The Road Taken
What shapes a career in landscape architecture?
Edited by Linda McIntyre and Frank Edgerton Martin
Navigating a career as a landscape architect can be
perplexing. Budding doctors have internships and residencies, newbie lawyers
clerk for judges or are recruited straight into firms, but landscape architects
don’t have a well-trod path to follow, and university programs don’t always
have the resources or focus to give graduating students a lot of guidance.
To complement National Landscape Architecture Month’s theme,
Career Discovery, Landscape Architecture
convened a “virtual roundtable” of landscape architects all over the country,
both BLAs and MLAs, and at various stages of their careers, asking how they
came to the profession, what strategies have worked for them, and what advice
they have for those just starting out. Here’s what we found out—look for
thoughts from BLAs in the tinted areas and MLAs in the white sections.
Don Stier, ASLA
Seven years in practice • BS in business administration •
MLA, Kansas State University • Missouri Division of State Parks Planning and
I was working at a desk job in the financial industry and
lamenting my lost college days doing outdoor work. A chance meeting with a
friend of my wife introduced me to the profession. I could be indoors and
outdoors and exercise some creativity as well. I was 25 at the time, and after
some investigation and a bit of soul-searching, I entered grad school at 27.
My program did a good job of preparing students for
practice. Professors encouraged students to follow their muse; in fact, they
delighted in students with the energy and vision to chase down something
outside the syllabus. My thesis further developed my writing and presentation
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