Association of American Geographers
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National Councilors

(two to be elected)


Jennifer Collins

JENNIFER COLLINS. Associate Professor. School of Geosciences. University of South Florida (USF). Ph.D., 2002, University College London; B.S., 1997, University of Lancaster (U.K.).

Service to AAG: Co-Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee for the AAG conference in Tampa, 2014. Chair of the Climate Specialty Group (CSG), 2014-2016. Vice Chair 2012-2014, and Director 2010-2012. World Geography Bowl committee (question writer, coach, moderator, judge) for numerous regional (NESTVAL, Middle States, SEDAAG) and AAG conferences, 2003-2017. Organizer and leader for workshop designed for international faculty, 2007. Moderator for a panel on promoting collegiality and communication, and improving faculty satisfaction. SEDAAG Education Committee Member, 2006-2010 (Chair 2009-2010). Organizer and presenter of numerous AAG and SEDAAG sessions including SEDAAG’s Active Learning Swap Shop.

Other service: National Weather Association (NWA) Specialized Operations Committee on Tropical Cyclones, 2009-2016. West Central Florida Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (WCFLAMS) President, 2010-present. Vice President, 2009-2010. Corresponding Secretary, 2007-2009. WCFLAMS organizer of monthly meetings, “Teach the Teacher” and “Careers in Meteorology” workshops, 2007-present. University Corporation of Atmospheric Research Unidata Strategic Planning Committee, 2015 to present. Co-organizer of the Unidata Users Triennial (2012) and Regional Workshop, 2015. American Meteorological Society (AMS) Membership sub-committee, 2011-2012. AMS Local Chapters Affairs Committee, 2013-2016. Reviewer for numerous journals, grant agencies, and student awards. Oxford Bibliographies in Geography, Editorial Board Member, 2016-present.

Publications: My research is at the intersection of geography and meteorology, thus I publish in journals related to both related fields. I have published two books, one lead-authored, Florida Weather and Climate: More than just Sunshine, and the other as lead editor, Hurricanes and Climate Change (vol 3). Both were published in 2017. Hurricanes: From Hazard to Impact, lead editor, is forthcoming, 2018. Additionally, I have over 35 peer-reviewed publications, numerous editorially-reviewed articles, conference articles and special reports. My publications appear in journals such as the The Professional Geographer; Geophysical Research Letters; Journal of Climate; Weather, Climate and Society; and Physical Geography. I have also published in other important journals, which provide a more immediate impact of my research on the community. For example, in the National Weather Association’s journal, which is read by operational meteorologists. As a result, some meteorologists consider my research results in their forecasts, which ultimately saves lives.

Awards, Honors, and Grants: SEDAAG’s Excellence in Teaching Award, 2010. USF’s Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2007-2008; Kosove Distinguished Graduate Teaching and Service Award, 2015; Outstanding Student Organization Advisor, 2007-2008. American Meteorological Society, Chapter of the Year Award for the West Central Florida Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (WCFLAMS), 2015-2016, 2014-2015, 2011-2012 (My role – President of WCFLAMS and co-writer of application). Numerous grants from agencies including NSF, NOAA, Florida Sea Grant, Natural Hazards Center, and UCAR. Five NSF awards including the current multi-year Weather, Climate, and Society Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (REU), and an award providing travel to early career participants to an international hurricane summit I co-organized. Other NSF awards including a Rapid Response Research grant for Hurricane Irma. Two AAG awards: EDGE for the professional development of students by engaging department alumni and the Enrichment Award for a session on International Faculty.

Research and Teaching Interests: My research focuses on weather, climate, and society. As a hurricane researcher, I am primarily interested in the interaction between large-scale climatic patterns such as the El Niño – Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Madden – Julian Oscillation and seasonal and intraseasonal patterns of tropical cyclone activity in multiple oceanic basins. Additionally, I work in the social sciences to examine human behavior relating to hurricane evacuation. I have worked to integrate the physical and social sciences as evidenced by the REU, which I am organizing where teams of mentors from each area are working on a research problem together with a team of students. I also work closely on projects with the National Weather Service involving tornadoes and fog, and collaborate with international researchers on climate change. I consider teaching and research as two sides of the same coin. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses on these topics and I integrate the physical and social science in my teaching, just as I do with my research. While completing my undergraduate education at Lancaster University, I had the opportunity to undertake a study abroad at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Because this was the best year of my life, I have provided enriching study abroad opportunities for my students.

