Human Geography: Alums Making Impact in The Public And Private Sectors
The Geography Department at Binghamton University has long emphasized preparing students in physical environment, GIS, and human geography for post-MA careers, or preparation for PhD programs.
While our students find employment in a range of public and private agencies in all of these areas, some readers may be surprised that studying human geography urbanization development and policy, retail analysis, planning applications, sustainability, and applied geography, among others - leads to the largest and most diverse set of careers held by our graduates. This Newsletter issue highlights opportunities and successes afforded our MA graduates in Geography and their careers in human geography.
We often receive questions about career trajectories after taking an initial position. Some of the alums featured here address that question quite clearly.
Some of our majors and some of our MA graduates pursue additional graduate work in PhD programs. Recent examples include Yang Bao (Katherine, MA class 2010) who earned a PhD at the University of Arizona in 2017 and has begun a teaching career at Grand Valley State University (Michigan), Seth Marcus (Class of 1997) earned a PhD from the University of South Carolina and holds a policy position at HUD (Washington, D. C., profiled below), Mattie Bene (Class of 2013), pursuing a PhD at Michigan State University, Medical and Health Geography, and Ana Sanchez (Class of 2013) earned a highly coveted PhD Flagship Fellowship at the University of Maryland, where she is pursuing a PhD in Geography with an emphasis on urbanization and race (profiled on Geography website, 2017).
Professors John Frazier, Graduate Program Director, Norah Henry, CoUndergraduate Program Director, and CoUndergraduate Director Jay Newberry, recently contacted a number of our recent alumni and asked them to update their professional and personal lives for this special issue. Ten of these are summarized here, reflecting interesting and productive career paths and upward mobility.
Geography Prof Voted Best Graduate Teacher
Qiusheng Wu, Department of Geography Assistant Professor, is voted 'Best Graduate Teacher by Binghamton University Students
Each year, students in Binghamton University's Harpur College of Arts and Sciences nominate professors for Harpur College Teaching Awards, which recognize instructors who teach in a way that students find meaningful, challenging and enjoyable. Qiusheng Wu, an assistant professor of geography; received an award this past March.
Wu, who won the award for graduate courses, teaches programming to geography graduate students. In the course, students use computer programs similar to Google Earth to map out the changes in regional conditions, such as population and climate.
He explained that by using discussion boards on MyCourses, students can actively engage with each other. By doing so, they come to class with more questions that encourage Wu to think beyond his own knowledge on the subject. "I also learn a lot from the students," Wu said. "I teach what I know, but as a big surprise, they come back to me and ask some questions that I don't really know the answer. It's really enjoyable because you see the student go beyond what is being taught in class. In the end, it broadens my horizons."
Isaiah Barker, a first-year graduate student studying geography, took Geography 503A: Programming in GIS with professor Wu this semester and has taken Geography 533: Statistics for Geography with him in fall 2016. Barker said that Wu is extremely proficient in the courses he teaches and has inspired Barker to push the limits of what he knows and has yet to learn.
"It's honestly not hard to see why professor Wu would win such a prestigious award," Barker said. "He is fiercely intelligent, yet humble. He is genuinely devoted to his job and goes above and beyond to make sure his students are prepared to succeed."
Chair's Corner: Eugene Tettey-Fio
Department of Geography Chair
This edition of the Department of Geography's Newsletter chronicles the interdisciplinary nature of Geography and the diverse areas of training it provides to students at Bachelor and Master levels. Our professional alums presented here are a small sample of the many that are using their training in Human Geography as Urban and Regional Planners, Retail Site Selection Analysts, and Consultants. Those who focused on Physical Environment and Human-Environment tracks have found placements as Environmental Planners, Consultants in the private and government sectors, and in Resource Conservation and Management. The Department has been training and placing students in the geo-technology sector since 1980 and it continues to grow the numbers of professionals in GIS/Remote Sensing with each passing year
The diverse professional training and placements are matched and mirrored by the diversity of faculty and students, especially our graduate students. Department recruitment efforts are rewarded with students representing all continents and many countries who see the department as a very welcoming home. We are proud of the effort, time and goodwill input by all constituents of the Geography Community in making the department a memorable place for the alumni and enjoyable place of the current students.
A large number of PhD programs compete to recruit our MAs because of the quality of our program, given the award-winning research by our faculty, as well as their dedication to teaching. Students graduate having participated in conferences, presenting their own research or in collaboration with faculty, and working as Teaching Assistants, which students have confessed makes them mature and responsible beyond the mere call of duty.
