Welcome Aboard the Intern-SHIP

Hello. Yes. I do in fact have a job this summer, thanks for asking. I am branching outside the world of DCNR to something new! An internship with an engineering firm. There are two landscape architects that I’m working for. The first day was pretty much like any other first day of an internship. A bunch of HR “onboarding” paperwork and then you are led around the office and introduced to all the people who’s names you will immediately forget. They all say “welcome aboard” or “glad to have you on board”. What is with all the nautical language? I think it’s funny.

It’s only the beginning of the second week so not too much is going on. I am getting to do some design concepts for some old tennis and basketball courts near an elementary school that may get turned into a little park! Very cool.

In the picture above, you can see my desk area for the summer! There’s no door or walls to enclose the space so people can walk by and see what I’m doing fairly easily. This is not great for me because my computer and I face away from where the people are walking. I’m thinking of bringing in a mirror so I can see what’s happening behind me. On the wall you can see a window that I drew that overlooks Yosemite Valley. I also have a plant on my windowsill which you probably can’t see.

In more exciting news, my “business” (if you can even call it a business) is thriving this summer! After posting my very first “Ad” on the Creative Wake facebook page (which you should really follow if you haven’t already) I got responses for actual people who want me to paint stuff for them! I guess there is some merit to advertising. One of the people who contacted me asked if I could paint part of their fence.    Their FENCE. I’ve definitely never done something like this before and have no idea what I’ve gotten myself in to but I’m very excited about this! I start on Thursday. In the meantime, I have been painting some other things:

A second Frida Kahlo-inspired shelf!



A cool stool with leaves for my parents who are incredibly tolerant that the den is a constant mess of paint and furniture and is never used for its intended purpose.

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And finally a table my friend found in the dumpster!

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Also, I found this cool website called, Design Crowd. People who need graphic things can post their project on the website and all the graphic designers signed up with the website can make their best design and a winner is picked for the massive pile of entries. I am currently ranked #552,690 out of 627,942 designers so y’know, I have a ways to go.

Yeah, I’ve been pretty busy.

Fence update to come!

Enjoy this nice pic of my birds:2018-05-12 11.17.38.jpg



I’m Going Abroad, and What that Means for You

Yes! For the fall semester of my 5th Year, I will be going to Bonn, Germany! I am extremely excited to visit Europe since I’ve never been. Although I feel like I’d still be excited even if I had already been to Europe. But I guess that’s irrelevant. Anyway, I hope to keep you up to date while abroad. But PLOT TWIST! My free wordpress account has allotted me 3 Gigabytes of storage. I have currently used up about 70% of said storage so I either have to cut down on pictures or make a new blog and link it to this one. Friends. This is going to be tough. I made a new blog (Zoe’s Study Abroad Adventure) but I will be sharing everything I post on this blog (Zoe’s College Adventure). So really, there’s no need to worry.


Something I forgot to tell you:

While I was in State College for my friend’s graduation, I was also there to be inducted into the Lambda chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society. Appparently, only one percent of students in qualified majors are asked to join. I actually didn’t think my major quailfied because its supposed to be a society for people in liberal arts that don’t focus a specific career path but I guess I sneaked in there somehow.

Home Now, But Not for Long

Home Now!

Yay! I am home! I actually have been home for a week. I was pretty productive. I got an internship, painted a coffee table, finished an essay and cleaned my room (sorta). My internship is with an engineering firm but they have a few landscape architects on staff. It’s also close to home which is good. I plan on biking at least a few times per week because I am out of shape yo.

Graduation is Boring

I’m sorry. But it is. Last weekend, I went back up to State College for my BFF Haleigh’s graduation. It was held in the BJC because she’s in (or was in) the Eberly College of Science which is pretty big. Anyway, the whole ceremony could be run so much more effiencently. But I guess tradition trumps speed. About half the time was taken up by people introducing other people and the other half was taken up by people who cheered for way too long when their graduate’s name got called.

