Kayla Copeland was a recipient of the Elmer and Mona Lewis Ritter and John R. Ritter Endowed Scholarship for Landscape Architecture during her time at Oklahoma State University. John established this scholarship in honor of his parents to support landscape architecture students. Kayla now works for The City of Oklahoma City as a Park Planner. Like Kayla illustrates below, once endowed, the John Ritter Scholarship in Landscape Architecture will benefit students and their experience at OSU.
The Elmer and Mona Lewis Ritter and John Ritter Scholarship was such a blessing to receive. This scholarship allowed me the flexibility to work only part time during my last (very important) semesters of school. The scholarship helped me pay for school tuition and books which are always the top cost for most college students. Because of this scholarship I got the flexibility to receive a part time internship at a landscape architecture firm in Oklahoma City, expanding my knowledge of landscape architecture and growing my experience working in a landscape architecture office.
This scholarship was extremely meaningful to me. Professor Ritter was my first college advisor. He walked me through all the first loops a freshman in college has to go through. He challenged me to take courses I didn’t think I could do and help prove to myself that I am in the right field of work. Professor Ritter was such an encourager. He would encourage us in our designs. He would encourage us to get out of the studio every once and a while and to go experience life (but then to quickly come back and finish our projects as well). He would encourage us through hugs, pats on the backs, and forehead kisses. His smile was contagious and his presence really lit up a room.
My time at OSU taught me all the basic skills to jump into a full time job. It taught me all the disciplines of environmental design, artistic prospective on design, and the science heart behind every project. Because of OSU, I could firmly say that I had a great knowledge on many different types of projects: garden design, residential design, community planning, urban design, parks and recreation, commercial /campus design, and sustainable site design. This education made me well-rounded and very marketable to the landscape architecture professional world.
Today, I am a Park Planner for the City of Oklahoma City Parks & Recreation Department. My job includes master planning, park designing, project/construction management, and public meetings. I love working with the citizens of Oklahoma City and hearing all of their dreams about their town, communities, and neighborhoods. It’s my job to take their dreams and make them a reality throughout our parks and recreation system. It is so fun to watch people’s eyes light up when you show them your master plan for their neighborhood park or regional park. It’s what makes my job so special!
Kayla Copeland, Park Planner, Parks and Recreation Department, The City of Oklahoma City