Student Profiles

CAPLA students come from a rich diversity of backgrounds and experiences.

View profiles of a few of our students, including undergraduate architecture, landscape architecture and sustainable built environments students and graduate architecture, landscape architecture, real estate development and urban planning students:

Jesus Nava

Designing Place, Designing Policy: Jesus Nava ’23 B Arch

Jesus Nava was born in Sinaloa, Mexico, and grew up in San Diego, California. He was drawn to UArizona and the Bachelor of Architecture because of the beauty of the Sonoran Desert and its many outdoor recreation opportunities—as well as UArizona’s “great basketball program.”

Julia Smith

Community Found and Community Created: Julia Smith ’26 B Arch

Julia Smith isn’t your typical design student, and for Puente—the Hispanic student organization of CAPLA that she recently led—that’s a good thing. Though Smith is a second-year Bachelor of Architecture student, she’s six years older than most of her classmates. She’s also married to a member of the U.S. military.

Zsalina Allen

Sustainable Scandinavian Pursuits: Zsalina Allen ’23 MS Urban Planning

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.

Shamara Smith

Sustainable Influence: Shamara Smith '22 BS SBE

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.

Urban Planning Student Christina Scarpitti

Planning for a Changing Climate: Christina Scarpitti '22 MS Urban Planning

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.

Christine Ufondu

Immersed in Architecture: Christine Ufondu '25 B Arch

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.

Tayler Forsberg

A Passion for Construction and Sustainability: Tayler Forsberg '22 B Arch

Tayler Forsberg, who is from Rice Lake, Wisconsin, will graduate from the Bachelor of Architecture program in May 2022. He then plans to attend graduate school before working towards becoming a registered architect and, eventually, teaching.

Daniel Vega

Protecting and Celebrating: Daniel Vega '21 BS SBE, '24 M Arch

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.

Irene Pineda in the Underwood Sonoran Garden

Accessibility for All: Irene Pineda ’22 MLA

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.

David Zúñiga

Thinking Critically: David Zúñiga ’23 B Arch

Bachelor of Architecture student David Zúñiga is from Nogales, Arizona. In this profile, he discusses his passion for cinema and architecture, how architecture school makes him a critical thinker, his experience in the CAPLA Hispanic student organization PUENTE, how he's learning to be patient and more.

Ash Avila

Meet Ash Avila ’23 BS SBE, 2022 Transportation Research Board Minority Student Fellow

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.

Athba Al Radaan

Designing for the Future: Athba Al Radaan '23 B Arch

Bachelor of Architecture student Athba Al Radaan, who is from Kuwait, took advantage of remote learning due to the pandemic to participate in two informative internships in her home country. In this profile, she shares what she loves about architecture, how she's overcome challenges and more.