Coffee Table

Here is a picture of the coffee table I painted for my friend. He wanted a radioactive waste barrel, an eel with three eyes, and a fish with a cowboy hat hidden somewhere. The resolution of this photo is definitely not good enough for  you to be able to tell which fish has the hat on.

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Not for Long (Because I am going to Germany!)


The Only Day the Earth Matters

Final Presentations in Baltimore, Maryland

My final presentation for my Baltimore project happened a few weeks ago. We got up 6:00 AM and drove down in a university-owned creeper van. I slept. We all slept. Because 6 AM is very early for the average college student.

Around 10:00 AM we arrived at the Parks and People Foundation campus and set up our projects in an old, stone house that the foundation refurbished. Our boards were massive and we had to get pretty creative to fit all nine of our projects in the room. Mine wasn’t even in the room but put over some bay windows in a side area. They gave us some sticky dots to use for our posters but we were skeptical they would stay up. In the background, The Big Labowski was playing on the mini projector one of our professors was trying to set up. We finished hanging our stuff and sat around for a bit and talked about nothing. Then we left for lunch at this place called R House which is an “adult food court”. Its pretty good. I recommend it. On the drive over, we bet on how many poster would be down by the time we got back.

2018-04-20 11.20.23Lunch passed and we drove back to the stone house. Our presentations started at 2:00. At 2:30, people started trickling in and we were well on our way by 3:00. Instead of doing a live presentation, we played our recorded power points and stood up at the front awkwardly. I had recorded my power point at my apartment and my chirping birds were pretty noticeable in the background. Oh well. After our presentation ended the audience asked us questions. There were some people from Johnston Square, some Penn State alumni, and a few who work at firms in Baltimore. I am very happy to say that my design was quite well received. The community members seemed very excited about my ideas and my concept which made me very happy. 🙂

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After presentations, we went to an Oriels baseball game. We all wanted to go home, but our professor was so excited about it (and he already bought tickets for us. Don’t worry we paid him back.). Anyway, I had never been in a major league stadium and I gotta say it was pretty cool. It’s like a little town. Our seats looked over right field so it was hard to see what was happening. I don’t think any of us were invested in the game but we had a good time. At one point, I came back from the bathroom and some of my friends were watching something very intently. They said a couple a few rows down had been fighting. The girl stormed off at one point but had now returned, looking irritated and huffy. In the end they made up, and the guy’s arm returned around the girl’s shoulders. It wasn’t super warm but it got colder as the sun set. I shivered a lot because I didn’t dress warm enough. The Oriels won and we went home.

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Earth Day at the Residence

On Monday, I got to talk about my rain gardens for the Earth Day celebration at the Governor’s Residence. It was fun to see the Residence staff and my old supervisor. I got to do it because DCNR was invited to set up different stations around the grounds to talk about plants and other earth day things. There were some local area schools in attendance. Including my old elementary school, Londonderry! I got to see some of my old teachers and a few of the current students. They told me I was “like a million years old”. Thanks guys.

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NAIGC Nationals 2018: Texas, Y’all

This year, Club Gymnastics Nationals was held in Fort Worth, Texas. We left at 9:15 Wednesday (the 11th) and drove to the Pittsburgh airport where we (thankfully) had a direct flight to the DFW airport. TSA security was slow, per usual and the airport food was expensive and as good you’d expect. We got to our hotel by six or seven and checked in. While unpacking, I noticed an interesting fountain across the street from our hotel. Me and my friend Ashley decided to investigate…

What it turnened out to be was this insane and kinda dangerous looking water installation that was part of the Fort Worth Gardens.


There were other pools and water features, including on that had cypress trees planted around the edge. Their knobby knees stuck up around the planting holes and had migrated to the edge of the pool.

After our exploration, we went over to the convention center for the open gym. That’s always hectic because its a free-for-all and getting an open spot on the equipment is difficult. I basically did like three skills on each event and was done. We walked around downtown looking for something to eat after our workout but it was like 10 o’clock and everything was closed so we settled on splitting a sixteen dollar pizza from the hotel.


