First Professional Masters Students at WAAC

Kassandra Bryant
BA, Health Science, Howard University
Kassandra Bryant comes to landscape architecture by way of studies  in medicine. A native of San Antonio, Texas, Kassandra’s interest in urban health, led her to undergraduate studies in health science at Washington DC’s Howard University and later a position managing a small community-based clinic. More recently, as an administrator for a company managing LEED certified properties, Kassandra discovered an overlap between design and human well being, and ultimately her desire to pursue graduate studies focusing on issues of urban sustainability.
Shruthi Selvam
BS, Architecture, University of Madras, Chennai, India
A native of Southern India, Shruthi Selvam brings an interest in sustainable urban design to her graduate studies in landscape architecture, which was forged while developing an energy efficient IT park for her undergraduate architecture thesis. Working for an international architecture firm, she witnessed communication hurdles between designers and construction managers, leading her to pursue graduate degrees in both project management and landscape architecture. In addition to her studies at Virginia Tech, Shruthi’s continuing commitment to sustainable design will include pursing certification as a LEED practitioner.
Carlin Tacey
BS, Architecture, University of Virginia
Virginia native Carlin Tacey brings a background in architecture and planning to her studies in landscape architecture. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Carlin’s interest in repurposing found materials developed while executing a greenhouse prototype in Mongolia as part of an undergraduate capstone project. As a contractor for the United States Air Force Civil Engineer, Carlin worked on housing and community planning projects worldwide. Her desire to integrate urban design with community planning and environmental policy influenced her current pursuit of simultaneous degrees in landscape architecture, and urban and regional planning.
Bowen Geng
BS, Landscape Architecture, Beijing Forestry University, China
A native of Taiyuan, China, Bowen’s admiration of traditional Chinese parks from the Qing and Tang Dynasties led him to pursue his undergraduate studies in landscape architecture at the prestigious Beijing Forestry University, where he expanded his studies to American park design.  As a graduate student, Bowen will focus on the evolution of traditional and contemporary urban park sensibilities in both China and the United States.
Nicole Hersch
BA, Communications & Public Relations, San Diego State University
Formerly the director of a four-acre outdoor learning lab at an underserved middle school in San Diego, Nicole Hersch brings a commitment to sustainability and community outreach to her studies in landscape architecture. As director, Nicole developed and ran afterschool program, where she taught youth about seed collection, propagation and planting restoration of local canyons. A candidate in the MLA / Natural Resource dual degree program, Nicole’s studies will combine her interests in native habitats, local food production, and community outreach.
Jimmy Markel

BS, Economics, United States Naval Academy; MA, International Finance, Georgetown University
Traveling the world as a former efficiency consultant to the United States Navy, Jimmy Markel developed an appreciation of good urban form: cities that function well and use resources intelligently. Yet it was his experience building a rural Pennsylvania cabin using traditional tools and techniques that inspired Jimmy to pursue graduate studies in landscape architecture, and with an emphasis on materiality and craft.

Daria Gelman
BA, English, University of the District of Columbia
As a full-time certification liaison with the Green Building Certification Institute, a non-profit organization that recognizes excellence in green building practices, Daria Gelman approaches landscape architectural studies with an intergenerational perspective. A visit to the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center, situated on a wooded hillside of Monticello Mountain, confirmed her long-standing desire to pursue landscape architecture. At Virginia Tech, Daria will explore the intersection of landscape aesthetics and environmental function.