Association of American Geographers
About AAG Membership Annual Meeting Projects & Programs Education Publications Calendar Of Events Jobs & Careers

J. Warren Nystrom Award

Deadline: September 22

A fund established by former AAG Executive Director J. Warren Nystrom supports an annual prize for a paper based upon a recent dissertation in geography. Papers must be presented at the upcoming AAG Annual Meeting.

Eligibility for this competition is restricted to AAG members who have received the PhD degree since April 1, 2019 and who have been members of the AAG for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

The Nystrom Award Review Committee will complete the evaluation process by early December. The Annual Meeting Preliminary Program (usually available in January) will indicate those individuals advancing to the final round of the competition (i.e. presentation at the Annual Meeting). Finalists will be invited to submit their papers for consideration for publication in The Professional Geographer. From the Nystrom competition papers presented at the annual meeting, the Review Committee will recommend from one to two cash awards. The total annual prize awarded is $1,000.

Procedure for Submission

Applications for the J. Warren Nystrom Award competition should be submitted no later than September 22, using the online Application Form at this link.

Digital submission is required. All submitted papers will be forwarded to the Nystrom Award Review Committee. The committee will select papers to be included in a special Nystrom Award session or sessions at the AAG Annual Meeting. Unless authors indicate otherwise, papers not selected for the final competition will be included in appropriate sessions of the annual meeting program. If an author has submitted a paper to the Nystrom competition, they may not also enter it in a different paper session at the Annual Meeting, as this contravenes the one-paper-per-person limit. Authors should submit a different paper for a regular paper session and they are expected to forego the regular paper session, if they are selected to present as a finalist in the Nystrom session. 


The Nystrom Award Review Committee will complete the evaluation process by early December. The AAG Annual Meeting Preliminary Program available in January will indicate those individuals advancing to the final round of the competition (i.e. presentation at the Annual Meeting). Finalists will be invited to submit their papers for consideration for publication in The Professional Geographer.

Format and Guidelines

A complete application consists of the following four items:

  •  Register for the meeting and submit your abstract online
  • The paper in digital format as an Adobe pdf, submitted as a single document with the following parts in this order:
    a) An abstract of no more than 250 words
    b) The paper text which must not exceed 5,000 words and should be double-spaced. A co-authored paper is acceptable according to the following criteria: the applicant must provide a separate statement that details the degree and depth of their contribution to the research being presented in the paper, and the applicant must also state what role they had in the writing of the paper itself.
    c) Cited references only. References should be cited parenthetically in the text beginning with the author's last name and followed by the year of publication. Citation of two or more publications having the same author appearing in the same year should be distinguished by sequentially lettered dates, (Brown 1943b) for example. The usage "in press" indicates that the work listed has been formally accepted for publication. Provide full titles of books and periodicals. For illustrations of appropriate citations, authors should consult the most recent issue of The Professional Geographer as well as the current edition of Chicago Manual of Style. References should be listed (double-spaced) on a separate sheet immediately after the text and "Notes." Entitle the section "References" and list all references alphabetically by the author's surname and then chronologically.
    d) Optional:
    Acknowledgements: If necessary, acknowledgements should be placed under a separate center heading, ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS, at the end of the paper.
    Tables, Drawings and Photos: You may include essential tables, black and white drawings (such as maps and graphs), and black and white or color photos. Double space all tables and list sources for tables, maps and photos.
  • You must submit a letter of endorsement from your graduate advisor that verifies the relationship of the paper to your dissertation work. The endorsement letter should also address why the advisor believes the applicant's work is deserving of an award as prestigious as the J.W. Nystrom Award [see c) and d) in the Criteria for Review section, below].
  • By September 22, 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.


If your paper is selected, you will be allotted 15 minutes to present and discuss your paper. Whereas the chairs of regular sessions have some discretion as to the organization of their program of papers, the chair of the Nystrom Session will adhere rigidly to the 15 minutes per presentation rule.

Criteria for Review

a) Eligibility requirements b) adherence to format for submission c) originality of ideas and potential contribution to the advancement of knowledge in particular subfields of the discipline d) clarity and effectiveness of written style e) quality and effectiveness of oral presentation at the AAG Annual Meeting special session.

Committee Recommendations

From the Nystrom competition papers presented at the annual meeting, the Review Committee will recommend from one to two cash awards, totaling $1,000.

