Graduate Landscape Architecture Students
BA, Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland
Bilal Bahar brings experience in community development to his graduate studies. As the founder of a Baltimore-based non-profit that provides youth mentoring in business, education, arts, community and health, Bilal sees landscape architecture as a tool to help bridge divides between some of Baltimore’s affluent and underserved neighborhoods, as well as a catalyst for healing trauma. He hopes to explore the therapeutic potential of hydroponic systems.
BS, Nursing, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
Christina Baker moved to Baltimore as a Nurse Corps Scholarship recipient to help care for its underserved healthcare population. Now, an oncology-certified nurse at Johns Hopkins University Hospital and horticultural intern at the city's Cylburn Arboretum, Christina desires to renew her focus on community health by assessing the effects of built and natural environments on urban well-being. Collaborating with citizens in sustainability practices, urban agriculture, and wildlife restoration, Christina hopes to share the tools and knowledge she obtains to improve both local communities and health outcomes.
BA, History and Art History, Roanoke College, Roanoke, Virginia
Brittney Baltimore’s interest in human-centered design springs from her public service background working at the Baltimore County Public Library and Baltimore Museum of Art, together with time spent working on urban vegetable and flower farms. Knowing the importance of listening to people and designing for accessibility, Brittney is interested in how design can be a bottom-up, rather than top-down process; one that creates safe, vibrant outdoor spaces connecting neighborhoods rather than isolating them. Currently, Brittney is a graduate researcher for Assistant Professor John Leonard and the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy on a collaborative residential rain garden project. She is also a student scholarship recipient from the Maryland Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
BS, Environmental Science, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
Growing up along the Patapsco River in Baltimore's Brooklyn neighborhood, Kaila Blevins became acutely aware of the ecological significance of cities. Her fascination with the way organisms interact with their environment, coupled with a desire to design in ways that sustainably respond to the workings of ecosystems, inspired Kaila to pursue an advanced degree in landscape architecture. As an undergraduate at the University of Maryland, Kaila's studies in environmental science were bolstered by a wealth of service-learning experiences, which included volunteering at the university's sustainable urban farm (TerpFarm), working with Terps for Change, and serving as chapter President of Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity. Currently, a garden intern at the National Arboretum, this Kaila joins the Graduate Landscape Architecture Program as a graduate assistant. Kaila will focus her studies on the application of landscape restoration techniques to urban green spaces in order to address issues of hunger and food insecurity.
BA, Interior Design, Taibah University, Medina, Saudi Arabia
A native of Jeddah, Abrar is interested in combining landscape architecture with interior design, exploring links between interior space, exterior space, and quality of life. Collaborating on studio and commercial projects in Saudi Arabia with colleagues from Taibah University, she recognized the power of a simple building façade to either enhance or restrict one's experience with nature. Building upon these interests, coupled with an appreciation for evolving urban landscapes, Abrar plans to focus her studies on understanding how design might facilitate deeper connections between people and place.
BA, Fine Art, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland
During his years as a fine art undergraduate student at Morgan State, graphic designer Curtis Cherry enjoyed creating within a computer –– working slowly and carefully in digital space with great precision and detail. As a graduate student in landscape architecture, Curtis hopes to apply these same sensibilities towards the creation of appropriate and artful designs, now in geographical space. He is particularly interested in the anatomy of structures in landscape and imagining possibilities for seemingly unlikely building frameworks.
BS, Environmental Studies and Public Policy, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St. Mary’s City, Maryland
Ellie Chetelat discovered landscape architecture through an interest in ecologically inspired design, coupled with a diverse set of work experiences, which included the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, a native plant nursery and an organization advocating oyster recovery in the Chesapeake Bay. Currently, she works for design-build firm on ecological restoration projects and volunteers with the Baltimore City Master Gardener program. A passionate advocate for native plants, Ellie's studies presently focus on understanding how permaculture and other sustainable design strategies can be harnessed in urban environments, working across policy, planning, and landscape architectural design.
BS, Architecture and Environmental Design, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland
Kwasi Cook sees a mission in resolving issues of landscape inequity, particularly those that emerge in cities through competing public, private, and neighborhood interests. A passionate surveyor of memorials and historic sites, Kwasi’s proposal for a commemorative to the African diaspora cemented his interest in landscapes of remembrance, and belief in their importance as evolving spaces within cities. Kwasi's graduate studies will focus on the evolution of urban parks and their relationship to under-represented communities.
BS, Geography; MS, Education, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey
As a high school geography teacher in her native Turkey, Azade Diykan-Hubbell developed a deep understanding of the interplays between land, people, and time, and particularly their sometimes-harmful consequences, such as climate change and deforestation. Yet it was trekking, traveling, and exploring – within national parks and urban museums –– that enriched Azade's love of nature and art, and confirmed her desire to study landscape architecture. As a graduate student, Azade will focus on the interrelationships between land use and food chains, both vernacular and industrial.
