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AAG Affinity and Specialty Group 2016 Awardees

Awardees are listed by group, awardee name, affiliation, award title/description, and name of paper or project (if applicable). Accompanying photos indicate that awardees were presented their honors at the awards luncheon at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco, Calif., on April 2, 2016.


  • Akolade Akiyode, Cardiff University, Florence Margai Paper Award, Analyzing Street trader Locations Using sDNA-IEL

Animal Geography

  • Kalli Doubleday, "University of Texas, Austin", Graduate Paper Award, Feeding the Wild: Preserving India's Most Famous Tigress

Asian Geography

  • Mia Bennett, "University of California, Los Angeles", Best Graduate Student Paper, Torched Earth: Dimensions of Extraterritorial Nationalism in the Chinese and Russian Olympic Torch Relays
  • Aparna Parikh, Penn State University, Student Travel Award
  • Nina Zhang, University of Bristol, Graduate Student Paper - Runner-up, Analysis of Interprovincial Migration Streams in China from 2000 to 2010 with Extended and Enhanced Gravity Model
  • Alison Horton, Rutgers University, AK Chakravarti Award for Best Student Research Proposal on South Asia, Privileging the Context: A grounded approach to understanding development in Bangladesh

Bible Geography

  • Elizabeth DePue, Salem State University, Amy Mather Paper Award and Jonathan Lu Travel Award


  • Hannah Durick, Texas A&M University, Masters Grant Award
  • Matthew Kerr, The University of Tennessee, PhD Grant Award

Business Geography

  • Emily Stone, Texas State University - San Marcos, Paper Award
  • Mengyao Zhang, University of Connecticut, Paper Award


  • Carolyn Fish, Pennsylvania State University, Student Paper Competition
  • Meghan Kelly, University of Kansas, Student Paper Competition
  • Joanna Merson, Arizona State University, Student Paper Competition
  • Katherine Wright, University of Southern California, Student Paper Competition


  • Ningning Chen, National University of Singapore, Travel Award
  • Yahan Teng, Texas State University, Illustrated Paper Award
  • Lu Yi Tong, China University of Geosciences, Travel Award
  • Yifei Wu, University of Hong Kong, Outstanding Student Paper Award
  • Yicong Yang, Cornell University, Outstanding Student Paper Award


  • Julie Winkler, Michigan State University, Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Liang Chen, George Mason University, John Russell Mather Paper of the Year "Chen, L., and O. W. Frauenfeld, in press: Impacts of urbanization on future climate in China. Climate Dynamics"
  • Shelby Ellis, Florida Gulf Coast University, Honorable Mention in Paper Competition, "A Modern Holocene Paleo-hurricane Reconstruction Record of SWFL using Storm Deposits"
  • Kyle Mattingly, University of Georgia, 2nd Place Paper Award, "Atmospheric Rivers over the North Atlantic Ocean and Their Effects on the Greenland Ice Sheet"
  • Johnathan Sugg, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1st Place Paper Award, "Relating Mountain Hydroclimate Variability to Synoptic Weather Patterns Using Self-organizing Maps"
  • Natalie Teale, Rutgers University, Honorable Mention in Paper Competition, "Atmospheric Features Linked with Flooding in the Catskill Mountains, NY, USA: A Case Study Approach"
  • Stephanie Zick, University of Florida, 3rd Place Paper Award, "Environmental Conditions Associated with Evolving Tropical Cyclone Synoptic-Scale Precipitation Structure in the Gulf of Mexico Region"

Coastal and Marine

  • Francisco Laso, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, H. Jesse Walker Student Illustrated Paper Merit Award, "Improving Ecological Literacy in the Galapagos Islands Through Outdoor Education"
  • Donna Selch, Florida Atlantic University, Norb Psuty Student Paper Merit Award - PhD, "Extracting Benthic Habitat from Shallow Water Hyperspectral Imagery Examining Reflectance Influences"
  • Gladys Valentin-Gonzales, University of New Mexico, Norb Psuty Student Paper Merit Award - UG/MA, "GIS-based Sub-aerial Beach Inventory of Puerto Rico (2010)"


  • Hana Khan, "University of California, Los Angeles," R.S. Tarr Student Poster Competition

