Geography students present research to national meeting

GVL / Courtesy - Rex Larson
Geography Honors Society

Rex Larson

GVL / Courtesy – Rex Larson Geography Honors Society

Meghan McBrady

Besides enjoying the sun and sand in San Francisco, three Grand Valley State University students presented their research at the 2016 Association of American Geographers (AAG) meeting that took place March 29-April 2.

Geography and sustainably planning students Andrea Hendrick, Brittany Jacobs and Rebecca Laughon were given the opportunity to travel to the meeting due to their hard work and dedication to geography.

“I have gained experience through networking and enjoyed showing off my poster display of my project to many professionals and professors,” said Jacobs, Annis Foundation intern. “Many of those who were interested in learning more about my project had great conversations with me about what my plans are for the future.”

Their presentations ranged from large scale green storm-water infrastructure control to assessing impacts of land practices on urbanized lakes. The three students said that it was a wonderful experience to present at this forum.

The AAG Meeting is an interdisciplinary forum that is open to anyone in a geography-related discipline. All scholars, students and researchers are welcomed to the event, with over 7,000 geographers from around the world and featuring over 5,000 presentations, field trips and workshops.

Hendrick, who is planning to be an urban planner once she graduates from GVSU, said that the sessions that she attended at the forum ranged from urban planning and building smart cities.

By attending those sessions, she said, she was also able to present her finding to scholars, doctoral students and professors attending this conference and gain their input on the issue. She said the opportunity to talk them was invaluable as both as an undergraduate and upcoming professional within her research and projects.

Once the three came back to GVSU, Hendrick and Jacobs were inducted along with several other students as members of the Lambda Omega chapter of the international geographic honor society, Gamma Theta Upsilon on April 7.

Demonstrating consistent academic achievement and active in research and community service locally, Jacobs was noted for not only presenting her research at the AAG forum but also for being vice president and later president of the Geography Club.

Hendrick was also noted for being active in the Urban Planning Association at GVSU and for sharing her research at the 2016 Student Mapping Association of Planning.

“Throughout my time at Grand Valley, the professors within the geography and sustainable planning department have pushed me hard to put my all into my work, to be focused and meaningful in what I do and to continue to think more critically,” Hendrick said. “Induction into Gamma Theta Upsilon gave me the feeling that my professors, who strive for excellence, recognized my ability and trusted me as an effective geographer.”

For more information about the geography and sustainable planning program at GVSU, visit