Student Q&A: Brittany Giunchigliani (MLA I ’21)

Brittany Giunchigliani sitting in the traysHometown
Bay Area, CA

Undergraduate School and Major
San Francisco State University: Environmental Studies – Sustainability, and Social Justice

Master in Landscape Architecture I, 2021

What’s one of the major strengths of the GSD?

If you do not have a design background, don’t fret. The GSD prepares you to be an innovative thinker and producer. You will be thrust into a world of testing and experimenting, that allows you to develop your representational skills quickly. The studios and seminars are set up to get you thinking quickly at multiple scales (from that of a courtyard to a geographical region). I cannot emphasize enough, you learn very quickly here. There are also tons of software tutorials offered, both within the studio and through the school. Over the summer, the GSD has been gearing up for the remote semester and has been exploring different tactics to engage with students remotely.

clipboards on a bed of fall leaves
Fieldwork for Landscape Architecture Core III.
What opportunities are there for jobs and TA work?

There are many jobs available at the GSD, from working with the Fabrication Lab to a range of positions with the Library, Exhibitions, Building Services, Career Services, Admissions, and many more. You also have the opportunity to TA for classes, which can be a great way to work with folks across all years and programs. Students also pursue jobs at other libraries at Harvard. At the beginning of the year, you receive many emails with available jobs and can hold multiple positionsThe process for registering as a TA is pretty seamless and they have transitioned everything online for the remote semester.

Can you talk about career mentorship and career development?

I have worked on developing a mentorship program with the Womxn in Design group that officially launched during the 2019-2020 academic year. HUPO, another student group at the GSD, also launched a mentorship program last fall. Many student groups host events that connect students to alumni, and you always have the opportunity to connect with people coming to the GSD for lectures. Career Services hosts many events throughout the year, including portfolio workshops, career fairs, resume reviews, and much more, along with providing one-on-one consultation. The school is teeming with interesting events and opportunities. It’s sometimes hard to choose! My advice is to reach out to anyone who peaks your interest, you never know what may come of it.

If you do not have a design background, don’t fret. The GSD prepares you to be an innovative thinker and producer.

What are the best practices for success at the GSD?
Brittany stands in front of pin up wall laughing.
Brittany at the Landscape Architecture Core II review.

I cannot emphasize this enough: self-care. It may seem simple, but you can easily get wrapped up in your work. Taking time for yourself, setting boundaries for when you go home each night, and planning when to cook are all essential habits to get into. I also have found that joining a student group, or other Harvard extracurricular can help you find a community. I took a ceramics class offered by Harvard, joined our gym’s hip hop class, and am part of the GSD’s Womxn in Design group. It’s great to have something outside of work to look forward to.