BS, Environmental Science and Studies, Towson University, Towson, Maryland
Anthony Dye discovered his path to landscape architecture through a passion for organic farming, a practice which taught him to view the world through the lens of natural systems. Currently, he manages an urban farm in Southwest Baltimore, which supplies produce for a local restaurant chain. As a graduate student, Anthony is interested in investigating issues of public space access, environmental restoration, while continuing to explore growing food in a peaceful way.
BA, English, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
For Emma Fliehman, an English language educator and adult literacy mentor, studies in landscape architecture provide another opportunity to further support the communities with which she currently interacts. Formerly a program manager working in international defense, Emma plans to focus her studies on ways to enrich and expand the beauty and function of natural and naturalized spaces for the benefit of neighborhoods, cities, and the greater public good.
BA, Environmental Policy and Planning, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia
Growing up in between urban New York and rural Virginia, Allison George became curious of how design and planning can enhance the social and environmental health of places. As an undergraduate at Virginia Tech, these interests focused on decision-making at the watershed and regional scale. Currently, pursuing both a graduate degree in Landscape Architecture and a graduate certificate in Sustainable Urban Communities, Allison's research will explore ways to improve traditional urban storm water and waste management infrastructure. During the 2021/2022 academic year, Allison will volunteer her time and talent through AmeriCorps as an Equity Program Analyst with the Baltimore City Department of Public Works Office of Equity and the Environment.
Shahrouz Ghani Ghaishghourshagh
BA, Urban Design and Planning, Azad University of Tabriz, Iran
Studying urban design and planning in Iran sparked Shahrouz Ghani Ghaishghourshagh’s curiosity about the evolution of world cities and, at a different scale, the dynamics of spaces between buildings. As a student at the Center for Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies, Shahrouz is interested in exploring how landscape architecture can serve as the connecting discipline between architecture and civil engineering, through the lens of storm water management and other sustainable urban design strategies. An avid photographer, Shahrouz compliments her academic work at Morgan State with field experience at a Washington, D.C.-based civil engineering firm.
BFA Illustration, Maryland Institute College of Art; AAS Sustainable Horticulture and Certificate in Landscape Design, Community College of Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland
Musician, animator, and illustrator Kayla Goldstein's artistic practice engages stages and studios as well as bakeries and gardens. A former cake designer and current horticultural intern at Stoneleigh Garden in Villanova, Pennsylvania, Kayla's interests focus on the use of native and naturalized plants to improve the ecological health of damaged landscapes. Kayla's graduate studies will explore sustainable approaches to the management and design of larger-scale, public landscapes.
BS, Biology and Environmental Science, William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia
Former industrial hygiene inspector and non-profit director, Varun Gupta come to landscape architecture with a background in environmental studies and advocacy. For him, protecting natural landscapes, improving green infrastructure, and mitigating the effects of urbanization on stream corridors, wetlands, and seashores perfectly synthesizes his interests in the ecology, habitats, and design. Currently, Varun is complementing his thesis work, which examines the intersection of design and mitigation for climate change and sea level rise, with field experience working for a Maryland-based landscape architecture firm.
BS, Architecture and Environmental Design, Morgan State; Advanced Certificate in Fabrication - Welding, Lancaster County Career and Technology Center, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Former maritime welder Abbey Hallock has always been interested in how things are made, the materials used to make them, and how one might go about repairing them should they break. After several years working for Baltimore-based boat building company, Abbey began searching for a career that more closely aligned her passion for design and construction with her concerns for urban environmental health. Abbey's decision to pursue Morgan State’s 3+2 program has enabled her to apply her undergraduate coursework environmental design towards a professional master’s degree in landscape architecture, which will focus on ways of reconnecting urban residents with nature.
BA, Fine Arts, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland
A champion figure skater, Nick Huff’s interest in the built environment was sparked at a young age helping his mother design and build award-winning gardens in their Prince George’s County community. As a Fine Arts student at Morgan State, Nick directed his interest and skills in photography, painting, and drawing towards the documentation of public life, parks, and scenes. As a graduate student in landscape architecture, Nick intends to further explore the role and use of visual media in the representation of urban life and the design of landscapes.
