DeMera Ollinger

Texas Tech Student of Integrated Scholarship

DeMera Ollinger
I could tell you about the pride I feel on game day or the humbling walk across campus, however, it’s the hungry, caffeine-influenced sensation I feel while sitting at my desk every morning that I value more than anything. What it takes, semester after semester, to earn my seat in every classroom; the feeling of connection with my university, my college, my department; this is after all, where I came to learn.

Landscape Architecture,
College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

DeMera Ollinger’s creative design capabilities and interest in environmental sustainability drew her to the field of landscape architecture. The curriculum constantly tests her thinking, however, Ollinger says she enjoys challenging both sides of her brain when it comes to the field she loves. Outside the classroom, Ollinger has served as a member of Agri-Techsans, promoting the departments within the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at events both on and off campus. She also is the events coordinator for the TTU chapter of the Student American Society of Landscape Architects, which created a residential landscape design for the television program “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Though she is active on campus, Ollinger notes that her most rewarding service opportunity arose beyond the environs of Texas Tech. While studying abroad in Brazil, she volunteered to teach English to underprivileged children, some of whom had never attended school, and Ollinger notes that the experience was illuminating. On her way to completing the fourth year of a five-year bachelor’s program, Ollinger says environmental sustainability remains at the core of her outreach efforts and keeps her optimistic about the future.

Learn more about Student of Integrated Scholarship DeMera Ollinger in this question-and-answer session.

What got you interested in your major?

I am currently a fourth-year landscape architecture student here at Tech. I say "fourth year" because landscape architecture is a five-year program. As far as my initial interest in this department went, an unpredictable chain of events ultimately led me to the Hub City. As a freshman English major at a West Texas college further north, I was attending classes and had decided to take on a second job at a local greenhouse. Working at the greenhouse inspired me to pick up the Texas Tech course catalog I happened to have handy in my dorm to explore different career opportunities related to the line of work rapidly growing on me. Stumbling upon landscape architecture, I couldn't have found a more suitable degree that combined my creatively technical way of thinking with an industry devoted to environmental sustainability.

What courses are you taking this semester?

This semester I'll be attending classes in Regional Planning, Planting Design, Site Construction and Development, a seminar course, and Western Rhetoric and Thought.

What is the most challenging course you've taken? How has it affected you?

Wow. This program continues to challenge both sides of my brain. I naturally gravitate more toward the design spectrum, therefore my design course a couple of years ago was certainly the most stimulating challenge I've experienced to date. The technical side of the major has always been a bit more challenging, however, a challenge I approach with positive determination. From surveying, to drawing up construction documents, to GIS (geographical information systems), they always find a way to keep me on my toes.

Have you completed internships or had other work experience applicable to your field of study?

I am currently in the process of applying for internships following this spring semester. Even without field-specific work experience, I have distinct qualities and qualifications that I hope will make me a unique candidate. From sales, to model construction, to greenhouses, I understand hard work and speak the language of customer service fluently.

What service projects (volunteering, community service, etc.) have you been involved in?

As the events coordinator of our Student American Society of Landscape Architects (SASLA) and a member of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Agri-Techsans, I'm almost constantly volunteering inside and outside the university. With SASLA, I had a unique community service opportunity with the television program "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," where we helped build a residential landscape design issued by our department head, Dr. Alon Kavashny. With our college recruitment team, Agri-Techsans, I attend several events on and off campus promoting the six departments in our college to prospective students. My favorite volunteer opportunity, however, came about in Porto Alegre, Brazil, during my study abroad. I got involved with social services through a friend and taught English lessons to underprivileged teenagers. Some of the children I worked with never had the opportunity to attend school and helping them realize their potential was probably the most rewarding experience I've yet to encounter.

What advice would you give to other students who would like to be a Student of Integrated Scholarship? Students of Integrated Scholarship balance academics with additional activities, such as research, internships, service learning, and study abroad.

Attending college exemplifies the pursuit of higher education. That definition implies that we seek education beyond the walls of a lecture hall. Whether internships, community service, extracurricular activities/societies, sometimes spreading one’s self thin equals a greater square footage on the knowledge plane.

What are your plans after graduation?

Following graduation, I ultimately want to promote environmental sustainability through awareness and implementation. I plan to remain pervious to all opportunities and ideologies along the way, and determine a more defined career path after obtaining my internship.

What experiences do you value most as a student at Texas Tech?

What experiences DON'T I value here at Texas Tech? Thanks to the faculty, staff, and my peers, I've not only established exceptional contacts, but also gained qualities and qualifications that will eminently supplement the value of my diploma.

I could tell you about the pride I feel on game day or the humbling walk across campus, however, it’s the hungry, caffeine-influenced sensation I feel while sitting at my desk every morning that I value more than anything. What it takes, semester after semester, to earn my seat in every classroom; the feeling of connection with my university, my college, my department; this is after all, where I came to learn.

 

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