Alumni Profiles

CPPLA loves its Bravely Curious alumni! CPPLA graduates go on to very successful careers in the industry, and also find time to give back to their alma mater. We plan to regularly publish profiles here of Bravely Curious alumns who are making an impact.

Profile: Sara Abed

Graduation Date: June 2014 (Transfer Student)

Current Employer:  Sitescapes

Residence: Santa Ana, CA 

Work Location: Costa Mesa, CA

What is Landscape Architecture? 
Landscape Architecture is  a systematic cross of art and science. It serves as a symbiotic relationship between humankind and the natural environment. 

How did you discover Landscape Architecture?
Before transferring to Cal Poly Pomona, I studied architecture for three years at Orange Coast College. While pursuing my education there I lost an interest in pursuing Architecture as a future career.  I love the artistic quality of Architecture and how  designing a space can enhance the quality of life of a person and surrounding  community. I felt the need to explore the sensitivities of design through art and science. Landscape Architecture closely matched my interests.  

I chose Cal Poly Pomona because I wanted to pursue my higher education in a diverse environment  where I could feel comfortable to express myself and my design ideas as I boldly could. I took every opportunity to utilize my design skills to envision a better future for all of us. A future rich in diversity and a future in which any individual  can be enriched by his or her environment.  As a student, my professors gave me the freedom to explore and expand on the values that I hold dear to my heart and to portray those humanizing values into my design projects.  The same values that I sought out in my design concepts (such as  diversity, community, justice, and equality) are the same values that I stand and fight for as professional landscape designer, a CA Assembly Delegate of District 68, and as a social justice activist. 

What are CPP's strengths?
Cal Poly Pomona entices students to be active beyond the classroom with its 'learn by doing' philosophy. The Landscape Architecture department acknowledges and applies this philosophy into every class. There was one class in particular that really set the framework of how I practice as a landscape designer and commit myself to improving my community and that was the LA499: Personal Propaganda: Purpose, Process and Message elective course taught by Andrew O. Wilcox. This course helped me see what values were important to me and it helped me  practice those values in studio,  in pro-practice, and elsewhere.  I didn't realize it then but elective classes like these are necessary and gave students the opportunity to be self-critical of the work they're trying to do and why there were trying to do it in the first place. Students ought to use their studios as an open platform to express themselves and their ideas in a welcoming environment. It is in their studios that they start to discover the kind of landscape architect and or designer they wish to be. 

What is the future of Landscape Architecture?
I am a core believer in that Landscape Architecture  must ground itself in civic engagement.  If we want to retain growth and stability in this profession we must transcend our skill sets into the political realm, where public-policy drives what we do. If we wish to see  a brighter future in our field, we simply need more Landscape Architects to run for office at the local, state, and national level.