build projects. The federal planning studio in Virginia Beach, where I work, is one of three in the U.S., so I work closely with the Arlington, VA and Orange, CA offices to complete master plans for federal installations. This often involves traveling for site visits, conducting interviews, facilitating design workshops, and writing reports.
3. Are you licensed? If yes, when did you get licensed and do you have anything to say about that process?
I opted to go the planning route over the landscape architecture route and am currently an AICP candidate. I will receive my full certification in December, once I meet the experiential requirements for the American Planning Association.
4. What do you wish other people knew about our MLA program/Landscape Architecture/SoLA?
I think many people, especially those unfamiliar with how big of a field landscape architecture is, imagine construction drawings and big books about plants when you say you have a master’s in landscape architecture. I wish other people know that SoLA pushes students to make their projects work on multiple levels, beyond meeting a brief. That multifaceted and sometimes speculative approach generates powerful conversations and encourages students to carry a thoughtful and thorough approach to problems they face in their professional roles
5. Any fond memories of your time at UTK that you would like to share?
I had a small cohort (shoutout to my 3 fellow classmates) and I think we all complemented each other really well. Growing with them over three years in beautiful Knoxville, Tennessee was truly wonderful.
6. Why did you join your present firm?
I joined AECOM because I was looking for global opportunities. In my current position in the federal planning studio, I get to give back to the military communities where I grew up, which is very fulfilling. Long term, I hope to use AECOM’s expansive network to work abroad.
7. What drew you to landscape architecture?
Landscape architecture combines everything amazing about science and design and is uniquely suited to celebrate everything that makes a place special. It is everywhere – the route through a national park, the streetscape in a downtown, a green oasis in a big city - and has the power to completely change how people experience places.
8. What would you tell someone who is thinking about pursuing a career in landscape architecture?
The field of landscape architecture is wide ranging. I would encourage anyone who is thinking about pursuing a career as a landscape architect to find the core of their interest and to stay curious about all the different possibilities landscape architecture offers.