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Mihail Tsapos

Growing up, when Mihail Tsapos, also known as Michael, was not at school, he said he was always planning his next camping trip around his hometown, Roanoke, Texas.

“I have always been interested in nature, and I enjoy going camping and backpacking,” Tsapos said.

Tsapos is a senior landscape architecture student at Texas Tech University. His hard work and passion for landscape architecture has led to success throughout his collegiate experience.

“You know, we’re all landscape architects, and we’re all passionate about what we do.”

Landscape Architecture student

 “I have always wanted to be an architect, but when I discovered landscape architecture, I realized that it is the perfect mix of the arts and the sciences that  I wanted,” said Tsapos.

Tsapos has an active involvement within the landscape architecture department. He is the president of the Student American Society of Landscape Architects and the winner of the 2020 Olmsted Scholar award.”

The Olmsted Scholar award is given to one student at every university within the landscape architecture department. The student then attends a convention with all of the Olmstead Scholars from around the nation.

Campus involvement is an important aspect to a student’s experience and Mihail Tsapos has certainly made the most of his time at Texas Tech University in the Department of Landscape Architecture.  

“This award is an honor, but it’s also about being around peers that share your passion for landscape architecture and meeting professionals that are at the top of the field,” Tsapos said.

According to the Landscape Architecture Foundation, the Olmsted Scholars Program recognizes and supports students with exceptional leadership potential who plan to advance sustainable design and foster human and    societal benefits.

“You know, we’re all landscape architects, and we’re all passionate about what we do,” Tsapos said.

Tsapos will be graduating in May 2020 with a Bachelors of Landscape Architecture.

“I encourage people to go and explore landscape architecture,” he said, “because it is such a wide discipline, whether you want to be a student of landscape architecture, like me, or someone that may use our services in the future. The role landscape architects play in the 21st century is a lot greater than before.”

Finding Your Niche


ost students, might not understand the importance of being involved in their campus community, but one animal science student is proving the value of campus involvement and finding your place.

Walker Carson from Turkey, Texas, is a senior animal science major, with chemistry and Spanish minors at Texas Tech University.

Carson is also currently chief of staff for the Student Government Association at Texas Tech. He became involved with SGA as a first year student when he joined Freshman Council and later served for two years as a College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources senator.

“You’re gaining life skills by getting involved in these organizations.”

Not only is Carson affiliated with SGA, but he is also a member of Block and Bridle, an Honors College student and served as a research assistant for graduate student coordinator, Bradley Johnson, in the Department of Animal and Food Science.

“My job as the chief of staff is to be a liaison between the main executive officers in SGA,” Carson said, “and I have definitely seen a whole different side of student government that I wasn’t aware of.”

One of Carson’s jobs as chief of staff, alongside the SGA president, Sean Lewis, is to have meetings with faculty to discuss issues SGA sees affecting students.

“Getting to talk to faculty members about what directly affects students has been very effective,” Carson said. “They, a lot of the times, think an idea is best, but it may not be necessarily, and they just needed another student’s opinion to help guide them.”

Sean Lewis from Virginia Beach, Virginia, is a senior history major, political science minor and is the student body president at Texas Tech University.

“Walker is a big advocate for agriculture and educating people who may not know much about it,” Lewis said. “The importance of it and how it affects our daily lives and Walker understands agriculture is his foundation and he will always give credit to that.”

texas tech, meeting, student government association, students
Carson spends most of his time in the Student Government Association Office assisting Sean Lewis, Student Body President.

Carson said the most valuable thing a prospective student can be told is to get involved because it creates friendships they may not have found otherwise and keeps students active on campus which is important.

“You’re gaining life skills by getting involved in these organizations,” Carson said. “You’re learning time management and you’re learning to apply these skills to life and I think those are really important things.”

Reducing uncertainty on the Southern High Plains


arming practices on the Southern High Plains, and more specifically a farmer’s choice of whether or not to change them, are affected by irrigation methods and crop insurance.

Dr. Darren Hudson of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics is the graduate director and helps put together funding for research.

Dr. Hudson said, “We have students from all over doing research that impacts this area.”

Jorge Romero-Habeych is not your traditional student, he served in the Army and worked as an analyst in the natural gas industry before returning to school. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from the University of Central Florida. As a doctoral student in Agricultural and Applied Economics, Romero-Habeych’s research explores how farmers choose irrigation techniques.

Agriculture on the Southern High Plains was significantly impacted by the introduction of center pivot irrigation.

 “Prior to the center pivot in the 1990s, … irrigation was very inefficient,” Romero-Habeych said.

By adopting center pivots farmers were able to sustain yields while using less water.

In recent years farmers have had the option of adopting an even more efficient alternative, subsurface drip irrigation. Adopting efficient irrigation techniques along with the right kind of crop insurance is essential for farmers to reduce their exposure to risk.

“Why is it that we don’t see a wider implementation of this technology in the area?” Romero-Habeych asked. “My theory is that crop insurance in conjunction with already existing irrigation techniques might be making drip irrigation less attractive,” Romero-Habeych said. “On the margin, adopting drip is relatively expensive and the benefit in terms of risk reduction is likely not worth the cost.”

In terms of water use, wider adoption of drip irrigation by farmers on the Southern High Plains does not necessarily translate to less pressure on the Ogallala aquifer. Romero-Habeych made an interesting point on the issue.

“Past experience with the center pivot shows that its adoption led to more water use. Farmers actually started using more water than before because they started planting in fields that had previously not been economically attractive,” Romero-Habeych said.

Using the most efficient farming practices possible is vital for all farmer’s to continue production and not give up yields.

“Perhaps drip irrigation would be more widely adopted in the area if existing crop insurance choices were not made available. The combination of current insurance and irrigation options to reduce risk exposure might be crowding out drip,” Romero-Habeych said. “However, that might be a good outcome for the aquifer.”

How farmers on the Southern High Plains are affected by government policies, along with understanding how they use the tools at their disposal to reduce uncertainty, is what drives Romero-Habeych’s research.

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