Leadership | LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership

For 2013-2018 Olmsted Scholars

2019-2020 Fellowship Timeline

July 2018
Call for applications announced

September 15, 2018
Deadline for all applications
   - Senior-level
   - Mid-career
   - Recent LAF Olmsted Scholars

September 25, 2018
Deadline for letters of reference

January 2019
Fellows announced

Late April/Early May 2019
Residency I

November 2019
Residency II

Late April/Early May 2020
Residency III

Related Documents

View/Download the LAF Fellowship announcement and application info:

Senior-level Candidates RFP
For applicants with 18+ years of professional landscape architecture experience

Mid-career Candidates RFP
For applicants with 6-17 years of professional landscape architecture experience

Recent LAF Olmsted Scholars RFP
For applicants named as LAF Olmsted Scholars between 2013 and 2018

The following opportunity is available only to LAF Olmsted Scholars who were recognized between 2013 and 2018. (If you were recognized as an Olmsted Scholar before 2013, refer to the main fellowship pages for mid-career or senior-level professionals.)



Since 2008, LAF’s Olmsted Scholars Program has recognized over 600 landscape architecture students for their exceptional leadership potential. Participation in the LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership is part of LAF’s ongoing efforts to support, cultivate, inspire, and build community among these future leaders of the profession.

Recent Olmsted Scholars (those named in the last 6 years) can apply to be part of the fellowship cohort, receiving support and guidance from the intergenerational group to nurture a project idea. 2 to 3 Olmsted Scholars recognized between 2013 and 2018 will be selected to participate based on a proposed project idea they wish to explore or advance.

Over the course of the year-long fellowship, Olmsted Scholars will attend three 2.5-day residencies in Washington, D.C. to engage in presentations, discussions, mentorship, and thoughtful critique toward the development and refinement of their project idea alongside the mid-career and senior-level Fellows. Between residencies, Olmsted Scholars participate in monthly check-in calls with their cohort and fellowship facilitators.

The Olmsted Scholars are critical part of the LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership and its aims to support leadership growth and intergenerational mentorship. Through this unique program, these emerging professionals can continue to nurture and pursue their passions and interests while working toward the collective pursuit of innovative projects with the potential to bring about impactful change for the profession, the environment, and humanity.


Award & Eligibility

  • LAF National Olmsted Scholar winners, finalists, and University Olmsted Scholars recognized between 2013 and 2018 are eligible to apply.
  • Applicants must apply as individuals. Teams are not eligible.
  • 2 to 3 Olmsted Scholars will be selected annually, with priority given to the current National Olmsted Scholar winners.
  • Each Olmsted Scholar receives travel and lodging stipends to attend the three residencies. There is no additional financial award for participating Olmsted Scholars.
  • Participation in the fellowship as an Olmsted Scholar, does not affect future eligibility for the full fellowship. (Once they have the minimum 6 years of profession experience, Olmsted Scholar participants may apply as a mid-career professionals for the $25,000 fellowship.)


Fellowship Expectations for Olmsted Scholars

For Olmsted Scholars, the fellowship is intended to be exploratory. The fellowship serves as a framework to support Olmsted Scholars in advancing their project ideas or proposals, not necessarily to implement them. In the early stages of the fellowship, Olmsted Scholars will communicate their personal goals and objectives for the fellowship year, and those will be used as a guide to evaluate each Olmsted Scholar’s progress.

Participating Olmsted Scholars are expected to:

  • Attend and complete each of the 3 three-day Residencies that will take place throughout the fellowship year. (See Fellowship Structure)
  • Participate in regular conference calls with the Fellowship cohort and facilitator to check in and monitor progress and discuss any relevant issues. Participation in discussions and ongoing dialogue through the fellowship year is encouraged to enrich mentorship, collaboration, and the overall fellowship experience.
  • Dedicate time outside of their work/school commitments to further their project between and in preparation for the residencies. With the exception of the residencies and monthly calls with the cohort team, Olmsted Scholars are NOT expected to take time off from work/school.



Olmsted Scholars should submit a concept, idea, or project — in any phase of development — that can be further explored and advanced through participation in the fellowship. These can be:

  • Projects that are abstract or concrete in nature that contribute to knowledge and innovation in landscape architecture.
  • Projects grounded in theoretical or historical investigations; product, program or business plan development*; new practice or service models; built work, new technology; or other activities.
  • The project described in your Olmsted Scholar essay if you are still passionate about advancing it.

*For projects focused on business plan development, the applicant must make the case that the business pursuit serves the advancement of the profession. Individual gain must not be the primary outcome.


Application & Process

LAF uses SlideRoom as its online application platform and will only accept applications submitted through this platform.  All application materials, including employer letters of support, must be submitted by 11:59pm EST on September 15. All reference letters must be submitted by 11:59pm EST on September 25.

Visit http://lafoundation.slideroom.com to use the system. Once you have created an account, scroll down to “LAF Fellowship - Opportunity for Olmsted Scholars”, and click “Begin” to start the submission process. You may save, edit, and review your work prior to submitting. An application fee of $10 must be paid at the time of submission via credit card.

For a complete description of the required application contents, download LAF Fellowship: Recent Olmsted Scholar Applicant RFP


Selection Process

Accomplished and insightful leaders in the landscape architecture discipline will serve as jurors to review applications and select fellowship participants. Applicants selected as finalists are expected to be available for a web-based video interview in February. Olmsted Scholars selected for the fellowship will be notified in late February.

Applicants will be evaluated on the following:

  • Quality of the applicant’s submission
  • Project’s contribution to knowledge and innovation in the discipline of landscape architecture
  • Project’s potential to increase landscape architecture’s role in addressing global challenges
  • Feasibility of project objectives
  • Project’s potential to expand landscape architecture’s leadership capacity into new areas
  • Applicant’s ability to provide and be open to mentorship, both as a mentor and a mentee
  • Potenital to advance the Olmsted Scholar’s own leadership growth



Contact Rachel Booher at rbooher@lafoundation.org or 202-331-7070 x10