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LSU Honors' Erin Percevault Named 2014 Olmsted Scholar

Olmsted is the premier national award program for landscape architecture students

LSU Honors College student Erin Percevault, a native of Verona, N.J., was selected by the Landscape Architecture Foundation as the undergraduate winner of the 2014 Olmsted Scholars Program, the premier national award and recognition program for landscape architecture students.

“I am very honored to have been chosen to be this year’s undergraduate National Olmsted Scholar by the Landscape Architecture Foundation, and I am truly grateful for their support and the support of our faculty at LSU,” said Percevault, an Honors College student who is pursuing a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture in the College of Art & Design.

Percevault, who expects to graduate May in 2015, will receive the $15,000 undergraduate prize and plans to use the award to investigate how thorium extraction in Lemhi Pass, a National Historic Landmark along the wildlife corridor between Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho, can be tailored to local ecologies to minimize exposure of both wilderness areas and local communities to toxic externalities.

“With the Olmsted Scholars Program’s support, I will be investigating how new nuclear technology and government legislation may create and alter industrial landscapes surrounding the Lemhi Pass,” Percevault said. “The research I do in my remaining undergraduate and future graduate studies will focus on improving the conditions of productive landscapes and resources actively in communities in government and privatized sectors.”

Percevault hopes to bring her experiences from the field and the office back to a university, where she can teach students to engage in their communities and bring their observations and concerns to the forefront of their work.

“Erin has a real talent for research, conceptual development, and the presentation of complex ideas to clients, faculty and visiting critics,” said Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture Kevin Risk, who nominated Percevault for the Olmsted award. “She is one of the most intellectually curious, engaged and meticulous student in her class, and is certainly among the most academically gifted and committed of any undergraduate I have taught while at LSU. She clearly has a passion for environmental issues and many of her projects reflect an overriding concern for environmental sustainability, ecological wholeness, and environmental justice.”

Drew Lamonica Arms, director of fellowship advising at the Honors College, said, “I was delighted to hear of Erin’s continuing national success in her field of landscape architecture. As an Honorable Mention in the Udall Scholarship competition last year and now as one of two 2014 University Olmsted Scholars from across the nation, Erin has taken every advantage of opportunities provided by the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture and the Honors College.”

In recognition of her accomplishments, among other perks, Percevault will receive the following:

  • Lifetime use of the designation of “2014 National Olmsted Scholar”
  • Two complimentary tickets to the Landscape Architecture Foundation Annual Benefit on Nov. 21 in Denver, Colo. – held in conjunction with the American Society of Landscape Architects Annual Meeting
  • $15,000 award presented at the Annual Benefit in Denver
  • Feature story on the Landscape Architecture Foundation website highlighting her research, work and/or other projects.

“We are proud to have Erin’s leadership recognized by the Landscape Architecture Foundation,” said Bradley Cantrell, associate professor and director of the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture. “Her work at the school has been phenomenal and the funding she will receive from the Olmsted Scholarship will propel her research on wildlife corridors in exciting new ways.”

Sara Zewde, a master’s student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, was selected as the 2014 National Olmsted Scholar graduate winner. Also honored were six National Olmsted Scholar Finalists, who each receive $1,000. The graduate finalists are Vera Eve Giampietro, University of Washington; Harriett Jameson, University of Virginia; and Anneliza Kaufer, University of Pennsylvania. The undergraduate finalists are Viviana Castro, University of Florida; Clemente Rico, Arizona State University; and Blythe Worstell, Ohio State University.

An independent jury of leaders in the landscape architecture profession selected the winners and finalists from a group of 45 graduate and 30 undergraduate students who were nominated by their faculty for being exceptional student leaders. These top students earned the designation of 2014 University Olmsted Scholars.

“The Landscape Architecture Foundation is delighted to recognize and support these exceptional young leaders who will be the next generation of designers, spokespeople, and change agents to lead and advance the landscape architecture profession,” said Landscape Architecture Foundation Executive Director Barbara Deutsch. “They join a growing community of 318 past and present Olmsted Scholars.”

Now in its seventh year, the Olmsted Scholars Program recognizes and supports students with exceptional leadership potential who are using ideas, influence, communication, service, and leadership to advance sustainable planning and design and foster human and societal benefits. The program is made possible with support from Lead Sponsor: The Toro Company; Annual Sponsors: EDSA, HOK, OLIN, Sasaki Associates, and Thomas C. and Gerry D. Donnelly; and Promotion Partner: American Society of Landscape Architects.


Article by Ernie Ballard, LSU Media Relations (225-578-5685,


The LSU Honors College Office of Fellowship Advising assists students in applying for prestigious undergraduate and post-graduate fellowships and scholarships. For more information about our fellowship advising resources, or to schedule an appointment, contact


The Landscape Architecture Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC. Established in 1966, the foundation invests in research and scholarship to increase our collective capacity to achieve sustainability through landscape solutions. For more information, visit