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Student finds studying abroad an award-winning experience

By The Mercury

With Copenhagen as his home and Europe as his classroom, James Ross DeVault, a fourth-year Master of Landscape Architecture student in Kansas State University’s College of Architecture, Planning & Design, or APDesign, found studying abroad to be an award-winning experience.

DeVault, of St. Charles, Ill., recently earned the Academic Award in Urban Design by the Danish Institute for Study Abroad. He was chosen out of 152 students who attended the institute during the spring 2014 semester. The institute presents four academic awards, one in each of its program disciplines: architecture, interior architecture, urban design and graphic design. The awards are given to celebrate students who not only excelled in studio work, but who also took an active part in academics.

“I was very proud and humbled to receive the award because if not me, the award could have easily gone to a number of other K-Staters,” DeVault said. “It reaffirms my belief that K-State’s College of Architecture, Planning & Design, and more specifically the landscape architecture-regional & community planning department, develops and places its students in positions where we can succeed and lead our peers.”

The nonprofit Danish Institute for Study Abroad is in Copenhagen and partners with Kansas State University in offering semester, academic year and summer programs taught in English. Established in 1959, the institute offers American students intensive, rigorous course work with field studies, hands-on learning opportunities, and study tours in Denmark and across Europe. The program promotes that students should gain academic knowledge and intercultural leadership skills to prepare for their future careers in a globalized world.

“I have had the pleasure of having Ross in my urban design theory class,” said Henning Thomsen, program director architecture and design at the Danish Institute for Student Abroad. “And I have gotten to know him as a very dedicated student who also has shown himself to be a really good classmate to his fellow students.”

All students in the five-year landscape architecture program offered by the College of Architecture, Planning & Design are required to complete one semester of study abroad. DeVault attributes his success during his semester at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad to the educational opportunities provided to him at Kansas State University.

“The landscape architecture/regional & community planning department promotes cross-disciplinary projects and workflows that allow us as students to expand our design knowledge, promote communication and understand our role in the greater workforce,” DeVault said. “All of the projects we completed at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad were interdisciplinary, and the background we had at K-State allowed us to emerge as leaders and create successful projects.”

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