"It was nice getting out and being
able to have an open mind about
different aspects of the field and
being able to hone in on something.
Without my experience in the co-op
program I would have never known"
A student of architectural engineering, it was a simple question that opened Alex Milanoski’s eyes to the world of landscape architecture. Like many, he had heard of a landscape architect but did not understand what the position truly involved. One day, during class, while calculating how to reduce the heating load on a house, Milanoski asked the professor what could be done on the site around the house. When the professor answered that sounded like a landscape architecture job Milanoski was intrigued. Shortly after class he did some research and discovered that Purdue has a highly-ranked landscape architecture program. Although he was already in his sophomore year, after speaking with Professor Rob Sovinski, the landscape architecture department chair, Milanoski did not hesitate to switch his major from architectural engineering to landscape architecture. “I was always interested in landscape architecture,” Milanoski says, “I just didn’t really know what it was.”
As a student, Milanoski appreciates the hands-on learning process within the Landscape Architecture Program. In the fall of 2011, Milanoski, along with his classmates, was able to contribute concept plans that were later incorporated into the rain garden outside the Horticulture Building. He also served as the president of the Purdue American Society of Landscape Architects (PASLA) during his junior year. In his fourth year of landscape architecture, Milanoski participated in the Cooperative Education Program (coop), a unique internship where students are placed in some of the most respected landscape architecture offices in the
nation. When asked what he thought about coop, Milanoski replied that it was 100% beneficial. His internship was with Kimley-Horn, a premier design consulting firm, at their San Diego, California, office. “I had a great experience,” Milanoski says with enthusiasm, “I was there for less than two months and expressed the fact that I wanted to work on different projects and had the opportunity to work on a project in Sarasota, Florida. They threw me right into an entry-level position.” While at Kimley-Horn Milanoski had the opportunity to
travel frequently, doing work both in Florida and Arizona. During his time at the firm, Milanoski realized that his interests in what he would like to do in landscape architecture had changed. Initially, he thought he wanted to work in ecology, on a wildlife preserve, anything with natural elements. After his coop experience, he realized that he really enjoyed urban design. “It was nice getting out and being able to have an open mind about different aspects of the field and being able to hone in on something,” Milanoski says, “Without my experience in the coop program I would have never known.”
Now a senior and a teacher’s assistant to Professor Kent Schuette, Milanoski says he does not regret switching majors. When he entered the program Milanoski developed a keen appreciation for the professors and students in landscape architecture. “It’s extremely personable,” Milanoski shares. “I know all the professors by name and know their background. It’s nice to feel like part of a family.”
Milanoski also says he has a new awareness and admiration, not only of his professors but of the different aspects to
landscape architecture, such as sacred geometry and historical preservation. One of his favorite memories, Milanoski recalls, was the opportunity to participate in LaBash. In March of 2011 Purdue University hosted the conference.
I made great connections,” says Milanoski. “It was the best experience.” Held annually, LaBash is the chance for those interested in landscape architecture (professionals, students, alumni) to come together to learn about and celebrate the profession.
Milanoski’s time spent at Purdue in the Landscape Architecture Program has definitely been a success. He will graduate in May 2014 having won the Don Molnar scholarship and the H.W. Gilbert Grant and already has a job lined up with Kimley-Horn at their San Diego office beginning in August. “I think the coop program says a lot for that,” Milanoski says with conviction. “Students come out more developed and already have experience.” With only a few short months left at Purdue, Milanoski will leave with fond memories and newfound friendships.
He looks forward to the future and is confident in the knowledge that after five years in Purdue’s program his eyes are now wide open to the world of landscape architecture and all it has to offer.
Written by Erin Lane