Congratulations Graduates!

The Department of Geography celebrated the class of 2024 during a hybrid event in Science Hall and online on Friday, May 10th. Students from all academic programs (Undergraduate, GIS Professional Programs, and Graduate) were represented at the celebration as awards were announced and graduates were called by name and recognized. Professor and Department Chair Jack Williams provided opening remarks, while Professor Jenna Loyd presented the Undergraduate, Graduate and GISPP award winners. Undergraduate Advisor Joel Gruley recognized the Bachelor’s degrees and Professor Jonathan Nelson the GISPP graduates. Director of Graduate Studies Professor Sarah Moore recognized the Master’s and PhD recipients. The Department of Geography faculty and staff congratulates all of the accomplished graduates and award winners!

Masters and Doctoral Degree Graduates

PhD Geography/Cartography graduate Meiliu Wu and Department Chair Jack Williams

This year we were excited to celebrate the graduation of 12 students in our research-based Master’s and doctoral programs in Geography. Three MS students and nine PhD students successfully completed (or are this summer completing) their MS theses and doctoral dissertations, with research that reflects the wide breadth of the discipline.

  • Benjamin Chin-Hung Kao – When Kami Met Kuma: Feminist Popular Geopolitical Perspectives on Japanese Nationhood and Settler Colonization of the Ainu in Persona 4 Golden (MS thesis)
  • Amani Ponnaganti – Submerged empire: Racial grammars of environmental governance in Houston, 1900-1940 (MS thesis)
  • Markia Silverman-Rodriguez – Towards a Queer Understanding of Environmental Racism: An Exploration of LGBTQ+ BIPOC Experiences of Environmental (In)Justice in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (MS thesis)
  • Alicia Barceinas-Cruz – Mobility and Security in the Maya Forest (PhD dissertation)
  • Shannon Dillard – Permafrost disturbances in Alaska and their effects on soil moisture patterns and biogeochemical cycling (PhD dissertation)
  • Kramer Gillin – Governance, Use, and Interdependencies of Pastoral Resources in Tajikistan’s Rasht Valley (PhD dissertation)
  • Carly Griffith – Above & Below Ground: How the Bakken Oil Boom Reshaped Property Disputes in Western North Dakota (PhD dissertation)
  • Yunlei Liang – Understanding Health Care Shortage Through Community Detection on Spatial Networks (PhD dissertation)
  • Taylor McDowell – Evolution of Stabilized Aeolian Landscapes: Impacts of Hydrology (PhD dissertation)
  • Jules Reynolds – Making Farm-to-Place: Food System Resilience and Transformation through Community Engagement in South-Central Wisconsin (PhD dissertation)
  • Clare Sullivan – Greener Pastures: Pathways for sustainable cattle production in Colombia (PhD dissertation)
  • Meiliu Wu – A fundamental multimodal learning framework with spatial knowledge (PhD dissertation)

We are excited to continue working with our Master’s students as they pursue doctoral degrees in the department, and congratulate our PhD graduates who are entering new careers across the country and the globe – from tenure-track faculty positions at universities in the US and abroad, to post-doc positions in university and government research labs, data scientist positions in the technology industry, and positions in environmental and social justice advocacy organizations.

The following graduate student award winners were recognized during the celebration for their achievements:

  • Lauren Gerlowski – Clarence W. Olmstead Award for Outstanding Citizenship
  • Celeste Gunderson – Clarence W. Olmstead Award for Outstanding Teaching
  • Amani Ponnaganti – Clarence W. Olmstead Award for Outstanding Publication
  • Nora Schlenker – Clarence W. Olmstead Award for Outstanding Publication
  • Siddharth Menon – Whitbeck Graduate Dissertator Fellowship
  • Rebecca Rose – Whitbeck Graduate Dissertator Fellowship

Congratulations to all our graduates – we are proud of your many accomplishments and look forward to hearing about what comes next!

Bachelor’s Degree Graduates

Thirty-one students make up this year’s graduating class of undergraduates. Fourteen of these students are double majors, seven are triple majors, two are honors students, three were inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious liberal arts honors society, and several of them earned at least one certificate. During their time on campus, this remarkable group racked up numerous accomplishments in the areas of research, public service, awards and scholarships, and geography-related internships. We’re extremely proud of all our graduating seniors and wish them the best of luck as they embark on the next exciting chapters in their lives.  

