Awards & Honors

Three Students Win Hollander Design Fellowship and Awards

We are proud to announce the 2022 Hollander Design Fellowship winner for first-year students in our Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) program: Cassandra Castano won the three-year Hollander Design Fellowship, and Ximena Diaz Velasco and Sonia Uthuph each won a one-time award of $4,000!

Hollander Design Landscape Architects was founded by Edmund Hollander, FASLA, president of the firm. While Hollander has committed to a Fellowship per year since 2020, the additional one-time awards are due to the firm’s generosity, and the belief in its mission to diversify the industry. Hollander Design is one of few landscape architecture firms on Architectural Digest’s AD100 list.

“We at Spitzer are so grateful to Ed Hollander and his colleagues at the Hollander Design Landscape Architects for sponsoring the Hollander Design Fellowship at the Spitzer School of Architecture,” said Dean Marta Gutman. “It recognizes landscape architecture students who are so impressive and alleviates their needs which are so compelling.”

As a Hollander Fellow, Cassandra will receive scholarship support for all three years of her studies in the MLA Program. Cassandra studied fine arts and horticulture at Farmingdale State College in East Farmingdale, New York. She is passionate about finding novel ecological strategies to address stormwater pollution, habitat loss, and flood risk reduction for coastal communities through a creative and empathetic lens. Castano, an assistant landscape ecologist at the environmental planning firm NPV, grew up in Brentwood, a predominantly Hispanic community on Long Island, and now resides in East Patchogue, Long Island. This is her first CCNY award.

Diaz Velasco hails from Pachuca, Mexico, as well as York, PA. She completed her undergraduate degree in international development at George Washington University in Washington, DC, and is a community organizer and painter. For the past three years, she has worked to reduce barriers to access for those with marginalized identities with both the Urban Libraries Council and the National Park Service.  She currently resides in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan, and is also the recipient of a Spitzer Tuition Scholarship.

Uthuph is a Malayalee Texan who grew up in Houston, and is now living in Brooklyn. She received a Bachelor of Psychology with minors in Spanish and biology from the University of Texas at Austin. A community organizer and advocate for environmental justice, mutual aid, and direct action, she hopes to work with indigenous peoples and advocates to design gathering places where community-building can thrive over the interests of privatization, ensuring dignity for all beings. She is also a recipient of a Spitzer Tuition Scholarship and the ASLA-NY Diversity Scholarship.

Hollander Design Landscape Architects established the fellowship in 2020 to encourage and support New York City students from demographics and communities that are historically underrepresented in landscape architecture to pursue the field. Awarded the Fellowship in 2020, Matthew Brown Velasquez will be the first recipient to graduate with the assistance of the Fellowship’s full three years. Gaël Oriol ’24 received the Fellowship in 2021.

In addition to the annual Fellowship, the firm has generously added funding for one-time awardees due to the extremely strong pool of applicants.