Geography's accomplishments are not without resources and we recognize the extent to which resources facilitate our performance. I want to thank Provost Nieman for his commitment to extend the reach of GIS/Remote Sensing in campus by supporting the transition of the department labs to the Virtual Environment and providing a post-doc to teach a new course titled "GIS for Everyone", designed to expose the campus community to GIS in Spring 2018.
Finally, on behalf of the Geography Community, I want to welcome Professor Aondover Tarhule, Dean of the Graduate School, who is a Geographer by training and practice, to BU.
Geographers Fill Key Administrative Positions
The Department of Geography welcomes Aondover Tarhule, the new Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate College, and his wife, Roosmarijn Tarhule-Lips who is a CPA with a Master of Accountancy as well as a PhD in geography and serves as the new Director of Finance for Harpur College.
Aondover A. Tarhule, former professor of geography and executive associate dean in the College of Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences at the University of Oklahoma, is the new Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School as of August 10, 2017. He is also a tenured faculty member of the Department of Geography.
"I am humbled and excited by the opportunity to join Binghamton University as vice provost and dean of the Graduate School," said Tarhule. "Throughout the application and interview process, it was clear to me that the administrative leadership team at Binghamton, from the president, provost, deans and everyone I met, is truly top notch, visionary and committed to advancing graduate education and research at this great institution."
"It is indeed a privilege to join this team and to work on the goal of increasing graduate enrollment and strengthening the quality and reputation of Binghamton's graduate programs," he added. "My goal, ultimately, is to help position Binghamton University among national leaders in the drive to prepare today's graduate students for the careers, societal challenges and educational opportunities of the 21st century."
Impressed with Tarhule's grasp of changes that are re-shaping graduate education, Provost Don Nieman noted his commitment to collaboration and transdisciplinary research and teaching, strong communication skills, and ideas for expanding and strengthening graduate education at Binghamton University.
"Aondover is an outstanding scholar who understands the landscape of graduate education, has a strong record of promoting collaboration across disciplinary boundaries, and will help us continue to strengthen graduate education and increase graduate enrollment — a top priority for the campus."
Tarhule has the qualities necessary to make him a successful graduate dean and to build on Susan Strehle's successful leadership during the past four years, according to President Harvey Stenger.
"Aondover has a record of collaboration and a compelling vision for graduate education that will make him a strong advocate for graduate education and enable him to provide the leadership that will help us reach our ambitious goals for graduate education," Stenger said.
Tarhule grew up in Nigeria and earned a BS in geography (first class) and MS in environmental resources planning at the University of Jos before continuing to Canada, where he earned the MS and PhD in geography at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. After completing his doctorate, Tarhule returned to the University of Jos as lecturer for one year and spent another year as a post-doctoral research fellow at Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, and from there accepted a position as assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma. There he rose through the ranks to become a professor, successful department chair and executive associate dean.
A productive scholar, Tarhule is a physical geographer who studies hydroclimatic variability, with a special emphasis on Africa. He has published almost 40 papers in refereed journals, served as principal advisor for more than a dozen graduate students, sponsored and supervised several postdoctoral fellows, and secured funding for his research from the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Health, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Oklahoma Water Resources Research Institute.
Rozemarijn Tarhule-Lips, a native of the Netherlands, earned a License in Sciences Geographic from the University of Liege, Belgium, and MSc and PhD in Geography from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario Canada. An avid caver and researcher, her thesis and dissertation research produced a reconstruction of the geologic and environmental historic of Cayman Brac, in the Caribbean, based on thermolumniscence dating of cave speleothems.
After a seven year teaching experience at the University of Oklahoma, Roos changed careers, earning a Master of Accountancy degree from the University of Oklahoma, and became a certified public accountant (CPA). A life-long learner, Roos went on to acquire additional qualifications as a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). Her accounting career has included working as an assistant controller in private industry and audit manager at major public accounting firms specializing in colleges, as well as governmental and Not-for-Profit organizations.
The couple has two children, Sesugh Tarhule, a biochemistry sophomore at the University of Oklahoma who transferred into the Integrated Neuroscience Program at Binghamton University, and Doobee Tarhule, a freshman in the School of Management with interests in entrepreneurship and global business.
