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April 2008 Issue

The Road Taken
What shapes a career in landscape architecture?

Edited by Linda McIntyre and Frank Edgerton Martin

The Roaf Taken Thierry Serafin/

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 Development

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 skills.

…To read the entire article, subscribe to LAM!

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