Sunday, March 23, 2014

Our geographer in Amman, Jordan

Hillary on GEOG 319 field trip
at Friday prayers  at mosque
in Twin Cities
, MN spring 2012.
Just a week or so ago, we received just that kind of note that faculty and departments love to get from their graduates -- an update that all is well and that aspirations are being fulfilled. 

We are very happy to learn that Hillary Johnson has accepted a GIS Intern position with the French NGO ACTED (Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development) and will soon be working in Amman, Jordan. Hillary graduated with her geography degree in Spring 2012, and has been working at Garmin International in the Kansas City area since fall 2012.  As a human geographer with interests in humanitarian aid and sustainable development, and with a kit of geospatial skills, she had been thinking of continuing her studies in graduate school.   Those will now wait.  

Hillary on GEOG 319 field trip to Kurdish
restaurant in Twin Cities
, MN spring 2012.
In April, Hillary goes to Paris for three days of training, then on to Amman for half a year.  While she does not yet know what she will be doing, she explains that the majority of ACTED's work in Jordan is emergency relief for thousands of refugees -- she expects to spend half of her time in the field and the other half in an office.  If all goes well, she hopes to transition into a GIS Officer role, if not in Jordan, then perhaps in a place like Kenya or Mozambique. It's a huge change but she is, in her own words, "Super excited! Good thing I took the Middle East [GEOG 319 - Geography of Middle East and North Africa] class so I can take that knowledge into real life!"

The funny thing is, the very week we heard from Hillary, one of the students in my intro Human Geography course asked me if geography was a good discipline in preparation for working with refugees!!  Well, it seems it can be.

May all go well, Hillary, and we look forward to updates and pictures.  

PS. I hope you bring your piccolo or flute.  Everybody likes music. 
(Hillary played piccolo in UWEC's marching band.)

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