Our students come from a rich diversity of backgrounds and experiences.
View profiles of a few of our undergraduate and graduate students in the University of Arizona School of Landscape Architecture and Planning:
Master of Science in Urban Planning student Tiara Stephen came to Tucson from Brooklyn to explore the Desert Southwest and work at the University of Arizona. Not long after, she joined the MSUP program, furthering her passions for affordable housing and community access.
Master of Landscape Architecture student and Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Built Environments alumnus Oscar Rodriguez Ponce was born in Navajoa, Sonora, Mexico, but brew up in Nogales, Sonora. In 2017 he moved to Rio Rico, Arizona, and has lived in Arizona ever since.
Jacob Schaffer came to UArizona from Highland Park, Illinois, after his father, an alumnus, forwarded him information about CAPLA. The combination of sustainable built environments and real estate development piqued his interest, and he has been creating results ever since.
Talie Bonds is a UArizona Track and Field student athlete from Las Vegas, Nevada. Though her goal is to become a professional athlete, she also understands the value of preparing for life outside of athletics. This May, she graduates with her Master of Real Estate Development from CAPLA.
Erika Schmidt, who is originally from Maryland but grew up in Sahuarita, Arizona, graduated from CAPLA's BS in Sustainable Built Environments at the beginning of the pandemic. A sudden shift in career possibilities led her to enroll in the Master of Architecture program, but her passions for performance and design remain.
This summer, graduate student Zsalina Allen participated in a sustainable transportation study abroad program in Denmark and Sweden. She documented her travels in a fascinating and entertaining blog. We followed up to learn more about her experience in Scandinavia, as well her UArizona MS Urban Planning experience.
BS in Sustainable Built Environments student Shamara Smith came to UArizona from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In this video profile, she discusses how she became interested in sustainability, her passions for leaving the world better than she found it, why community engagement is important and the value of networking in building a new career.
MS Urban Planning student Christina Scarpitti made her way to Tucson in the midst of the pandemic. Although her time here came with a few trials, she looks back and reflects on the positive experience CAPLA and the School of Landscape Architecture and Planning have provided her as she enters the job field.
B.Arch student Christine Ufondu, who is also pursuing in a Minor in Real Estate Development, will graduate in 2025. She was born in Houston, Texas, but mostly grew up in Rivers State, Nigeria. Though she chose to come to CAPLA site unseen, it was the right decision: she loves the community of faculty, students and immersive design.
Yaqui tribe member Daniel Vega, who is from Tucson, graduated from the BS in Sustainable Built Environments program in December 2021. Continuing his passion for sustainable design, he is taking advantage of the CAPLA Master of Architecture accelerated master’s program (AMP), which he will complete in 2024.
Master of Landscape Architecture student Irene Pineda is from La Puente, California, located 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. She earned her BA in Communicative Disorders from San Francisco State University and served as a public school teacher before falling in love with the Sonoran Desert and joining the MLA program.
Ash Avila, a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Built Environments student from Nogales, Arizona, who will graduate in 2023, has been awarded an acclaimed Transportation Research Board (TRB) Minority Student Fellowship for 2022. Avila is one of 24 students selected by TRB.