Senior Kevin Pfeiffer is a busy young man, juggling a handful of jobs while pursuing his passion of landscape architecture and working toward a career that is fast paced, challenging and inspiring.
Collins Hill High School
Bachelor of Landscape Architecture
University highlights, achievements and awards:
try to my best to stay engaged in the college between work and class. In the past I have been twice awarded the Neel Reid Memorial Scholarship from the college through the Peachtree Garden Club, as well as the Dean’s ASLA Travel Scholarship where I was honored by given help to make it to the American Society of Landscape Architecture conference in Denver, Colorado. I am so humbled to receive these scholarships for the fact that I am putting myself through college, and would not be able to stay in the classroom without the help of many others.
Other awards I have received have been dean’s list at my previous college, Georgia College and State University, as well as here at UGA.
Other achievements for me have been successfully completing my time as a student ambassador at the College of Environment and Design, where I got to work closely with alumni, students and prospective students to spread the mission of the college. In my free time I even got to visit local high schools to promote as well as educate students about landscape architecture and the program at UGA.
Also I was a class representative for Georgia Students of Landscape Architecture where I worked to help coordinate my class with other GSLA functions and events.
Other highlights have been taking trips with my classmates such as the East Coast trip where over the summer we visited sites and landscape architectural firms in Boston, Philadelphia and New York City. We also took a similar trip to Bluffton, Charleston and Savannah. Visiting these cities were by far one of the biggest highlights in my collegiate career. To get to see these amazing places I could work in and meet the people who do it every day is very rewarding.
All of these highlights, awards and achievements — when looking back on them — really show to me how close I have become to this college and the people who pass their doors every day.
I currently hold multiple positions in and out of my studies, but all in my areas of interest. I am of the opinion that you should always be working and trying to better yourself through that work. First off, I am an intern at a local environmental design firm, Koons Environmental Design, where I have worked on multiple UGA projects, residential designs around town, as well as other institutional projects in Georgia. Working at this firm has been extremely helpful and enriching to the continuing of my career as a landscape architect. I cannot speak any higher to my time spent at the office. I really feel now what it’s like to work in the real world, and can’t wait to continue that after I graduate.
I also work in the College of Environment and Design tech office as a technology assistant as well as part of the fabrication staff. I work with students, staff and faculty throughout my college by helping them plot, print, laser cut and troubleshoot all of their technology needs. Through this position I have developed a closer understanding of how landscape architecture and technology work together to yield a richer project. I am so thankful for having this job and have some great times working there.
I recently started writing as well, for the website www.landarchs.com. As a part of their team I get to write articles on current landscape architectural events, as well as my technology tips articles.
Lastly, I work in University of Georgia’s Campus Reservations Event and Technical Services office where I work as a sound and light technician for university events on the tech crew. Here I get to pursue my passion of music and working with groups of people to put on events.
All of these jobs add up to a lot of my time taken away, but what I get in return is professional experience and an understanding of what life will be like after graduation. A life that is fast paced, challenging and inspiring — which is exactly what I want.
Family Ties to UGA:
I am actually the first in my family to attend UGA, and I’m just the second generation to attend college on my mother’s side. I am prodigiously proud to attend this institution, and hope that much of my family in the future will attend as well.
I chose to attend UGA because...
UGA offers a consistently top-ranked landscape architecture program. It was what most prominently drew me to the institution. As well was the knowledge of a large alumni base, great music scene in town and closeness to my family. It really was one of my easiest decisions when nearing my high school graduation.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
Often I will bring my hammock to campus and post it up in the old magnolia trees on North Campus; enjoying the afternoon this way is by far my favorite. Other activities have been without a doubt the football games on Saturday where I get to spend the afternoon with friends, old and new. I also enjoy just hanging out in the Jackson Street Building studio and just talking to my classmates.
When I have free time, I like...
I have read an old adage multiple times — that you should have three hobbies: one that relieves stress, one that keeps you in shape and one that is a source of income. For stress relief I pursue music in the form of concert going, record collecting and guitar playing. For keeping myself in shape I enjoy running while listening to podcasts and audiobooks alike; recently I’ve started weight training, too. And for a source of income I am constantly trying to better myself at landscape architecture, especially in architectural visualization. I cannot thank UGA’s student subscription to www.lynda.com enough for this part for learning the ins and outs of multiple computer programs. Other hobbies include cooking, bread making, watching movies and reading.
