Updates from ASLA

ASLA 2020 Residential Design Award of Excellence. Marshcourt, Cambridge, MA. Reed Hilderbrand >

Bringing K-12 STEM Events Back to the White House

Future Cities South Florida team shares their ideas for the city of the future with President Obama, 2013 White House Science Fair. Photo Credit: Future Cities

In a letter to President Biden, the Coalition outlines how his administration can use the enormous power and influence of their offices to send the signal that STEM learning is critically important as we begin in earnest down the long road to American recovery. Amongst the signatories on this letter are multinational companies, teacher organizations, science and engineering societies, universities, afterschool programs, museums, trade schools, and a myriad of similar state and local organizations devoted to advancing STEM education. 

The letter sends a clear message to teachers and students that excellence in the STEM subjects is a crucial national priority. Among the recommendations is the key necessity to “Elevate and praise the winners of national competitive STEM team events … in the same manner as (we celebrate) the winners of the Super Bowl and World Series.”

Examples of national STEM events highlighted in the letter include the White House Science and Engineering Fair, Science Olympiads, Maker Faires, and the Future City Competition.

“ASLA is proud to be a part of the STEM Education Coalition” said Torey Carter-Conneen, CEO of ASLA.  “Landscape Architecture is a profession grounded in the STEM disciplines and has a critical role to play in our recovery as a nation, with important expertise in climate change and creating public places for all citizens to revitalize communities and neighborhoods.”

One of the most prominent national STEM events ASLA currently supports is the Future City Competition. As a three-year sponsor, ASLA has introduced over 100,000 students to landscape architecture as a STEM profession through participation in its Special Award for the Best Integration of Equity in Designing the Built Environment using Nature-Powered Solutions. ASLA members have served as jurors each year, and a growing number of ASLA members are leading participating student groups throughout their design process. In 2019 ASLA member Irene Ogata completed her 4th year working with the Billy Lauffer Middle School, Sunnyside School District, Tucson, AZ on the Sunnyside Future City STEAM Program. As the only landscape architect on the team, Ogata was called in to work with students to apply their research to imagine cities of the future and create concept art for their city models.

Here's how you can get involved:

  • Join your regional committee and help the program grow in your region. 
  • Support your local Future City program. Mentors volunteer directly with student teams and share real-life STEM experiences, offer technical guidance, and help translate academic concepts to the real world of engineering and city design. Since this year is virtual, you can volunteer to be a STEM mentor no matter where you are located. Download the Be A Mentor flier for more information or register now!

 Featured Article Irene Ogata, ASLA

Irene Ogata, ASLA with students. Photo Credit: CommunityShare

Read more about ASLA’s sponsorship of the Future City Competition.

About the Future City Competition

The Future City Competition engages more than 45,000 middle school students each year throughout the United States and abroad. Teams of students worked for four months to complete five deliverables, which include a virtual city design (using SimCity), a 1,500-word essay, a scale model built from recycled materials, a project plan, and a presentation for judges at regional competitions. ASLA’s Career Discovery and Diversity Manager Lisa J. Jennings describes the event as “the Oscars for hard working students.” 

Leave a Comment