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

LAF 2021 Olmsted Scholars / Landscape Architecture Foundation

The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) has announced the 87 exceptional student leaders honored in its 2021 Olmsted Scholars Program, including the two national winners and six finalists:

Harshat Verma, a master’s student at The Ohio State University, was selected as the graduate 2021 LAF National Olmsted Scholar, winning the $25,000 prize. While employed at a socially-driven architecture firm in Mumbai, Harshat collaborated with landscape architects to design a nature park and became inspired to pursue an MLA. He is now exploring the concept of a multiplayer, multi-species world-building game that simulates the experience of climate change across a range of urban ecosystems to teach others about the value and complexity of natural systems, and serve as an experimental tool for planners and designers.

Abigail Long, a student at Temple University, is the undergraduate 2021 National Olmsted Scholar and winner of the $15,000 prize. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Abigail used volunteering opportunities to create healthy outdoor spaces in which children could learn and play. To carry those values forward, she would like to develop accessible outdoor classroom design models for use by policymakers, school districts, and educators so they may cultivate environments that will nurture the next group of leaders who will eventually take care of our communities and earth.

Also honored are six National Olmsted Scholar Finalists. The graduate finalists, who each receive a $5,000 award, are: 

  • Taylor Davis, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Leah Kahler, University of Virginia
  • Jared Edgar McKnight, University of Southern California

 The undergraduate finalists, who each receive a $3,000 award, are: 

  • Tracie Chazares, Cal Poly Pomona
  • Madison Hutchings, Virginia Tech
  • Barbara Kornak, Cornell University

Two independent juries selected the winners and finalists from a group of 51 master’s and 36 undergraduate students nominated by their faculty for their exceptional leadership potential. These top students earned the designation of 2021 LAF Olmsted Scholar and join the community of 892 LAF Olmsted Scholars named since the program’s inception in 2008.

Now in its fourteenth year, the LAF Olmsted Scholars Program the premier leadership recognition program for landscape architecture students.

It is made possible with support from Lead Sponsor: The Toro Company; Annual Sponsors: Deeproot, HOK, IRONSMITH, LandDesign, OLIN, Sasaki, Steven G. King, FASLA, and Bill Main, Hon. ASLA; Promotion Partner: American Society of Landscape Architects.

See the entire group of 2021 Olmsted Scholars.

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