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GCA Scholars - Where Are They Now


April 02, 2020

Designing Women

The GCA’s first scholarship is the Rome Prize Fellowship in Landscape Architecture, established in 1928. It provides American landscape architects with a special opportunity for advanced study, travel, and association with other fellows at The American Academy in Rome. Three recent fellows are making significant impacts in their fields, inspiring others with their breakthrough work and vision.


Lisa Tziona Switkin, 2007-2008 Fellow, recently was named president of the Board of the Landscape Architecture Foundation. A senior principal at James Corner Field Operations in New York City, she has helped to reshape New York City’s public spaces for nearly 20 years, including the design and delivery of the High Line since 2004, Domino Park in Brooklyn, the transformative master plan for Staten Island’s Freshkills Park, and Gansevoort Peninsula in Hudson River Park.

Other signature projects include Santa Monica’s Tongva Park, Philadelphia’s Race Street Pier, and the master plans for Shelby Farms Park in Memphis and Seattle’s Central Waterfront. Widely regarded as one of the field’s most effective leaders, she has a special commitment to improving cities through the design of a holistic and vibrant public realm, inspired by place, people, and nature.

Photo courtesy of Friends of the High Line



Thaisa Way, 2015-2016 Fellow, is the program director of Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library & Collections, in Washington, DC, as well as serving as professor in Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington.At Dumbarton Oaks, she is leading a Mellon Urban Humanities Initiative titled "Democracy and the Urban Landscape: Race, Identity, and Difference." 

She sees her time at Dumbarton Oaks as a remarkable opportunity to contribute to shaping the discipline of landscape and urban history, asking questions about difference and diversity in our public realm and what role design might play.This work includes a recent colloquium on "Landscapes of Enslavement” and will continue with an upcoming spring 2020 symposium titled "Segregation and Resistance in America's Urban Landscapes.”

Photo courtesy of Dumbarton Oaks



Rosetta Elkin, 2017-2018 Fellow, is an associate professor of Landscape Design at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and a faculty associate at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum. Her research is focused on innovative applications of ecological and vegetative technologies, which consider the role of plants from innovative seed mechanics to bionetworks.

Her recent projects include the study of root systems in coastal defense strategies, an investigation of state-scale ecological transformation in Rhode Island, and design research for sea-level adaptation on barrier islands in Florida. Keenly respectful of the intricate relationships among people, plants, the soil, and the atmosphere, she is committed to ecologically responsible and culturally rich design in a time of rapid climate transformation. She believes that “The Garden Club of America is the ideal support for the kind of work I do,” she says, “because it understands the one-to-one, which is at the root of change.”







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