Class of 1985
By Matthew Loeffler
Laila Tamimi is a landscape architect. Landscape architects are people who do architecture with the land, like designing hiking trails, playgrounds, college campuses, and restoring wetlands. Laila has worked at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park on the Island of Hawai’i since 2001. As part of her job duties, she designs accessible trails and picnic shelters for park visitors as well as parking lots. She also helps restore old quarries with native vegetation, and determines locations for composting toilets throughout the park. Most of these projects incorporate universal design so that all visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy and have access to the park’s trails, shelters and facilities. She said that she really loves her job because she spends a lot of time with awesome people and is able to work in a setting that has a rich historic and cultural value.
Laila participates in a lot of outdoor activities such as gardening, hiking or paddling canoe. Most of all, she loves to travel to a lot of new places she has never been to before. She has realized that she has to be dedicated and self-motivated to succeed in her career.
Laila graduated from UH Hilo with a BS in agriculture and an MS in landscape architecture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. During her undergraduate studies at UH Hilo, she was inspired to pursue her career by a local landscape architect. She is also grateful to her father, Dr. Y.N. Tamimi, who taught her perseverance and integrity.
She graduated from Waiakea High School in 1985 and remembers teachers and fellow warriors who inspired and encouraged her. In particular, she mentioned Ms. Christine Wada, who taught her an environmental ethic that has stuck with her until this day.