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Olivia Kirkpatrick helped design UD’s display at the 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show and was recently honored by the American Society for Horticultural Science.
Olivia Kirkpatrick helped design UD’s display at the 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show and was recently honored by the American Society for Horticultural Science.

Horticulture hero

Photos by Monica Moriak

American Society for Horticultural Science honors recent UD grad Olivia Kirkpatrick

The University of Delaware’s Olivia Kirkpatrick was named one of the 2018 Outstanding Horticulture Students by the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS).

Kirkpatrick, who graduated in May with a major in landscape architecture and a minor in horticulture, joined a select group of students from across the country recognized as exceptional undergraduate horticultural students in baccalaureate programs.  

Of receiving the award, Kirkpatrick said that it was an incredible honor.

“I had no idea, so I was really surprised and grateful when I found out,” said Kirkpatrick.

During her time at UD, Kirkpatrick had the opportunity to explore many different opportunities from designing UD’s 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show exhibit with Jules Bruck, professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, to interning with Bruck’s Evolution Landscape Design business to participating in the University Innovation Fellows Program at Stanford University.

She was also nominated for a 2017 Woman of Promise award and was a teaching assistant for the Foundations of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design Studio. Kirkpatrick assisted in planning and creating print media for the UD Landscape Architecture (LA) 2017 Symposium “Breaking Urban,” was involved in high school outreach and programming for the LA program, and served on the executive board for the DeLA Club at UD.

“I have loved so much about being an undergrad at UD,” Kirkpatrick said. “The Landscape Architecture program has been such a joy to be a part of—I’ve had so many opportunities that I couldn’t have gotten elsewhere and I am full of gratitude for that every day. Beyond the schoolwork and extracurricular [activities], I’ve just loved being able to spend time on UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources campus, and having the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people.”

Having studied visual art for seven years at Cab Calloway School of the Arts and knowing that she wanted to continue to explore her passion for art and design, Kirkpatrick said that when she decided to study landscape architecture, it was mainly because it combined the visual design aspect with plant science and horticulture.

“As I continued my studies, though, I realized that it’s much more than that− and that’s part of the reason why I love it,” Kirkpatrick said. “It requires the understanding of a multitude of subjects, and allows for specialization in a wide array of subject areas. Landscape architecture is challenging and engaging; it is collaborative and introspective. I love that it’s a career where your design solutions can have a real impact- creating a more equitable, ecologically sound and beautiful world.”

Having been taught by many great professors during her time at UD, Kirkpatrick singled out many of the female professors in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences for everything they’ve done for her in the past four years.

“As a woman preparing to enter the working world, it has been such an inspiration to see all of the hardworking and passionate women in the Plant and Soil Sciences Department,” Kirkpatrick said. “I’ve had the opportunity to learn from or see the work of Jules Bruck, Anna Wik, Sue Barton, Tara Trammell, Nicole Donofrio, Angelia Seyfferth and Janine Sherrier in some capacity in my four years here, and it’s hard to even express what an inspiration that has been for me.”

This summer she plans on interning at Viridian Landscape Studio.

She is also looking for a job at a small-to-medium sized landscape architecture firm, and prefers one with a focus on public works and equitable design.


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