Undergraduate Awardees

  • Annika Anderson – Olmstead Award for Achievement in the Cartography & GIS Major
  • Ian Bohachek – Kohn Scholarship Award
  • Ben Cramer – Olmstead Award for Achievement in the Geography Major
  • Nicole Giuliani – Olmstead Award for Academic Excellence
  • Will McAllister – Petchenik Award for Cartographic Design (1st Place)
  • Anya Shaw – Petchenik Award for Cartographic Design (2nd Place)
1st Place​ Petchenik Map Competition awarded to Cartography/GIS student Will McAllister
Geography/Environmental Studies undergraduate Grace Anderson with Department Chair Jack Williams

2024 Undergraduate Graduates

  • Annika Anderson – BA, Cartography/GIS & Geography (Honors in the Major)
  • Grace Anderson – BA, Environmental Studies & Geography
  • Addison Atkin – BS, Cartography/GIS, Data Science & Geography
  • Dane Bach – BS, Cartography/GIS
  • Drake Baker – Cartography/GIS
  • Quinn Boerger – BS, Agricultural & Applied Economics & Cartography/GIS
  • JJ Brand – BA, Geography
  • Ethan Brenes – BS, Cartography/GIS
  • Megan Brokmeier – BA, Environmental Studies & Geography
  • Leah Bulbula – BA, Cartography/GIS, Geography & Landscape & Urban Studies
  • Evan Burnside – BS, Cartography/GIS
  • Kenz Carlton – BS, Cartography/GIS, Geography & Geosciences
  • Eric Cox – BA, Cartography/GIS, Geography & Philosophy
  • Ben Cramer – BA, Cartography/GIS & Geography
  • Ndemazea Fonkem – BA, Geography & Landscape & Urban Studies
  • Nicole Giuliani – BS, Geography & International Studies (Honors in L&S)
  • Michael Grosspietsch – BA, Cartography/GIS & Geography
  • Sam Hagedorn – BS, Geography
  • Julia Halstead – BS, Cartography/GIS, Environmental Studies & Geography
  • Morgan Jensema – BS, Environmental Studies & Geography
  • Yutong Jiang – BS, Cartography/GIS & Geography
  • Caleb McKinley – BA, Geography
  • Caleigh Parsons – BA, Geography
  • Claire Pederson – BA, Geography
  • Jack Sagers – BS, Cartography/GIS & Geography
  • Simone Schneider – BS, Cartography/GIS, Environmental Studies & Geography
  • Jadyn Schulke – BS, Geography
  • Lily Shayegan – BA, Environmental Studies & Geography
  • Sophia Whitehead – BA, Geography & Theatre & Drama
  • Taylor Wild – BS, Environmental Studies & Geography
  • Paige Wysiatko – BS, Cartography/GIS, Environmental Sciences & Geography
Cartography/GIS/Geography undergraduate Ben Cramer with Department Chair Jack Williams

GIS Professional Programs Graduates

GISPP graduates Maggie Lehane, Jusphonia Ho, and Jack Plasterer with GISPP Professor Jonathan Nelson

This year we are celebrating 48 graduates and over 250 graduates since the program launched in 2016! We have 10 graduates from the GIS Fundamentals Capstone, 11 graduates from the Advanced GIS Capstone, 17 graduates from the Cartography and GIS MS: Online GIS Development Option, and 10 graduates from the Cartography and GIS MS: Accelerated/Non-thesis Option. We are delighted that some of these graduates and their families were able to join us to acknowledge the hard work and dedication required to achieve mastery technical skills in Cartography, GIS, geovisualization, geospatial analysis, and web map programming:

  • Kyle Alden – International Development Targeting Scenario Builder (Cartography and GIS MS: GIS Development Option)
  • Bison Carcelli – Advanced GIS Capstone
  • Dominic Cwalinski – ParSuit – Suitability Analysis for the Hartford Capitol Region (Cartography and GIS MS: GIS Development Option)
  • Michael Dobiel – GIS Fundamentals Capstone
  • America Freeman – GIS Fundamentals Capstone
  • Rebecca Halter – Advanced GIS Capstone
  • Jusphonia Ho – Hong Kong Solar Radiation Map (Cartography and GIS MS: GIS Development Option)
  • Vicky Johnson-Dahl – Disaster Loan Data Explorer (Cartography and GIS MS: GIS Development Option)
  • Maggie Lehane – Cartography and GIS MS: Accelerated/Nonthesis Option
  • Zhiyi Li – Cartography and GIS MS: Accelerated/Nonthesis Option
  • Jack Plasterer – Mapping Jet Noise: Illuminating the Impact on Safety, Health, and Wellness in Madison, WI (Cartography and GIS MS: GIS Development Option)
  • Julianne Smiecinski – Urban Heat Explorer (Cartography and GIS MS: GIS Development Option)
  • Jessica Steslow – Agroforestry Benefit Visualization (Cartography and GIS MS: GIS Development Option)
  • Natalie Young – Neighborhood Population & Housing Change in Edgewood, WA 2010-2020 (Cartography and GIS MS: GIS Development Option)
  • Anna Zirkes – Advanced GIS Capstone

Author: Geography Staff