Statement: With the gift of encouragement that my geography teacher gave me, there is nothing better than seeing that glint in the eye of a student who shares that passion. The Great Storm of 1987 impacted the United Kingdom causing Seven Oaks in Kent to be temporarily known as One Oak. Occurring on my birthday, this event focused my interest on hazards.

After completing my Ph.D. in physics at University College London, I spent the early years of my career attending American Meteorological Society (AMS) conferences. In my first job at Plymouth State University, I discussed the geographic nature of my research with colleagues in Geography. My faculty mentor and friend there introduced me to the AAG and the regional divisions. I have attended every meeting since my first AAG in New Orleans in 2003. I also became engaged with the regional meetings, encouraging my students to also attend. 

My focus, if elected as National Councilor, will be in the following areas:

1) Building bridges and connecting the physical and social sciences. Effective collaborations are imperative to address the world’s issues, as we share our discipline’s strengths including the literature and methodology from each other’s fields, and by sharing expertise, work together toward the same goal. With my experience in both fields, working on funded grants with both physical and social scientists, I will use this knowledge to promote collaboration among sub-disciplines within the AAG.

2) Promoting diversity in the discipline, for our members, and for society. Geography, an inclusive discipline, brings together social sciences and natural sciences, and humanities, linking theory and practice. In this time of divisiveness, geography can address some of these issues, and offer inclusion. This inclusivity and respect for diversity has been achieved through initiatives, which our leadership has cultivated with great resolve. With the problems that our country and the world face today, we need to come together to address remaining challenges. With my experience through workshops e.g. as Panelist for the 2012 AAG Department Leadership Workshop on promoting diversity, and through developing programs which emphasize diversity such as the REU, I will be a voice to further promote diversity.

3) Encouraging members and universities to consider the broader impact of one’s published work. In addition to publishing in top-tier journals, as Derek Alderman noted in the December 2017 President’s column entitled, “Broadening and Caring for the Footprint of Published Scholarship,” the importance of disseminating our research more broadly in other venues is imperative to engage those outside the academy. I will encourage the leadership to work with members and universities to acknowledge the impact of our discipline’s research, beyond citation rates and H index, as geographers collaborate with public groups and policy makers to put our research into practice.

As national councilor, I would bring national and international experience, together with leadership experience, to bear in addressing these challenges and encourage more effective communication about human impact upon our world to the public and media. I look forward to serving the AAG further, with your support, to make the AAG an even more effective and influential organization having an impact on current and future generations of members.  


Andrew Goetz

ANDREW GOETZ. Professor, Department of Geography & the Environment, University of Denver. Ph.D. Geography, 1987, Ohio State University; M.A. Geography, 1984, Kent State University; B.A. Geography, 1980, Northwestern University.

Service to Geography and the AAG: I have been an active member of the AAG since 1981, and I am currently a member of the AAG Publications Committee having started my 3-year term in 2015. I am also active in the International Geographical Union currently serving as treasurer of the Commission on Transport and Geography and previously as the U.S. representative on the Commission's steering committee from 2009-2017. I served as chair of the Department of Geography & the Environment at the University of Denver for eight years, completing my last term in 2016. While a department chair, I benefitted greatly from participating in several AAG Departmental Leadership Workshops held at the University of Colorado-Boulder. I served as a senior panelist for the Geography and Spatial Science program in the National Science Foundation from 2013 to 2016. Prior to that, I served as an associate editor of the Journal of Transport Geography from 2004 to 2012, and continue to serve on its editorial board. I previously served in the AAG Transport Specialty Group as chair (1996-1998), secretary-treasurer (1991-1995), newsletter editor (1991-1993), and board member (1989-1995; 1999-2001). I am also a member of the AAG Economic Geography, Urban Geography, and Water Resources Specialty Groups.

I have attended and presented research at the AAG Annual Meeting in 30 out of the last 33 years. I served as a Program Committee co-chair (with Gary Gaile) for the 2005 Annual Meeting in Denver, and organized a special AAG session "Geographic Perspectives on Denver and Colorado." I have organized over 30 paper and panel sessions, field trips, and workshops at the annual meetings. I have also attended and presented research at numerous AAG regional meetings, including an invited keynote address at the 1996 Great Plains/Rocky Mountains regional meeting.

