UWASLA: The Student Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects

Mission Statement

 

2020-2021 UWASLA Members

MLA Co-President: Erin Irby (she/her/hers)

I am currently in my second year of the MLA program. I am passionate about revealing the dynamics of ecologically rich spaces for both humans and wildlife through design. In my spare time, I enjoy nothing more than swimming in the Salish Sea, spying on local birds, and sketching on long-distance train trips.

I center my role as Co-President (MLA) around supporting the vision of the UWASLA leadership team, breaking down barriers to enter the field of landscape architecture, cultivating community during the pandemic with current UWLA students, and forging collaborations with other like-minded groups on campus. Dani and I share big dreams, programmatic planning and team meeting responsibilities, attendance at WASLA S+EP meetings, and biweekly faculty meetings.

BLA Co-President: Dani Slowik

At an early age, my experience with Tourette’s Syndrome led me to discover nature’s ability to inspire and rejuvenate. To escape my tics, I often turned to my mother’s gardens, where I was free to explore and rest. These memories are deeply embedded into my design values and have influenced my desire to develop landscape systems that restore the health of sensitive ecosystems and invite underrepresented communities to experience the therapeutic benefits of the natural world.  When I’m not organizing events with UWASLA or out planting for my pollinator project, you can find me playing frisbee, singing, or sketching in a forest…sometimes simultaneously!

I have focused my role as Co-President on supporting the professional development of students. To prepare students for the spring internship season, I organized UWASLA’s first virtual portfolio workshop, where students received feedback from their peers and professionals from the PAC and WASLA family. I have also worked with Erin to uplift student voices and concerns, provide skill-sharing resources, organize volunteering events, and share meetings and department activities. 

Secretary: Meghan Obernberger

A current undergraduate pursuing studies in Landscape Architecture and Real Estate, I am passionate about leveraging the public realm to promote sustainable and inclusive communities. I believe that the built environment has the unique capacity to serve as both a form of physical and cultural infrastructure, and seek to develop spaces that are ecologically and economically functional while also reflecting and sharing the histories and stories tied to a site. When I’m not in Gould Hall, you can find me paddle boarding on a local lake, gardening, or hiking on one of the many trails in the area.

As Secretary, I maintain UWASLA google drive and record minutes. I work behind the scenes to help the club presidents keep everything running and create a smooth transition into future leadership teams in terms of documentation.

Treasurer: Cyrus Deloye

I am a Chicago transplant to the Pacific Northwest. I brought my love of art and architecture to the West Coast, where I fell in love with hardiness zone 8 and all the magic that it brings. I get excited thinking about iconic landscapes and cultural landscapes, and where and how we can push the urban form to better reflect the world we want to live in.

As Treasurer, I primarily manage UWASLA’s bank account and keep track of all payments and reimbursements. I am involved in conversations related to UWASLA’s budget and help project what the organization can afford for its programming agenda throughout the year. Under normal circumstances, the treasurer plays a large role in organizing in-person fundraising events.

GPSS Representative: Matt Olszewski

I am currently a second year student pursuing a dual degree in landscape architecture & urban planning + design. My interests include bridging the gap between the two fields while evaluating how collaborative efforts can contribute to a more inclusive, ecological friendly built environment. Additionally, I have a passion for the design of public spaces as well as addressing mobility concerns within my community and love exploring my surroundings on foot or bicycle.

The Graduate and Professional Student Senate is a student led coalition that ranges university wide. Senate representatives aspire to create an equitable and inclusive community within all of GPSS as well as advocate for the interests of our constituents on campus and at the state and federal levels. My role includes advocating for funding streams to support registered student organizations (RSO’s) within the College of Built Environments including enhancing common spaces with adequate equipment and services.   

Mentor Committee Chair: Kate Wellens

I am a dual MLA/MUP student hoping to work in urban design in the form of streetscapes to make our cities more enjoyable and equitable for all users.

The Mentorship Committee works to pair students with professional mentors. This is an excellent opportunity for students to begin networking themselves in the field, and to have someone removed from academia to provide advice on career trajectory. Students speak very highly of the conversations with and lessons learned from their mentors. We encourage students to reach out if they want a mentor and professionals to reach out if they want to be a mentor! 

Youth Outreach Committee Chair: Alexandra Burgos (she | her | ella)

I am in my final year of the MLA II program. I entered landscape architecture with the dream of creating sustainable and healthier spaces for marginalized communities of color. I am currently collaborating with a group of Latinx designers under the name LLAMA, a grassroots collective that aims to connect Latinx designers, students, educators, and collaborators, to address issues of under representation within the profession and discipline of landscape architecture. When I am not deep in research, you can find me at the tennis court, on my bike, or dancing to my favorite Latinx tunes.

The Youth Outreach Lead is responsible for developing and managing the Department of Landscape Architecture’s Youth/K-12 Outreach Program. When I took on this position I felt that it was important to reach out to marginalized youth in the Seattle area with the hopes of teaching them about landscape architecture, and most importantly pass on some of the tools people in the field use to inspire them to assess their own communities and introduce them to conversations surrounding environmental and social justice. This year the most important goal was to connect to local youth organizations who use design as a means for social change and create strong relationships with them for current and future collaborations. 

Watching local youth take ownership of their communities to imagine better alternatives has been inspiring and gives me hope for the future. I firmly believe that designers should work with the youth more, especially those who live in communities that face the direct impact of climate change and urbanization.

JEDI Committee Chair: Stephanie Roh (she/her)

I am a second-year MLA student at UW. As a future landscape architect, I hope to collaborate with local communities to design urban landscapes that bridge ecological sustainability and social justice. I am currently pursuing independent research on inclusive public spaces for immigrant communities and uses my role as the JEDI committee chair to encourage more BIPOC representation in landscape architecture. In my free time, I am happiest figure skating and skiing, learning languages, and caring for my houseplant collection.

As the JEDI committee chair, I lead the department’s justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives that seek to foster a more supportive environment for our students, faculty and staff within the UW landscape architecture department. I meet monthly with the faculty JEDI committee to plan initiatives, provide updates, and share student concerns. The student JEDI committee meets once or twice a quarter, depending on need and events. Several initiatives we focused on this past year include: syllabus talks, book/article clubs, affinity groups, conflict reporting, and website improvement. A lot of planning and collaboration goes into these meetings and initiatives— this role is for someone who is passionate about social justice, enjoys faculty interaction, and is interested in developing leadership skills. The JEDI committee chair should focus on initiatives that are important to them, and should be advised *NOT* to try to accomplish everything at once. It fluctuates but on average, this role requires about 5 hours per week. Two co-chairs would be desirable, as the work should be a team effort. BIPOC students are highly encouraged to pursue this leadership role!