I’m very satisfied with my academic experiences at USC. I was given a great deal of freedom to explore nearly every interest that caught my attention during my studies– as long as I tied them all back to landscape architecture, of course 🙂 — and it’s especially that for which I’m grateful. Perhaps it was the time during which I was a part of the program– we were guinea pigs! sort of– but I am very thankfully to have been a part of a program that was open to experimentation and trekking new frontiers. The vast opportunities I received as a member of the program— from traveling all over Latin America to conduct design research to participating in local, “urban” workshops with great thinkers (my peers included) — made my education in landscape architecture feel consistently relevant to my everyday experience. As such, the education I received feels more like a tool for living rather than simply a degree– at the very least, it makes nearly any problem seem miniscule when compared to the torture of design finals 😉
What I do wish USC would have provided would have been more rigorous, dedicated courses to technological tools. I suspect the program is tackling this was better now– it certainly gave hints of this as my time there was nearing its end.
Jennifer (MLA 2012)
I currently work as a freelance designer based in Washington, D.C. with most of my efforts dedicated to serving the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. My work for the Museum is focused on the “visitor experience”– this means identifying and responding to visitor’s needs before, during, and post-visit with specific to concern to making navigating the Museum and its collections, at the very least, a pleasant experience. I work with museum operations, exhibits, advancement, and education professionals in order to identify these needs and am tasked to respond to them with design solutions. A solution to a problem may be a simple sign, but to arrive at the solution hours of observation and research and some, if not lots, of trial and error will take place. While I’m not in the field of landscape architecture, I certainly do not feel as if I’ve strayed far from it. Everyday I’m applying my education through the research and design tools and skills I learned to exercise through my studies– interviews, observation, concept developments, presentations, (multiple) designs are part of my everyday experience. Toward the end of my studies, I recognized my interest in museum studies/interpretive work (as evidenced by my thesis) and working at the Museum of Natural History as a designer perfectly meshes this interest with my dedication to environmental education.