When Master of Landscape Architecture student Amy Schulz studied abroad in Denmark as part of her undergrad program, she was new to the idea of landscape architecture as a career. Digging into urban design in Denmark, she realized that there were climate change interventions outside the scope of public policy change. This led to her interest in what landscape architecture can mean for public health and ecology, and how it could be applied to solve problems on a large or small scale.

Master of Landscape Architecture student Amy Schulz.

Amy recently participated in an externship program through the University of Virginia that brought her to Biohabitats for a short but informative week of professional experience. While shorter than a traditional internship, an externship can provide some quick insight into what it’s like to work in your chosen field. According to Amy, it can also provide an opportunity to build one’s professional skillset. “There are skills to gain from plugging in for a very short time,” she said, “especially in a place like Biohabitats that has a large range of expertise.”

Amy’s experience being a student during the COVID-19 pandemic intensified her interest in the intersection of landscape architecture and public health. “I think there should be a bigger emphasis on engaging the public in a meaningful way with natural environments,” she said.

“Biohabitats and other innovative firms are really pushing those boundaries,” she said. Amy believes that when project goals include public health and engagement, even very small-scale projects can be powerful. “Efforts don’t have to be on a national-park scale system,” she said. “They can be smaller interventions” that meet communities right at their doorsteps.

Amy Schultz at the Bonnie Branch stream stabilization project currently under construction in Howard County, MD.

Amy’s undergraduate semester in Denmark was just one of many educational travel experiences Amy has had since graduating from high school. She recommends that landscape architecture students study abroad. To study a place/space-based discipline and actually be able to engage in the history and culture of that place is “such an amazing experience.” She wants to take what she’s learned about design strategies in Europe and apply that thinking to infrastructure choices in the United States, “I think you only understand a city so well when you’re only there for a week or so, but European cities are very playful in how they do landscape architecture.”

At this point, Amy is close to graduating with her master’s degree and is focused on building her expertise and knowledge to prepare for her career. Her externship with Biohabitats appears to be a valuable step in that process. “To be able to drop in for a few days and understand and apply new knowledge and then step away,” is a unique experience to have before entering the profession, she says.  “Once you’re in the field you have years-long projects.”

Amy at Two Rivers Public Charter School in Washington, DC. Biohabitats installed a pathway shaped like the Anacostia River which leads to boulder seating and provides an outdoor classroom space for students.

When not immersed in her landscape architecture studies, Amy can be found nurturing her competitive side by “learning new skills that involve body movement” such as triathlons and tennis. “Now that I’m coming into my professional career, I want to have a healthier work-life balance, because I think school gets the best of you sometimes.”

Biohabitats has enjoyed our time getting to know Amy Schulz, and we know she’ll be successful in her master’s program and beyond. Thank you for joining us for an externship, Amy!

Further Reading

Meet Assistant Construction Project Team Leader Bryan Sullivan
Meet Conservation Biologist Nolan Schillerstrom
Get to know Allyson Gibson, Biohabitats Extern
Get to Know Graphic Designer Joey Marshall
Evolution: A New Leadership Team for Biohabitats

More From This Author

Get to know Jensen Hufnagel, Operations Assistant
E+D Podcast with Keith Bowers: The state of ecology and design in landscape architecture
Get to know Water Resources Engineer, Ellie Month
Get to know Senior Restoration Ecologist, Rachel Spadafore
Meet Senior Engineer Scott Wallace