At the University of Denver, I have served as a mentor for postdoctoral fellows in the Interdisciplinary Research Institute for the Study of (In)Equality (IRISE) since 2014 in the areas of environmental justice and urban sustainability. I have been an affiliated faculty member in the University's interdisciplinary Urban Studies program since 2003, and served on the University's Sustainability Council Curriculum & Research committee from 2012 to 2015. I have served as a judge for the National Geographic Bee in Colorado for most years since 1991. I also serve on several urban and transportation advisory committees in Denver.

Awards, Honors and Grants: I received the following honors and awards: the Edward L. Ullman Award from the AAG for Significant Contributions to Transportation Geography (2010); the Douglas K. Fleming AAG Honorary Lecture (2001); Honorary Brian Hoyle Lecture, Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers (2013); Senior Visiting Fellowships at the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of Bologna, Italy (2009, 2017); International Geographical Union/Commission on Geographical Education, Recognition of Commitment to the Commission's Activities (1992). I have been awarded 27 externally-funded grants, including those from the AAG, the National Science Foundation, and the National Center for Intermodal Transportation.

Research and Teaching Interests: My interests are in urban, transportation, and economic geography, with particular emphases on sustainability, environmental and social justice, and inequality. My current research involves the study of urban highway redevelopment and the social and environmental impacts on low-income and minority communities; urban climate action plans and the role of freight transport; sustainability implications of land use around airports, including “aerotropolis” developments; smart growth, smart cities, and urban sustainability; rail transit systems and transit-oriented development; economic development impacts of transportation infrastructure investment; and high-speed rail. I teach courses on the geography of metropolitan Denver, urban landscapes, urban planning, and urban transportation.

Publications: I have co-authored three books, co-edited one book volume, and authored or co-authored more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. I have published papers in the Annals of the American Association of Geographers, The Professional Geographer, Journal of Transport Geography, Economic Geography, Urban Studies, Cities, Growth and Change, International Regional Science Review, Demography, and other journals. I contributed two entriesto The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology published last year by the AAG and Wiley/Blackwell.

Statement: I am deeply concerned about the current political climate in the United States, especially threats on and disdain for science, evidence-based research, and education generally. I attended the March for Science in Denver on Earth Day, April 22, 2017, and I was heartened to see so many people gathered to support the importance of science. I encountered many people who I knew were not overtly political, but felt strongly about standing up and speaking out for science and education. At the same time, I was stunned that a march for science had even become necessary. While disagreements over types and amounts of support for research are not new, public and political support for science and education has historically been a bedrock value in American society. But in the current climate, even these formerly sacrosanct values have been called into question. It is because of these contemporary threats to science and education, and my long-standing interest and support for the study of Geography, that I am especially interested in serving the AAG as a National Councilor.

Similar to other academic fields, Geography is under threat by attacks on the credibility and importance of science and education. The subject matter of Geography is central to many of the most pressing issues we face today, including climate change, sustainability, respect for human rights, migration, enhancing inclusiveness and diversity, and improving international relations. The work of geographers in these and other areas is critical to helping to solve many of the problems we now face. We need to emphasize and underscore the value of geography and geographic education to policy makers and the general public, especially at a time when so many of our contributions are being derided or ignored.

I support the AAG in its efforts to publicize the role and purpose of Geography in helping to solve contemporary problems locally, nationally, and globally. I support recent initiatives to raise Geography's profile through the creation of a Speakers Bureau, improving public communication, and supporting actionable and policy-relevant research. The AAG stands for a set of values including professionalism, ethical behavior, and adherence to facts and evidence that deserve our renewed support. I am honored to be nominated to serve as a National Councilor for the AAG, and I look forward to supporting more directly the important work of the AAG.


