1. Tell us a little about your career trajectory since you graduated from UT.
After graduation, I worked in private practice Dallas for a year and then in Orlando for 7 years before returning to Knoxville to join the Tennessee RiverLine team. After having worked in both small and large offices, for multi-disciplinary firms and landscape architecture only firms, I’ve gotten the opportunity to see how different types of companies operate and how their culture shapes their work.
2. Are you licensed? If yes, when did you get licensed and do you have anything to say about that process?
Yes, I received my license three years after graduating. I’m happy that I went through the testing early in my career because it helped me form foundational knowledge of the profession and I was able to take the exams with an open mind. I watched many colleagues who were later in their career struggle to pass the exams because they had too much experience with local codes and regulations. The exam is looking for the most basic answers across all geographies and it’s difficult to answer without applying your years of local/regional knowledge and experience. Plus, some firms give a pay increase when you are licensed because they can charge clients more for your time as a licensed professional. And since I needed CEUs to keep up with my license I was given first preference on attending ASLA conferences.
3. Do you have any advice for future landscape architecture students?
Once you are in the professional realm, you will be judged on your teamwork rather than your individual accomplishments, so be a good teammate and learn to collaborate, listen, and incorporate feedback at a high level. And don’t be so hard on yourself – you are doing better than you think. Don’t compare your work to others – follow your own journey and compete with yourself instead.
4. What skills that you learned in your MLA program have you found to be the most helpful?
Big-picture planning and strategizing. Being able to bounce between large-scale ideas and smaller details is a skill that most people don’t have. It’s kind of a super-power for designers, I think. Before earning my MLA, I had not done that type of thinking before and it really stretched me and gave me a new perspective on almost everything in my life.
5. Any fond memories of your time at UTK that you would like to share?
I had an amazing group of people around me during those three years and many of them are still close friends today. We bonded and grew together, and I’ll always be grateful for their help and collaboration. We made each other stronger which was a good lesson moving forward into my professional career – design cannot happen without collaboration.
Back to Top