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Thursday, October 21, 2021

UC Davis student becomes representative for nationwide landscape architecture organization

It’s hard to figure out when Barbara Nazarewicz, senior landscape architecture major, has time to sleep. Between her multiple landscaping projects and leadership positions it seems that Nazarewicz is always on the go.

Now with her recent appointment as the student representative to the board of trustees of the American Society of Landscape Architecture (ASLA), it seems that Nazarewicz has even more on her plate. And she is enjoying it.

“I just wish everybody could become landscape architects,” Nazarewicz said.

As a student representative for ASLA, Nazarewicz will be a liaison between a board of trustees and landscape architecture students across the nation. This is the first time that the UC Davis landscape architecture department has had a student representative on the board.

Elizabeth Boltz, a landscape architecture lecturer, has known Barbara for about three years and admires her work ethic and her ability to do it all.

“She has a wonderful spirit that is contagious and she is such an inspiration to her classmates,” Boltz said.

Born and raised in Poland, Nazarewicz came to the United States by herself in 2004 when she decided that she wanted to explore the country and learn the culture. Once in the U.S., Nazarewicz said that she had to learn how to rely on herself in a new country where English was not her first language. Things taken for granted such as doing laundry, paying bills and communicating to PG&E to get the power and Internet were a challenge, she said.

“I tend to joke that I’m the black sheep in my family. I like to travel and [moving to the U.S.] was an adventure for me,” Nazarewicz said.

After attending Foothill College in Los Altos, she transferred to UC Davis where she began to rise in leadership positions within the landscape architecture department.

As the ASLA student chapter president for UC Davis, Nazarewicz organized the cornerstone project in which she was in charge of overseeing student designers and their design projects.

Senior landscape architecture major Elizabeth Bokulich has known Nazarewicz for three years and finds that when working with her, things are finished more efficiently.

“You get things done. She is very organized and great at setting deadlines,” Bokulich said in an e-mail interview.

Boltz remembers one time in which Nazarewicz and a group of students were up all night in the design studio and ended up proudly displaying a four feet long Taco Bell receipt along with their project.

“It wasn’t like they resented staying up all night. Barbara really gets other people to embrace her work ethic,” Boltz said.

But it is not just her work within school that distinguishes Nazarewicz but her dedication to work outside of UC Davis. As a landscape maintenance manager for Silver Creek Country Lodge, she manages her own crew of workers and drives the big machinery including tractors and Bobcats. Because the country club is located in San Jose, Nazarewicz splits half of her week in Davis and the rest in the Bay Area.

“At first the guys were like, ‘Who is this little girl?’ But I eventually won them over. I let them think they were in charge,” Nazarewicz said.

But becoming a maintenance manager is just one of the accomplishments following a whole string of work experience tied with landscape architecture. From fixing sprinklers in Menlo Park to working with Apple and Hewlett Packard on an ET-based irrigation system that calculates the exact water needed for an area, Nazarewicz has delved deep into the many aspects of landscape architecture.

Patsy Owens, landscape architecture chair in the department of environmental design, has known Barbara for two years admires her professional, goal-orientated attitude.

“She does take on a lot but she is not intimidated and she really does not see any barriers for herself,” Owens said.

Asked why she was so passionate about the field of landscape architecture, Nazarewicz pointed out that from a practical standpoint this major graduates as a professional with a skill. But more than that she said what draws her in is working with the landscape itself.

“I like how the landscape changes over time; it’s never the same. I very much like the dynamics, how it is somewhat unpredictable,” she said.

Next year, Nazarewicz plans to finish her senior project, which will analyze the economic costs and sustainability benefits of golf courses and then further pursue her career as a landscape architect.

“It’s one of the happiest professions. It really brings back memories of childhood when you’re playing with materials and creating. It gives so much joy,” she said.

JESSY WEI can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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