Here’s how nationals works (if you already know just skip this paragraph): There are three days of competition. Days one and two (Thursday and Friday) are preliminaries aka ‘prelims’ where everyone in every level gets to compete their events. The two days is because there were over a thousand and something gymnasts competing and fitting everyone in to one day would be impossible. There are three different levels of competition for the womens competition: Level 9 (my level, also know as the “A team”), Level 8 (we have two level 8 teams. They are our “B” and “C” teams), and level 6 (we don’t have any competing at this level and the don’t have finals). Each level of competition has different requirements and is judged differently. Level 9 is the harder and level 6 is easier. After prelims are over, the top scoring competitors on each event, all-around, and top 6 teams qualify for finals which are always held on Saturday.

Anyway, the A team session was the first to go at 8 AM. Our hotel didn’t serve continental breakfast becuase its guests aren’t important enough to have free food. Luckily, I came prepared. I brought a bag of oats and a little container of butter and brown sugar to make oatmeal. There were no bowls or microwaves in the room but I had brought my collapsible bowl and heated it up in the microwave in the lobby.

The competition went pretty well. Beam was a struggle (but honestly, when ISN’T it a struggle). I got a PR 9.675 on bars which was super exciting! In the afternoon, the guys team competed and B and C teams competed in the evening. It was a long day. Luckily, I got to sneak away with my family+logan+visiting aunts and uncle to have lunch at The Red Wasp. I had a catfish poboy which was delicious (but not quite as delicious as the one I had in New Orleans).

Day Off

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My day off started by sneaking in to breakfast at the Hampton Inn where my family was staying. They had waffles in the shape of Texas.

After breakfast, we went to the Fort Worth Botanical Garden. (Logan was off in Dallas talking to a landscape architecture firm).

The gardens were nice. I took some pictures. There were some cute turtles sitting on a log that made me happy.


We picked up Logan and drove to Lake Dallas to hang out with my mom’s aunt and uncles. That was pretty cool. Intermittent thunder continually interrupted our conversations about gardening. On the way home it started to downpour and hail.

We got back to Fort Worth and decided to go to the Stockyards for a Texas barbecue dinner. Ashley tagged along. The place we ate as was called Coopers Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que. As you entered there were options for various types and amounts of meats. Half chicken. Brisket. Chopped beef. I got a pulled pork sandwich. This was definitely the best barbecue I’ve had in a very long time. It was messy, and flavorful, and juicy and delicious. Great now I’m hungry. Afterwards, we wandered around the stockyards and looked at the long horn cattle with their long horns.

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A team had a meeting at 10 PM to decide on our line-ups for finals because, oh yeah by the way, A TEAM MADE FINALS WHAAAAT. (Line-ups just means picking who we want to compete for each event. These are strategically chosen to maximize our overall team score. In finals, we had five girls up on each event and three scores counted). But before the meeting, Ashley and I decided to jam out on our ukuleles over by the Water Gardens. Eventually, the wind picked up and the pollen prevented us from keeping our eyes open so we decided to head back in.

As is always the case, choosing lineups is stressful. You don’t want to kick anyone off an event but you also want to win. Thankfully, everyone was at least outwardly approving of the lineups we chose. No surprise, I was in the lineup for all four events. (Side note, I was willing to cede my spots for all events because I, myself, qualified for all-around finals, bars, and floor! woo! But they shut me down).


Before finals, we have a march-in for all the teams competing at nationals (whether or not they made finals) This year, there were over a hundred schools competing and a total of 243 teams (a school can have multiple teams that compete at different skill levels). It’s always impressive to see everyone lined up. (I don’t have a picture though)

When the National Anthem started, it was quickly realized that they forgot a flag. Luckily, one of the gymnasts had one we could use: (Photo courtesy of NAIGC Instagram)


Before competition began, we got to break two world records! One for the most simultaneous forward rolls and one for the most simultaneous handstands. I forget how many people did it but it was pretty neat!

Finally, the competition began! We started on beam which you may know as my least favorite event. Despite that, beam went pretty well. I didn’t fall at least! And neither much of the rest of A team! This is marked improvement over the six falls from prelims.