Ronald R. Hagelman, III

RONALD R. HAGELMAN, III. Associate Professor, Texas State University; Ph.D. in Environmental Geography, Texas State University (2001); Masters of Applied Geography, Texas State University (1997); B.A. in History, University of Texas at Austin (1988)

Service to Geography and the AAG: Texas Alliance for Geographic Education (TAGE), Coordinator, 2016-2017; Local Arrangements Committee Chair, 2015, SWAAG Conference, San Antonio, TX; Member, AAG Archive Committee, 04/2015 - 04/2017; Member, AAG Executive Director Evaluation Committee, 2014-2105; AAG Council Liaison to Archive Committee, 2014-2015; AAG Committee on Committees, 2014-2015; Chair, AAG Regional Councilors, 2014-2015; SWAAG Regional Councilor, 2012-2015; AAG Enhancing Diversity Committee, 2012-2013; Faculty Director, AAG Hazards, Risk, and Disaster (HRDSG) Specialty Group, 2010-2012; Chair, Hazards, Risk, and Disaster (HRDSG) Specialty Group, 2007-2009; Local Arrangements Committee, 2008, SWAAG Conference, San Marcos, TX; Faculty Director, Hazards Specialty Group, 2005-2006, AAG; Local Arrangements Committee, 2003, AAG Conference, New Orleans, LA; Reviewer for The Annals of American Association of Geographers

Grants and Awards: Mix, Kenneth (PI), Eichler, Matthew (Co-PI), Hagelman, III, Ronald R. (Co-PI). 2015. Boots to Roots: Preparing Female Veteran and Hispanic Veterans in the Agricultural and STEM Degrees, National Institute of Food and Agriculture/USDA. Total Award Amount: $274,991.00. Award Period: 09/01/2015 - 08/31/2019

Hagelman, III, R. R. , Huynh, N. and J. M. Davis. 2010. Conditions of Children's Place, Play, and Services in Emergency Shelters, Quick Response Grant ($2,000) – Approved, UC Boulder Hazards Center.

Lindquist, E. and R. R. Hagelman, III (Co-PI). 2004-2007. Potential Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Transportation Infrastructure and Systems in the Central U.S. Gulf Coast: Phase I. Dept. of Transportation, Award Amount: $117,291, Lead Institution: Texas A&M University, College Station, TX.

Laska, S. and R. Hagelman, (Co-PI). 2002-2007. Use of Science in Gulf of Mexico Decision; Making Involving Climate Change, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Award Amount: $375,000, Lead Institution: Texas A&M University, College Station, TX.

Laska, S., Hagelman, R., and S. Howell. 2004. (Co-PI). Southeast Louisiana Citizen Evacuation; Behavior Study, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 1437 DR-LA, Award Amount: $350,000, Lead Institution: CHART/University of New Orleans. Recipient, Regional Councilor Service Award. 2015. Southwest Division of the Association of American Geographers, SWAAG/Applied Geography Conference Joint Meeting.

Distinguished Teacher-Higher Education Award, 2012, National Council on Geographic Education (NCGE).

International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research (IJAGR) Best Paper Award, 2012. Connolly,

M., Hagelman, R., and S. Fuhrmann. 2012. Estimating Residential Carbon footprints for the medium-sized American city. International Journal of Applied Geo-Spatial Research. 3(4):103-122.

Outstanding Paper Award, 2008, Bi-national Responses to Emergencies and Disasters: Cooperation between Mexico and the United States (Tiefenbacher, J. and R. Hagelman). TIEMS: The International Emergency Management Society Annual Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, June 2008.

Gilbert White Dissertation Award, 2002, AAG Hazards Specialty Group

Publications: My publications include a recently coauthored text with Guilford Publishing, Natural Hazards: Explanation and Integration (2nd Edition), refereed book chapters on topics ranging from flood disaster reconstruction to local/urban food production, and refereed articles on topics including disaster reconstruction, environmental hazards, international humanitarian aid, urban sustainability, urban redevelopment/gentrification. I have published in The Professional Geographer, Urban Geography, Applied Geography, Environmental Hazards, Journal of Coastal Research, Geoinformatica, Natural Hazards Review, Southeastern Geographer, and Disaster Prevention and Management among others. Current publishing projects include ongoing research on business recovery and reconstruction following Hurricane Harvey, urban sustainability metrics, critical analysis of disaster research methodologies, K-12 environmental education, and graduate service learning models.

