Program in Environmental Design

University of Colorado Boulder

First Year Seminar

ENVD 1001

Section 1: Monday, 12 – 12:50 pm
Section 2: Monday, 1 – 1:50 pm
Section 4: Monday, 11:00 – 11:50 am

Get a jump-start on college with this opportunity to network with faculty, advisors, and upper-division students in a small-group setting. The ENVD First-Year Seminar (FYS) is a one-credit hour course designed for first-year students entering the Program in Environmental Design. The FYS provides support in transitioning students, both socially and academically, to university life as well as guides them through the process of discovering their path to educational success.

This learning community will help you discover what the study and practice of the design field is really about as well as introduce you to the ENVD curriculum, faculty expectations, unique studio culture, study and time management strategies, and peer perspectives on how to succeed in an academically-rigorous program.

The ENVD First-Year Seminar is a teaching partnership of faculty, advisors and peer leaders to provide a cohesive and collaborative learning experience that fundamentally integrates academic content from the ENVD core classes as well as facilitates learning opportunities through peer support groups.

First-year students actively engaged in this course will:

  • Gain an understanding of the design disciplines
  • Become thoroughly familiar with and know how to utilize campus resources
  • Gain an understanding of their learning styles and how to apply that knowledge in their courses
  • Develop techniques to aid in time management and study skills
  • Build a strong social and academic foundation for their university life
  • Build a strong foundational support for their academic skills and demonstrate competency
  • Develop a solid social network of peers

Peer Leaders

Peer Leaders (PLs): Peer Leaders are students who were selected after an intensive hiring process to serve the role of mentor, advisor, acquaintance, facilitator, and resource for incoming students. The PLs co-facilitate the FYE seminar with faculty and advisors in order to discuss issues and topics related to the first-year experience in the ENVD Program. PLs are also trained Peer Mentors.

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!

Drew Landis

My name is Drew Landis.  I will be a third year student in ENVD and a fourth year student here at CU. I grew up in Littleton, Colorado, went to high school at Green Mountain Valley School in Vermont and started college at Boston University. Since BU, I have bounced between Boston, Pennsylvania and Washington DC before coming to Boulder. I found Architecture at Boston Architectural College before transferring to CU’s Department of Geology and ENVD the following year.  I love to hike, ski, climb, run, travel and cook.  I was on the CU rowing team prior to coming to ENVD. The skills I learned during my first year at Boston Architectural College were crucial to my success in studio.  Because of this I understand the importance of cultivating a strong design knowledge in the lower studios. You’ll learn a lot your first year and I hope, through the First Year Experience, we’ll be able to provide you with the tools you’ll need for your own great success here in ENVD.

John Coats

My name is John Coats and I am currently in my fourth year with the ENVD program. Architecture is something I have grown a passion for throughout my time here at CU and so I decided to obtain an emphasis in the field. Now that I have almost graduated I have found that being part of the peer mentor program and ENVD student government has helped me achieve goals and meet new people while also being given the opportunity to teach and learn from others. Outside of school I am currently working for OZ Architecture as an intern and getting real life experience in the field of architecture. I also keep busy living with my twin brother here at school and staying active at the rec center. I live to travel and I love to be with friends on the weekend. I look forward to meeting all of you and teaching you all a thing or two in class!

Yasmine Yacubu

Hi, my name is Yasmine Yacubu. This is my Fourth year in the ENVD program with an emphasis in Planning. It’s not the most exciting thing, but after I found myself noticing and complaining for the first time about traffic and the schedule of busses in downtown Denver, I knew it was meant to be. I am also pursuing a minor in the Technology Arts and Media (TAM) program, with daydreams of becoming a successful hacker one day. Its a lot of work but it has also given me another opportunity to use the skills that I have learned in studio. Outside of ENVD I work at Norlin in the Conservation Lab fixing books. In my free time I enjoy crocheting,walking, listening to podcasts and looking through tutorials. I’m looking forward to a great semester teaching and learning with you this year!

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