Scholarship | Olmsted Scholars Program

2017 National Olmsted Scholars

daviddelacruz-500x700David de la Cruz, University of Washington

The Landscape Architecture Foundation is delighted to announce that David de la Cruz, a master’s student at the University of Washington, and Lauren Delbridge, an undergraduate at Virginia Tech, were selected as the 2017 National Olmsted Scholars.

David receives the $25,000 graduate prize and will use the award to work on environmental justice issues in his home community in South Central Los Angeles. David plans to work in partnership with educators, school administrators, and students at under-resourced high schools to collaboratively identify and implement a landscape invention project that will cultivate self-expression and environmental remediation. The proposal expands on David’s 2016 “Lot Liberation” event, which gathered local artists, key community members, activists, and local vendors to transform vacant lots into bursts of art, color, and hope. David graduates with a Master of Landscape Architecture in June 2017.

Lauren receives the $15,000 undergraduate prize and will use the award to further her research to define strategies to remediate coal ash ponds and rethink the design of highly disturbed sites to increase public awareness and environmental literacy. She plans to travel to notable sites where disturbed lands have been successfully reclaimed or remediated, using her observations to create a collection of case studies that can be used as an educational tool, a public resource, and a foundation for further design research. Lauren graduates with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture in May 2017.

Also honored are six National Olmsted Scholar Finalists, who each receive a $1,000 award. The graduate finalists are:

  • Catharine McCord, University of Colorado Denver
  • Ruth Nervig, City College of New York
  • Ylan Vo, Washington University in St. Louis
laurendelbridge-500x700Lauren Delbridge, Virginia Tech

The undergraduate finalists are:

  • Kristi Lin, University of California, Davis
  • Nathania Martinez, University of Florida
  • Stephen Zimmerer, The Pennsylvania State University

Two independent juries of leaders in the landscape architecture profession selected the winners and finalists from a group of 50 graduate and 31 undergraduate students nominated by their faculty for their exceptional leadership potential. These top students earned the designation of 2017 University Olmsted Scholars and join the growing community of 549 past and present Olmsted Scholars.

The 2017 jurors for the graduate award were: Jennifer Guthrie, LAF President and Principal at GGN; Gregory Miller, ASLA President-Elect and Principal at Morrow Reardon Wilkinson Miller, Ltd.; Kim Wilson, Professor and Director of the Landscape Architecture Program at University of Nebraska-Lincoln; D’Arcy Deeks, President and CEO at IRONSMITH; Martin Pedersen, Executive Director of Common Edge; Stephanie Pankiewicz, Partner at LandDesign; and Azzurra Cox, 2016 National Olmsted Scholar (Graduate) and Designer at GGN.

Jurors for the undergraduate award were: Adam Greenspan, LAF President-Elect and Partner at PWP Landscape Architecture; Chad Danos, ASLA Immediate Past President and Director at Duplantis Design Group, PC; Kelly Shannon, Director of Landscape Architecture at the University of Southern California; Thomas Donnelly, President of BrightView Group; Brian Jencek, Director of Planning at HOK; Kelly Rodriguez, Executive Director and Editor of ARCADE, Chris Steele, Specification Sales Manager at The Toro Company; and Casey Howard, 2016 National Olmsted Scholar (Undergraduate) and Landscape Designer at Dougherty Landscape Architects.

Now in its tenth year, the Olmsted Scholars Program is the premier national award and recognition program for landscape architecture students. The program honors students with exceptional leadership potential who are using ideas, influence, communication, service, and leadership to advance sustainable design and foster human and societal benefits.The Olmsted Scholars Program is made possible with support from Lead Sponsor: The Toro Company; Annual Sponsors: EDSA, HOK, OLIN, Sasaki Associates, IRONSMITH, LandDesign, Thomas C. and Gerry D. Donnelly, Steven G. King, FASLA, and Bill Main, Hon. ASLA; Promotion Partner: American Society of Landscape Architects.