Research and Teaching Interests: I am a human-environment geographer focused on hazards, disasters and urban environmental management. I am particularly interested in the ways in which environmental disasters and environmental management policies drive socio-spatial outcomes in urban space. Disasters force individual and group decision-making and represent turning points that lead to rapid, often loosely regulated, redevelopment of urban landscapes. In turn, these rapid changes can quickly alter patterns of social and environmental equity, resilience/sustainability, and local/regional development. I believe that by building on the rich research traditions of hazards geography and leveraging contemporary mixed-methods informed by robust and evolving theoretical frameworks, we have the ability to help alleviate much of the human and environmental toll of natural disasters. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in environmental hazards, urban environment, land management, research methods and urban geography. Whenever possible, I incorporate service-learning and public engagement projects that allow both undergraduate and graduate students to learn about geography and the environment through meaningful public engagement with local government entities and community organizations. During my time at Texas State University, I have also been fortunate to have the opportunity to advise a number of graduate students, including many Ph.D. graduates who have found their own success in both industry and academia. Together, we have completed numerous research projects focused on applied environmental research and multiple organized classes and student field trips leveraging the power of community service-learning and public engagement.

Statement: I have shared with my own students many times, that I was not a sterling undergraduate student. I did fine, but I was not truly engaged. My distractions were many and my attention often wandered from the classroom. In the final year of my history degree, I decided on a minor in geography. My first class was urban geography which opened a door to my curiosity that had remained only slightly ajar in my previous coursework. All the fuzzy facts of my history classes came into focus and suddenly made sense. For me, the historical perspective was interesting, but space seemed to me the preeminent driver behind so many of the events, trends, and outcomes that I was studying in my history courses. Sitting in that urban geography course was my “ah ha” moment and it came just as I was being shuffled across the stage and sent out into the job market. After a short stint apprenticing with a brokerage firm in the Northeast, I returned to Texas and opened my own consulting company. We grew quickly and were successful, in modest terms at least, but I was miserable. I wanted back into the classroom and I wanted to learn more about the field that had captured my attention at the end of my undergraduate career. I wanted to be a geographer.

After completing my master’s degree and graduating from the newly established Ph.D. program at Texas State University, I was hired as an Assistant Professor at the University of New Orleans (UNO) to teach hazards, urban geography, and human geographic research methods. While at UNO, I also worked for The Center for Hazards, Assessment and Technology (CHART), under Dr. Shirley Laska and Dr. Pam Jenkins, and the Ponchartrain Institute for Environmental Research (PIES), under Dr. Shea Penland. We worked on environmental projects and publications supported by HUD, USACE, DOT, FEMA, and the State of Louisiana. Shirley, Pam and Shea’s vision for how to engage with local communities over complex environmental issues was an awesome experience that opened my eyes to the value of applied research and community engagement. These values have guided my academic career ever since. When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, my family like so many others, had to make some tough decisions, including whether to return with our (at the time) young children. The best path for my family led us elsewhere, but I remained engaged with the university and the community.

In the year following Katrina, I taught online and in the field for UNO. However, the following year I was given the opportunity to return to Texas State University where I was soon tenured and recruited to serve as Associate Chair of the department. Helping run one of the premier programs on our campus and one of largest departments of geography in the U.S. has reminded me of the many values of leadership and the importance of stepping up when the needs of your community call you to service. That lesson has been cemented by the opportunities to offer my professional service via my previous positions in the AAG specialty groups and as the SWAAG representative to the AAG Council. I seek the position of National Councilor now in order to continue to serve both my students and colleagues. The AAG has never been more relevant to our discipline than it is today and I would consider it an honor to serve the association and its members at this time. . 


Wendy Jepson

WENDY JEPSON. Professor of Geography, Texas A&M University; Ph.D. (Geography, UCLA, 2003), M.A. (Geography, Syracuse University, 1997), B.A.-Honors (Geography, History, University of Wisconsin-Madison,1994); Visiting Professor, Geography, Universidade Federal do Ceará (Brazil).

Service to the AAG and Geography: I have supported geography in various capacities for 20 years. Currently, I am a member of the AAG Honors A committee (2017-2020). Previously, I was chair of the AAG Committee on the Status of Women in Geography, member of the AAG Enhancing Diversity Committee, and board member of the AAG ALIGNED project (NSF-AAG Project on Enhancing Diversity in Geosciences) and Economic Geography Specialty Group. I supported the work of others as an editorial board member on several journals (Journal of Land Use Science, The Annals of the Association of American Geographers; Environment and Planning A; Water Security; GeoJournal) and Associate Editor for Journal of Latin American Studies (2008-2010). I served as a referee for over 30 journals, panelist for the National Science Foundation, and an external reviewer for many tenure and promotion candidates.