BS, Architecture and Environmental Design, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland
A Baltimore native, Britney Jackson discovered landscape architecture as an undergraduate architecture student at Morgan, studying interior and exterior spaces on campus. Her interests in landscape space expanded to include issues of transit and circulation while an intern with the Maryland State Highway Administration's Transportation Alternatives Program. This opportunity organized with the help of Morgan State’s National Transportation Center, included office and fieldwork experiences designing shared use trails, as well as communicating with professional colleagues and the public. Britney's decision to pursue Morgan State’s 3+2 program, has enabled her to apply her undergraduate coursework environmental design towards a master’s degree in landscape architecture. In her thesis research, Britney is exploring the potential of transitional landscapes, such as parking lots and garages, to be reimagined as social infrastructure within neighborhoods and communities experiencing homelessness.
BA, Geography, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont
A native of Rockville, Maryland, urban geographer David Joffe brings a wealth of technical and community-centered experience to his studies in landscape architecture. Formerly a GIS intern with the Chesapeake Bay Program, David also worked with Nourish Now, a Rockville-based food recovery non-profit which addresses food waste and hunger through donations from grocers, caterers, restaurants, and bakeries for the benefit of children, families, the elderly, as well as food pantries and shelters. At Morgan, David plans to focus his interests in resource recovery towards sustainable landscape architectural practices and materials.
BA, Environmental Studies, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Arbutus, Maryland
A lifelong outdoor and nature enthusiast, Kelly Lawhorn’s goal is to positively impact local communities as well as the global environment. After college, Kelly focused her energies on the non-profit environmental space, designing and installing outdoor classrooms for school-aged children. Currently, she serves as the manager of a native plants nursery. Looking ahead, Kelly hopes to deepen and expand this work in public horticulture by helping people restore native landscapes in their own backyards and making shared places within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed more inviting and inclusive for everyone.
BS, Occupational Therapy and Psychology; MS, Occupational Therapy and Health Care Administration; ScD, Occupational Science, Towson University, Towson, Maryland
For former occupational therapist and college educator Linda Leimbach, landscape architecture feels like the natural extension of her commitment to health and well-being for individuals and communities. Skilled in therapeutic horticulture, Linda’s goal is to design accessible spaces that benefit people of all functional levels while sustaining and enhancing ecological health.
BA, History, Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa
Matthew Lewis brings creative thinking and teamwork skills, honed through script editing and television production in Los Angeles and New York, to his graduate studies in landscape architecture. Matthew is currently a member of a team that installs and maintains edible gardens and ecological landscapes for homeowners, businesses, and schools. He hopes to apply these interests in landscape stewardship and accessibility to other projects that help people connect with food sources while supporting healthy ecosystems and biodiversity.
BS, Geography and Environmental Planning, Towson University, Towson, Maryland
Growing up surrounded by farmland in Carroll County, Maryland, Mia Quinto moved to Baltimore to pursue undergraduate studies, and became fascinated with the density and diversity of urban landscapes. Her background in Geography and Environmental Planning encourages Mia towards understandings of how humans interact with the built environment. Her plan is to direct interests to a study of nature deficit disorder, and ways to re-introduce nature to urban landscapes. In addition to her studies, Mia is an intern at Baltimore's Cylburn Arboretum, and serves as President of Morgan State University’s ASLA Student Chapter.
BFA, Painting and Printmaking, Towson University, Towson, Maryland
Simone Robinson comes to landscape architecture with a mission and purpose informed by a background in painting and design, and a career as a U.S. Housing and Urban Development administrator, helping to improve the lives and health of underserved communities. Drawing on lessons and observations from these experiences, Simone plans to explore the role of the landscape architect in engaging and advocating for more green and interactive natural spaces for lower income urban communities.
BA, Graphic Illustration, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, Maryland
Julia Rocha’s path to landscape architecture came by way of studies in architecture, which gradually evolved into a captivation with the structure of plants and their role in the creation of outdoor space. Rocha’s background in illustration further informs her curiosity and interest in representations of landscape as both object and process.
BA, History, Goucher College, Towson, Maryland
Maura Roth-Gormley has always been interested in the stories that landscapes tell about a place. Previously the director of a Holocaust Oral History project, Maura brings a strong understanding of how narrative can shape the design process. Her interest in Landscape Architecture was sparked by her work as an intern in the Baltimore City Master Gardener program and as a water quality monitor with the Baltimore Ecosystem Study. Both experiences led her to examine issues of sustainability in Baltimore’s watersheds. Her research will investigate the intersection of ecology and climate change in urban landscapes, asking the question: how can design replicate or challenge historic racial, economic and environmental injustices. Maura currently works as a Graduate Assistant in the Landscape Architecture program and teaches yoga.
BA, Architecture, Himalaya College of Engineering, Kathmandu, Nepal
Deepa Sapkota brings a professional architectural background to her graduate studies in landscape architecture. Intrigued by differences in both landscape scale and density between her Nepalese homeland and the United States, Deepa's interests focus on enhancing the visibility and sustainability of overlooked urban areas. In her free time, Deepa volunteers with the Baltimore Association of Nepalese in America, where she teaches traditional Nepali dance to youth groups.
