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The Marble-Boyle Undergraduate Achievement Awards in Geographic Science

Deadline: October 15, annually

The Association of American Geographer’s Marble Fund for Geographic Science is pleased to announce the new Marble-Boyle Undergraduate Achievement Awards. These awards aim to recognize excellence in academic performance by undergraduate students from the United States and Canada who are putting forth a strong effort to bridge geographic science and computer science as well as to encourage other students to embark upon similar programs. These awards, together with the William L. Garrison Award for Best Dissertation in Computational Geography, are activities of the Marble Fund and are supported by donations to the Fund.  In the case of the current awards, the support of Mr. Jack Dangermond is gratefully acknowledged.

The award is named for Dr. Duane Marble, creator of the Marble Fund, and for the late Dr. A. R. (Ray) Boyle who was a major contributor to the early development of both computer cartography and geographic information systems.  Ray Boyle was born in England in 1920 and served with the British Admiralty during World War II.  After the war, he developed and patented many graphic systems for plotting and digitizing and was the inventor of the “free cursor” digitizing system that was the basis for the digital entry of much early spatial data. After moving to Canada in 1965 he was appointed Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan where, among many other achievements, he developed the first digital system for nautical chart production for the Canadian Hydrographic Service. He worked for many years with Dr. Roger Tomlinson on the technical evaluation of GIS software and was also an active member of the IGU Commission on Geographical Data Sensing & Processing for many years.

Duane Marble & Ray Boyle in Honolulu 1982_2.jpg

Duane Marble and Ray Boyle in Honolulu at the Joint U.S.–Australia GIS Meeting in 1982


The Awards
Each of the Marble-Boyle Undergraduate Achievement Awards consists of a cash prize of $1,000, a $200 credit for books published by the ESRI Press and a certificate of recognition. ESRI has also agreed to provide priority consideration to any of the awardees who may be interested in participating in their Summer Intern Program.

All Marble-Boyle awardees will be eligible to compete for an additional research fellowship award that is being offered every two years by the MicroGIS Foundation for Spatial Analysis (MFSA). In addition to access to research facilities, the MFSA fellowship will cover all transportation and housing costs for up to four months of work with MFSA in Lausanne, Switzerland. Depending upon the time of year, there will also be an opportunity to audit courses at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) or, in summer, to receive specific training available from MFSA. For full details on the supplemental MFSA research fellowship award.

Initially, up to three awards will be made available each year. Formal presentation of the awards will be made at the annual AAG awards luncheon. Awardees are encouraged, but not required, to attend.

Applications will be reviewed by the Marble Fund’s Undergraduate Achievement Award Committee. After review, the Committee will recommend up to three applications to the Marble Fund Trustees as winners. Final awards will be made by the Trustees.


  • Applicants must be enrolled in a full–time program of undergraduate study at an accredited United States or Canadian college or university.
  • At the time of the application, the applicant must be no more than twelve months from graduation.
  • Applicants must demonstrate a reasonable intent to embark upon a career or further education that will make use of their joint geographic science and computer science knowledge.
  • There is no limit with respect to the number of students who can apply from a single institution. There will be, however, only one student per year from a single institution who may receive an award.
  • Applicants do not need to be members of the Association of American Geographers, but they are strongly encouraged to consider membership.


Please gather all required supporting documents before completing the online Application Form at this link. The Application Form will require you to upload all supporting documents before being able to complete your submission. You cannot save a partially completed form and return to it later, so it is important to have all materials ready before accessing the online Application Form. For questions or difficulties, please contact or call the AAG at 202-234-1450. All elements of the application must be received no later than the close of  business in Washington, D.C. on October 15.

This form will ask applicants to provide:

  • Personal information (name, address, email, phone number, etc.) together with a statement of their intention to apply for the award.
  • An essay of no more than 800 words, formatted in 12 pt Times New Roman, double-spaced with 1” margins, identifying the individual’s areas of interest within geographic science and computer science, a description of his or her career goals, and a statement as to  how his or her  joint background in geographic science and computer science will help to meet these goals.
  • A letter of recommendation from the student’s faculty advisor, department chair or program director. The letter should clearly address both the applicant’s academic performance as well as their potential for a career or further education that utilizes their geographic science and computer science background. Recommendation letters must be signed and written on institutional letterhead. They must be sent in PDF form directly by the referee to the Chair of the Review Committee to .
  • An official or unofficial copy of the applicant’s transcript(s) with all relevant courses in geographic science and computer science, and grades received in these courses, highlighted.
  • For each highlighted course, the applicant must  provide a one or two sentence description of the course content, the text book(s) used (if applicable), and the name(s) of the instructor(s).

Previous Awardees

Noah Irby, University of North Dakota


Coty Welch, University of North Alabama

Andrew Green, Jacksonville State University
Jeffrey King, University of Missouri
Taylor Mckeeman, Universioty of Calgary 

Angel Pitts, (University of South Carolina)

Andrew Ortego (The University at Buffalo)

Sergey Reid (Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi)

Darren Boss (University of Victoria)

Rheannon Brooks (University of Victoria)
Jason Jones (University of Southern Mississippi)
Brandon Zook (University of Wyoming)

2009 (inaugural recipients)
Joanna Merson (University of Victoria) and MFSA Supplemental Research Fellowship for September 2009 - February 2010  at the MicrGIS Foundation in Switzerland. 
Kenneth Robertson (Central Michigan University)
Doris Lam (York University) honorable mention