Hometown: Hangzhou, China
Degree Program: Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture '23
What kind of questions or curiosities did you have when you decided to pursue a degree in landscape architecture?
What is this discipline specifically? What trajectories can "landscape" plus "architecture" derive? How does this discipline differ from architecture, urban design, and other sister disciplines?
How would you characterize your design ethos? How has that been adapted since arriving at Cornell?
My design ethos has been shaped tremendously by what I have learned at Cornell, as it is the primary influencer of my understanding of design. For me, it is always important to be respectful to each site, including the place, its users, and the cultures and events it contains. Cornell teaches me the importance of both and how to achieve them through the design process.
Are there any other particular courses at Cornell that leverage your interest?
I cannot emphasize how many great courses Cornell offers to students. Even the Freshmen Writing Seminar I took, which all undergraduates are required to take, fulfilled and expanded my curiosity about history substantially. I am minoring in anthropology and inequality, which further widen and deepen my understanding of landscape and place through the perspectives they offer. There is a wide range of physical education courses as well! The cardio kickboxing class I took in my freshman year introduced me to kickboxing and its related martial arts. It is a great sport to activate my body and destress, and I am still doing it by myself.
Being at Cornell, has living in the Finger Lakes region informed your view on the field, or even broader, the environment?
For sure. People’s life is way more integrated within the finger Lakes region’s environment compared with the cities I used to live in. The Finger Lakes region is not overwhelmed by paved roads, buildings, vehicles, subways, and other modern inventions, which do bring convenience to people but physically and mentally detach people from the environment in which they reside. Here, people are more drawn and associated with the environment’s transient changes. Consequently, climate change is more evident, and our vulnerability regarding climate change becomes apparent. I believe how my experience in the Finger Lakes region shapes my perceptions will be more pronounced once I leave this place since I am still experiencing and shaped by this place.
Reflecting on these interests, how did you define/ are you defining your concentration in the program?
I want to bring my interest in social science and humanity into my focus in landscape architecture through my concentration. While I am still defining and narrowing my focus, I do want to delve deeper into understanding the process of shaping people’s understandings and perceptions of landscapes and how this process has been influenced by technologies, cultural practices, and social practices.
What kind of organizations or activities have you become involved in within Ithaca?
I have been a member of CU-ASLA since spring 2019. It is the Cornell student chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architecture, which aims to provide resources and events to landscape students for enriching their experience both within the studio and outside the studio. I was the event leader of the LABash planning committee in spring 2021, which was also a fun and enriching experience for me through working with people in the studio together for a year to prepare for this national event.
What would you tell your ten years younger self now? What would you want to remind yourself ten years ahead?
To 11-year-old Cheryl: Cherish those who love you and you love, and enjoy all the little moments you have with people and the place you live.
To 31-year-old Cheryl: Stay sincere and passionate.