Earlier this semester we had the opportunity to hear one of our own faculty members speak as part of the Church Lecture Series hosted by the College of Architecture and Design. However, Brad Collett’s talk was a little different than those previously given. Rather than serving as a way to explore projects of interest or some major achievement, Brad’s talk took a more reflect path looking back at his work as a landscape architect and educator. Subjects ranged from his pedagogy and teaching to creative activity before ending with his projections for his professional path. Oddly enough it wasn’t Brad’s success that I took away from the presentation – he’s a great educator who I know will give me a good grade for this blog… … … but rather it was a sense of reflection of my own academic career and an idea of where I want my professional work to head.
My academic career has been somewhat all over the place. As an undergrad I changed my major multiple times starting in public horticulture before looking into biology and forestry, and finally settling on landscape design. I found that design allowed me another level of creative freedom beyond horticulture and the heavier science based fields. That creativity was still rooted in reason and research to create informed designs – a perfect balance of creativity and logic. I went on to also work towards minors in ecology, evolutionary biology, and education ultimately earning my licensure in secondary science education. Though this may seem like a hodgepodge of miscellaneous things I would not trade any of the experiences or skills I have acquired over the years. From landscape design it was only a logical transition into a Masters of Landscape Architecture program. And given my interest in construction and detail oriented designs I have decided to tack an MARCH onto that as well… What’s nine years of school anyways? I’m young. I’ve got time. But now I find myself asking “How do I make use of all of my varied experiences?” “Do I have to make use of all of these varied experiences? Is it OK to focus on one thing?”
I don’t know that there is an answer to that last question, it would probably vary with every person you asked, but I still find myself wondering what the future holds for me professionally. What I do know is what I (think I) want to do or achieve with my professional career.
- Finish Grad School: I’m on track to be finished with dual MARCH/MLA degrees come May of 2020. Till then I am just a professional student. I plan to make the best of my time by: staying active in the student culture in my program; producing studio work that fosters dialogue and discussion; curating conversation about the state and future of design through whatever mode of communication works (hoping LAND | ARCH may become something bigger); and just generally developing design skills and awareness.
- Take an Active Role in the Professional Community: The professional community is a strong resource to be tapped into regardless of what profession you are entering into. I have an interest in pursuing an active role in the organizations that lead and shape the profession, be it ASLA, AIA, LAF, or some other. These organizations and networks also provide some of the best opportunities for advocating for the collective profession to law makers and citizens alike, as well as promoting success of professionals within.
- Find a Position that Promotes My Beliefs as a Designer: Not sure entirely where I will end up in life, but I am keeping my options open in terms of geography and position. Ultimately, like everyone my age, I want to find a position that promotes me as an individual and allows me to promote the lives of others.
- Lift up the Next Generation of Designers: Having greatly enjoyed my short time as an educator I could easily see myself going back to it one day, perhaps as a lecturer at the collegiate level, or maybe even making the occasional appearance as a studio instructor… We will just have to see on this one. I would love the opportunity to use my experiences later in life to help influence and engage the next generations of designers.
Dual MLA | MARCH student at The University of Tennessee. Travels abroad, creative explorations, and design investigations.