Honors, Awards, Grants: Research: I have been a U.S. Fulbright Scholar (2016-2017, Brazil) and Principal Investigator on external research grants from National Science Foundation (2 regular, 2 DDRI) and NextERA Energy Resources (totaling over $545,000) and internal Texas A&M University awards or grants (totaling over $100,000). I am a research collaborator on several international projects funded by CONACYT (Mexico), Leverhulme/UKAID (UK), and CNPq (Brazil). AAG Recognition & Awards: AAG Enhancing Diversity Award (2015); Finalist, Nystrom Dissertation Competition (2004). Other Awards and Recognition: Marisco Visiting Scholar (2018), University of Denver; Richard Stadelmen Faculty Senate Service Award (2013), TAMU Grant, Innovation in Technology for Large Core Courses (2013); Texas A&M University Montague Teaching Excellence Scholar (2007).

Research and Teaching: Research: My research examines contemporary debates in political ecology, human-environment interactions, and environmental governance. My previous research documented and explained the complex economic and political processes that caused agricultural expansion and land-cover change in the Brazilian Cerrado (1997-2007) and social impacts of wind energy in West Texas (2008-2012). My current long-term project examines environmental justice, household water security, and water resources in low-income communities, with particular attention to US-Mexico border colonias and urban and peri-urban areas in Mexico and Brazil (2008-present). I lead two institutional efforts to advance water security research. First, I direct the Texas A&M Water Security Initiative, a university-wide program that facilitates research, education, service learning, and collaboration on the broad spectrum of water security challenges as part of the TAMU Institute for Sustainable Communities. Second, I co-lead a global study and an emerging cross-disciplinary network of scholars who study household water insecurity (HWISE Network) that now includes 40 researchers in 24 institutions. Geography Education: I teach courses across the spectrum of geography, including introductory human geography and intermediate courses (Resources and The Environment; Environmental Justice) to graduate seminars on land-use and land cover change, political ecology, and water security. I leverage technology in the class, whether including GIS projects, flipping the course, or using only open access materials. My teaching includes several high-impact and experiential learning opportunities. I developed a service-learning program on water security for freshman geosciences students that includes first-year seminar and a 10-day study abroad experience with communities surrounding the TAMU Soltis Center in Costa Rica.

Publications: I have published over 30 journal articles and book chapters and co-edited one book and journal special issue. Articles appear in Annals of the AAG, The Professional Geographer, Antipode, Economic Geography, Environment and Planning A, Local Environment, andGeoforum, among others.

Statement: I believe that the elected Council members should strive to best represent the interests of all members. The AAG Council can achieve that by encouraging fiscal transparency, enhancing the experience and opportunities at the Annual Meeting, supporting professional development, and advocating for the field of geography in higher education, government, and public policy communities. I also support the AAG’s continuing efforts to diversify our membership and develop professional capacity through the Healthy Department Leadership Workshop and the Early Career GFDA Workshop. Along these lines, there are three specific actions I would like to pursue, if elected as National Councilor: (1) develop a strategic plan to train AAG members in public engagement to increase the dialogue between policy makers, general public and the geography community; (2) build sustainable alliances with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic-Serving Institutions to increase institutional and individual research, professional, and educational collaboration; and (3) examine strategies to enhance professional and intellectual experiences of all attendees at the regional and annual meetings.


Reuben Rose-Redwood

REUBEN ROSE-REDWOOD. Associate Professor of Geography and Chair of the Committee for Urban Studies, University of Victoria; Ph.D. in Geography, Penn State University (2006); M.S. in Geography, Penn State University (2002); B.A. in Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia (2000).

Service to Geography and the AAG: Member, AAG Special Committee on Geography and the Military (2017-present); Co-Editor, Dialogues in Human Geography (2017-present); Associate Editor, International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (2017-present); Assistant Editor, Journal of International Students (2017-present); Co-Director, Critical Geographies Research Lab, University of Victoria (2016-present); Chair, Committee for Urban Studies, University of Victoria (2013-present); Chair, Historical GIS Cluster, Landscapes of Injustice Research Collective (2013-present); Director, Geography Graduate Program, University of Victoria (2013-2014); Editorial Board Member, Cartographica (2010-present); Co-Organizer, The City Talks (2010-present); Referee of over 100 article submissions in more than 40 scholarly journals in geography and related fields.

