The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) has announced that Erin Percevault, a student at Louisiana State University and a 2010 graduate of Verona High School, was selected as the 2014 National Olmsted Scholar and winner of the $15,000 undergraduate prize.
Percevault is pursuing a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture at LSU and expects to graduate in May 2015. She plans to use the award to investigate how thorium extraction in Lemhi Pass, a National Historic Landmark along the wildlife corridor between Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho, can be tailored to local ecologies to minimize exposure of both wilderness areas and local communities to toxic externalities. Following detailed field research and community engagement, she intends to propose viable solutions to enhance energy efficiency, minimize negative environmental and social impacts, and strengthen local communities.
Jeremy Smith taught Percevault computer-aided design at VHS and celebrated her scholarship award on Thursday.”I had Erin for her first three years at VHS,” he said, noting that she was unable to take CAD her senior year because it conflicted with her Advanced Placement classes. “I added additional sections of CAD specifically for Erin and future students that would benefit from four years of hands-on experience with Autodesk software. She was a delight to have in class and will be my second student to become an architect.”
An independent jury of leaders in the landscape architecture profession selected the national winner and three finalists from a group of 30 undergraduate students who were nominated by their universities for being exceptional student leaders. The jurors were: Mark Dawson, FASLA, managing principal at Sasaki Associates; Thomas Tavella, past president of ASLA; Skip Graffam, partner and director of research at OLIN; Jim Laiche, business manager at The Toro Company; Jody Rosenblatt-Naderi, chairperson of the Department of Landscape Architecture at Ball State University; Bill Marken, editor-in-chief of Garden Design magazine, ASLA; and McKenzie Wilhelm, 2013 National Olmsted Scholar (Undergraduate) and student at Ohio State University.
The jury admired Percevault’s ambitious project, which addresses the timely and far-reaching issue of resource extraction. Percevault and the other 2014 nominees join the growing community of over 300 past and present Olmsted Scholars.
Now in its seventh year, LAF’s Olmsted Scholars Program is the premier national award and recognition program for landscape architecture students. The program honors students with exceptional leadership potential who are using ideas, influence, communication, service, and leadership to advance sustainable design and foster human and societal benefits. The program is made possible with support from Lead Sponsor: The Toro Company; Annual Sponsors: EDSA, HOK, OLIN, Sasaki Associates, and Thomas C. and Gerry D. Donnelly; and Promotion Partner: American Society of Landscape Architects.