Landscape Architecture College of Design

Research Assistants in Practice

The Research Assistants in Practice program (RAs in Practice) connects talented graduate students with local, state, and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, and design firms. Students apply skills in research, writing, and design and draw upon UMN libraries, databases, and faculty advisors to help their sponsoring organizations protect and enhance the public realm and natural and cultural resources.

Our RAs in Practice have served non-profit partners including local government units and agencies like the Minnesota Watershed Management Organization and Dakota County Technical College, national non-profits like Trust for Public Land, and local non-profits like the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, UMore Park, and Metro Blooms. Our RAs have examined emerging best practices around sustainability, interdisciplinary professional and agency collaboration, market trends, and societal needs.

Our partners value students’ contributions toward advancing their mission and keeping them on the cutting-edge of contemporary research in the field. Our students value the educational opportunity of tackling real-world challenges. Students also receive an hourly stipend, a tuition reduction, and health care at a reduced cost.

Tom Campbell, one of our very first RAs in Practice, worked with Trust for Public Land two years ago. I just saw Tom this April in NYC at his new job with the Design Commission, and he credits his success in getting such a fantastic opportunity with his experience as a Research Assistant in Practice. Mike Richardson, one of our most recent RAs in Practice, worked with the Minneapolis Parks Foundation and is now working as a planner for the City of St. Paul.

This year we will have the largest group of RAs in Practice yet thanks to our partners at the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, City of Minneapolis, St. Paul Riverfront Corporation, Trust for Public Land, Minnesota Watershed Management Organization, Juxtaposition Arts, and Destination Medical Center. We are very grateful for their support. The Minneapolis Parks Foundation has increased its number of RAs from 1 to 3 and those students are now working on important local issues like planning for public spaces in downtown Minneapolis, better connecting North Minneapolis to the Mississippi River, and the future of the Upper Harbor Terminal site.

Please help us fund more Research Assistants in Practice. Sponsor a Research Assistant in Practice today.

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