Simone Shemshedini: Healing Natural Areas by Staying in Touch with the Land 

MLArch Landscape Architecture 

Simone Shemshedini is a graduate student in Tyler studying Landscape Architecture. Simone’s work combines guided human restoration with naturally-occurring revegetation of ecologically damaged areas. 

Simone Shemshedini looking about on campus

Why did you choose to study at Temple? 

Before I came to Temple, I was doing horticulture and land-based work, which I loved dearly, but I was starting to feel as though there wasn’t much room for growth or upward mobility. I decided I should go back to school to study something horticulture-related with a background in design, so landscape architecture sounded like the move. Temple was perfect because its program is very horticulture and ecologically focused. I was looking at other schools too, but Temple’s program seemed the most down-to-earth, and I liked the designs I saw from Temple students - they just seemed the most realistic, cool, and in-touch.  

What kind of work have you been doing as you pursue your degree at Temple? 

For my capstone project, I am doing ecological restoration on a quarry near Newark. A quarry is basically a scarring of the earth – often when they are not in use anymore, they are simply abandoned, and they turn into unique ecosystems that you can’t find anywhere else. My work is basically a combination of guided human restoration and seeing what happens naturally as quarries revegetate.  

How do you find community at Temple?  

My cohort is a very small group, and I feel very close to them; we’re like a little family. We’re not competitive at all, in fact our work is super collaborative. Everyone in the cohort is always down to help each other out – for example one of my classmates is really into technology and he has a drone, and he was kind enough to spend his day off driving 2 hours to my site to help me use the drone to photograph it. It’s a very supportive community and we are always lifting each other up.  

What advice would you offer to other / potential grad students? 

Do your research before grad school because it is a big investment. Learning out in the field and the workplace is a great way to advance yourself, but at least for this route, with architecture, you need to get your license and for that you need the degree. Also, I think it’s important to stay connected with the land you’re working on so that you can make decisions that are in-touch and realistic. It’s essential to think about the people who will be doing the physical labor to create your designs, and to stay in touch with your own experiences out in the field.