Cultural and Political Ecology

  • Lily House-Peters, University of Arizona, Paper Award, "Social-Ecological Transformations and Riparian Enclosure: The Production of Spaces of Exclusion and the Uneven Development of Resilience in the Sonoran Borderlands"
  • Jonathan McCombs, University of Georgia, Field Study Award, "White Washing Green Spaces: Race and Nature in the Gentrification of Budapest's Eighth District"
  • Angela Seidler, University of South Carolina, Field Study Award, "Socioenvironmental Effects of the Northern Cyprus Water Supply Project: Shifting Water Access of Farmers in Southern Turkey"

Cultural Geography

  • Dylan Harris, Clark University, Denis E. Cosgrove Research Grant Award, "Re-imagining Global Climate Change: Stories from High-Mountain Communities in Nepal and Bolivia"
  • Michael Hawkins, University of North Carolina, MA Research Grant Award, "Militarized Intimacies and Nostalgias: American Military Retirees in Olongapo City, the Philippines"
  • Sara Hughes, University of California, Los Angeles, Terry G. Jordan Bychkov PhD Paper Award, "Suburban occupation: Constructing 'home' in West Bank settlements"

Cyber Infrastructure

  • Fei Hu, George Mason University, 1st Place Robert Raskin Competition,

Development Geographies

  • Ding Fei, University of Minnesota, Gary Gaile Travel AwardShifting geographies of exploitation or promising pathways to development? Labor agency under Chinese work regimes in Ethiopia.
  • Christopher Hartmann, The Ohio State University, Paper Award


  • Selena Roark, East Tennessee State University, "Meridian R&C, Inc Travel Award"

Economic Geography

  • Tara Cookson, Travel Award 
  • Yui Hashimoto, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Grad Research Award In Economic Geography, Theorizing fast food workers and the  Fight for 15 
  • Aarti Krishan, University of Manchester, Best Student Paper in Economic Geography, Expansion of regional value chains: The case of Kenyan horticulture
  • Frank van der Wouden, "University of California, Los Angeles", Travel Award
  • Sophie Webber, University of British Columbia, Best Dissertation in Economic Geography, "Adaptation Ecologies: Circuits of Climate Change Finance, Policy and Science in the Pacific Islands"

Energy and Environment

  • Trey Murphy, Texas A&M University, Earl Cook Award,

Environmental Perception and Behavioral Geography

  • Megen Brittell, University of Oregon, Travel AwardAudio in Cartographic Design
  • Daniel W. Phillips, University of California - Santa Barbara, Travel Award, Defining the Community of Interest as a Criterion for Boundary Drawing of Electoral Districts
  • Jeffrey Swofford, Arizona State University, Travel Award, Is this how you feel? Exploring the emotional dimensions of international climate change politics
  • Xuan Zhang, University of Georgia, Travel AwardWalkability analysis: the perceived and objective measures to evaluate walking environment on campus

Ethnic Geography

  • Susan Hardwick, Distinguished Career Award, "Posthumously awarded for career accomplishments in ethnic geography scholarship, teaching, and service"
  • Scott Markley, University of Tennessee, Best Student Paper Award, Examining the Geographies of Infill New Urbanism in Atlanta Suburbs
  • Emily Mitchell-Eaton, Syracuse University, Best Dissertation Proposal Award


  • Katherine Newman, University of Victoria, Student Paper Award, The Gothic Geopolitics of Bram Stocker's Dracula: Vampires of the Orient in the Jus Publicum Europaeum

Geographic Information Science and Systems

  • Neil Debbage, University of Georgia, 2nd Place Award 2016 Honors Comp., Sensitivity of Spatial Metrics to Land Use Classification Scheme When Assessing Urban Sprawl Among Large U.S. Metropolitan Areas 
  • Jessica Dozier, San Diego State University, Finalist 2016 Honors Competition, Improve Disaster Communication in Online and Offline Communities Using Social Media (Twitter) and Big Data 
  • Song Gao, University of California - Santa Barbara, Finalist 2016 Honors Competition, Employing Spatial Analysis in Indoor Positioning and Tracking Using Wi-Fi Access Points 
  • Dapeng Li, University of Utah, Finalist 2016 Honors Comp., Setting Wildfire Evacuation Triggers by Coupling Fire and Traffic Simulation Models: A Spatiotemporal GIS Approach 
  • Yoo Min Park, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1st Place Award 2016 Honors Comp., Assessment of Personal Exposure to Air Pollution and Its Effects on Health

