shawn cropThe Landscape Architecture Program at UCLA Extension would like to share a bit a good news. Recent graduate Shawn Maestretti is now a licensed landscape architect. We are so proud of him and his accomplishments, we thought we would share a bit about Shawn’s story.

Why did you choose Landscape Architecture?

I honestly had no clue what I was getting into when I started the program.  I was “designing” gardens, piecing fountains together, and obsessing over plants and nature for a period of time.  I reached a point in my life where I had to look at what I was doing and ask myself if I wanted to “wing it” for the rest of my life.  I had found an occupation that I truly cherished, so I needed to build on just that.
It wasn’t until my second year in the program that I really began to understand what I could be capable of as a landscape architect. My experience had been only in the private sector cultivating residential gardens. I never imagined my work could impact children, pollinators, habitats, my community, and even the world. I didn’t know then why I’d chosen this vocation, but I now know why I choose to practice landscape architecture: I want to make a positive impact on people, especially children, through a direct line to nature.


Tell us a about your educational history?

I didn’t have a college degree and was in the process of getting my contractor’s license when I reached out to Stephanie Landregan with some imagery of things that I had done to see if she would accept me as a conditional certificate student. She looked at my mediocre garden embellishments and said she’d accept my candidacy if I maintained a “B” or above average for five quarters. Between my real-life experience and my education, I have been able to build a successful landscape architecture business, literally from the ground up.

Tell us about your work history? 

I had the great opportunity to work at Mia Lehrer + Associates for 1 1/2 years during and after my education at UCLA Extension. Working at a firm of such prestige was invaluable experience and I am most grateful for that time.

What was the licensure process like for you?

Directly out of school I teamed up with some of my classmates to study for the Landscape Architecture Review Exam twice a week for three months. We all passed LARE 1 and 2. With my
C-27 contractor’s license, I was able to take sections 3 and 4 of the LARE.
Two weeks ago I passed the final California Supplemental Exam!

As relieved as I am now, I know not to get too relaxed. My next adventure will be to get my Arborist certification.