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Landing a dream job as a landscape designer

HTC Graduate Zara Wirkus, Landscape Designer


April 6, 2022 – Hennepin Technical College (HTC) offers a one-of-a-kind program in Landscape, Horticulture, Greenhouse and Urban Forestry. A graduate of the program, Zara Wirkus, was hired by one of the top landscaping design firms in the U.S. It is her first job after graduating. Recently, we asked Wirkus to describe her journey.

Zara Wirkus: I’m a Landscape Designer

HTC: Tell us about your new job!

Zara: My job title is landscape designer. I am part of the continued landscape management team at Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects in Chicago. Our role is to ensure that landscapes continue to excel as they age. As sites change over time, enhancements are made to suit the needs of the plants. We make sure that every aspect of the landscape is pristine, from patios, to trees, to annual planters.

HTC: You are working for one of the top firms in landscape design. How did you set yourself apart during the competitive hiring process?

Zara: I believe it is my passion and determination that set me apart from other candidates. Previously, I was working closely with plants as a gardener, taking care of high end, residential estates. I was doing this at the time I was taking classes at Hennepin Tech. Learning from the books while working in the field aided in my retention of plant knowledge, which made me a better horticulturist and candidate for the job.

HTC: How did Hennepin Technical College prepare you for your career?

Zara: I cannot praise Hennepin Tech enough! Having an instructor that works in the field is incredibly valuable. He was able to share real life scenarios and projects. The hands-on environment is exactly what I needed to prepare for this career.

HTC: What was your favorite class project?

Zara: My favorite project in school was having the opportunity to design a landscape for The Good Samaritan Society, an assisted living facility. The project challenged us to create a space that would be functional and fun for multi generations of families. The main focus of my design was a life-sized checkered board game, because who doesn’t like to play checkers? We did the process start to finish, beginning with measuring the site, designing, estimating, and presenting to the society.

HTC: Many current students will be inspired by your success. Any advice?

Zara: My advice to future students is to chase after your dreams, to go beyond of your comfort zone. Nothing is impossible if you put in the effort, hard work, and perseverance. If you surround yourself with positive people who believe in you, and you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything you are passionate about. To sum it up: passion, determination, and belief will get you where you want to be.

Last updated by mdibba : 2022-10-17 01:56:14