The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) has just announced two winners and six finalists for their 2023 Olmsted Scholars, a unique opportunity-granting program aimed at graduate and undergraduate students of landscape architecture across the United States.
Now in its 16th consecutive year, the Olmsted Scholars program is meant to support students that demonstrate leadership potential and whose work equally communicates their abilities in “using ideas, influence, communication, service, and leadership to advance sustainable design and foster human and societal benefits.”
The six graduate finalists will each receive $5,000 as part of the program, while undergraduate finalists receive $3,000. The LAF shares: “Two independent juries selected the winners and finalists from a group of 50 graduate and 38 undergraduate students nominated by their faculty for their exceptional leadership potential. These top students earned the designation of 2023 LAF Olmsted Scholar and join the community of 1,069 LAF Olmsted Scholars named since the program’s inception in 2008.”
Respective jurors for this year’s cohort included Sasaki Principal Michael Grove, SWA’s Co-CEO Gerdo Aquino, and past American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) President Eugenia Martin. A short winners' biography and subsequent list of finalists can be viewed below.
GRADUATE STUDENT WINNERS/FINALISTS
Winner: Keith Faminiano - Pennsylvania State University
Bio: "Faminiano, a master's student at The Pennsylvania State University, is the 2023 graduate National Olmsted Scholar and recipient of the $25,000 prize. Influenced by his hometown of Corcuera in the Philippines, a low-income municipality reliant on fishing and agriculture, Keith hopes to devote his career to developing design solutions that elevate marginalized communities battling extreme living conditions. He plans to use the award to engage with farmers in the Sierra Madre region of the Philippines, where the Kaliwa Dam project threatens ecosystem services and climate resilience. The product will be a set of landscape design guidelines outlining both vernacular and engineered solutions to equip farms to adapt to the growing climate impacts."
- Leslie Dinkin - University of Southern California
- Allison Nkwocha - University of Pennsylvania
- Justin Thomas - University of California, Berkeley
UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT WINNER/FINALISTS
Winner: Maryam Abutabikh - Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Bio: "Abutabikh, a student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, is the undergraduate 2023 National Olmsted Scholar and recipient of the $15,000 prize. As the child of two Iraqi immigrants, Maryam understands the value of having a strong sense of community and a culturally relatable support network. She plans to use the award to advance aspects of her capstone project, which focuses on community-led programs to aid in the integration and assimilation of refugees in El Cajon, California. She will identify gaps in existing refugee services that can be addressed by public space interventions with the goal of increasing interaction, inclusion, and wellbeing of refugees after their life-altering, often traumatic, experiences."
- Mallak Al-Salmi - Washington State University
- Maria De Jesus Arevalo-Martinez - University of Washington
- Olivia Krum - The Pennsylvania State University
Learn more about the LAF's Olmsted Scholarship Program here.
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