About Dr. Nystrom

John Warren Nystrom was a graduate of Clark University in Worcester, Mass., where he received his Doctor of Philosophy in Geography in 1942. Warren was an exceptional educator and professor of geography for many years at Rhode Island College, University of Pittsburgh, George Washington University, and Florida Atlantic University.  Beyond academia, Dr. Nystrom had a long and productive career in international relations as a senior official in the Foreign Policy Department at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a partner in the international relations consulting firm of Allen, Murden and Nystrom, a Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution.  He also represented the United States at UNESCO, the United Nations’ educational, scientific, and cultural organization.  Nystrom was Executive Director of the Association of American Geographers from 1966-1979. He received AAG Honors and published a number of geography textbooks and periodicals on U.S. relations with the European Community, Canada and Latin America.

Photograph and biographical material thanks to AAG Newsletter and Burlington Free Press.

Previous Nystrom Award Recipients

Daniela Aiello, Queen's University, "A colonial genealogy of eviction: racialized dispossesion in Atlanta and Vancouver."

Ziqi Li, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, "Computational Improvements to Multiscale Geographically Weighted Regression."


Marynia Kolak, University of Chicago, “Distilling the Effect of the Great Recession on Food Access in a Segregated City: A Spatial, Quasi-Experimental Approach"


Anna Klimaszewski-Patterson, California State University – Sacramento, “Paleolandscape modeling support for a potential pre-Columbian Anthropocene in the southern Sierra Nevada, California”

Pronoy Rai, Portland State University, “Seasonal Masculinities: Seasonal Labor Migration and Masculinities in Rural Western India”

Bisola Falola, Ph.D., Univerrsity of Texas - Austin, "Terrains of Trauma - Urban Youth and Policies of Disinvestment"

Qunshan Zhao, Ph.D., Arizona State University, "Impact of tree locations and arrangements on outdoor microclimates and human thermal comfort in an urban residential environment"

Case Watkins, Ph.D., Louisiana State University, "Complex landscapes in the African diaspora: Five centuries of palm oil development on Bahia's Dende Coast"

Kimberley Thomas, Ph.D., Rutgers University. "The River-Border Complex: Governing Flows in South Asia"

John Paul Catungal, Ph.D, University of British Columbia. "Therapeutic spaces as political geographies: performing ethno-specificity in sexual health promotion."


Martha Bell, Ph.D, Pennsylvania State University. "Historical Political Ecology of Water: Municipal Water Governance in Colonial Lima, Peru (1578-1700)."

Joseph Holler, PhD, University of Buffalo. “Is Sustainable Adaptation Possible? Determinants of Adaptation on Mount Kilimanjaro.”

Daehyun Kim, PhD, University of Kentucky. “Fluvial-Geomorphic Processes of Salt Marsh Creeks Shape Spatial Trends in Vegetation by Complicating Environmental Stress Gradients.”

Clark Gray, PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2008. “Environment, Land and Rural Out-Migration in the Southern Ecuadorian Andes.”

Tina Mangieri, PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2007. “African cloth, export production, and secondhand clothing in Kenya.”

Chris S. Duvall, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006. “Settlement ecology and chimpanzee habitat in Mali.”

Lawrence Kiage, PhD, Louisiana State University, 2007. “Vegetation Change and Land Degradation in the Lake Baringo Basin, Kenya, East Africa: Evidence from the Paleorecord.”

Xuwei Chen, PhD, Texas State University, San Marcos, 2006. “Microsimulation of Hurricane Evacuation Strategies of Galveston Island.”

Julie Silva, PhD, Rutgers University, 2005. “Neoliberalization and inequality in Mozambique: A Case study in the use of iterative mixed methods.”

Matthew Peros, PhD, University of Toronto, 2005. “Middle to Late Holocene Environmental Change and Archaeology on the North Coast of Central Cuba.”

Lynn M. Resler, PhD, Texas State University, 2004. For her dissertation research concerned with the dynamics and processes that influence alpine treeline spread across multiple spatial scales.

David Carr, PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2002. “Examining the Proximate and Underlying Causes of Tropical Deforestation: Migration and Land Use in the Sierra de Lacazndon National Park, Guatemala.”

Martin Doyle, PhD, Purdue University, 2002. “Geomorphic and Ecological Impacts of Dam Removal.”