Geographic Perspectives on Women

  • Fran Klodawsky, Carlton University, Jan Monk Service Award 
  • Carly Nichols, University of Arizona , Susan Hanson Dissertation Proposal Award, 1000 Days is Forever: The Gendered and Affective Politics of Nutrition Programs in Northern India 
  • Azita Ranjbar, Penn State University, Glenda Laws Student Paper, "Silence, Silencing and (In)Visibility: The Geopolitics of Tehran's Silent Protests" 
  • Dima Saad, University of Toronto Mississauga, Glenda Laws Student Paper, Exile: Fragments of Memory

Geography Education

  • Kyle Colton Flynn, Oklahoma State, Gail Hobbs Student Paper Award, An Experiential-Based Learning Method Aiming to Improve Spatial Awareness

Geography of Food and Agriculture

  • Rachel Baker, York University, Research Award Honorable Mention, "Gleaning Ground in the Motor City: Green Redevelopment and Dispossession in Detroit, Michigan"
  • Melissa Bernardo, Florida International University, Research Award Honorable Mention, Grappling with Resiliency in Industrial Food Systems: Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change 
  • Diana Denham, Portland State University, Research Award Honorable Mention, Traditional markets in an era of supermarketization: A case study of Mexico's tianguis 
  • Yi Wang, University of Toronto, 1st Place Graduate Research Grant Award,


  • Edgardo Latrubesse, "University of Texas, Austin", Grove Karl Gilbert Award, "Large Rivers, Megafans and Other Quaternary Avulsive Fluvial Systems: A Potential Who's Who" in the Geological Record." Earth Science Reviews, v146:1-30. (July 2015)"
  • Richard A. Marston, Kansas State University, Melvin G. Marcus - Distinguished Career Award 
  • Cesar Castillo, Texas A & M University, M. Gordon Reds Wolman Grad Doctoral Research Award, Hydrologic Surface Connectivity and its Implications to Coastal River-floodplain System 
  • Xiaoyu Lu, University of Tennessee, M. Gordon Reds Wolman Grad Doctoral Research Award, Connecting Spatio-temoral Domains of Water Erosion Regimes: A Geomorphic Perspective 
  • Bryce Marston, Kansas State University, 2016 Best Doctoral Student Paper, "Geomorphology and Large Wood Dynamics of Headwater Mountain Streams Infested by the Mountain Pine Beetle, Medicine Bow National Forest, Wyoming" 
  • Greta Wells, University of Texas at Austin, 2016 Best Master's Student Paper Award, "Geomorphologic Evidence of a Holocene J_kulhlaup in the J_kuls‡ ‡ Fj_llum Channel, Iceland"

Graduate Student Affinity Group

  • Ningning Chen, National University of Singapore, Professional Development Award 
  • Mia Renauld, Professional Development Award
  • Joshua Steckley, University of Toronto, Professional Development Award 
  • Peter Thomas, Center For Alternative Technology (UK), Professional Development Award 
  • Leslie Wyrtzen, Clark University, Professional Development Award
  • "Hazards, Risks, and Disasters"
  • Kelly Anderson, University of Maryland, Student Research Award, Contextualizing Drivers and Outcomes of Rural to Urban Migration in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of Mozambique 
  • Sara A. Meerow, University of Michigan, Student Research Award, A Green Infrastructure Spatial Planning (GISP) Model for Building Urban Resilience

Health and Medical Geography

  • Mei-Po Kwan, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, The Melinda S. Meade Distinguished Scholarship Award in Health and Medical Geography 
  • Yanjia Cao, University of Maryland, Melinda S. Meade Graduate Student Travel Award 
  • Claire Hofius, Macalester, Peter Gould Paper Competition 
  • Peng Jia, Louisiana State University, Jacques May Thesis Prize 
  • Lea Ravensbergen-Hodgins, University of Toronto, Jacques May Thesis Prize 
  • Emily Rugel, University of British Columbia, Melinda S. Meade Graduate Student Travel Award 
  • Sandy Wong, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Peter Gould Paper Competition

Historical Geography

  • William Wyckoff, Montana State University, Distinguished Historical Geographer


  • Yinan He, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 1st Place Student Presentation Award, "Incorporating spectral spatial and temporal information to map infested and diseased forest degree: a case study in Big Sur, California" 
  • Mark Rhodes, Kent State University, 2016 Student Short Paper Competition First Place Award, Uncovering common labor: Landscapes of memory and heritage along the Ohio and Erie Canal

