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Welcome to the seventh installment of Geography "In the Real World"-- where we showcase the accomplishment of GWU's Geography, Environmental Studies, and GIS students as they take their geographic education into real world work/study/research experiences! Today, we interviewed senior Environmental Studies major Sarah Noyes, who interned with the Smithsonian Institute at the National Museum of Natural History over the summer of 2019.

What position did you hold this summer and how did it relate to your Environmental Studies major?

This summer I was an Ocean Education Intern at the National Museum of Natural History. Within my Environmental Studies major, I try to take as many biology and marine-focused classes as I can. A lot of the concepts that are taught at the museum also have to do with human’s relationship with the environment and how we effect it; which is also focused on in a lot of Environmental Studies course work.

...continue reading "Interview with Sarah Noyes, Ocean Education Intern, National Museum of Natural History, Summer 2019 | Siobhan Finnerty"

For our sixth installment of Geography "In the Real World"-- where we showcase the accomplishment of GWU's Geography, Environmental Studies, and GIS students as they take their geographic education into real world work/study/research experiences-- we interviewed senior Environmental Studies major Berkley Lane, who interned with the U.S. Green Building Council in Washington, DC over the summer of 2019.

 

How did you first get involved in the geography department at GW? How are you involved now?

First semester freshman year, I took a physical geology class and really enjoyed the material, so I decided to take other environmental and sustainability based courses… which lead me to the geography department. Now, as a senior Environmental Studies major, I have taken many courses in the department!

What position did you hold this summer and how did it relate to your major?

This summer I was a Market Research and Development Intern at the U.S. Green Building Council in Washington, DC. USGBC is "is a nonprofit organization that supports the development of prosperous, healthy and resilient communities through the transformation of the built environment.” This opportunity directly relates to my interests within the Environmental Studies major because I was able to gain knowledge about the green building market nationwide and the importance of green development.

 

What were your responsibilities as a Market Research and Development Intern with USGBC?

As a Market Research and Development Intern, I was able to work with a team of interns to conduct research and complete projects to drive LEED Certifications and GBCI Product registrations. I conducted research on current commercial and residential real estate trends, LEED’s return on investment, top 10 city market development, building codes, and USGBC involvement to foster future memberships on project registrations. I worked with my team to create a Global Market Development Vision Board for USGBC staff to use when marketing products and future opportunities.

...continue reading "Interview with Berkley Lane, Market Research & Development Intern at the U.S. Green Building Council, Summer 2019 | Siobhan Finnerty"

For our fifth installment of Geography "In the Real World"-- where we showcase the accomplishment of GWU's Geography, Environmental Studies, and GIS students as they take their geographic education into real world work/study/research experiences-- we interviewed junior Geography major Juan Cortes, who spent Summer 2018 as a Cartographer in Morocco.

 

How did you first get involved in the geography department at GW? How are you involved now?

No photo description available.

Honestly, I found out about the Geography department through Intro to Physical Geography. It fulfilled a science requirement for Elliott so I took it, but I ended up really liking it. Through that, I learned about the Humanitarian Mapping Society (HMS, of which I am now Training Coordinator) and GIS. I really love the department, its faculty, and the people I study with.

 

What positions have you held in the field of geography? And how did you find out about this opportunity?

I worked over the summer in Marrakech, Morocco with the High Atlas Foundation, an NGO involved with mitigating rural poverty all throughout the country. I found out about that opportunity because I had a friend who worked there previously who recommended that I apply.

Image result for High Atlas Foundation

What were your responsibilities within that position?

I worked as a cartographer, helping them make maps of their forestry projects at various different scales and general representations of their activities. I also helped them to organize their data collection process and showed some workers how to use GPS units.

 

What valuable skills did you learn there, and how has the experience shaped your thinking?