BS, Music Performance, Frostburg State University, Frostburg, Maryland
For multi-instrumentalist Brandon Shaffer, stewardship comes naturally. Raised on a 365-acre farm in Central Pennsylvania, Brandon's approach to working with land means understanding its evolution, caring for its components, and honoring its legacy. Currently, one of a team of caretakers for the grounds of the Morgan State campus, Brandon looks forward to deepening his knowledge and skills as a graduate student in the areas of landscape observation, drawing, design, and management.
BA, Environmental Studies, Salisbury University, Salisbury, Maryland
Born and raised in the Baltimore metropolitan area, Stewart Sharun developed deep connections with and respect for the watershed of the Chesapeake Bay. After completing college on Maryland's Eastern Shore, he set out to enhance his education in environmental studies with extensive hands-on experience in the field of conservation landscaping –– an approach to landscape design that emphasizes ecological benefits, such as improving water quality, preserving native species, and providing wildlife habitat. Through this work, which included constructing peat bogs, pollinator gardens, and wildflower meadows, Stewart developed specialized interests in relationships between ecological restoration, urban health, and social equity. As a graduate landscape architecture student, Stewart plans to further to probe the spatial dimensions of these relationships, in an effort to understand more closely some of the barriers that impede connections between people and communities with their natural surroundings.
BA, Creative Writing, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
Former Outward Bound instructor Andrew Taylor settled in Baltimore after several decades living and traveling throughout the United States. Reflecting on this time, Andrew shared a provisional idea about space as something more than simply dimensional; possessing qualities and energies that can communicate to us subconsciously. A writer and poet, his decision to study landscape architecture combines a curiosity about the natural world, a care for people and place, and rewards of working with others towards a shared goal. Inspired by his recent work with Baltimore youth, Andrew hope to play a role in ensuring equitable access to local parks and green spaces, through education, collaboration, and design.
BS, Landscape Architecture, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, North Carolina
Combining lifelong interests in environmental science, horticulture and art, James Totton found his calling in landscape architecture early in his undergraduate career. Since then, he has deepened these interests and skills through the design of sustainable storm water systems in and around his home region of York, Pennsylvania. As a graduate student, James plans to focus his thesis research on suburban parking lots to explore the potential of these 'middle landscapes' for adaptable reuse. A Pennsylvania master gardener, James also volunteers at a community garden, which works to address urban food scarcity.
BS, Corporate Communications, University of Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland
As the founder of an arts non-profit, a design-build company, and specialist in public greening, Ebram Victoria brings a wealth of experience collaborating with communities and caring for city parks to his studies in landscape architecture. Driven by a desire to increase public access to urban nature, Ebram hopes to weave together research interests in environmental education with meditative and therapeutic landscape traditions.
BS, Environmental Science and Studies, Towson University
Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, Zaria Wetzel developed a deep connection to nature, spending much of her time outdoors. Relocating to Ellicott City, Maryland, this connection remained strong amidst not only a different landscape but an entirely new social setting. During her time as an undergraduate at Towson University, Zaria's studies focused on environmental policy and management. This included air monitoring research at the University of Maryland's Center for Community Engagement, Environmental Justice, and Health, as well as working alongside community gardeners in South Baltimore to increase food sovereignty. Most recently, she served as an instructor of an environmental justice course at Benjamin Franklin High School in Curtis Bay and assisted in the development of an Afrofuturist board game. As a graduate landscape architecture student, Zaria will explore the profession's agency to increase access to public goods, including food, open space, and health care, by underserved urban residents.
BA, Communications and Fashion Merchandising, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
Growing up in Brooklyn's storied Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, Kimberly Young witnessed first-hand the impacts of gentrification on communities, while discovering too that seemingly neglected land can possess profound social meaning. Her transition to graduate studies –– motivated by a commitment to urban communities and landscapes –– follow a twenty-year career in pharmaceutical sales. A skilled community gardener, Kimberly's work examines issues of housing equity and the agency of design in reviving urban neighborhoods.
Sanam Ziaei Ansaroudi
BA, Urban Engineering, Azad University of Tabriz, Iran
MA, Urban Design, Azad University of Tabriz, Iran
Born in Iran, Sanam Ziaei Ansaroudi began her academic journey to landscape architecture through studies in urban design, engineering, and planning. Inspired by the scarcity of playgrounds and green spaces in her hometown, and specifically the absence of places to play for girls, Sanam's interests focus on the intersection of cultural identity, heritage preservation, and public space. As a landscape architecture student her goal is to pursue community projects that prioritize environmental sustainability, social engagement, and intergenerational responsibility.