Congratulations to the School for Environment and Sustainability students who are the recipients of 2021 Honors Awards. In celebration of their academic achievements, we invited awardees to share their thoughts on why it is meaningful to be recognized for their work. Thank you to the students who participated. For the complete list of recipients, visit our Honors Awards webpage.
Yanning Gao: Kenneth J. and Shirley Polakowski Landscape Architecture Award
I'm very honored to receive this award, and I owe everything to the loving Landscape Architecture community. No matter where we come from and what kind of background we have, we always learn from each other and grow together. The care and support I experienced are beyond compare. This award can be a reminder for me in the future of carrying on the support to the younger generations of landscape architects, and carrying on our passion in creating an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable world from the tip of our pen.
Emily Hernandez: Landscape Architecture Faculty Award
I first came to SEAS as a Master of Science student and only decided to add the Master of Landscape Architecture as a dual degree right before my first semester started. That decision probably changed the course of my future more than I can begin to imagine right now. Since officially becoming a student in the program, I have worked harder than I ever thought I could and have quickly become passionate about the field. Receiving this award is acknowledgement from MLA faculty that I made the right decision two years ago.
Samuel Kalb: Rosina M. Bierbaum Award in Climate Adaptation and Mitigation
I would like to express my deep gratitude for the acknowledgement and honor I have received in the form of this award. It is a challenging time to be a young person in the field of conservation science. This award has reminded me that whatever our current zeitgeist may make me feel, the work of conservation is acknowledged, considered, and even honored. Feeling this acknowledgement has driven home the philosophy that I think is the reason SEAS exists: No matter how government and culture may change, the work of preserving a livable biosphere in a just, equitable, and sustainable way is and always will be work worth doing.
Adriane Kline: Rosina M. Bierbaum Award in Climate Adaptation and Mitigation
I am honored to have been selected for the Rosina M. Bierbaum Award in Climate Adaptation and Mitigation. As a part of my dual-degree training in the School of Public Health and SEAS, I conducted my thesis research in Fiji examining livelihood and health implications to climate change to inform adaptation strategies. I am passionate about supporting community-led adaptation strategies to protect Pacific Island nations. This honors award is meaningful to me and my work as it acknowledges the value of my research and the importance of protecting and supporting vulnerable communities.
Bella Mayorga: Charles Lathrop Pack Foundation Award
Due to the pandemic, I had to take a 180 on my thesis plans and work with a very complicated existing dataset. Though it was challenging, I was able to find some compelling results to include in my submission to an open-access journal in forests and climate change. Knowing my research will be publicly available and that my writing earned a SEAS honors award is an extremely gratifying end to my graduate experience at SEAS.
Yangling Mo: American Society of Landscape Architects Merit Award
This award really motivates me to work harder to pursue the core values of SEAS in future professional practice, transforming into a more nature- and society-oriented designer. Also, it is just the beginning of my career, one that encourages me to use design as a tool to translate between environmental policies and social preferences more firmly, and to advocate for ecological, sustainable design (which is what SEAS offered me during my academic years here).
Eva Roos: American Society of Landscape Architects Honor Award, Russel A. Pelton Award, and Anthony and Johanna Van Sweden Award
The awards were so delightful in that they were completely unexpected! I think they've helped me check some ongoing imposter syndrome—to know that the work I've produced while a student was meaningful enough that it could be recognized with an honors award. I’m so grateful! At SEAS, I’ve found that extremely hard work driven by passion pays off in unpredictable ways! Receiving the awards is a very generous reminder of this, and it’s a wonderful affirmation to know I’m on the right path.
Chen Zuo, Barbara Rotvig Memorial Award
It is my honor to be selected to receive the Barbara Rotvig Memorial Award, which assists a continuing Landscape Architecture student. This award has deeply strengthened my confidence to continue my studies in the future. My future research will focus on using ecology and environmental analysis to carry out macro-scale landscape architecture to solve the eco-environmental deterioration problem.