The biggest thing I learned is that there are always going to be problems when working with GIS, but there are workarounds, and you have to be persistent and look for them. I also learned that analysis is really dependent on how much data is available, so you have to get creative with how to work with limited resources. I think it all comes down to persistence and thinking outside the box.

 

How did your previous experience in geographic education at GW prepare you for this opportunity?

Intro to Cartography and GIS with Professor Hinton prepared me really well for this opportunity by teaching me the fundamentals of GIS and cartography. But I think the most important thing I brought with me was that Professor Hurley made it abundantly clear that working with GIS in class and working with GIS in the field are two vastly different things. He really stressed to me that it’s important not to panic when things don’t work, because solutions do exist. I wasn’t so stunned by an actual work environment because I more or less knew what to expect, thanks to him.

 

Have you completed a geography-oriented internship? Job? Study abroad? Ad-hoc field work? Independent research? Let us know! We are interviewing current (and past) GW Geography students who have taken their geography knowledge into the “real world.” If you are interested in sharing your experience, please send an e-mail to siofinnerty@gwu.edu

For our fourth installment of Geography "In the Real World"-- where we showcase the accomplishment of GWU's Geography, Environmental Studies, and GIS students as they take their geographic education into real world work/study/research experiences-- we interviewed junior Geography major and GIS minor Gavin Derleth, who presented at the Race, Ethnicity and Place Conference in Austin, Texas this semester.

What are you doing research on?

I'm doing research on gentrification within Columbia Heights neighborhood in DC and the affect this has had on the demographics and makeup of the community itself.

...continue reading "Interview with Gavin Derleth, Presenter at the Race, Ethnicity, and Place Conference, Fall 2018 | Siobhan Finnerty"

For the third installment of Geography "In the Real World"-- where we showcase the accomplishment of GWU's Geography, Environmental Studies, and GIS students as they take their geographic education into real world work/study experiences-- we interviewed junior Environmental Studies and Geography double major Lucy Hummer, Canvasser for the Clean Water Action, Spring 2018.

How did you first get involved in the geography department at GW? How are you involved now?

I became involved with the geography department as an Environmental Studies major when I came to GW as a freshman! I actually applied to GW as a Biology major, but switched to Environmental Studies before my freshman year even began, because I realized that is where my passion lies. I see environmental issues as one of, if not the most, pressing challenges that the world is facing today. I am super inspired by all of the research and work that is being done throughout the Geography department at GW to work towards dealing with these massive challenges.

And, after taking the Introduction to Cartography and GIS class required for the Environmental Studies major, I determined that I wanted to major in geography as well. So now I'm involved as a double major within the department!

...continue reading "Interview with Lucy Hummer, Canvasser for Clean Water Action, Spring/Summer 2018 | Siobhan Finnerty"

For the second installment of Geography "In the Real World"-- where we showcase the accomplishment of GWU's Geography, Environmental Studies, and GIS students as they take their geographic education into real world work/study experiences-- we interviewed junior Geography major and GIS minor Hannah Ellingson, Intern for the American Association of Geographers, Spring 2018.

 

How did you first get involved in the geography department at GW? How are you involved now?

I came to GW with a preexisting interest in geography that I developed in high school. Fall of freshman year I took Human Geography with Professor Dymond and Political Geography with Professor Cullen to see how I liked geography classes at the university level-- I loved both classes, particularly political geography! I declared a geography major and GIS minor at the end of my first year, and I’ve loved it so far.

...continue reading "Interview with Hannah Ellingson, Intern at the American Association of Geographers, Spring 2018 | Siobhan Finnerty"

For the first installment of Geography "In the Real World"-- where we showcase the accomplishment of GWU's Geography, Environmental Studies, and GIS students as they take their geographic education into real world work/study experiences-- we interviewed senior Geography major Sarah Cassius to talk about her experience this past summer interning for the Department of Environment and Urban Planning in Medellin, Colombia.

 

How did you first get involved in the geography department at GW? How are you involved now?

