Sarah graduated from our MLA program in 2017 and currently works for Equinox, an environmental consulting firm in Asheville, NC. She is also our first alumni to be profiled for our quarterly newsletter.
1. Tell us a little about your career trajectory since you graduated from UT.
After graduating from UT in 2017, I worked at Firma in Nashville, a small landscape architecture design firm, where I had the chance to work on urban design projects, master planning, and residential design. Here I was able to begin honing my planting design skills, a focus I had been eager to develop. After Firma, I worked for Hawkins Partners, also in Nashville. There I had the opportunity to work on some larger urban design projects including parks, greenways, and amenity space for mixed use developments. In October 2022, I began a new position with Equinox, an environmental consulting firm in Asheville, NC with designers, planners, and ecologists. 
2. Tell us a bit about your current firm and projects or type of work you are doing.
As an environmental firm, Equinox has a range of project types. As a landscape architect, I am on the design team, and many of our current projects are parks and greenways in Asheville and the surrounding region. We work closely with the planning team, and often, the ecology team will assist with tasks such as wetland delineation, ecological assessments, etc., as needed. Being in the mountains, there is often a lot of grading and stormwater design, which we work to integrate into the experience of the landscape, such as creating opportunities to engage with a constructed wetland and planting with native plants that provide habitat for pollinators and other animals for a balanced ecosystem.
3. Are you licensed? If yes, when did you get licensed and do you have anything to say about that process?
I am coming up on two years of being licensed. I studied during the pandemic so I did have a lot of free time haha. However, I think setting and sticking to study times and creating a plan for myself on how I wanted to get through the topics really helped. There is also a Google group that was incredibly helpful where people could ask questions and have conversations about study topics. Personally, I took one exam at a time, and the process took about a year.
4. Do you have any advice for future landscape architecture students?
There are so many ways to be a landscape architect, and that is one of the most beautiful things about this profession. Follow your interests, and be open to the range of new things you learn in school. The principles of design will support your work and life beyond school.

5. What would you tell someone who is thinking about pursuing a career in landscape architecture?
See above. It is dynamic - you have an opportunity to create beautiful places for people, for plants, for animals, for the betterment of the earth, for the enjoyment of public space, for the benefit of society. 
6. Are there designers or firms that you follow consistently? What is it about their work that you are attracted to?
I enjoy following Landworks Studio after spending some time in their office during school - their details are very well thought out and their designs are really beautiful. Stimson also designs with incredible detail. The folks at NBW are great storytellers and consider the whole picture in their projects. Biohabitats is often working to restore and protect our natural areas, which I believe is important work. I’m inspired by Agency’s Gina Ford as a woman leader in landscape architecture, and as a team, they cover a wide range of project types and approach them creatively.
7. Do you have a favorite project you have worked on? Why did it have such impact for you?
I loved working on Noble Park in Nashville during my time at Firma. It was the first big project I was part of, and I loved that it was an opportunity to create space for people in the city as well as to add a pocket of green space through native planting. The project also taught me a lot about construction, and that experience follows me to projects today.
8. Any fond memories of your time at UTK that you would like to share?
Lots of good memories, but for now, just a shout out to my fellow students for being great people to study landscape architecture with.
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