MORGANTOWN , W.Va.A West Virginia University landscape architecture student is a finalist for one of the disciplines emerging award programs. Nina Chase, a student in WVU s Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences , of Morgantown, is one of 28 students from across the country to be nominated for the Landscape Architecture Foundation s Olmsted Scholars Program competition.

The Olmsted Scholars Program was initiated in 2008 to honor the work of student leaders in sustainable design and planning.The award identifies, recognizes and supports students with exceptional leadership potential, who are willing to engage critical issues through the use of ideas, influence, communication, service and leadership, thus advancing sustainable planning and design and fostering human and societal benefits.

The award is named for Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), the father of American landscape architecture whose projects included Central Park, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C., and the landscape surrounding the United States Capitol Building.

Chase, who is also pursuing a minor in political science at WVU s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences , is interested in the role landscape architects can play in the realm of city planning and land use policy. She believes that landscape architects have the unique responsibility of engaging social, environmental and economic goals, providing the collaborative link between cities and their residents.

She is also interested in exploring how sustainable design and appropriate policy can positively affect the development issues that strain many of the nations growing cities. She is currently working on an initial phase to beautify one of WVU s deteriorating student housing neighborhoods. After graduating in May 2010, Chase plans to pursue a masters degree in landscape architecture and focus on ecologically sensitive urban design and revitalization.

Chase is spending her summer completing an internship at Carol R. Johnson Associates in Boston.After returning to WVU in the fall, shell assume the presidency of the WVU chapter of the Student Society of Landscape Architects (SSLA).

The Landscape Architecture Foundation was established in 1966 by a group of landscape architects who shared a concern for the quality of the American environment and its future. The foundations mission is to support the preservation, improvement and enhancement ofthe environment.

All Olmsted Scholar nominees will be honored at the foundations benefit dinner on Sept. 18 in Chicago. Chases registration at the event has been funded by the West Virginia chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.