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Woman wearing a Cazenovia College shirt and sitting at a desk with a bunch of design tools round her.

Zahra Perkins

Transfer Tuesday: Zahra Perkins

Major: Landscape Architecture
Hometown: Rome, NY & Vineland, NJ
Class of ’26

When news broke that Cazenovia College would close after the spring 2023 semester, Zahra Perkins felt like the floor fell out from underneath her.

“It’s like I was robbed of my college experience,” she said. “I never wanted to transfer.”

But Perkins didn’t have a choice, so she began her college search again with the help of her professors. Drawn to urban planning and community development, one of them connected her with Dr. Emmauel Carter in ESF’s Landscape Architecture program. She was happy to find that the program’s core pieces aligned with her urban planning goals.

“Landscape architecture is how you plan around your environment,” she said. “I’ve always been motivated to help improve housing for the most marginalized. Landscape architecture can put me on a path to doing that.”

Perkins enrolled at ESF and bid farewell to her friends at Cazenovia. Despite feeling comfortable with her major, she dreaded starting anew. She thought her first day would be syllabus review, but instead professors dived right in, reviewing essential vocabulary and introducing her to landscape architecture. That wasn’t the only surprise for Perkins. She made friends quickly and found her world view aligned much better with the ESF community.

“Everyone here supports each other,” Perkins said, “The professors genuinely want to see you succeed, and so do your peers. There’s such a sense of collaboration on this campus.”

The sense of community prompted her to get more involved, getting a job in the ESF greenhouses and joining landscape architecture clubs.

“I loved my time at Cazenovia College and wouldn’t change it,” Perkins said, “but I’m glad I found ESF. Being here reignited my passion after a devasting blow.”

Interested in transferring to ESF? Learn more about the process.