Allison Neuhauser | Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies

Allison Neuhauser

University of Guelph Master of Landscape Architecture graduate student Allison Neuhauser

2023 MLA

Advice for Prospective Grad Students...

Two pieces of advice:
1) You really only live once, so take the plunge and apply if you are thinking about it! Don't wait for the 'right' time, it's almost never the exact 'right' time, but you'll make it work.
2) It's also never too late, if you're going back to school after an undergraduate degree or you are going back to school after years in the workforce, you are in the right spot! 


Landscape Architecture

Why did you choose to complete your graduate studies in your program at the University of Guelph? 

I'm from southern Ontario (London) but lived in Thunder Bay for eight years. I have always been interested in landscape architecture and designing outdoor spaces, but wasn't sure how someone became a landscape architect, at first. I discovered that there were a number of master's degrees in Landscape Architecture and I chose to study at the University of Guelph to allow myself to be closer to family and friends, I was also interested in living in a smaller city, compared to Vancouver or Winnipeg. As a GIS/mapping project coordinator, I felt I was missing something from my career, and I now think that Landscape Architecture is the right career path for me!

A bit about your path... 

One of my biggest supporters is my husband, Kane. When I told him I was thinking about applying, he said "I'm surprised you haven't yet." I told him I didn't want to make this decision for both of us, but he knew I really wanted to go back to school, so he kept nudging me to eventually apply. I also wouldn't be where I am without my parents' support - family is everything, blood or chosen. My parents raised me to believe I can do anything I want to, if I apply myself. I also learned it's okay to make mistakes, and how to fix them. My former boss, Ed, in Thunder Bay was adamant about family coming first, and there were no hard feelings when I left to go back to school. He has since passed on and his death hit me to the core. He taught be to keep going, even if it was difficult, but also to only keep going if it is important to you.

A bit about the work you are doing here... 

I'm excited to explore new and emerging technologies in Landscape Architecture, mainly drones or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). Also called Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), drones have a lot of untapped potential in Landscape Architecture and I'm hoping to focus my research on exploring some of this potential. I did some work with drones on the ice road network in Northern Ontario and using drones allowed me and the engineers I was working with to get a bird's-eye-view of the land to reroute portions of the ice road. I already have my drone pilot's operator certificate so I thought pursuing this area of research made sense. 

Like most people in my cohort, I 'stumbled' onto Landscape Architecture by looking into a possible career change. I think I was on the American Society of Landscape Architects' (ASLA) website when I first read the words 'Landscape Architecture' and the description of the career seemed to really fit my interests in improving the environment and doing so in a creative way. 

How do you think your research (or the work you are doing at U of G) can potentially improve life? 

I've shared drone footage with classmates and faculty in the Landscape Architecture program, and I have gotten feedback on how drone photos are an improved quality over Google Earth imagery, and it's also much more recent! Having the ability to capture site Landscape Architects are working on help improve the Inventory and Analysis of current site conditions, making the process easier. Drones have grown in popularity since being introduced only a number of years ago, and I hope to bring familiarity to this technology. Landscape Architecture itself is an important field of work with climate change and designing better communities for future generations. 

Please comment on your academic relationship with your advisor 

Working with Sean Kelly has been so far, so great! After a few talks and finally mentioning I was interested in drones led to a mutual interest in research in Landscape Architecture and drones. He's also helped keep my focus on a particular aspect of my research, and not explore unrelated, but also interesting, fields of research within Landscape Architecture. 

What do you plan to do after graduation? How has UofG helped you reach that goal? 

I currently run my own business on the side, Bombus Haus. I focus on drone photography/videography, as well as some residential landscape design. Attending my master's program at UofG helped give me the confidence to start, even while in school! I plan to expand my business at some point after graduation but also network with current landscape architects. There's a two-year mentoring process after graduation before one can call themselves a landscape architect, so after graduation, you typically work with a mentor. There are a few Landscape Architecture firms that have similar interests to mine, that I would be honoured to work at.

Briefly describe what it is like to be a graduate student at UofG 

It's great! I started in the fall of 2020 so my entire first year was completely online due to the pandemic. I thought I wouldn't make friends in my program because we were remote, I was only slightly right! I made a new chosen family in my cohort. All my professors in my department have been amazing, very knowledgeable but also very supportive and wanting students to succeed in the MLA program.