I started GW as a student in the Elliott School, concentrating in International Environmental Studies. I accidentally took 3 geography classes during the first semester of my Sophomore year to count toward International Affairs (GEOG 1001, 1002, and 1003) and loved them all. I realized that I was so passionate about what I was learning, which I didn’t feel in my previous Elliott classes, so I added on a double major and I strongly believe it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

...continue reading "Interview with Sarah Cassius, Intern at the Department of Environment and Urban Planning, Medellin, Colombia Summer 2018 | Siobhan Finnerty"

Since the proliferation of GPS technology and the presence of map apps on most smartphones have made it easier than ever to locate where you are in the world, more and more people are using navigation devices on a daily basis. This is great for efficient transportation to work/school, for comparing multiple routes, and for exploring new places; but has unknown consequences for classical navigation technologies and geographical thought. How do "maps" apps affect how we interact with paper maps? How does it affect our ability to give directions? To know our way around the cities in which we live? To expand the mental maps we create of our lives? How does it shape our geographic identity?

To begin to answer some of these questions on the role that geography-- and especially cartography and GIS technology-- plays in our daily lives in the digital age, we at the GWU Geography Department Blog conducted a voluntary anonymous survey of 26 college-age students from around the United States via the internet to determine how students across the country perceive the effects of geographic information technologies on their lives.

...continue reading "The Impact of the Proliferation of GIS/GPS Technologies on Geographic Thought and Directionality | Siobhan Finnerty"

In a world where you can make phone calls from your watch and donate rice to the hungry by knowing vocabulary words, it's easier than ever to make a difference. Sometimes it can seem like all doom and gloom - sea levels are rising, the United States faced a record number of "megadisasters" in 2017, and temperatures in Jacksonville, FL were colder than those in Anchorage, AK. The good news, is that technology gives us the chance to help the world without having to un-bundle from blankets, dig out from under snow, or even take a shower (it's not too good to be true, promise).

One of the environmental challenges facing communities across Africa is the threat of flooding. Lots of communities are built along rivers, relying on the water source for agriculture, transportation, and drinking water. This is great - until a flood occurs. Many of these communities are very isolated, and do not have strong emergency response plans in the event of a flood. Flooding devastates towns, displaces populations, destroys agriculture, and spreads dangerous diseases. Until recently, it was very difficult to create strong emergency plans - and to even know which communities were most vulnerable.

The Red Cross in Togo, West Africa

YouthMappers has teamed up with The George Washington University, the World Bank, and the Red Cross to help communities better prepare for floods! Using satellite data, volunteers across the world can go online, and help generate data for international organizations trying to help.  The World Bank and The Red Cross are already using this data to help them target their interventions.

...continue reading "Tackling Africa’s Floods – A Call for Mappers! | Bridget Smith; Michael Mann"

“Hello! My name is Ben and I’m from Ghana. I like to…” then Ben slid his arm forward simulating the movements in a game of chess on an imaginary board. The circle of 30 strangers from around the world had to repeat Ben’s name, mimic his action, and then move on to the next person in the large circle. This initially embarrassing, but ultimately hilarious ice-breaker was the beginning of an engaging, demanding, and rewarding YouthMappers Fellows Leadership Workshop – the first of its kind – held in Kathmandu Nepal, in May, 2017.

YouthMappers student Fellows Manjurul Islam, Frikan Erwee, and Sasha Guttentag repeat
Faculty Facilitator, Richard Hinton’s, favorite activity – which is snowboarding.

YouthMappers is a network of university-affiliated chapters from around the world (currently 67 chapters in 23 countries and growing!) which creates free and open geospatial data used to address specific development objectives in USAID affiliated countries. YouthMappers students create original, quality, localized geospatial data in unmapped places of the world to support local development goals, and to help communities prepare for disasters.

...continue reading "Mapping it all in Kathmandu, Nepal | Joe Dymond; Nuala Cowan; Richard Hinton"

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