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The rest of the meet went well so there isn’t much to say about it. I didn’t do as well on bars as I did in prelims (I got a 9.375) but at least I didn’t fall. Floor went better than expected with a 9.475. Vault is always the same. If I make it, I do NOT do another one.

We didn’t help with tear down this year for two reasons:

  1. because we are terrible people
  2. We forgot to sign up to help

So I actually had some time between then until banquet. I used that time to show Logan the cool water gardens. Also fun fact, it was colder in Texas on Saturday than it was in Pennsylvania.

Banquet rolls around and we all line up. Many of my friends may or may not have been slightly inebriated. We got food and sat down and talked about how we think we did. It was already established that we hadn’t made the cut for placing as a team. My family and Logan came even though I didn’t think we’d win anything, Awards started and not many of us were paying attention. We has some great wins for the guys team! Very exciting! I got 5th on floor which was also exciting. When they reached the team awards, we were all packing up to leave when they announced, “In 3rd place for level 9 team awards with a 108.925, The Pennsylvania State University!!!”. We screamed and ran up to accept our banner. I don’t think any team has ever been this excited to win third place.

we win

After all the excitement, I said goodbye to my family and headed back to the hotel.

At 3:30 AM, it was time to get up and fly home.

LABASH 2018 at Penn State

I finally have the time to write some new blog posts! Woo! The end of the semester is quickly approaching! Tomorrow is my final presentation for my studio in Baltimore which is very exciting! Not so exciting? We have to leave at 6 AM (That is early for college students). I guess that’s not as bad as waking up at 3:30 AM to board the plane back to Pittsburgh (But you’ll hear about that in a later post). There are going to be many posts coming your way, but let’s start where I think I left off.


Wow! What an insane weekend. And tiring. very tiring. It was basically two full days of presentations and workshops by professionals in our field. And boy did we score some professional professionals. In terms of notoriety, we had a lot. Gina Ford, Susannah Drake, Ken Smith, David Rubin, Claudia West. Lots of important people. And its so strange that they are all here in not-that-exciting-compared-to-the-fancy-cities-they-work-in State College, Pennsylvania. I’m not going lie, part of me wondered what kind of incentives they had to come here. But regardless, it was exciting. The opening ceremony was at the State Theatre and I got to see my logo displayed on the big screen which was supremely cool.

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I also got to design the pin! (remember that?) it looks like this:


So Logan decided to make a giant wooden seal of my design to display all weekend:

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He is quite a character!

He also helped make this awesome palette wall:

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I couldn’t resist a handstand

The weekend consisted of listening to lectures and running around looking busy and getting shooed away by people more important than I haha.

also notice how all the volunteers had bright green shirts. We were referred to as the green shirts all weekend which then got truncated to ‘the shirts’.

After that was over I finally had time to relax right?

WRONG. (See next blog post)

Its About to Get All Stressful Up In Here

I wanted to post this before I had zero time. LABASH is coming up THIS WEEKEND!!! Very excited! (If you don’t know what that is, it’s a student-run networking event for landscape architecture professionals and students with lots of speakers and free stuff). Except for the whole having to talk with other people and “network” part. At least I will get a sticker with my logo on it haha! Yeah…

Here is the pin that I designed!

Next Wednesday, we are leaving for TEXAS where NAIGC nationals (AKA club gymnastics nationals) will be held this year! Also exciting: LOGAN is coming with me under the guise that he wants to visit with a landscape architecture firm (MESA design group) that is about an hour from where the meet is being held.


I’m Famous

Just kidding! But I did get interviewed about my honors thesis project on planting lawns with native plants on reduce all the harmful effects of lawns like gas consumed from mowing, water waste, fertilizer waste, and water pollution. Here is the article if you’re interested!



Spring Has Sprung (But Not Really)

Here are some nice pictures I took with my cool new lens on Saturday:

And here are some pictures I took on the way to school today:

WHY is there snow outside?!?!