We got to speak to recent graduate, Kimberly White, about her experiences in the Landscape Architecture program at Gibbs College of Architecture (GCA) and in her work-life after she graduated. Kimberly graduated with a Master of Landscape Architecture in 2019 and is now a Design Associate at LAUD Studio.
What was it like transitioning out of university and into work-life?
The transition went smoothly. I started as an intern and was able to work part-time at my company during the entire last year of school.
What advice would you give current students as they advance into their careers?
Network as often as you can. Go to every social event or conference possible. Make friends with the vendors as well. They can really increase your knowledge base and help you understand what you need to specify for your projects.
What role are you in now? How did you arrive at your current role?
My position is called Design Associate. I networked with an associate at the studio and she recommended me to the director. I really liked the atmosphere of the studio. A small firm seemed like a great opportunity to experience a variety of projects and be involved in all the processes of each.
What are you most proud of from your time at OU and beyond?
After spending every sleeping moment at OU for the past three years, I am proud that I finished and was inducted into Tau Sigma Delta. I am also proud that I was given the opportunity, directly out of school, to be a part of the Scissortail Park project in Oklahoma City.
What kinds of opportunities did you receive while studying at GCA?
Our professors went the extra mile to ensure that we went on field trips to scope out our studio projects, to arboretums and botanical garden tours, as well as getting groups together to go to local conferences and quarries.
How, in your opinion, does the Landscape Architecture program at GCA differ from programs at other schools?
I have not had the opportunity to participate in other programs, but from talking with other students, I think our professors make the difference. They want us to succeed and do everything they can to make the experience at OU as educational and memorable as possible.
What aspects of the LA curriculum do you believe help you the most in your professional life?
Site issues, the internship requirement, and all the road trips. Some of the reasons I chose OU were the internship requirement and the final project requirements. However painful it seemed at the time, the intense curriculum for the first two semesters was very helpful. Because the coursework is stacked so high in the beginning, the students were able to secure internships after their first year in school. This definitely gives us a headstart in the job market.