In fourth grade, Nina Chase drew a master plan for a park complete with bike racks and benches. Since then she has dreamed of being an architect.
But, it was not until she got to West Virginia University that she discovered her passion for landscape architecture.
“I fell in love with the science, art and urban design-component of landscape architecture,” Chase said.
Now, the WVU senior from Morgantown will go on to one of the countries premier landscape architecture graduate schools in the country – Harvard – where she plans to obtain her master’s degree.
Chase, who will graduate Summa Cum Laude, was the first runner-up and one of six finalists in the national ReCycle This Site student design competition. During the competition she had to redesign a brownfield site along the French Broad River in Asheville, N.C.
She was also recognized by the Landscape Architecture Olmsted Scholars Program as the 2009 WVU Olmsted Scholar, a 2008-09 Tim Snyder Award recipient and a member of the international honor society for landscape architecture Sigma Lambda Alpha.
In the future she hopes to work in a city, like New York or Boston, where she will focus on urban design and sustainable technologies.
“I want to look at how you can make a community better. I hope to design sustainable environments that will catalyze positive growth within communities,” Chase said.
She hopes to devote much of her time to designing landscaping that improves sustainability by using plant species that are not invasive and buying from local markets, among other things.
As president of the WVU student chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, which she has been part of since 2006, she has used her talents to help the Morgantown community.
Chase has helped with a bank stabilization system on Decker’s Creek, and is currently working on an independent design project for a pocket park within Sunnyside.
She has also worked to open students’ eyes to the many career possibilities within the landscape architecture-sector.
“I have tried to be as involved as possible, and have tried to somehow make a difference here. I have really tried to get other students involved and excited about landscape architecture,” she said.
Still in awe that she will be attending Harvard in the fall, Chase’s experience at WVU will always have a special place in her heart.
“It has been great. I am grateful to the University for providing me countless opportunities to explore my personal interests while simultaneously exposing me to a world outside of my own. WVU has always been my vision of what college is and what it should be. I have received an incredible education,” she said.
“I am proud to be going to Cambridge and getting to represent WVU, and am really proud to be a Mountaineer,” she added.
This summer, Chase plans on completing an internship at a landscape firm in Boston. She has interned at various landscape architecture firms in the Boston-area for the past two years.
By Colleen DeHart
WVU News and Information Services
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