Four recent geography PhDs, finalists in the 2017 J. Warren Nystrom Award competition, presented high-quality research papers on April 6 during a special session at the AAG Annual Meeting in Boston.

The Nystrom Award is an annual prize for a paper based upon a recent doctoral dissertation in geography.

In Fall 2016 the Nystrom Award Review Committee considered all the papers submitted and selected four candidates to advance to the final round of the competition.

The finalists and the papers that they presented at the Annual Meeting were:

  • Paul Holloway, University of Texas at Austin – “Incorporating Movement-Related Resource Dynamics Into Species Distribution Modelling”
  • Molly Polk, University of Texas at Austin – “Practicing Critical Physical Geography in the Tropical Andes”
  • Jamie Shinn, West Virginia University – “Governing Environmental Variability: Insights on adaptive management from the Okavango Delta, Botswana”
  • Case Watkins, James Madison University – “Complex landscapes in the African diaspora: Five centuries of palm oil development on Bahia’s Dendê Coast”

After careful deliberation, Case Watkins was chosen as the 2017 winner. Mr. Watkins was unable to attend the AAG Awards Luncheon on April 9 to collect his certificate and cash prize of $1,000.

All finalists have been invited to submit their papers for consideration for publication in one of the AAG’s journals, The Professional Geographer.

This award is made from a fund established by John Warren Nystrom, who served as the AAG’s Executive Director from 1966 to 1979. Nystrom was an exceptional educator who taught geography for many years at Rhode Island College, University of Pittsburgh, George Washington University, and Florida Atlantic University. He published a number of geography textbooks and periodicals on U.S. relations with the European Community, Canada and Latin America. Beyond academia, he 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, and a Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution. He also represented the United States at UNESCO, the United Nations’ educational, scientific, and cultural organization.