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K-State Today

March 23, 2022

Ayana Belk named 2022 Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture’s Graduate Fountain Scholar

Submitted by Thom Jackson

Ayana Belk, a fifth-year landscape architecture graduate student in the landscape architecture and regional & community planning department in the College of Architecture, Planning & Design, has been named the 2022 Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture’s Graduate Fountain Scholar. Her selection took place at the annual conference March 16-19 in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico.

Growing up near Troost Corridor, the dividing line of segregation and disinvestment in Kansas City, Missouri, Belk was drawn to landscape architecture as a means to heal her community. After graduation, she intends to start a nonprofit in Kansas City to provide a space where youth can discover landscape architecture while improving the Troost Corridor through participatory design.

Her thesis “Equitably Mirroring the Nation: Black Students’ Experiences in Landscape Architecture” addresses the Black students’ journey to discovering and navigating landscape architecture. Much of her work has focused on exploring the barriers Black landscape architecture students face, intending to offer universities and profession recommendations for improving the Black experience and increasing the number of Black landscape architects.

“The faculty’s nomination of Ayana for the CELA Fountain Scholar Award reflects our high regard for her accomplishments and potential for future positive impacts in the field of landscape architecture,” said Stephanie Rolley, landscape architecture and regional and community planning department head. “In addition to receiving this award, Ayana was selected by peer-review to present her thesis research at the conference. Her study of Black landscape architecture students presents previously unknown information, making important contributions to the discipline."

Named for Charles Fountain, the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture Fountain Scholar Program recognizes and supports Black, Indigenous and students of color in landscape architecture with exceptional design skills and who use their skills and ideas to influence, communicate, lead and advance design solutions for contemporary issues in a manner aligned with the original goals of Charles Fountain.

The program provides a $2,000 scholarship for one graduate and one undergraduate landscape architecture student each year. Now in its second year, the program recognizes one outstanding student nominated from each landscape architecture program from Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture member institutions.  Students are honored for past achievements and recognized for their future potential to influence the landscape architecture profession. The Fountain Scholar Program was established to help Black and Indigenous students of color to advance their landscape architecture education.