October 29, 2021

Tessa Pickering

The landscape architecture senior and ambassador talks about her interest in environmentally-based projects, the Knowlton community, and how she stays on top of her school and class workload.

Name: Tessa Pickering
Major: Landscape Architecture
Year: Senior

Why did you choose Ohio State?

I chose Ohio State because I really love the variety of options the school offers. I also like the fact that the Knowlton School makes the idea of a large university not so intimidating because students here are on a first-name basis with their professors. It’s like a small school within a large university. The football games and immense school spirit are also a bonus.

Can you tell us what led you to major in landscape architecture?

I chose landscape architecture because it was and still is a way for me to express my creative side as well as my passion for the outdoors and environmental issues. There is also room in the discipline for exploration and research which is really exciting for me.

Can you talk about your internship experience?

I worked for J. Barker Landscaping during the past two summers. Through this job I worked with a landscape designer and got to see how designs were applied to specific projects. I got to work on lots of residential properties in Cleveland and got to understand how to work with clients. I am so glad I had this opportunity to build up my knowledge of plants, hardscape, installment, design, and maintenance.

You are pursuing a minor in city and regional planning. Can you talk about how that minor fits with your major?

I like the connection city and regional planning has with my major, and I think it is important to connect how the landscape affects the bigger picture of the whole city/area.

Can you describe work that you have done at  Knowlton that illustrates your interest in landscape architecture?

The  Rewilding project from last year and the Fish Studio that I am currently working on. Rewilding focused on creating a landscape curated for endangered animals so that they can thrive. In my Fish Studio, I am focusing on creating different mechanisms to help fish in a polluted river repopulate. In both of these projects, I appreciate the overlap of design and environmental care and advocacy. I think it is important to create meaningful designs and that is what I feel both of these studio projects are doing!

What advice would you give high school students who are interested in your particular program?

My advice to high school students interested in landscape architecture is to really understand what it is because there can be many different applications of it. Prospective students should research the work of different firms and landscape architects and really see what people who have been through the program at Knowlton are doing now. When I do that, I grow more and more excited about my program and my future in the field.

What do you enjoy most about being a Knowlton student?

I really enjoy the “small school” feeling that Knowlton has and the connection I have with my professors, my peers, and the other sections in the school. I have met many people, and I really do feel comfortable here. I also love that there are so many amenities within Knowlton that are available to me!

What's the best advice for a new Knowlton student?

My best advice is to not be nervous or scared of upperclassmen or even professors. Knowlton really does have a family feel and everyone is willing to help. And use Knowlton to your advantage and participate in all of the great opportunities we have to offer. From the building itself to the events that connect students to internships and their career paths. Also, if you need to go anywhere fast, take the stairs and not the ramps!

Please describe the student groups you are involved in and what leadership roles you have within the group.

I’m the historian for Alpha Rho Chi, the Architecture and Allied Arts Fraternity, and I'm the secretary for the Student Chapter of the Association of Landscape Architecture. I'm also a member of the Landscape, Architecture, and City Scholars. Finally, I'm the event coordinator for Best Buddies (a club to build friendships with adults with special needs) and the secretary for Club Tennis.

How do you manage your time with your program, especially with so many commitments outside the classroom?

I usually try to work around my class times and make sure that the program comes first. For me, that means not procrastinating and sticking to recommended deadlines so I don't feel overwhelmed. I also find it extremely helpful to keep a detailed planner and make tons of lists!!