Amazing Students Profiles

Joe Werner

Joe Werner

Joe Werner, a senior in landscape architecture and German, says UGA has given him the chance to prove himself as a student and designer, and provided him the confidence to achieve his goals and aspirations—and he will literally leave his mark on the campus.


Peachtree City, Ga.

High School:

Starr’s Mill High School

Degree objective:

B.L.A. in the College of Environment and Design, B.A. in German

Expected graduation:

Spring 2014

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

I am very engaged in the College of Environment and Design. I have been awarded several scholarships including the Hubert B. Owens, Neel Reid Memorial, Brown Thrasher, Garden Club of Georgia and Redbud District scholarships in addition to the Zell B. Miller Scholarship. Since I began studying landscape architecture at UGA, I have been a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Georgia Students of Landscape Architecture. Last year I became vice president of the Landscape Architecture Honors Society, Sigma Lambda Alpha, and will continue in the position until I graduate. Recently I have headed up a community garden design for Athens Land Trust that will help to inform the community about responsible reuse of storm water in the irrigation of landscape plants and residential food production.

Current Employment:

For the past two years, I have worked as an intern with the University of Georgia Office of University Architects for Facilities Planning. In addition to working closely with landscape architects, planners and engineers, I also have been given the unique opportunity to design a number of real-world projects. My design for the Kellogg Courtyard at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education was implemented last spring, while another courtyard on Lumpkin Street is underway. I also have been working on private residential projects for Harold Leidner Landscape Architects in Dallas, Texas, since the spring.

Family Ties to UGA:

I am the first, and hopefully not the last, member of my family to attend UGA.

I chose to attend UGA because…

After having visited UGA for the first time in my senior year of high school, I immediately fell in love with the campus and its incredible atmosphere. The diversity of programs available opened my eyes to possible courses of study of which I had never known. I was looking for the perfect place to learn, live and grow during my collegiate life, and UGA has been exactly that.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

As a future landscape architect, I have a profound love for things that grow. Some of my favorite classes have been in plant identification; I still find myself walking around campus admiring the native plant communities that have been so intricately designed and cared for throughout our university’s long history. The Founders Memorial Garden on North Campus is one of the most beautiful places on campus, and I can think of no more enjoyable a place in which to read, relax or simply admire the hard work of those who spend countless hours maintaining the beauty of the Founders Garden.

When I have free time, I like…

Spending time outdoors with my dog, Tripp, is one of my favorite things to do; no matter how busy I am, I always make time. I find that hiking along the river at Ben Burton Park, visiting the State Botanical Garden, walking on campus or downtown, and enjoying nightlife in Athens are great ways to relax and appreciate my community and surroundings.

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

I love to travel, and in the past few years I have been fortunate enough to visit Ireland and Germany. While I was in Germany, my father and I went biking in Bavaria and into the Alps. When the opportunity presented itself near the end of our ride, he suggested that I go paragliding off the mountainside. I’m not sure if he thought I would balk, but I’m not one to pass up a challenge. Soon after that I found myself running off the side of a mountain and gliding hundreds of feet through the air over the parapets of Neuschwanstein Castle.

My favorite place to study is…

The College of Environment and Design made the transition from Caldwell Hall to the old Fine Arts Building on Jackson Street. After an incredible renovation, I am lucky enough to be able to spend my time studying in any of several new studio spaces with panoramic views of northeast Athens. It is a pleasure and privilege to work and design in such a stimulating and modern space.

My favorite professor is…

While I have a number of favorite professors ranging from planting design to urban planning, I have to say my favorite staff member at the College of Environment and Design is Rose Tahash, our coordinator of undergraduate services. Rose has not only served as my academic adviser for the past few years, but she also goes out of her way to better the experience of every undergraduate. Rose seeks to make her students’ education the best it can be not only by tirelessly working through scheduling and course selection with them, but also through vertical communication between students through her work as the director of the Undergraduate Ambassador Program.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

Having gone to a different university than my older brother and sister, our family has spent most of our time apart for a number of years now. We all live in separate places and have varied aspirations, so I know that it will be even more difficult for us to spend time together in the future. I certainly wish there were a way we could enjoy each other’s company more often; as short as an afternoon with them sounds, I know it would be fantastic.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

Starting a rooftop garden design firm in New York City has long been a dream of mine. I would love to make that dream a reality, and if my lack of education in business couldn’t fail me, I would start right away!

If money was not a consideration, I would love to…

I have been fortunate enough to receive many tuition scholarships throughout my years at UGA. Because competition for scholarships is very fierce, this opportunity is often hard to come by for many students. One day I would love to begin a scholarship fund and support the education of young people in the way that many people have done for me.

After graduation, I plan to…

First, I plan to celebrate after graduation. The lifetime value of an education from a respectable school like the University of Georgia is not lost on me. I hope to move to a large city on either coast and begin my career as a landscape architect designing university campuses, parks and any number of other projects. One day, I hope to earn a graduate degree so that I might return to school as a professor.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

While I have made countless lifelong memories at UGA, one of my favorites is the time I stepped foot into my first design installation—the Kellogg Courtyard at the Georgia Center. UGA gave me the chance to prove myself as a student and designer, giving me the confidence to keep working hard to achieve my goals and aspirations. To witness your ideas come to life is a very rewarding experience—one I will never forget.