Updates from ASLA

LAF Announces Winners of the $25,000 and $15,000 Olmsted Scholar Awards

The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is pleased to announce the two winners and six finalists for the 2017 Olmsted Scholars Program, the premier national award and recognition program for landscape architecture students.

David de la Cruz, a master’s student at the University of Washington, was selected as the 2017 National Olmsted Scholar and recipient of the $25,000 graduate prize. He will use the award to work on environmental justice issues in his home community in South Central Los Angeles. Working in partnership with educators, school administrators, and students at under-resourced high schools, de la Cruz aims to collaboratively identify and implement a landscape invention project that will cultivate self-expression and environmental remediation. The proposal expands on his 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. De la Cruz graduates with a Master of Landscape Architecture in June 2017.

Lauren Delbridge, an undergraduate at Virginia Tech, is the other 2017 National Olmsted Scholar and recipient of the $15,000 undergraduate prize. She 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. Delbridge 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

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.

Now in its tenth year, 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; and Promotion Partner American Society of Landscape Architects.

The 2017 Olmsted Scholars will be honored at LAF’s 32nd Annual Benefit on Friday, October 20, in Los Angeles, held in conjunction with the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO.

See profiles of the entire group of 2017 Olmsted Scholars at

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