Jennifer Miller, PhD, San Diego State University and University of California Santa Barbara, 2003. “Incorporating Spatial Dependence in Predictive Vegetation Models: Residual Interpolation Methods.”

Carl Reese, PhD, Louisiana University, 2003. “A 25,000 Year High Resolution Pollen Record from the Sajama Ice Cap, Bolivia.”

Deborah Feder, PhD, Pennsylvania State University, 2001. “Rethinking U.S. Energy Use with End-Use Analysis and Regional Geography.”

Shanti Gamper Rabindran, PhD, Rockefeller University, 2001. “The Role of Large and Small Landholders during Indonesia’s Land Fires: A GIS-Econometric Analysis of Satellite, Land Use, and Spatial Data.”

Wendy Wolford, PhD, University of California-Berkeley, 2001. “This Land is Ours Now: Social Movement Formation and Struggle for Land in Brazil.”

Douglas Deur, PhD, Louisiana State University, 2000. “Traces of Plant Cultivation on the ‘Non-Agricultural” Northwest Coast.”

Honorable mentions to Betsy Donald, PhD, University of Toronto, 2000. “The Permeable City: Toronto’s Spatial Shift at the Turn of the Millennium;” and to Martin Roberge, PhD, Arizona State University, 1999. “Bridge Design along the Lower Salt River.”

Derek H. Alderman, PhD, University of Georgia, 1998. “A Street Fit for a King: Naming Places and Scaling Memory in the American South.”

Donald A. Friend, PhD, Arizona State University, 1997. “Evolution of Desert Colluvial Boulder Fields, Eastern California.”

Wei Li, PhD, University of Southern California, 1997. “Spatial Transformation of an Urban Ethnic Community: From Chinatown to Chinese Ethnoburb in Los Angeles.”

Karen E. Till, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1996. “Place and the Politics of Memory: A Geo-Ethnography of Museums and Memorials in Berlin.”

Meghan Cope, PhD, University of Colorado, 1995. “Households and Structuration of Place: Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1920 1939.”

Stephen E. Silvern, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1995. “Spatial Ideologies and the Politics of Wisconsin Ojibwe Treaty Rights: Negotiating State Tribal Relations.”

Steve Herbert, PhD, University of California Los Angeles, 1995. “Territoriality and the Police.”

David McGinnis, PhD, Penn State University, 1994. “Downscaling Techniques for Snowfall Prediction in Global Change Studies.”

Francis Harvey, PhD, University of Washington, 1996. “Geographic Integration: From Holism to System.”

Normand E. Bergeron, PhD, SUNY Buffalo, 1994. “Stream Bed Roughness and Resistance to Flow in Natural Gravel Bed Streams.”

Andrew J. Herod, PhD, Rutgers University, 1992. “Workers as Geographers: The Production of Space in the East Coast Longshore Industry Since 1955.”

Anne K. Knowles, PhD, University Wisconsin Madison, 1993. “The Making of Ethnic Capitalists.”

Usha Natarajan, PhD, University of Iowa, 1992. “Economics of Screening for Pesticides in Ground Water.”

Andrew C. Comrie, PhD, Penn State University, 1992. “Tracking the Ill Wind of Ozone that Blows Pennsylvania’s Forests No Good: A Climatology of AirMass Trajectories.”

Cynthia Brewer, PhD, Michigan State University, 1991. “Prediction of Surround Effects on Map Color Appearance: Model Evaluation.”

John Wolcott, PhD, University of British Columbia, 1990. “Flume Studies of Gravel Bed Surface Response to Flowing Water.”

Norman Meek, PhD, University of California Los Angeles, 1990. “Evolution of the Mojave River Drainage Basin: Implications for Regional Landscape Development.”

Anne E. Mosher, PhD, Penn State University, 1989. “Environmentalism, Corporate Capital, and the Creation of a Model Town.”

Jan Nijman, PhD, University of Colorado, 1990. “A Political Geography of US Soviet Competition, 1948-1988: The Value of A Spatial Perspective.”

Jeffrey J. McDonnell, PhD, University of Canterbury, 1989. “The Age, Origin and Pathway of Subsurface Stormflow.”

Bernard Bauer, PhD, Johns Hopkins University, 1988. “Process Response Relationships in a Lacustrine Nearshore.”

