RDG Planning & Design


Jonathan Knight
Landscape Architecture - Kansas State University

A graduate student in landscape architecture at Kansas State University with a previous Master's in Regional and Community Planning, Jonathan has two years of professional experience in public sector and private sector planning and design. Jonathan’s planning and design philosophy is framed by systems thinking, ecological urbanism, and resilience theories. This leads to an evidence-based design process rooted in mapping, quantitative analysis, and research of site/client/contexts. He believes creative planning and design solutions come from a rational, data-driven understanding of site dilemmas and opportunities. From there, designers and planners can create places that are resilient and beautiful while responding to client and community needs.

Ramona Lowery
Environmental Resources - University of Wisconsin, Madison

Ramona Lowery completed her MS in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and is currently finishing a second MS in Environment and Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Nelson Institute. She also holds a BS in Architectural Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. After working for over 10 years in architecture she returned to school to pursue dual master degrees. During her educational pursuits Ramona participated in two exchange programs: Paris and Montpellier, France. While in Montpellier she had the opportunity to be immersed in the French Master’s Program for Agronomy. Her instruction was in French and the classes complemented her interests that were focused on renewable energy production, terrain mapping, and agricultural systems in tropical environments. Her thesis focus is based on renewable energy production in the urban environment using building- integrated photovoltaic cell. Ramona’s research draws on a combination of her professional architectural background, urban planning course work, and interests in renewable energy.

David McKinney
Education - John Hopkins University

David, a student in the doctoral program at John Hopkins University School of Education, has several years of experience teaching middle school math and science in New York City. As a teacher who emphasized that the city is a resource of learning about science, he designed a field trip which used the subway system to observe relative motion along with changes in motion and measure acceleration of the subway. At John Hopkins, David is focusing on designing an education app for his dissertation that will free up teachers from some of the mundane tasks their profession requires. He is very passionate about enjoying the outdoors and continuing to learn.

Andrea Paton-Ash
Interior Design - George Washington University

Andrea is a second-year graduate student pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture and Design at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She has a background in public relations and marketing with more than four years of professional experience. Currently, she works at a home goods and design store as a shop associate engaging with customers, aiding in product sourcing, and coordinating display design.

Shannon Reece
Sustainability - Minneapolis College of Art and Design

With two degrees completed, Shannon Reece is currently enrolled at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in the Master’s Program for Sustainable Design. His work history includes working at Hannibal-LaGrange University as a public relations spokesperson, a freelance designer, at Convergence Design House as the creative director and owner, and at the Four One Group as the retail environment and exhibit designer.

With international travel to 19 countries, practical experience in photovoltaic design, and natural building and appropriate technology around the world, Reece continues to push his experiences and knowledge.

David Reece
Geography - University of Missouri

David Reece has been a farmer, a world traveler, a sailor, a missionary, a house builder, a husband and father, and so many other things along the way. His college academic journey began later than most and it was only recently that he earned his bachelor’s degree from Ashford University. A master’s degree from the University of Missouri was the most logical next step. David is a proficient researcher and a fairly original thinker. His undergraduate studies provided a foundational understanding of business and economics, two aspects that he is pursuing in his geographical studies. He hopes to contribute to the crucial research in emerging economies and developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Austin Schmitz
Engineering - Kansas State University

Austin Schmitz is a Graduate Research Assistant pursing a B.S./M.S. concurrent degree in Biological Systems Engineering – Machinery Systems at Kansas State University. Austin grew up on a dairy farm in northeast Kansas where he had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of agricultural equipment.

Austin was a finalist for the 2016 AGCO National Student Design Competition with his team’s project, "Mechanical Net Wrap Remover for Large Round Bales." For the capstone class of their degree program, the team spent time researching, testing, and building an implement to mechanically remove net wrap from large round bales of hay. Over the last several months Austin has filed for a provisional patent to protect the intellectual property and has been constructing the final design.

Austin plans to graduate from Kansas State University in May of 2017. He intends to pursue a career designing new and innovative agricultural equipment, specifically implements for livestock, haying, and row-crop operations.

Gregory Sheward
Architecture - Pratt Institute

Growing up in rural Indiana, surround by cornfields, Greg grew up seeing old, outdated barns and silos. While he has a strong interest in architecture, he is faced with the dilemma of what type of architecture to pursue in his career. With a strong interest in the visual arts: drawing, painting, photography, Greg spent started his studies at Ball State University. There, he began gravitating towards the digital realm and how to express grand ideas or schemes. His current endeavor is in industrial robotics and how that can be applied to architectural research. Exploring the facets of robotics has also rekindled his passion for drawing, but in a reinvented fashion.

Gabriella St. George
Culinary Arts - Culinary Institute of America

Gabriella has a passion for gardening. For the past three years, she has been working towards advocating more sustainable approaches to practice better food and health. With her associates degree in Culinary Arts from The Culinary Institute of America, Gabriella is now pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Applied Food Studies. Helping her class build an educational garden, she not only gives back to the community but also educates and raises awareness to the importance of where our food comes from.