Above: Megan Little (BLA ’18) works on a landscape design to finish out her last year at the UO.
There’s nothing small about Megan Little’s dreams after graduation. Little, who will earn her bachelor of landscape architecture (BLA) degree, has already accepted a job offer as a landscape designer at a firm thousands of miles away in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“I always thought I’d want to graduate and then go on a big adventure,” Little says, “One week I’m so beyond thrilled and excited, and the next week I think, ‘I’m moving across the country, and I’m going to be working crazy hours,’ but it’s going to be an incredible learning opportunity.”
Throughout her time in the School of Architecture & Environment, opportunities for learning and leadership have been a driving force for Little. Urged early on to get involved in student groups, she joined Holistic Options for Planet Earth Sustainability (HOPES) as a director of outreach. “It’s a completely student-run group; we put on a conference every year where we invite professionals and scholars to come and speak on a topic that revolves around sustainability,” she says. “HOPES was my intro into student leadership, and I loved it. It was a wonderful opportunity.”
Little also served as the student chapter president for the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and won ASLA’s Student Merit Award this year for design excellence and leadership. “ASLA is a professional development organization, so we do a lot of networking events and have overarching goals to expand the profession of landscape architecture and connect students with professionals,” Little says. “For us it also serves as a proxy student group for the landscape department, so we put on a lot of peer mentor events and skills workshops.” If that wasn’t enough activity in addition to her studies, she was also an Olmsted Scholar, a teaching assistant, and a student research assistant at the Institute for a Sustainable Environment.
Little attributes her success at the UO to the friends, professors, and camaraderie of the landscape architecture program. “Your education is so much your own and what you make of it. There’s so many people to help and so many resources to go to for what you need.” She also cites the advantages of being in a smaller program as a contributing factor to her success. “When I reflect on my time, I’m where I am today because of the professors who took on mentorship roles as well as student mentors, who passed on information and elevated that knowledge to people coming after them,” she says. “That has made my experience really rich here, and I attribute a lot of my successes to that.”
Although Little sees graduate school in her future, right now she is eager to get her feet wet and work for a few years. Beyond that, she envisions herself doing landscape architecture, but perhaps writing about it as well. “I hope to just continue to learn and grow and hope that my 33-year-old self will still be curious.”
Story by Sharleen Nelson