Sophie Bellemare

About Sophie:

Hometown: Hoosick Falls, New York

Degree Program: Master of Landscape Architecture '22

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies

Elon University

What kind of questions or curiosities did you have when you decided to pursue a degree in landscape architecture?

I was interested in how design would intersect with my background in ecology, and curious about landscape architecture’s role in agriculture. A huge factor for me in choosing a program was that Cornell's LA program was a part of CALS, and so I was eager to begin investigating what would become my concentration in productive landscapes.

How would you characterize your design ethos or process?

Coming from a background in ecology, I quickly realized I was evolving into a designer that understood the social and cultural realities of people are also embedded in our landscapes and surrounding environments. My new ethos definitely views people as intrinsic to our environmental ecologies, and that landscape evolution can be strengthened when socio-cultural and environmental realities positively reinforce one another.

Being at Cornell, has to live in the Finger Lakes region informed your view on the field, or even broader, the environment?

I came into the program with an affinity for designing for the urban environment. However, I’m from upstate New York, and my move to Ithaca was the first time I was in an academic environment while also being in my native state in over a decade.  During my second year, I realized that more rural and smaller urban communities are also in need, and just as worthy, of the innovative skill set that landscape architects bring to the table. I’ve found myself now just as excited about rural and regional environments as the urban ones. It was an unexpected yet welcomed discovery.


What kind of organizations or activities have you become involved in within Ithaca?

During my first year at Cornell I served on the 2020 LaBash committee on the marketing team. I also was a graduate student mentor for two semesters, which was a really great way to connect with new students and share experiences. This year I am also a Teaching Assistant for the 6010: Black Dirt Studio, and so I’m applying and learning more about productive landscapes as both a student and teacher, which has been a really transformative experience. 

I had the opportunity to intern this past summer at MVVA, which allowed me to gain a better understanding of project types and scales that I’m interested in, while simultaneously getting a chance to apply my design skills in the professional environment.


What kinds of professional and personal trajectories are you setting for yourself at the moment?

Right now I am excited to begin learning how to translate my academic experience into professional practice, and continue to evolve it. I’m hoping to enter a practice that mirrors my design ethos and works on a wide range of projects since I love to work at multiple scales. Additionally, I’m excited to just engage with the design discipline, to learn alongside other amazing designers and continue to engage with communities to translate their visions. I love how in landscape we are always learning, and so I am eager to enter a new phase of it