If you’re doing OK in 2020, it’s impressive. If you’ve managed to earn a degree in 2020, it’s a major accomplishment (perhaps on par with circumnavigating the world). If you’ve earned a graduate degree while commuting, co-editing a magazine, and working full time, it’s a colossal victory. Such is the case with Fall 2020 graduate Tatum Moorer, who will receive a Master’s in Landscape Architecture (MLA) at virtual commencement on Dec. 12, 2020.
Professor Louise Bordelon, PhD, said Tatum “has shown perseverance and immense growth as a student and designer over the last three years.” Nominated as Outstanding Grad by the faculty—an honor that goes to one graduating student each semester—Tatum will receive special recognition at commencement.
Tatum chose CU Denver’s Landscape Architecture Program largely because it was experiential rather than thesis-driven. She loved her two studio classes with Professor Louise Bordelon, “as she pushed everyone hard and we learned a lot from the process.” Tatum also enjoyed a Maymester abroad with Professor Leila Tolderlund in Copenhagen. “I learned an overwhelming amount about urban planning and policies, architecture and public space, as well as landscape and systems,” Tatum said. “It was demanding but fun!”
When Tatum started the MLA program, she worked full time as a Registered Behavior Technician. “It’s similar to a behavior therapist but not the same thing,” she explains. Her first semester worked out great, because she was able to stack her classes on the same day. “I was able to balance both my workload and schoolwork well and could get most of my homework done at school if I skipped happy hour and stayed in studio late,” she said. “Since I’m a night owl and the CAP building was open 24/7 at the time, it made this very achievable.”
Like many CU Denver students, she also commuted to school. Tatum was fortunate enough to have family in the Broomfield/Westminster area, so she lives with them while studying at CU Denver. Her commute involved an RTD train and bus, followed by a short walk. “Most days I didn’t mind the 12-minute walk from Union Station to the CAP building, as it would allow me to mentally prepare for the day at hand.”
While she was going to school and working full time, she was also offered a part-time position at the Colorado Center of Community Development (CCCD), which would provide some design experience. “I decided to take the part-time job, as well as keep my full-time job, and I was able to juggle everything for five months before it became too much,” she said.
In the midst of all this, Tatum also made the mistake of accompanying a friend who wanted to go to a discussion meeting about ROOT, the Landscape Architecture Department’s student-led publication. Tatum said, “It wound up being a recruiting meeting for the next volume (volume 10) and somehow, I got talked into being one of the co-editors-in-chiefs!”
She also ended up helping the Layout Editor Cassidy Bowman, because Cassidy was the only person on the graphic team. Then she also took on other duties for ROOT: “Our finance team more or less had to step back from their duties as it was too much with their class and workloads, so I ended up working on that end too. The last three months before publication were stressful, but we learned a lot about applying and pitching for funding, working with printers and making necessary adjustments to format, and just getting all the ducks in a row at the same time for it to come together.” She admits, “it was hard!”
Tatum is counting the days until her school-work-commute-magazine-life balance comes to an end, but she’s looking forward to the future—”I’ve learned a lot through schooling, and I know that there is a lot more to learn out in the real world so I’m trying to be open to whatever opportunity comes my way.”