Meet some of our amazing 2019 graduates: Dylan Bagnasco, Subu Bhandari, Patrick Keogh, Elizabeth Ott, Niklos Toldi, and Kyra Wu. These students are representative of our graduates’ dedication to their craft, commitment to academic excellence, collaborative spirit, innovative nature and overall resilience. They’ve worked diligently to reach graduation and now have reflected on their experience as well as offered advice for younger students. We thank these students and send congratulations to all our 2019 graduates.
Kyra Wu, a native of Orlando, Florida, is the first student to graduate from our dual Master of Architecture + Master of Landscape Architecture program. Kyra attended Emory University where she obtained a dual bachelor’s degree in environmental science and classical performance. Since coming to UT, Kyra has received 13 awards, honoring her commitment to research, merit and the profession, including awards like Robert B. Church III Graduate Thesis Award, Tau Sigma Delta Distinguished Design Awards and National ASLA Award of Excellence.
Why did you decide to pursue a dual degree program at UT? How has this program prepared you for your future career?
I initially came to the college to study landscape architecture, but in the spirit of the building’s open studios, I found myself equally drawn to the work of my architectural peers. The faculty within both disciplines encouraged curricular crossover even before the dual degree was official. My education is an actual representation of how I view design; it is an additive mode of change, and ultimately, its future is transdisciplinary. I am excited to be able to contribute to professional practice and create action through the values I have created within academia.
Can you tell me your favorite memory over the past two years?
Our professor, Micah Rutenberg, completed a research project and exhibit about Dolly Parton Parkway, a stretch of road that runs through Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. So, the semester I was in his studio, I hired a look-a-like Dolly Parton to attend studio review to surprise him.
What advice do you have to incoming students/ undergraduate students about pursuing a dual degree or other degree paths?
The purpose of any degree is to nurture the particular interests of the student. It exists to focus an individual on the subject he or she feels drawn to pursue as their core fundamentals, but the nature of the college is to bring in interests outside of disciplinary convention. Learning should be fluid. So, you should feel thrilled in your decision when you find a degree that suits you best, and own your right to continue crafting your education.
What are your post-graduation plans?
I am fortunate to have the opportunity to spend some time traveling abroad for the summer. My plan is to simply run around enjoying different cultures before returning home to figure out the rest.
Anything else you’d like to share about your time at UT/in the college?
There is a singular design culture here at UT. As an individual who came here five years ago, I am one of the few students who has seen and experienced the accelerated growth surging forward from the dedication of the new directors and the studios and professors who trust in their vision. The college is in a moment of ascendency, and it will be exciting to watch it continue in the years to come.