First Year Seminar

ENVD 1004: Introduction to Environmental Design

ENVD 1004  is a required introductory level course for all ENVD majors. During this course you will be exposed to the fundamentals of design as well as various different design practices. This course gives a basic understanding of what ENVD is and what careers are available for graduates from our program. By the end of this course we hope students have a better understanding of where they want to head in their design careers and how ENVD can help them get there.


Structure: The course includes two lecture classes and one recitation class per week. Lectures will cover basics of Environmental Design as well as introduce students to various design professions through multiple guest lectures. The intention of the recitations are to clarify materials covered in lectures and go over assignments. Small lectures will be given in recitations to help students with time managements skills, sketching, and other components for succeeding in ENVD’s rigorous program. 

Peer Leaders

Peer Leaders (PLs): Peer leaders are undergraduate students in ENVD who facilitate recitation sections. Peer Leaders work closely with a small group of incoming students to help them succeed both in ENVD 1004, and through their transition to their other classes in ENVD as well. 

Brea Workman

Hello, my name is Breanna “Brea” Workman and I am starting my fourth year at the University of Colorado at Boulder in the ENVD program – emphasis in architecture. Integrating myself into this program was not the easiest for me and I wished I had an awesome mentor to help me through the process. Lucky for you, I’ve already gone through most of the hard parts and understand more than anything the struggles most face when entering this program. Don’t get me wrong, the program here is amazing and definitely provides the tools and lessons necessary to be successful when actually being a paid architect. However, the program here is far from easy. You should know you’re headed to design school and will be expected to be creative. I can help you with breaking into the mindset of a designer and I can give you tips on how to be successful in this program as well as juggling life along with classes. In addition to being a mentor, I am also a Peer Leader. I enjoy running, hiking, camping, river rafting, skiing, and discovering new delicious places to eat in the lovely city of Boulder. I’m so looking forward to meeting you in the coming year; congrats and welcome!

Ellie Hassan 

Elyse Skinner 

Karah Parrs 

Logan Kimbrel 

Miranda Maiers 

Olivia Flynn 

Olivia Herbert 

Natalie Bognanno 

Rebecca Randolph 

Community Associates

Community Associates (CAs): Community Associates are faculty or staff members who co-facilitate the FYE seminar and brings professional experience, wisdom, and guidance to their group. The CA will serve as an advisor and resource to first-year students as well as an advocate for establishing a sense of community amongst their group.

Sheryl Levart-Koutsis

Sheryl is an alumna of the University of Colorado Boulder, having received her undergraduate degree in News-Editorial Journalism with a minor in Political Science. She went on to pursue her Master of Arts degree in Media and Cultural Studies from The New School in New York City and is now working on her Doctorate of Educational Equity at the University of Colorado Denver. Prior to her work at the University of Colorado Boulder, she ran an indie book press in New York that published multicultural writers and advocated that underrepresented communities foster and maintain their own media structures. At all other times, she enjoys running in zombie and princess half-marathons, playing video games, and sewing frivolous items.

Shawn Arnold

Shawn came to UCB from a small, private college in Virginia where she was an Academic Advisor, working with first year experience programs, learning communities, and students with disabilities.  She was also Site Adjunct Instructor for Old Dominion University, teaching and supervising distance education students in their undergraduate Human Services internships.  In previous iterations of her life, she worked as an Academic Advisor and Counselor for community colleges in Virginia and Missouri (where she had to out-run several tornados).  A graduate of Virginia’s James Madison University (with a Master of Education degree), Shawn and her family found themselves vacationing and visiting friends in Colorado every summer for over “xxx” years, although Shawn “ ran away” to Colorado every chance she could.  For the whole family, moving westward was a no-brainer, since Colorado had become their second home.  Upon graduating from college, her sons Chris and Ryan moved to Denver to pursue their careers; thus, the goal of everyone moving to Colorado to bring their close-knit family together again was born (although Ryan later decided to change careers and moved on to California to work in the craft beer industry — the Coloradans love visiting Ryan).  In her spare time, Shawn enjoys everything about the mountains, photography, interior decorating and home remodeling, and building anything she can, as long as it is made of wood.  If you ever want to get her a gift, think “ power tools”!

Jade Polizzi

Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, I moved to Boulder to attend the University of Colorado's Environmental Design Program. Upon completing my bachelor’s degree I worked as an Americorps VISTA for Habitat for Humanity where I served as a construction project manager for a sixteen home neighborhood. During that time I learned to become a novice in most construction trades. While I was completing my Master’s of Architecture degree from University of Colorado, Denver, my husband and I began our own architectural practice, which specializes in residential design. I’ve taught at CU in the ENVD program for 11 years and still get nervous on the first day of classes. I have two young daughters who both love design and can bring you to your knees with their stinging critiques. In my spare time I relish being outdoors, reading and traveling.

Alea Richmond-Akins

Alea is the Outreach and Recruitment Coordinator and Director and Advisor for Designers Without Boundaries. Alea has worked in higher education for 5 years, and prior to Environmental Design, she worked for the Peace Corps. Alea received her undergraduate degrees from Colorado State University. While at CSU, she took advantage of the study abroad program and spent a semester in Spain. Alea is currently furthering her studies as a Graduate Student in the Technology, Media & Society Program through the CU ATLAS Institute. Outside of school and work, Alea enjoys working in the garden, reading and playing volleyball.

For more information, contact:

Sheryl Levart-Koutsis
Coordinator, Student Engagement and Community-Building Programs
(303) 735-2867