Grants, Fellowships, and Awards: Grants: Scholarship of Learning and Teaching Research Grant, University of Victoria, “International Students’ Learning Experiences in UVic’s Geography Classrooms” (2017); Partnership Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), “Landscapes of Injustice: Legacies of Racism and War in the Canadian City” (2014-2021); Connections Grant, SSHRC, “The City Walks and the City Talks” (2012); Public Outreach Grant, SSHRC, “The City Talks” (2011); Standard Research Grant, SSHRC, “Spaces of Toponymic Inscription: Rethinking the Politics of Place Naming in the Era of Globalization” (2011); Fellowships & Awards: Kluge Postdoctoral Fellowship, U.S. Library of Congress (2007); EMS Centennial Research Award, Penn State University (2005); Miller Award, Penn State University (2001 and 2004); STAR Fellowship, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2001).

Research and Teaching Interests: Research: My research spans across a number of areas of geographical inquiry with a focus on cultural landscape studies, urban historical geography, the politics of mapping, the history of geographical thought, and the geographies of higher education. In particular, I have devoted considerable attention to examining the ways in which race, gender, and class relations have shaped the cultural politics of place. I am especially interested in how cultural landscapes serve as arenas in which political struggles over historical memory take place and how geographical scholarship can critically and constructively engage with the pressing political issues of our time. Teaching: I teach a number of human geography courses in my current position including a large introductory course on Social & Cultural Geography and upper-division courses on Geographies of the North American City and Urban Social Geographies. At the graduate level, I also teach an Advanced Seminar in Human Geography and Geographical Research Approaches and Design.  

Publications: I have authored 47 journal articles, book chapters, and editorials as well as edited six journal issues and two books. My articles have appeared in a range of leading scholarly journals, such as the Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Progress in Human Geography, The Professional Geographer, Political Geography, Journal of Historical Geography, Social & Cultural Geography, and Gender, Place & Culture, among others. I am co-editor of Performativity, Politics, and the Production of Social Space (2014, with Michael Glass) and The Political Life of Urban Streetscapes: Naming, Politics, and Place (2018, with Derek Alderman and Maoz Azaryahu) as well as two forthcoming books entitled, Gridded Worlds: An Urban Anthology (with Liora Bigon) and International Encounters: Higher Education and the International Student Experience (with CindyAnn Rose-Redwood).

Statement: At a time of growing political instability when the basic values of democracy have come under attack by a rising tide of right-wing, authoritarian nationalism, we as geographers and the AAG as an institution cannot afford to remain neutral bystanders. As white supremacists, fascists, and neo-Nazis march on university campuses with torches in hand and espouse hate speech masquerading as reasonable academic discourse, neutrality is complicity. When police violence against racialized minorities is the norm and the politics of fear gives rise to the scapegoating of immigrants, taking a neutral stance legitimizes the social injustices of institutional racism and xenophobia. As economic inequalities soar and those with political power redistribute wealth to the corporate donor class while seeking to undermine funding for both the sciences and humanities alike, academic neutrality in matters of politics erodes the very basis of scholarly life. From the Women’s March to the March for Science, many geographers have joined in solidarity with movements seeking to challenge the anti-progressive agenda of right-wing demagogues with their jingoistic slogans and “alternative facts.” Under these circumstances, the AAG needs to be bold in its commitment to social and environmental justice, human rights, and democratic values. If given the opportunity to serve as a national councilor, I will do my best to ensure that the AAG remains committed to these core values.

There are many challenges that the field of geography currently faces, and I am particularly committed to addressing the following priority areas during my term as national councilor:

1) Diversifying the Discipline: Racialized minorities and women have long been underrepresented in the field of geography, and although the number of female faculty in geography programs has increased in recent decades, geography remains a predominantly white discipline. Yet there are exciting new developments at work in the fields of Black Geographies and Indigenous Geographies, both of which have their own AAG specialty groups, which are challenging the modus operandi of geographical scholarship and practice. Given that “enhancing diversity, promoting inclusion, and broadening participation in the discipline of geography” are key goals of the AAG, I would actively support efforts to develop new projects as part of the AAG’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative.