Geography Department Welcomes New Faculty Member for Fall 2017
Professor Brendan L. Lavy joined the department as a visiting assistant professor this fall. He is a human environment geographer with research and teaching interests in environmental resource management, environmental policy, and urban sustainability. His research focuses on how acute, chronic natural hazards influence change in social, political, and economic systems; how urban growth effects the distribution of environmental resources; and how news media may be leveraged to explore geographic outcomes of environmental change. He employs both quantitative and qualitative methods in his research. He was awarded an MS (2013) and PhD in Geography by Texas State University (2017).
Professor Lavy's dissertation documents decades of change in the consumption and control of water resources within a semi-arid, rapidly-urbanizing watershed prone to recurring droughts and floods. Other of his research projects examined media coverage of a gentrifying neighborhood, the spatial and temporal outcomes of urban tree removals, the impact of urbanization on soil resources, and urban land use change after a natural disaster. Professor Lavy's research has been featured on Austin's National Public Radio station KUT.
Before joining Binghamton University, Professor Lavy taught environmental geography and urban geography at Texas State University as a PhD candidate. He previously served as the personal assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State at the U. S. Department of State and as the chief of staff to the Dean at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Finally, Professor Lavy was served as the outreach coordinator for Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D. C.
Professor Lavy is married to Amanda Esparza and has two sons, Louis and Forest (see photo). We are fortunate to have a professor with his experience and expertise. Welcome Brendan, Amanda, Louis, and Forest as the newest additions to our Geography family!
New Grad Students
The BU Geography Department is well known for its diversity of students and faculty. This year we welcome 16 new students for the academic year, 2017-18. Our new students hail from the US and around the world. They join returning students from Africa, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Newcomers hail from Ghana, Kenya, Eritrea, China, Puerto Rico, and the US.
Geography Graduate and Undergraduate Majors Participate in Annual Public Health City Management "Crises"
Fourteen Geography graduates and undergraduates participated in two annual public health emergency management "crises" with thirdyear medical students from SUNY Upstate Medical School, Decker School of Nursing and EMT trainees. The students completed two FEMA and one Centers for Disease Control certificate courses prior to the half-day "emergency" exercise under the direction of Geography Professor Henry. The students were subdivided into teams (news, government activity, public worker, and others) that addressed distinct parts of the problem-solving effort.
Undergraduates Dylan Markowitz, Sophia Calidonna, Alexa Sikoryak, Jack Biemler, Kevin Corey, Michael Davis, Michael Schofield, and graduate students, Brianna McAdams, Courtney Zirkel, James Woods, Fernando Flores, Bryan Goodrich, and Orlando BatistaMorales spent four hours at the Upstate Medical Campus at the Binghamton University Health Center learning and applying their planning and geographic skills in problem resolution for the crisis management exercise.
Congratulations to Jay Newberry on his promotion to Associate Professor!
Geography Student Wins Chancellor's Award for Excellence
Xi Li has been presented with the Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence. The Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence honors State University of New York students who have best demonstrated and been recognized for their integration of academic excellence with other aspects of their lives, which may include leadership, campus involvement, athletics, career achievement, community service or creative and performing arts.
Alumni Working in Business Geography
David McAleese, BA Class of 2004, MA class of 2006; Vice President of Macy's Area Research Department; Cincinnati, Ohio
David graduated with a BA (20) and MA (20) with an emphasis on urban geography, applied geography and retail geography. He learned theory and analytical methods in a variety of classes and one important experience was serving as lead analyst on a sponsored locational study, serving as a research assistant who presented results to a client. He went Macy's as a beginning store and market analyst and has been promoted a number of times, including to VP of the Area Research Department. David provides some personal information and explains his duties and appreciation for his education this way.
My background in Geography, and particularly the emphasis on the applied side of the discipline, provided me with a strong foundation with which I developed my career. As the nature of my responsibilities has shifted away from new store opportunities and site selection to focusing on more strategic assessments of our portfolio, the common skill required has been the ability to analyze and interpret data. In an organization where more and more decisions are coming to rely on analytics, having these skills and approaching problems from a spatial perspective has been an asset. I am grateful to the B.U. Geography Department for helping me develop these skills.
