A productive spring & summer for Geography’s graduate students

Graduate students in the UW Geography Department have been busier than ever with field research, writing publications, obtaining exciting new positions, giving presentations, and winning awards! Read on to see some of the highlights a few of our students shared from a very productive spring and summer of 2022:

  • Emily Fornof and Anika Rice along with the Aaron Suiter (Nelson Institute) have been working with an international group of scholars on a review article of mass afforestation initiatives in dryland parts of the world with a specific focus on “walls”  or continuous strips of trees planted to inhibiting desert spread while increasing carbon sequestration. Two major regional initiatives have been in Northern China and Northwest Africa. The invited review (Annual Review of Environment and Resources) investigates the appeal of these programs to international organizations and states along with their ecological and social impacts.

  • Caroline Griffith (PhD candidate) will begin a new position as Water Program Director at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, an environmental law and policy organization located in the Twin Cities. She is grateful for the Mellon Public Humanities Fellowship she held at Midwest Environmental Advocates in Madison, Wisconsin, which helped her prepare for this role, as well as her lectureship in the legal studies program on campus. 
GISphere project
  • Yuhao Kang published the paper: “STICC: a multivariate spatial clustering method for repeated geographic pattern discovery with consideration of spatial contiguity” in the International Journal of Geographical Information Science. In addition, Yuhao initiated the non-profit project GISphere : “The GISphere project collects the most updated information on GIS-related programs and professors from more than 400 universities located in 70 countries and regions across the world. We hope this project can help those who are seeking graduate school opportunities in GIS, and promote the global GIS education. Over 300 volunteers have contributed to this project with over 10,000 followers around the world. We welcome more volunteers to join the project!”

  • Hannah Kass had her first journal article accepted for publication this summer! It is titled: “Food anarchy and the State monopoly on hunger” published in The Journal of Peasant Studies.
Taylor and Namier in front of Little Grand Canyon Sign near the field work site in Wauneta, Nebraska.
  • Taylor McDowell shared an update from Professor Joe Mason’s Lab: “Joe, Taylor and Namier (a visiting scholar from China) took two field work trips to SW Nebraska this summer. For Joe’s NSF grant on co-evolution of aeolian landscapes, we collected samples to date past dune activity and to measure the soil hydraulic properties of the dune sand. Also, Namier collected samples from the Old Wauneta Roadcut to measure the magnetic properties of the loess—a sample every 5 cm to a depth of 8 m, and Taylor collected samples for a pilot project to try and estimate erosion rates of the gullies incising into the loess using cosmogenic nuclides.”   
  • Amani Ponnaganti published a paper titled The Racialization of Citizenship in Post-colonial India” was recently published in the journal South Asia.

  • Jules Reynolds was awarded a “Scenario Planning and Changing Food Systems” Grant through the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy with fellow doctoral student Catie DeMets. Jules also received a Nelson Institute Capstone Fellowship for this fall to design and teach an undergraduate capstone course, titled “Exploring Food System Resilience in Wisconsin Communities”, and coordinated a summer event series at Brix Cider called “Small-Batch Science,” which invited grad students & other researchers to give public-facing flash talks about their research relating to food, agriculture, ecology, and climate.

  • Anika Rice studied K’iche’, one of the 22 Mayan languages spoken in Guatemala, through a FLAS grant and a Tulane University program. She was based in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala for 6 weeks, and deeply enjoyed getting to know the city and its K’iche’ language speakers.

  • Sahil Sasidharan was awarded Holtz Center’s Top-Up Fellowship for Continuing Graduate Students in Science & Technology Studies (STS) for the 2022-24 academic years. This award’s application was based on initial research conducted on a STS Mini-Fellowship awarded by the Holtz Center in Fall 2021. He also used an IRIS Area and International Studies award to conduct preliminary fieldwork in Delhi, India over the summer, and attend an international conference in Greece. In addition, Sahil co-organized a set of panels (No.18) on ‘Law and Ordering the Urban’ with Gaurav Mittal and Chetan Anand at the International Sociological Association’s RC21 Conference: ‘Ordinary cities in Exceptional times’ in Athens, Greece from 24-26 August 2022. Travel to the conference was further supported by the department’s Trewartha-Odebolt conference travel award. Sahil is a member of the International Student Advisory Board (ISAB) member for 2022-23 under International Student Services (ISS) at UW-Madison.

  • Ake Soukhaphon shared some travel activities and news with us from the summer:
    “This year has been filled with a lot of travel and some pleasant news. From January to mid-March 2022, I returned to Thailand and Cambodia to finish dissertation fieldwork on the impacts of hydropower development on local ethnic Lao people. In late March, I presented a paper on a panel on Mekong River dams at the Association for Asian Studies Conference in Honolulu, HI. The panel garnered interest from the editor of Pacific Affairs, a journal that publishes scholarly work on contemporary issues in Asia and the Pacific. I came away from the conference with positive feedback and comments along with an invitation to contribute to, and co-edit, a special issue of the journal. Thanks much to Trewartha-Odebolt Conference Travel Award for making this possible! This summer, I returned to Laos to complete the final portion of my fieldwork, where I came down with my first case of dengue fever. Recovered now, I am looking forward to what will be a busy and exciting semester!”

  • Allen Xiao received a 2022 AAG Political Geography Specialty Group Award for the paper: “The Belt and Road Initiative” and Chinese Overseas Diplomatic Authorities: Discursive representations and the geopolitical outreach in Africa.

Author: Geography Staff