Feature Story: Graduate Student Recruitment

The UW-Madison Geography Department is delighted to introduce our newest cohort of research-based Master’s and Ph.D. students.

Le Thu Dinh, Ismael Garcia Espinoza, Celeste Gunderson, Benjamin Chin-Hung Kao, Nuzhat Tabassum Nawshin, Trang Nguyen, and Marco Vallejos bring with them a wealth of experiences and interests from across the globe, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome them to Madison and Science Hall. Their personal, educational, and professional experiences have already taken them to no less than 10 countries and 4 continents, and their proposed research promises to take them on further journeys.

As expansive as their personal and professional geographies, their research interests span all sub-areas of the discipline and address a wide range of subjects. Here’s a snapshot of the kinds of questions and topics they are thinking about:

  • The intersection of commodity crop cultivation, land tenure, and deforestation in the Amazon
  • Long-term, regional-scale climate-mediated changes in vegetation
  • The sociocultural milieu and histories of video game worlds
  • Development and political geography in highland communities in Southeast Asia
  • Cartographic design methods and visual storytelling across different media
  • Psychotherapeutic and psychiatric practices within the context of colonial governance
  • The movement of waste through landscapes and of microplastics through watersheds

Closer to (their mostly new) home, they are starting to enjoy all the things offered at a large research university in a city surrounded by parks, lakes, and miles of bike paths. Several students have mentioned that they’re appreciating Madison’s size (not too small, but not too hectic) and its lively cultural scene, as well as the campus – including the many food transport robots that can be found crossing the campus at all times of the day. Others who are new to the Midwest are enjoying the colorful fall (orange, red, and yellow leaves along the lakeshore) and looking forward to a snowy winter.

While the Madison lifestyle may be laid back, life on campus is already in full swing. Some of the early highlights for new students include participating in courses and seminars and interacting with committed and cutting-edge scholars not only in Geography but from many different departments and disciplines across campus; learning about American culture and academic ways and seeing how perspectives vary across continents; and learning about the vastly different research areas that fall under the umbrella of Geography and how people from different fields and backgrounds contribute to the discipline. Mindful of other aspects of graduate student life, they are also enjoying exploring their roles as teaching assistants and instructors and appreciating “a supportive environment that fosters excellence without neglecting personal well-being.”

We are truly excited to welcome our new cohort of “geograds” and look forward to their continuing contributions to the department and the field. To learn more about our graduate programs and the work of all of our grad students, please visit our website: https://geography.wisc.edu/research-graduate-programs/ and https://geography.wisc.edu/people/students/.

From left to right: Celeste Gunderson, Ismael Garcia Espinoza, Marco Vallejos, Nawshin Nuzhat Tabassum, Trang Nguyen, Benjamin Chin-Hung Kao, Le Thu Dinh.

Author: egoldman2