As a Vice President in the Macy's Area Research Department, I oversee a small team that handles all research responsibilities for Macy's Northeast and South regions, as well as the Bloomingdale's division. This entails completing analyses and making recommendations relating to new store planning, remodels, store closures, consolidations and lease negotiations. I am also responsible for identifying potential candidates for rollouts of new initiatives, including Macy's off-price storewithin-store concept, Macy's Backstage, and Bloomingdale's Outlet. In addition, I provide support to the EVP of Real Estate by evaluating Macy's strategic positioning in markets, weighing in on value-creation opportunities and assessing performance across our brick-and-mortar locations and Macy's.com. It is worth noting that due to the small size of the Area Research department, a large portion of my time now is devoted to leveraging relationships across different functions and ensuring I am the subject-matter expert on geographic market dynamics (almost like an internal consultant) as a means to influence key decisions.
I live in the Cincinnati metro area with my wife, Randi (also a B.U. grad), and four-year old daughter Corryn. We miss the east coast but enjoy the quality of life here in the Midwest.
Patrick Callahan, MA Class of 2015; Retail and Real Estate Analyst, Dollar Stores
John also wrote to Patrick Callahan, a more recent MA graduate, class of 2013. Patrick accepted a position as a retail and real estate analyst at Dollar Tree, a fast-growing discount store chain. Like David, he was hired for his skills learned at BU and is working for a retail business chain. Patrick explained his duties.
"Thank you for reaching out, John. I'm working at the Dollar Tree as a Real Estate Analyst. Some of the primary responsibilities include creating/updating regional sales forecasting models (including analysis in GIS), forecasting first-year sales and profit for new stores, and market planning/strategy for Dollar Tree stores. We use skills learned at BU and use GIS on a daily basis, while constantly working to incorporate our tool set into many different areas of the business. I plan to stay in touch!"
Ester Ofori, MA Class of 2008; Macy's Department Stores, Manhattan, NYC; Manager of Investment Strategy/Central Planning Manager
Esther studied urban-economic geography with an emphasis on retailing. Her thesis included ethnic businesses and the roles of economic redevelopment in a neighborhood of NYC. She has been promoted several times since joining Macy's and started in their Cincinnati, Ohio office before moving to their office in NYC. She began her career research analyst in area research and moved into financial analysis and, most recently, manager of investment strategies.
I graduated from the Geography Program at Binghamton University with a Bachelors of Arts degree in 2006 and remained there to complete my Masters of Arts degree in 2008. I focused on the Urban Planning and Retail Analysis tract, which had strong emphasis on applying theory learned in the classroom to solving real life issues. My advisors were Professors John Frazier and Eugene Tettey-Fio.
I can confidently say that my education at Binghamton University prepared me well and provided the excellent foundation needed to succeed in the corporate world - I initially drew upon the research, GIS and presentation skills daily before my learning curve began in other fields.
In my current position as a manager, I have played a key role in the national roll out of the new women's shoe program by contributing to the design of the staffing model for support associates. I also built a budget to support this new initiative. I also oversee the monthly ROF (about $400 million) for Macy's stores in the two largest regions of the company, working closely with regional leaders to identify opportunities for increased productivity. Finally, I created a new tool for the identification of the most important sales opportunities for strategic businesses, such as cosmetics, which is used by over 250,000 associates nationwide.
I am truly thankful to the passionate professors that provided support and encouragement during my undergraduate and graduate years at BU. They pushed me to understand my full potential and that has helped me develop the confidence I needed to succeed not only in the career path I have chosen but in life in general.
Dulce Bueno, MA Class of 2009; Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives, NYS Department of Education, NYC
I can't believe it has been ten years since I received my BA degree from Binghamton University! My undergraduate years in the Geography Department opened the door to a new world for me. Learning about GIS, Urban Geography and Planning, Ethnicity, and Economic Geography connected my personal curiosity to great opportunities possible through graduate school. Things were even better when I pursued a Master's degree! Research and policy analysis became my passion. I am fortunate to have learned from such a dedicated, passionate, and caring team.
After graduation with an MA, I used my new skills to find an entry level position for policy work with the NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE). At first I worked on the "Students in Temporary Housing Program," providing budget and operational support. Then I moved to the Office of Leadership, where my skills were used to support budget and policy strategies to build and sustain leadership pipelines in the NYCDOE. Currently, I am the Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives. I support the Office of Leadership's recruitment, application, selection, and placement work via program evaluation and policy analysis. This year, in particular, offers the opportunity to utilize my geographic education. I am excited to provide demographic analysis that focuses on racial equity in NYC.