2) Promoting Progressive Policy Statements and Actions: In the current political context, the AAG’s leadership has increasingly played an active role in responding to regressive government policies, such as the Muslim travel ban, the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, proposed restrictions on the use of geospatial data to analyze racial disparities, budget cuts for scientific research, and plans to tax graduate student tuition waivers, among others. Although the AAG must work within the parameters of its legal status as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, it is well within its rights to promote progressive policies of relevance to the academic community, and I would support ongoing efforts to strengthen the AAG’s response to government policies that are detrimental to academia and society more generally.

3) Advocating for Ethical Conduct in Geographical Research: In recent years, there have been a number of controversies involving the ethics of scholarly research. The AAG’s Statement on Professional Ethics as well as its Geography and Ethics Initiative demonstrate a commitment to upholding high ethical standards for geographical scholarship. However, it has been nearly a decade since the AAG’s ethics statement has been revised, and various issues have arisen over the past few years that deserve further consideration.

I am excited to work toward addressing these priorities as well as related concerns for the discipline of geography, and it would truly be an honor to serve as a national councilor of the AAG.


Nathan J. Sessoms

NATHAN J. SESSOMS. Director, Office of Black Student Services & Adjunct Professor (Sociology), Loyola Marymount University; Ph.D. (Geography), University of Southern California (2010); M.A. (Geography and Urban Planning), University of Toledo (2003); B.B.A. (Marketing) Ohio University (1995).

Service to Geography and the AAG:Presenter at AAG National Meeting in 2005 and 2007, Co-Founder (2006) - Diversity Ambassadors (with Dr. Patricia Solis (Texas A&M University), Association of American Geographers - Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (E.D.G.E.) Advisory Board Member (Phase II - 2007 – 2011), Invited Panelist at National Meeting in 2008, Member - Diversity Task Force (2008 - 2011), Association of American Geographers – Harold M. Rose Award for Anti-Racism in Research and Practice Committee (2014-2017).

Awards and Honors:Sustainable Communities Leadership Program Fellow (Irvine Foundation, 2001), Irvine Foundation Fellow (American Studies & Ethnicity/Department of Geography, University of Southern California, 2001), Urban & Global Summer Fellow (University of Southern California, 2005), Black Male Achievement Social Innovator, (Leadership and Sustainability Institute & Institute for Black Male Achievement, 2014), Community Impact Award Winner (National Congress of Black Women – Los Angeles Chapter, 2017).

Grants: Contributed to several research projects and reports funded by the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate and National Science Foundation (2001 – 2005) and Principal Investigator on funded proposal to the Institute for Black Male Achievement (2014).

Publications: Contributed to publications in Urban Geography, the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate Journal, The Professional Geographer, Kalfou, and the NASPA Region VI Newsletter.

Research and Teaching Interests: My research interests center on urban and suburban poverty concentration (as well as their interdependent relationship to affluence concentration) and the short and long-term impacts of gentrification. Additionally, I remain interested in race and the experiences of Black males in particular. Finally, given my ties to Student Affairs, I am interested in youth and student development and, in particular, the experiences of minoritized populations attending predominantly white institutions.

Statement: Having been affiliated with Geography for 20 years, I have always been troubled by its reputation as a white discipline. As a doctoral student, I became involved with the AAG and immediately engaged in conversations focused on race and strategies aimed at promoting diversity. Working closely with Dr. Patricia Solis (formerly of the AAG), those conversations and strategies were expanded to eclipse the black-white binary and, instead, include LGBTQIA, the roles of women, immigrants and others. The formation and sustained work of the AAG Diversity Ambassadors represents but one way that progress has been made.

Given the increased level of divisive rhetoric and overt forms of racism and injustice that currently plague the U.S., however, I believe that the discipline is called to do much more. To that end, I am interested in the following questions:

How is the discipline working to become a more welcoming place to minoritized populations?

What specific strategies are being developed and utilized in order to amplify intersectionality and the unique lived experiences of AAG members (faculty and students), such that these experiences and resulting work can be shared and validated?

In what ways is the AAG working with Geography departments - globally - to assist in the recruitment of underrepresented minorities and minoritized populations more broadly?

I am confident that my experiences both inside (Black student and adjunct professor) and outside the academy (urban planner, workforce development manager, non-profit executive, and student affairs professional) have provided me with unique perspectives in terms of the ways that the discipline can effectively address the aforementioned questions. While complex and daunting, I believe that they are critical to the discipline’s long-term relevance and success..