Sunday, April 13, 2014

4 UWEC students at national geography conference in Florida

This past week, the Association of American Geographers (AAG) held its Annual Meeting, this time in Tampa. The AAG has been hosting annual meetings every year since 1904.  I am not sure what the attendance was in Tampa, but last year in Los Angeles there were over 7,000 attendees.  That's a lot of geographers.

Arik Arnevik & Jackson Becker in front of
their poster at AAG 2014, Tampa, FL

UW-Eau Claire has a long history of student and faculty participation at the AAG Annual Meetings, and we are suspect that we bring as many undergraduate participants as nearly any other school in the country.  This year, in addition to seven UW-Eau Claire faculty participants, we were proud to have four students successfully present their research.  

Nate Wick explains details of his research to
Ross Guida ('09), now in the PhD program
at Southern Illinois University.
Nathaniel Wick presented a poster of the research he conducted with recent UWEC geography graduate Sam Krueger and their research mentor Doug Faulkner.  Their poster, A Detailed Long Profile of the Lower Chippewa River: Evidence of Ongoing Episodic Incision was one of nearly 30 posters in a session entitled Geomorphology, Hazards, and Vulnerability.  Jackson Becker and Arik Arnevik presented their research poster, Active Channel Loss on the Lower Chippewa River Due to Reed Canary Grass, on work that they, too, did with Dr. Faulkner.  And Joey Quintana was one of 8 presenters in the Economic, Cultural, and Regional Geography  illustrated poster session for the work that he did with Ezra Zeitler.  The title of their research poster is Impacts of Corporate Water Parks on Residents' Sense of Place and Place Promotion in Wisconsin Dells and Lake Delton, Wisconsin.

Click on names of the posters for the research abstracts and to get a feel for the kind of work our students are doing; to see the range of work presented in the poster sessions, and to see the kind of research that that others with similar interests are conducting, click on the poster session name. 

In addition to presenting their research, meeting scholars, and learning of research from around the world, our students had the opportunity to meet numerous other UW-Eau Claire graduates who have gone on to graduate schools in such places as the University of Tennessee, Southern Illinois, Penn State and Kansas.  It becomes apparent that participating among a community of scholars and researchers at such conferences can be a powerful and inspirational  professionalization opportunity for our students. We are very thankful for the opportunity that UW-Eau Claire --  through the Blugold Commitment, the work of ORSP, and the Simpson Fund -- creates to enable this kind of participation.  Such financial support of undergraduate research and travel to professional presentations is truly distinctive among geography programs world-wide.  

Next year at the AAG Annual Meeting in Chicago, we hope to increase student participation by working with our students and encouraging them to think about the possibility early in the school year.

Though it was at a different national conference, I suspect that Drew Briski had a similar experience at the annual conference of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) in Louisville, KY (23-28 March) where he presented a poster and gave a lightening talk on his research with Dr. Cyril Wilson in the Land Use/Land Cover and Change Detection session. The title of their presentation was Spectral and Socioeconomic Assessment of Land Use/Land Cover Changes in the Chippewa Valley Metropolitan Area, WI.


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