Reinvention and Innovation: An Alumni Panel Hosted by the CAPLA Futures Council



8:30 to 10:20 a.m., April 5, 2021

Faculty, staff, students and alumni are encouraged to participate in this dynamic online event featuring CAPLA early and mid-career alumni.

How can CAPLA best prepare future generations for the change that will inevitably occur during their careers?

CAPLA alumni from diverse perspectives and built environment degrees will examine the pace of change in their professions, providing keen insight on:

  • Changes they have experienced in their work
  • Career reinvention versus adaptation
  • Changes anticipated in the near and mid-term future
  • Tools and strategies they use to remain current and prepare for change

Alumni and Friends: Register Now

Alumni Panelists

Monique Bassey

Monique Bassey '14 MLA
Monique Bassey is a Los Angeles native and a landscape designer at MIG in Berkeley. She holds both a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Arizona. Her experience spans a variety of project types, including neighborhood plans, university campus plans, community engagement, site design, streetscape design and outreach initiatives. Monique is an active and passionate member of ASLA. Locally, she serves on the ASLA Northern California Chapter Executive Committee as the vice president and chair of the Emerging Professionals and Student Chapter committee. Nationally, she serves on the ASLA Committee on Education, collectively working to increase student chapter and faculty support, advocate for landscape architecture to become a STEM discipline and address the gaps of structural racism that occur within university programs and curriculum. She is hopeful that these necessary changes in academia will empower the next generation to build a legacy of activism, advocacy and leadership that speaks to a diverse and unified voice of the future. Monique is an active member of the Black Landscape Architects Network and also serves as the United States diaspora lead on the UNESCO Pan-African Youth Ad-Hoc Committee.

Brent Jacobsen

Brent Jacobsen '09 MLA
Brent Jacobson co-leads the landscape practice at RIOS, and directs the firm’s efforts to illustrate project success by quantifying landscape performance. His approach to projects seeks engaging and resilient solutions to generate lasting and demonstrative value for clients and stakeholders. He combines passions for urban ecology, biophilia and pollinators with a specialty in bringing sustainable solutions such as green roofs, green walls and rainwater harvesting to urban sites. Much of his work at RIOS has focused on the public realm, including parks, federal sites and mixed-use plazas for private developments. He has also designed landscapes for many private sector projects, with experience ranging from religious institutions and retail developments to office complexes. Brent’s additional responsibilities include leading complex design teams, staff planning and strategizing technical workflows including BIM delivery and QA/QC within the office. An active member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Brent has served on the ASLA’s National Emerging Professionals Committee and on the ASLA’s Committee on Education. Brent also serves as an advisor and guest critic at various educational institutions. 

Carrie Perron

Carrie Perron '01 B.Arch
Carrie Perron is the director of higher education and an associate principal for RSP’s Tempe studio, with 21 years of experience in the industry focused primarily on institutional work. Her work in higher education provides her with a unique opportunity to understand how her clients teach, share, collaborate and explore and use that to ensure that the built environment supports both the teacher and the learner. An Arizona native, following university studies in Tucson at UArizona, Carrie started her career in architecture in Chicago with the large local firm OWP/P working on the design team developing Prentice Women’s Hospital. Carrie returned to Phoenix in 2003, where she has worked on award-winning facilities while raising two strong-minded boys and balancing work, family time, sports and a tenacious architect-turned-contractor husband with her own career aspirations. Carrie is active in AIA and has been a member of the AIA Metro Advisory Committee. She also contributed to creation of the Women’s Leadership Group. She is passionate about design and how it is used most effectively to solve problems, especially the ways in which space affects people.

Shannon Shula

Shannon Shula '14 MS Planning
Shannon is a member of the Hopi Tribe and comes from the Sun and Eagle clan of Walpi Village. She was born and raised on First Mesa in Northeastern Arizona, and attended high school at Fountain Valley School of Colorado. She received her BA in Geology from Occidental College in Los Angeles. After several years in California, she returned home to Arizona for graduate school and received her Master of Science in Planning from the University of Arizona in 2014. After graduate school, Shannon began an internship with the Town of Marana and was a Senior Planner before she departed for Washington. She moved to Olympia, Washington with her family almost four years ago to continue her career in planning with Thurston County, where she serves as an associate planner and continues to focus her work with underserved and tribal communities. Shannon is an active member of the American Planning Association and previously served as assistant director of the APA Arizona Southern Section. She currently is an executive board member for AFSCME Local 618 and serves as union shop steward. Shannon recently joined the leadership, as a board member, of Wa-Ya Outdoor School, an outdoor summer camp that provides experimental hands-on learning with a Native perspective in the natural environment of the Puget Sound.

Eric Sterner

Eric Sterner '15 B.Arch
As a design principal at LAST, Eric Sterner explores the human connections to the landscape while bridging the theories and practices of psychology, architecture, music, literature and art into his work. Eric is responsible for many notable award-winning architectural projects in the Southwest and lectures nationally on design and construction practices, facilitating awareness and opportunities for responsible design in the region. Eric’s ability to collaborate with complex user groups and aid in both the acquisition and procedures for developing projects has yielded praise from the American Institute of Architects, Engineering News Record and multiple trade magazines.

Jay Young

Jay Young '07 MS Planning
Jay Young, the executive director of the Southwest Fair Housing Council, is a passionate civil rights advocate. He has co-authored five editions of Analyses of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice, as well as The American Nightmare: Foreclosures and Their Impact in Metropolitan Tucson and the Northeastern Arizona Fair Housing and Equity Assessment. He served on the Grant Road Citizens Task Force for nearly eight years. Currently, Jay serves on the City of Tucson Planning Commission, the City of Tucson Commission on Equitable Housing and Development, the Southern Arizona Prosperity Alliance and the board of the National Fair Housing Alliance. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras, where a library bears his name. He drove thousands of miles and filled thousands of water stations in the borderlands for Humane Borders. He holds a BA in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was a Peace Corps Fellow at the University of Arizona, where he earned an MS in Planning. He enjoys remodeling houses, playing tennis, traveling and live music. He is married to the love of his life, Rani Olson, who he met at CAPLA while pursuing his master’s degree in planning.

The alumni panel is moderated by Kay Olsen Brown, CAPLA director of alumni relations and community engagement.

About the CAPLA Futures Council

The CAPLA Futures Council is a multi-perspective advisory body for the college. It is through the lens of this group of luminaries from the academy, practice, industry and government that CAPLA seeks a regular and productive exchange to identify the grand challenges of the built environment. This exchange reflects the trends we should anticipate in our research and in the approaches we take in the classroom around the CAPLA vision: Building a Changing World.


Kay Olsen Brown


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