Morgan Vought, MLA I 2022

Summer 2020

Organization: YouthBuild Boston

Sponsor: Boston Community Service Fellowship

“My name is Morgan and I am going into the second year of the Master in Landscape Architecture program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. This summer I have the privilege of working with YouthBuild Boston as a Lead Designer for their Designery Program. The program provides design and builds education for high school students in the Boston area, specifically Dorchester and Roxbury. The program focuses on diversity and inclusion and serves an ethnically, economically, and culturally diverse population of students. It is also unique in that it also provides students with a stipend for their time and effort.

After about a month of trying our best to translate previously established in-person curriculum to a zoom format, we were ready to hire students for the program. With over 100 applicants, it was difficult choosing 15, but I enjoyed meeting and learning from every applicant in the process. The program is now underway and as we begin our second week, I believe we are finally getting most of our technological kinks worked through! For our first project, we have endeavored to design and construct simple marble courses out of simple supplies such as bristol and computer paper and recycled objects the students have around their homes.

The students have also had the possibility to explore and process the current events happening around them with other youth and professional leaders in the community development and design fields. During a virtual Martin Luther King Scholar Leadership conference, hundreds of youth were able to virtually gather to discuss networking. The

discussion touched on the challenges of networking as a person of color, how to overcome shyness, and professionalism in pursuing potential job opportunities. Additionally, the Designery students were able to meet the communication team from KI Furnishing to discuss professionalism. Students asked the team excellent questions ranging from how to negotiate pay and how to address inequality in the workplace.

Next week, the team of students will be split into two projects. One group of students will design speculative animal habitats from Franklin Park and the other will create a master plan for the Thornton St. Haley House Farm. Most likely, we will be able to break the virtual bubble to get kids out to these sites. But for now, thanks for reading and stay tuned!”