The craziest thing I've done is...
… my trip to Denali National Park in the summer of 2014. I traveled to Alaska with my girlfriend and some of my family to Anchorage for a week and then from there drove up to Denali for a couple of days. At that point in my life I had never really left the Southeast U.S. or rode on a plane. Shooting myself thousands of miles away in a sailing metal tube, pelting through the air, was something I found completely senile. I’ll never forget all the amazing things I got to see on my trip through Alaska and I know I’ll value every moment of it. From ascending multiple small mountain ridges to touching a glacier, it was an experience of a lifetime.
My favorite place to study is...
… the Jackson Street Building. Naturally it is the home of the College of Environment and Design, so I am located there already most of my time. But, all of its characteristics encourage a great study space — large windows with great views, high ceilings, quiet hallways and huge desks. I have gotten not only most all of my work done here, but the best of my work. My friends who are not in the program also come to the studio all the time to study after I showed them the building. It really is a gem on the University of Georgia’s campus.
My favorite professor is...
I believe this college functions like a clock, where every cog works in tandem to get successful students through to graduation. So I would really like to not only mention a few of my favorite professors here, but mention other essential people that help all students who go through this school. First, David Spooner, my academic adviser, has been one of the largest influences on my time here at the school. Along with his work with Rose Tahash, I cannot thank them enough for the time and effort they put in every day. Professor Spooner has always encouraged and reassured me that my career path will be successful if I apply my work and mind to it. He is someone who automatically not only believes but also encourages you to grow — I do not only see this is my scenario but in every student that passes through his doors.
I’d like to mention several other people, such as Rose Tahash who coordinates undergraduate services while tirelessly running the ambassador program that I participated in. Shelly Cannady who largely coordinates the scholarships in the college while being a fantastic professor. Audra Lofton who seemingly organizes everything at the college and has shown me how to network and be myself on a professional level. Donnie Longnecker who has always been frank with me about my designs and has pointed me to relevant issues I need to address in the field. Gregg Coyle for showing me the artistry behind landscape architecture as well as the real world application in the construction phase. Lee Cornell and Chris Balthrop for keeping the tech in working order at the college. Jose Buitrago for guiding me through some of my first design courses. Brad Davis for sharing his knowledge and love for horticulture and all plants alike. I would know nothing of plants without having him as a professor. Cecile Martin sharing her passion and knowledge in the arts and initially inspiring so many of the students who first enter the school.
I digress. All of these other people and everyone else who works at the college have affected me in one way or another to form who I am today. I am exceptionally lucky to have all of these people in my life and know that they work day in and out to have me be successful once I graduate.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
… Ira Glass, the host of the radio show “This American Life.” Over the years his program has taught me empathy, understanding and generally educated me on the lives of people unlike myself. This has drawn me to issues of applying landscape architecture to social justice and urban planning. To spend an afternoon with him I would really enjoy hearing all of his personal stories and pick his brain on what issues face our society today and how to effectively combat them, as well as get a lesson in storytelling.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
… work with Google in developing the future of our highway systems through the use of self-driving cars. This technology extremely excites me and has the potential to drastically change the way our roads around the world look. If taken advantage of now, still early in its development, the self-driving car can not only benefit the public with safety but the environment as well with well-designed landscapes they travel on.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to...
Landscape architecture needs a larger public representation as a profession. If money were not a consideration I would love to work in the public realm at representing the profession and be able to hire lobbyists and such to better the future of the field of landscape architecture. If done successfully I think the profession can exponentially grow and flourish, encouraging future young minds to think smartly about the world around us and how we are affecting it.
After graduation, I plan to...
Right now I really would love to travel around America for a few months and decide which city I would like to work in. Growing up I wasn’t given much of a chance to travel, and I want to get that experience and see my country. Albeit, given financial situations, I may have to start working immediately. Either way, I have large plans of travel in my future.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
One of the experiences that I will always remember was actually one before I was a student at the college. It was back in high school, during my junior year, when I took a tour of the campus. I had never been to Athens before and was totally blown away by what my near future could hold. It was also the first time I heard about the landscape architecture program at UGA. This moment was the turning point in my life that goes back over four years now that is still deeply affecting me today. I am so happy and comforted by the experience I had that afternoon on this campus.