Students

A Conversation with Undergraduate Student Mengyu Liang

What do you study?

I study Geography and Cartography/GIS. My concentration is in physical geography because I love to learn about the natural environment and changes to it. Outside of these two majors, I am studying how to apply remote sensing techniques to understand Antarctic meteorological events over at the Space, Science & Engineering Center.

Geography undergraduate student Mengyu Liang at Yuanmou Earth and Forest Scenic Resort in Yunnan Province.

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

I intend to do work related to remote sensing and the natural environment. I hope to develop new ways to detect changes in the natural landscape remotely. Geography is great for this because I get to learn about the natural space, human cultures and settlements, as well as various amazing techniques (such as remote sensing, cartography, and GIS) which enable me to explore more in-depth and to convey the results to more people.

What led you to UW-Madison to study geography?

It is really funny that I did not start out as a geography major. I was actually accepted into the Business School at the end of my freshman year and had the intention to become an accountant. But I did take a physical geography class with Professor Mason during my freshman year, and I think that is one of the reasons that I decided to become a geographer. The class gave me a lot of hands-on experience, such as going to Picnic Point for labs and conducting field observations. This was a very enjoyable experience that led me to take more classes in the department.

Why is it important to have geographers out in the world?

This is a great question! First of all, geographers are very interesting people. They usually know something fun about the physical landscape or culture of the place and love to share it. Of course, geographers’ sense of space is important to remind people of the spatial complexity within different issues such as politics, economics, and education. Also, noticing the spatial component in these issues uncovers patterns which could simplify problems.

What is one fun fact about yourself?

This is really hard to think of… besides the fact that I am crazy about geography, I think I am a fair runner. I love to run in all kinds of weather conditions, both on breezy sunny days and on cold slippery snow days. I also enjoying running a big downhill after a long and challenging uphill.

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