Latin America

  • Nate Millington, University of Kentucky, Best Paper- PhD, Producing water scarcity in S‹o Paulo: The 2014 Water Crisis and the Binding Politics of Infrastructure 
  • Laura Sauls, Clark University, Field Study Award-PhD, "Constructing territory: regional coalitions, natural resource governance, and the quest for grassroots development alternatives in Central America" 
  • Laura Sauls, Clark University, Best Paper Co-authored, "Communal property rights, territorial governance, and mitigation: examining emerging institutional regimes and REDD+ in Central America" 
  • Ramzi Tubbeh, Pennsylvania State University., MA/MS Field Study Award, "Tensions between conservation, livelihoods, and indigenous rights in the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, Peru. Location: Puerto Maldonado, Peru; Buffer zone of the Reserva Comunal Amarakaeri"

Mountain Geography

  • Maegen Rochner, University of Tennessee Knoxville, Chimborazo Student Research Grant

Paleoenvironmental Change

  • Julie Commerford, Kansas State University, Paper Presentation Award PhD, "Variation in grassland vegetation composition and fire activity throughout the Holocene at Fox Lake, Minnesota" 
  • Jennifer Newall, Stockholm/Purdue University, Poster Presentation Award PhD, "Reconstructing the glacial history of western Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica" 
  • Chance Raso, Virginia Tech, Poster Presentation Award MA, Climate Response of Two Central Appalachian Rimrock Yellow Pine Species using a Composite Growth Chronology 
  • Maegen Rochner, University of Tennessee Knoxville, Student Research Award - PhD 
  • Anye Zhu, University at Buffalo, Paper Presentation Award - MA, Did Native American depopulation lead to increased mast tree and passenger pigeon abundance in Eastern and Midwestern U.S

Political Geography

  • Ian Shaw, University of Glasgow, Virginie Mamadouh Outstanding Research Award, "Force-Full: Power, Politics and Object-Oriented Philosophy (published in Area; co-authored with Katharine Meehan" 
  • Amber J. Boll-Bosse, University of Kentucky, MA Student Paper Award, "Participatory Action Mapping: A pathway for (re)thinking, (re)engaging, and (re)making maps in political geography" 
  • Casey Ryan Lynch, University of Arizona, PhD Student Paper Award, Performative Power and Colonizing Assemblages in Post-Coup Honduras 
  • Carly Nichols, University of Arizona, Alexander B. Murphy Dissertation Enhancement Award


  • Nathan Trombley, University of Tennessee, Paper Award, Remittance Behavior of US Immigrants 
  • John Weeks, San Diego State University, Lifetime Achievement Award

Geography of Religions and Belief Systems

  • Vincent Artman, University of Kansas, David E. Sopher New Scholar Award 
  • Stanley Brunn, University of Kentucky, Robert H. Stoddard Senior Scholar Award

Qualitative Research

  • Amber J. Boll-Bosse, University of Kentucky, Best MA Paper Award 
  • Bisola Falola, University of Texas, Student Paper Award 
  • Emily Reid-Musson, University of Toronto, Student paper Award,

Regional Development and Planning

  • Yingyu Feng, University of Bristol, A.K. Dutt Best Graduate Paper Award, The Rise of Inequality? A Spatiotemporal Analysis of Housing Price Disparities in England and Wales during 2001-2015 
  • Ling Zhang, University of Utah, A.K. Dutt Best Graduate Paper Award, Spatial Inequality and Dynamics of Foreign Hypermarket Retailers in China
  • Raju Das, "York University, Canada", Distinguished Scholar Award
  • Linda Peake, "York University, Canada", Distinguished Scholar Award
  • Xinyue Ye, Kent State University, Distinguished Service Award
  • Seth Spielman, University of Colorado, Emerging Scholar Award

Remote Sensing

  • Laurel Ballanti, San Francisco State University, Illustrated Paper Award, "Tree Species Classification Using Hyperspectral Imagery in Muir Woods National Monument and Kent Creek Canyon, California" 
  • Fang Fang, West Virginia University, Illustrated Paper Award 2nd Place, Discriminating tree species using crown-scale measurements: fusing leaf-on Lidar and high-resolution multi-spectral satellite data 
  • Tengyun Hu, "Tsinghua University, China", 3rd Place Student Honors Award 
  • Wenjie Ji, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1St Place Student Honors Award 
  • Jiwei Li, University of Massachusetts - Amherst, 2nd Place Student Honors 
  • Kyle Mullen, Minnesota State University, 3rd Place Illustrated Paper Award


