March 15, 2022 Winter 2022 Externships: Experiences and Opportunities

Winter break normally is a time for students to relax with their families and recuperate from the fall semester. Landscape Architecture students, however, spent their 2021-2022 break networking with professionals and increasing their design experiences.

wall of many colorful screens
Nine students in the School of Landscape Architecture spent their winter breaks participating in externships across the country. From the “Golden Gate City” of San Francisco to the sandy beaches of Orlando, our students explored top firms and gained priceless professional experiences.

Externships are short-term internships, typically spanning between one week and one month, when students visit a firm to shadow, observe and work with professionals. Externships normally occur during winter or spring break.

During these experiences, students spend time gaining exposure to a firm’s projects and daily operations. For most students, externships also are an opportunity to experience what it’s like to live and work in a different city.

Katherine Hill, a student in our Master of Landscape Architecture 5+1 program, externed with SurfaceDesign, Inc., located in San Francisco. Hill was exposed to new ideas surrounding landscape architecture that far exceeded her expectations.

“I worked on graphics for a public park in the Mission Bay area of San Francisco, as well as Rhino modeling for a private residence in Durango, Colorado. I have been a big fan of [the firm’s] work since my first year of Landscape Architecture studies,” said Hill. 

Nora Jacobs, a 2nd-year MLA student, externed at Dix.Hite + Partners in Orlando where they provide design work for landscape architecture, urban design and land planning.

“My role was utilized to research target demographics in the cities and surrounding areas where the three offices are located. The majority of the work was reading municipal fiscal budgets from the last five years and the next few years ahead to see what finances were allocated for upcoming park and greenspace projects,” said Jacobs. “The goal was to know where to concentrate efforts in pursuing new projects, and which cities were actively looking to improve their cities through these spaces.” 

Marilyn Reish is a 3rd-year MLA student who externed at both WMWA in Chattanooga, TN, and at Nelson Byrd Woltz in Charlottesville, VA. She described what it was like to work with a renowned firm and how its supportive studio culture and diversity impacted her career goals.

“I was able to glean a lot from preparing planting documents for clients in terms of how many edits and collaborators it takes to make a good planting design that also accommodates not only site conditions but installers and maintenance needs, which factor heavily in what will actually get planted,” said Reish. 

Other students who participated in winter externships include Haley Dennis, Zeb Idol, Kelsey Jones, Abby Stubblefield, Isabella West and Seth Zanoni.

externship photo

We’d like to give special thanks to Stoss Landscape Urbanism and Civitas who also supported our students with externships. 

Though each student had different experiences, they all recognize that these opportunities came about thanks to the dedication of faculty in the School of Landscape Architecture and Director Gale Fulton. Students in the school who are interested in a winter or spring break externship should contact Fulton.