From Peace Corps Wiki
Josh Bender (born 1979, Kansas) is an intern landscape architect with experience in landscape architecture, civil engineering, construction, and international grassroots development.
Currently unemployed, he most recently worked for Professional Engineering Consultants, a multi-disciplinary engineering firm in Wichita, KS. He was involved in the completion of civil and landscape improvements to Wichita State University, Wichita Animal Services, and several aircraft manufacturing facilities. He also assisted area builders with residential lot grading plans.
Previously, Josh worked for Gossen Livingston Associates, an architecture firm also in Wichita, where he guided a small team in completing an irrigation plan for Jardine Apartments at Kansas State University. He also assisted with site plans and construction documents for small projects on several high schools, veterans' cemeteries, and military bases. Josh has also worked as a student intern for Carducci Associates, a landscape architecture firm in San Francisco, CA. Some of his graphic work is still used by the firm as promotional material.
Josh served as a volunteer in Peace Corps Nicaragua's Agriculture Program from 2003 to 2005. He lived in the village of Río Abajo, between Pueblo Nuevo and Condega in the Department of Estelí. Previous volunteers in that site include Richard Amory, 2001 to 2003. His counterpart was the Instituto Nicaragüense de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA), locally based in Condega. His work included promoting the cover-crop beans canivalia and gandul (Canavalia ensiformis and Cajanus cajans, respectively), quality protein maize (QPM), and baking bread with the local women's group. He also played a minor role in helping Río Abajo get a potable water system, acting as liason between the village and the Japanese Embassy in Nicaragua.
Josh also served as a Peace Corps Response volunteer in El Salvador in 2006. He served as a Planning and Soil Conservation Specialist in Cantón Apulo, Ilopango, a town of approximately 15,000. His counterpart was the Asociación de la Organización de Cuenca del Lago de Ilopango, or ASOCLI. He worked to reduce the community's vulnerability to landslides and flooding by planting live barriers, mapping flood-prone areas, training a local emergency response team, and submitting a report to the City of Ilopango's mayor.
Josh holds a Bachelor's degree in Landscape Architecture from Kansas State University (KSU). He had the honor of participating in two team design competitions led by Torgeir Norheim, faculty member at KSU: Fjordlyset, an Opera House in Oslo, Norway received an American Institute of Architects (AIA) Kansas Award for Un-Built Non-Commissioned Architecture in 2000; Student Union at Høgskolen I Stavanger received an Honorable Mention in 1999. While at KSU, Josh served alongside Matthew Benfer as editor of Oz, an architectural journal, recipient of AIA New York's 2002 Haskell Award for Student Architectural Journalism.
Josh has recently joined his wife, Camilla, in her native Sweden, where he eagerly awaits the start of Svenksa för Invandrare, "Swedish for Immigrants". After completing his language studies, he hopes to continue his career as a landscape architect in Europe.