Summer Schooling, Part 10: Giving Back

My mentor took me under her wing while I was still completing my bachelor’s degree.  She provided me with my first internship which later turned into my first job after graduating. The time I spent working for her was about so much more than cutting my teeth as a landscape designer, it was always about becoming a great professional.  I learned many things from her, but one thing has always stuck out to me.  That is the importance of being involved and giving back to the community in which you live, work, and play. 

Being involved and giving back is very rewarding both professionally and personally.  Professionally you gain an insight into what is happening in your profession, in other offices and organizations and what new things people are trying.  You grow your professional contacts and learn about other fields that are related or may have an impact on what you are doing.  For me it was always about advancing the knowledge and awareness of landscape architecture.  It is a field that few know much about and you are not typically exposed to it as a profession until you are much older. 

Landscape architects design the spaces between buildings and roads.  Some places are designed to have a natural look, to appear as though the paths and trails have been there for hundreds of years.  This is the case of Central Park. Before Frederick Law Olmstead designed the park it was a swamp and dumping ground.  Now it is one of the most recognizable naturalistic public spaces in the world.  Other parks are designed for function much like Crossroads Park here in Marana.  It was designed as a place for active recreation with playgrounds and ball fields.  Trails, plazas, streetscapes, paths, and roadways are more things landscape architects design.  Landscape architects also do a lot of planning and it was how I was exposed to the Masters of Science in Planning program at the U of A which ultimately led to this internship.  

This internship has provided me with a great foray into the life of a civil servant.  I have always been on the fence as to whether or not I would go with a job in the private sector or public sector, but this opportunity has solidified my choice of public sector for the foreseeable future.  It will allow me to use my skills and passion in service to my community.  I consider myself fortunate to have been selected for this position and I hope that I will continue to be able to give back to the place where I live, work, and play.