Think summer is a quiet time for students and faculty? Think again. Summer is a time for internships, research and educational travel opportunities for many of the faculty and students in the Rutgers Department of Landscape Architecture.
Summer internships are a valuable opportunity to apply knowledge from the classroom into direct experience. Over the past few years, the Department of Landscape Architecture has sought to expand students’ internship opportunities and to encourage more rigorous reflection and evaluation of the experience. This year, for instance, 12 interns, five from the Landscape Architecture department, participated in the Rutgers Gardens/Central Park Internship. Interns learn about public garden management through direct experience working at two very different public gardens – Rutgers Gardens and New York’s Central Park – while also taking an evening seminar and attending field trips to several local botanical gardens and estates.
The Gardening the Garden State Internship, made possible through a grant from the Rutgers Office of Community Affairs and supervised by Research Assistant Luke Drake and Department of Landscape Architecture Chair Laura Lawson, engaged four students – two graduate students Hanife Vardi and Krissy Kopia, along with undergraduates Chantae Moore and Deanna Lu – to work with several community gardening organizations in New Brunswick to design and implement garden improvements.
The Rubble Research and Design Internship grew out of Assistant Professor Tobiah Horton’s research on reuse of concrete and currently employs undergraduates Joshua Mieloch, Chris Perez, Ryan Goodstein and graduate student Matt Sudberg. In addition, Environmental Planning Instructor with the Department of Landscape Architecture Frank Gallagher coordinated internships for graduate student Miloni Modi and undergraduate Kim Richmond to develop design and interpretive experiences at Liberty State Park. These group internship experiences enable students to discuss their experiences together, work closely with faculty and Rutgers staff and earn summer income.
Other Landscape Architecture students are working directly for department faculty in a range of research projects. Assistant Professor Kate John-Alder and third-year graduate student Arianna DeVries travelled to California’s Imperial Valley in June to begin a project developing a historic timeline of the Salton Sea. This study was done in conjunction with the Salton Sea Initiative sponsored by the University of California-Irvine. Gwen Heerschap, who is in her senior year in the Landscape Architecture program, is working with Instructor Holly Nelson to document and map urban agriculture in New Jersey. Together, they are interviewing farmers and compiling information as part of an ongoing website education project.
Several other students sought out other summer learning opportunities. For instance, Mengni Zhou, a second-year graduate student in the department has been accepted as both a participant in the Design Summer School offered by Tongji University and as an intern with Tongji Architecture Design (TJAD) in China. Both venues provide Shou the opportunity to advance her thesis research on the historic Shikumen housing districts in Shanghai. Senior Alexandra Duro, inspired and energized by her spring studio working with the National Park Service in St. Croix, took the initiative to propose a summer project there that was funded. During her two-week stay, she presented her studio’s work to various audiences and contributed to discussions of next steps for the projects.
Travel is also an enriching summer activity that can complement and build on student education. Fourteen students just returned from a five-week Study Abroad Studio in Germany. Under the direction of Associate Professor Wolfram Hoefer, the students traveled through Berlin, Munich, and countryside to tour sites and also worked with German Landscape Architecture students on a week-long design project.
Through the generosity of the Roy H. DeBoer Travel Prize, three students set off on independent travel research. Undergraduate Jack Peters is currently in Peru studying fog-based water collection systems. Ben Granovsky, who graduated in May 2013 from the Landscape Architecture program, spent two weeks in the Netherlands to observe bicycle use and design opportunities. Senior Rebecca Cook investigated the tourist landscape of Iceland while senior Gwen Heerschap traveled to Yosemite to experience wilderness interpretation of the National Park Service.