On a personal note, I married my husband, Ariel, in 2013 and moved to Ringwood, NJ. We have a miniature Schnauzer named Barbo, who is babied a lot! We love traveling the world and will be visiting Morocco this September. I look forward to learning and connecting with other Alumni and hope we can meet at homecoming 2017!
Alums Working in Professional Planning at Various Scales
Many of our alums are employed at different levels in professional planning agencies. In this issue we illustrate four alums with positions in different levels, beginning with Stephanie Brewer, recently hired as a planner in a county agency, followed by Tito Martinez, a city planner. Then, we move to two alums working in transportation planning, Jennifer Yonkowski, now director of a regional agency, and to Luis Ortiz Sanchez, employed by a regional transit authority in South Carolina.
Staphanie Brewer, Class of 2017; Urban-Regional Planner, Broome County, NY
I received my Master's in Urban Planning and Applied Geography which prepared me to work in local government. I was first brought into the Planning Department as a student intern to map the hiking trails in our area as part of "Go All Out Broome," an interactive map of the outdoor recreation activities in Broome County. During my internship, I was fortunate enough to be hired to work full-time at the County, while finishing my MA degree. As a Planner my typical duties include: assisting municipalities with comprehensive planning, preparing long-range plans and reports, grant writing, data collection and analysis, map making, and working closely with professional consultants. One of my favorite parts about Broome County is its complex mix of urban, suburban, and rural character, which poses many unique issues and circumstances to learn from.
Exciting things are happening here in Broome County and I am very glad I get to be a part of it! Right now, we are developing the Broome County Agricultural Economic Development Plan, which will help us identify projects and goals to enhance our local agricultural industry. We are also creating Revitalization Plans for the Endicott and Johnson City Innovation Districts (iDistricts); these plans will help guide future development and investment in these communities as the educational and health industries continue to grow, attracting workers and residents. Another great project we are doing is the Broome County Parks Master Plan, which will inventory the eight county-owned parks and assess the recreational needs of our residents, and overall provide recommendations to enhance our recreational assets.
I majored in Geography and met Professor Frazier in is Geography 103 course (Multicultural Geographies of the US). Each class I took led me to the next and I received my BA in Geography. My thesis project combined ethnic-racial geography, economic redevelopment and planning policies. My MA advisors were Professors Newberry and Frazier. I am extremely grateful to all members of the Geography Department for providing me with the guidance, education, and invaluable opportunities that guided my aspiration to become an urban planner.
Seth Marcus, Class of 1997; Director of the HRSA Data Warehouse, HUD, Washington, D.C.
Hi Faculty, Staff, Alums, and current geography students,
I graduated from Binghamton with a BA in Geography in 1997. My favorite classes included Urban Geography and GIS courses with Dr. Frazier, Environmental Management with Dr. Montz, and Cartography with Dr. Edney. I worked closely with Dr. Margai, who we all miss a lot, on an Honors Thesis. I also have many fond memories of courses with Dr. Blumler, Dr. Tettey-Fio, Dr. Hsu, and of course Luke!
I went on to the University of South Carolina for graduate work. After graduation, I spent two years working as a GIS trainer in the private sector and also worked briefly as a web developer contractor for NASA. In 2001, I took a position with HUD in Washington, DC where I researched housing quality in the Section 8 Voucher program. Over time, I evolved into an IT manager, working on HUD's GIS, geocoding, and grants management systems. One of my accomplishments at HUD was developing CPDMaps (https:// egis.hud.gov/cpdmaps/), a data-rich web-based GIS tool that helps state and local governments determine locations for spending community development and affordable housing grants. In 2012, I joined the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), where I managed IT systems that track medical malpractice and health workforce data. In 2016, I came back to my geography roots as the Director of the HRSA Data Warehouse (https:// data.hrsa.gov), the agency's GIS mapping and business intelligence reporting website. My team also operates Find a Health Center (https:// findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov) used by 10 million citizens annually to find lowcost community health clinics.
Currently, I live in Maryland with my wife and two kids, ages 7 and 9. Most of our spare time is consumed with driving the kids to ballet, soccer, basketball, cub scouts, tennis, or other activities. I do enjoy gardening, swimming, and photography when time permits. We all enjoy traveling, and will take a road trip in October to attend Homecoming as it will be my 20-year reunion. Has it really been 20 years? I must be getting old!
