University of Wisconsin Madison
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A Conversation with New Alumnus Evan Applegate

What did you study?

Evan in the Allen Centennial Garden, his favorite spot on campus.

I studied Cartography & GIS, with a focus in remote sensing; my thesis used 25 years of Landsat satellite imagery to assess land cover change in rural Laos. Earth-observing satellites are my favorite! They help you learn so much about what’s happening on the surface.

In what ways is Geography the best discipline for your work?

Geography is multidisciplinary as heck: sociologists and paleo-climatologists and cartographers and programmers somehow glued together by the sign on the door. You get to have many more fun conversations than in other departments where everyone studies the same narrow subject. It was perfect for me since Madison’s students, staff and faculty were always happy to teach me something new and wildly unrelated to what I was supposed to be doing.

What led you to UW-Madison?

I had never lived in Wisconsin before and had a lovely time the two times I visited before moving there. Super bike-able, lovely people, top-tier cartographers AND remote sensors in one department, a very easy sell for me.

Why is it important to have geographers in the world?

Geography, being an instrument of power, is almost never wielded judiciously or humanely. Madison’s geographers care about redistributing that power to the marginalized and making more ethical representations of spaces and places. Also, you were born on Earth, you live on Earth, and you will die on Earth, so you should know something about how you fit into what’s happening on this rock.

What is one fun fact about yourself?

I make the best pan-fried brussel sprouts on the continent. Everyone else roasts them and has some big claim about how they’re amazing, even though the sprouts all brown and sticky. Please.

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