  • Jeffrey Jenkins, "University of California, Santa Cruz", Student Paper Award

Sexuality and Space

  • Paul Kelaita, University of Sydney, 1st place Student Paper Award, Queer Infrastructure and Gay Elsewheres 
  • Lim Xiao Qi, National University of Singapore, 2nd Place Student Paper Award, 'Making Live and Letting Die': The Biopolitics of Transgender Spatialities in Singapore

Spatial Analysis and Modeling

  • Debra Blackmore, Portland State University, John Odland Award 
  • Su Han, San Diego State University, John Odland Award
  • Alexander Hohl, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, John Odland Award, Accelerated Discovery of Infectious Disease Clusters Using Adaptive Spatiotemporal Domain Decomposition 
  • Dara Seidl, San Diego State University - UC Santa Barbara, John Odland Award Privacy and False Identification Risk in Geomasking Techniques

Transportation Geography

  • Michael Kuby, Arizona State University, Edward L. Ullman Award 
  • Geoffrey Battista, McGill University, Travel Award 
  • Fransen Koos, Ghent University, Travel Award 
  • Lea Ravensbergen-Hodgins, University of Toronto, Outstanding MA Thesis, Socioeconomic disparities in childrenÕs access to health promoting resources: An activity space analysis 
  • Ying Song, University of Minnesota, Outstanding Dissertation Award, Green Accessibility: Measuring the environmental Costs of Space-Time Prisms in Sustainable Transportation Planning

Urban Geography

  • Ding Fei, University of Minnesota - Minneapolis, Graduate Paper Award 
  • Erin McElroy, University of California - Santa Cruz, Alternative Mode of Scholarship Award 
  • Sam Nowak, "University of California, Los Angeles", Graduate Student Fellowship (MA) 
  • Christoph Rupprecht, Griffith University, Dissertation Award 
  • Coleman Shepherd, Glenda Laws Award
  • Emma Slager, University of Washington, Graduate Student Fellowship Award (PhD) 
  • Geoffrey Battista, Travel Award 
  • Debangana Bose, Travel Award 
  • Jonathan Bratt, Travel Award 
  • Sian Butcher, Travel Award
  • Samuel Chong Wei Chng, Travel Award 
  • Joseph Danko, Travel Award 
  • Yingyu Feng, Travel Award 
  • Sarah Gelbard, Travel Award 
  • Elyse Gordon, Travel Award 
  • Melissa Heil, Travel Award 
  • Sarah Hosman, Travel Award 
  • Yujie Hu, Travel Award 
  • Paula Jones, Travel Award 
  • Samuel Kay, Travel Award 
  • Dirk Kinsey, Travel Award 
  • Agnieszka Labonarska, Travel Award
  • Alicia Lazzarini, Travel Award 
  • Jessa Loomis, Travel Award 
  • Ron Mahabir, Travel Award 
  • Aparna Parikh, Travel Award 
  • Stephen Przybylinski, Travel Award 
  • Nicholas Simcik-Arese, Travel Award 
  • Andrea Blanka Szell, Travel Award 
  • Sander Van Lanen, Travel Award 
  • Xize Wang, Travel Award 
  • Christine Woodward, Travel Award 
  • Yueming Zhang, Travel Award

Water Resources

  • Ellis Adams, Michigan State University, Student Travel Grant, "So Close to the Cities, So Far from the Taps: Household Water Insecurity in Malawi's Peri-Urban and Informal Settlements" 
  • Emily Buege, University of Alabama, Research Presentation Award, Hydrogeomorphological Factors Influencing Distributions of Invasive African Tilapia in a Mesoamerican River System 
  • Sarmistha Chatterjee, University of Delaware, Research Presentation Award, "Modeling small dam fragmentation and climate change impacts on the hydrology of the Smoky-Hill River Basin, Kansas" 
  • Rebecca David, University of South Florida, Research and Travel Award, "Sustainability of Water Policy in San Francisco, CA" 
  • William Delgado, University of Texas-Austin, Research Paper Award, "Evaluating Water Supply Policy in El Paso County, Texas" 
  • Marcia Hale, UCLA , Student Travel Grant, Sustainability in Los Angeles: Water self-reliance and decentralization 
  • Olivia C. Molden, University of Oregon, Student Travel Grant, Political Currency of Tradition: Water Infrastructure and Provincial Urbanism in Kathmandu 
  • Samuel Stein, San Francisco State University, Proposal Award 

View the 2015 Specialty Group Awards 

View the 2014 Specialty Group Awards 

View the 2013 Specialty Group Awards