Karen A. Lemke. PhD, University of Iowa, 1988. “An Evaluation of Box Jenkins Models of Suspended Sediment Concentration.”

David W. May, PhD, University of Wisconsin Madison, 1986. “Holocene Alluviation and Erosion in the South Loup Valley, Nebraska.”

Katherine K. Hirschboeck, PhD, University of Arizona, 1985. “Temporal and Spatial Implications of Mixed Distributions in Arizona Flood Series.”

Patrick McGreevy, PhD, University of Minnesota, 1984. “Visions at the Brink: Imagination and Geography at Niagara Falls.”

Valerian Titus Noronha, PhD, University of Western Ontario, 1985. “Functional Regions and Spatial Interaction: the Black/White Model.”

John F. O’Leary, PhD, University of California Los Angeles. “Environmental Factors Influencing Post Burn Vegetation in a Southern California Shrubland.”

Carl G. Amrhein, PhD, SUNY Buffalo, 1984. “The Effects of Job Advertising Policies on Interregional Labor Migration.”

Nancy Ettlinger, PhD, University of Oklahoma, 1984. “Towards a Clarification of Regional Economic Change: The United States as a Case Study, 1962 1980.”

Margaret I. Fitzsimmons, PhD, University of California Los Angeles, 1983. “Consequences of Agricultural Industrialization: Environmental & Social Change.”

Douglas J. Sherman, PhD, University of Toronto, 1983 “Longshore Currents: A Stress Balance Approach.”

Rebecca Lou Smith, PhD, University of Minnesota, 1982. “Creating Neighborhood Identify Through Citizen Activism.”

Frank H. Weirich, PhD, University of Iowa, 1982. “The Use of An Integrated, Three Dimensional Instrument System to Study Sedimentation Processes in a Glacial Lake.”

David R. Butler, PhD, University of Kansas, 1982. “Late Pleistocene Paleoenvironments as Interpreted from Palynological Analysis of Glacial Tills.”

Kam biu Liu, PhD, University of Toronto, 1982. “Post Glacial Displacements of the Boreal Forest of Great Lakes St. Lawrence Forest Ecotone in Northern Ontario.”

Susan M. Macey, PhD, University of Illinois, 1982. “A Causal Model of the Adoption of Home Heating Energy Conservation Measures.”

Peter A. Rogerson, PhD, SUNY Buffalo, 1982.” Aggregate Approaches to Migration Modeling.”

Morton E. O’Kelly, PhD, McMaster University, 1981. “The Impact of Multistop Multipurpose Trips on Spatial Interaction and Retail Distribution.”

Rebecca S. Roberts, PhD, Oregon State University, 1982. “The Effects of LargeLot Zoning on Housing Prices.”

A. Stewart Fotheringham, PhD, McMaster University, 1980. “Spatial Structure, Spatial Interaction, and Distance Decay Parameters.”

Mickey Lauria, PhD, University of Minnesota, 1980. “Marxian Rent Theory and Strategies for Neighborhood Redevelopment.”

Richard A. Marston, PhD, Oregon State University, 1980. “The Geomorphic Significance of Log Steps in Forest Streams.”

Hazel A. Morrow Jones, PhD, Ohio State University, 1980. “The Spatial Impact of Federal Mortgage Insurance.”

Daniel A. Griffith, PhD, University of Toronto, 1978. “Towards A Theory of Spatial Statistics.”

Robert S. Hayden, PhD, University of Georgia, 1979. “Road Drainage and Equilibrium in Small Stream Basins.”

Go back to Honors and Awards

Upcoming Meetings

  • April 5-9, 2017, Boston, Massachusetts

Past Meetings

  • March 29-April 2, 2016, San Francisco, California
  • April 21-25, 2015, Chicago, Illinois
  • April 8-12, 2014, Tampa Florida
  • April 9-13, 2013, Los Angeles, California
  • February 22-28, 2012, New York, New York
  • April 10-16, 2011 - Seattle, Washington
  • April 14-18, 2010 - Washington, DC
  • March 22-27, 2009 - Las Vegas, Nevada
  • April 15-19, 2008 - Boston, Massachusetts
  • April 17-21, 2007 - San Francisco, California
  • March 7-11, 2006 - Chicago, Illinois
  • April 5-9, 2005 - Denver, Colorado