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Education Session - Panel Format

SAT-B07 - Growing the Profession by Diversifying the Student Body

Saturday, October 21
2:30 PM - 4:00 PM


How does a diverse faculty and student body shape the practice? The session will explore how we can move the needle toward increased diversity and grow the profession. Starting with the universities is the best way to better serve our clients with a profession that mirrors the communities we serve.

Learning Objectives:

Melissa Henao-Robledo

Business Development
Landscape Forms

Melissa currently serves on the City of Austin Design Commission which provides advisory recommendations to the city council to assist in developing public policy and to promote excellence in the design and development of the urban environment. Building upon her Masters of Landscape Architecture degree from North Carolina State University, Melissa has practiced Landscape architecture and taught in the Landscape Design Continuing Education Program at Austin Community College. Melissa has also participated in the National ASLA Diversity Summit, served as the Chair for the Central Texas ASLA section, and served as the AIA Austin Latinos in Architecture Chair.


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Luis G. Hidalgo

Landscape Designer

Raised in El Nacimiento de los Negros Mascogos, a community founded by Native Americans in the state of Coahuila Mexico, Mr. Luis Hidalgo became the first male member from his community to receive a college degree. He received his bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Texas A&M University as well as various honors and awards.
Professionally, Mr. Hidalgo has gained experience in project management, design, and construction documentation. Also, he enjoys networking and volunteering for local communities.
Mr. Hidalgo believes that everything is possible when there is discipline, perseverance and dedication.


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Ailyn Mendoza

Director of Client Experience (CX)

Ailyn is the Director of Client Experience at IrisVR, a tech startup that develops virtual reality software for architecture, engineering, and construction.
Prior to IrisVR, Ailyn worked as a designer and project manager at various landscape architecture firms, including Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, DLANDstudio, and Raymond Jungles.

As a minority professional, she has been involved in diversity initiatives for landscape architecture, including the ASLA’s National Diversity Summit and CLARB’s Foresight Sessions. She holds an MLA II from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, a BLA from Florida International University and is a member of the ASLA NYC Chapter.


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Roberto Rovira

Principal | Studio Roberto Rovira
Professor | Florida International University

Roberto is principal of Studio Roberto Rovira, Associate Professor, and Landscape Architecture + Environmental and Urban Design former chair at Florida International University. As a landscape architect with a design, engineering, and fine arts background, his teaching, research, and creative work explore landscape architecture in public space and the intersection of technology and the natural world. Roberto has been recognized nationally and internationally for his work as an educator and professional, and was selected as one of eight 2015 Emerging Voices by the Architectural League. His work ranges from environmental installations and competitions, to art commissions and landscape architectural projects.


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SAT-B07 - Growing the Profession by Diversifying the Student Body

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