Olivia is from Illinois 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?
For my undergraduate degree, I pursued a B.Arch with a sustainability minor here at UTK. In my design projects, I was constantly creating designs that merged indoor and outdoor. I am a strong believer in the restorative, psychological, and physical benefits of landscape and nature. In one project, my team created a landscape and neighborhood plan in addition to the building design. Through this process, I became interested in the intricacies of landscape architecture and decided to pursue the MLA and expand my process of design thinking.
2.    What activities do you pursue outside the school?
I’m a lover of the outdoors, so when I’m not in studio you can usually find me hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or playing with my dog. More recently, I’ve started to get back into reading for fun and painting again.

3.    Do you have any advice for future landscape architecture students?
My advice for future landscape architecture students is to come in with an open mind. My perspective on what landscape architecture is changed drastically and was opened to a wider range of possibilities. Landscape architecture provides a foundation for so many unique career paths.
4.    What was your favorite class? What did you like about it?
One of my favorite classes was Urban Ecology. I enjoyed this class because it provides another perspective to what we do as designers. I have always been very interested in the relationship between humans and our environments and this course dives deep into that relationship and the impacts they have on each other. It is also one of the few interdisciplinary courses, so conversations are held between students of diverse educational backgrounds.
5.    Do you have a favorite studio project you have worked on?
My favorite studio project in the MLA program was actually from my first studio, ‘Beyond Site,’ taught by Scottie McDaniel. In this project, I was able to design a watershed infrastructure system by manipulating landform and specifying a plant palette for phytoremediation in an underutilized public park space. This was the first project where my design decisions included major earthwork and landform change. It challenged me through an iterative design process involving sketching, computational design, modeling, and testing physical models.   
6.    What do you or will you miss about Knoxville?
I will miss the amazing, bright and colorful sunsets that can be seen perfectly from the studios in the A+A building. I will also miss the proximity to the forested mountains and waterfalls of the Smokies, but look forward to having the Rockies in my backyard!
7.    What are you currently working on in studio?
This semester, I am in a studio focused on the town square and looking specifically at design possibilities and spatial imaginaries for Knoxville’s Market Square. We just got back from a trip to New York where we toured Manhattan’s public squares, plazas, and parks, contemporary designs in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and met with design professionals. 
8.    Did you have an internship or externship experience? What did you learn from them? 
I had two different internships, one at a small architecture firm and another at a larger firm with multiple design disciplines including both architecture and landscape architecture. They were both really positive experiences where I learned how conceptual design, like we do in school, is taken through the various design stages and finally constructed. I also learned a lot about the business and politics of design from great mentors. My internship experiences helped me understand what I did and did not like about practice and what I wanted in a firm culture.
'Beyond Site' Studio // Instructor Scottie McDaniel
'Beyond Site' Studio // Instructor Scottie McDaniel
'Beyond Site' Studio // Instructor Scottie McDaniel
'Beyond Site' Studio // Instructor Scottie McDaniel
'Audiolog' Studio // Instructor Chad Manley
'Audiolog' Studio // Instructor Chad Manley
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