Tito Martinez, MA 2012; Assistant Director, Department of Planning, Housing, and Community Development (PHCD), Binghamton, NY
I have fond memories of my time at BU and I appreciate the professional preparation the faculty provided, especially my advisor, Professor Norah Henry.
My first employment was as a planner at the City of Binghamton in 2012. I was appointed Deputy City Clerk in 2014. One year later, I moved back to PPHCD as Assistant Director.
My current responsibilities involve oversight of the City's Planning and Zoning Divisions, which carry a large range of planning and land use-related functions. These include, for example, development review, comprehensive planning, historic preservation, zoning enforcement, and grant writing.
When I am not working, I like spending time playing with my two toddlers, Sofia and Luciano, watching Netflix with my wife, Karina, and renovating my 120 year-old house in the First Ward of Binghamton.
Jennifer Yonkowski, MA Class of 2007, Director, Binghamton Metropolitan Transportation Study (BMTS)
Jennifer is currently the Director at the Binghamton Metropolitan Transportation Study (BMTS) in Binghamton, NY. She summarized her experiences this way
I did a BA in Geography at SUNYAlbany and joined the Geography MA program, Binghamton University in 2005, focusing on applied geography and urban planning. My first position after receiving my MA in 2007 was as the Senior Transportation Planner at BMTS. I held that position Jennifer for just over eight years. In 2015 I was promoted to the title "Director." Besides being responsible for assuring compliance with federal transportation planning law, I also work on a variety of projects that include planning studies in collaboration with local municipalities, transportation/land use studies, and the assessment of potential traffic impacts of site developments within our planning area.
I am an Adjunct Professor at Binghamton University where I teach two courses, "Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning" and "Legal Aspects of Land Use Planning." I really enjoy teaching and being a part of the Geography Department.
I live in Endwell, NY with my husband, Micah, and our two children, ages 8 and 11. When I am not watching my kid's basketball and baseball games, I enjoy running, reading, and camping with my family.
Luis Ortiz Sanchez, MA 2016; Planner II/Analyst, Columbia, South Carolina
Luis is another recent MA grad who has a great deal of potential. After working in Richmond, Virginia, in training and transportation research, he accepted a position in South Carolina. He describes his experiences this way.
I studied transportation geography and transportation planning with my MA advisor, Professor Jay Newberry. This was excellent preparation for my career. I also gained strong credentials provided by other faculty in the Geography Department.
I began work in June 2017 at the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority in Columbia, South Carolina. This is a very demanding position with numerous assignments that will further my career. For example, I am responsible for the following: compilation and analysis of ridership data, management of bus stop inventory, the development, evaluation, and management/ implementation of route and service changes, and the review and interpretation of policies, codes, and legislation. I also routinely use the skills I learned at Binghamton, including the application of computer-assisted techniques.
I love to travel and see the world.
Leshatho (Shaix) Moshakga, MA Class of 2014; Ecosurv Environmental Constultants, Gabronne, Botswana
Letshatho is a great example of a graduate student who studied human-environmental geography, which includes an emphasis on environmental systems and processes within the context of human actions and the social outcomes for people. He studied closely with the late Professor Florence Margai but indicates the importance of a comprehensive education that joins environmental and human systems into assessment and planning.
I am currently with Ecosurv Environmental Consultants in Botswana. I am a certified Environmental Assessment Practitioner. Certification allows me to prepare environmental impact assessments, environmental management plans, and environmental compliance monitoring reports for various projects in Botswana. These involve projects ranging from infrastructure development to power station development, and from agricultural and mining studies to tourism projects and their impacts. The primary goal my work is to minimize detrimental environmental and social impacts resulting from the development of such projects. The whole scope of work involves research, field work and data collection, data analysis, and GIS mapping. All of the many skills I learned by attending Binghamton University's Geography Department have proven quite useful in my employment. I thank all of the professors I worked, including while I served as a Teaching Assistant in physical and human geography. I also thank my fellow students who made my stay in Binghamton beautiful. I still keep in touch with most of them through social media platforms. We had a wonderful reunion with 5 BU Geography MAs at Matte Bene's (MA class of 2014 BU and now a PhD student at Michigan State University) wedding this summer in Botswana. I have posted photos on Facebook.
When not working, as you would have guessed, I still spend most of my free time either watching or playing REAL football (not American Football Ha! Ha!). It is surely nice to be closer to family and away from the miserably cold Binghamton weather, but I have to admit that I find myself missing that place more often than I would have thought. I will come back to visit one day!