2023 AAG Awards Recognition

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AAG members are recognized for their work throughout the year and for their dedication to the discipline. Of the hundreds of nominations received, AAG committees, groups and leadership choose exemplary members who contribute to the field of geography in many different ways and celebrate their role in advancing geography. Following is a compilation of all of AAG’s awards conferred in 2023.

AAG Honors

AAG Honors are offered annually to recognize outstanding accomplishments by members in research and scholarship, teaching, education, service to the discipline, public service outside academe and for lifetime achievement.

2023 AAG Distinguished Scholarship Honors

Li An 

Photo of Li AnThe 2023 AAG Distinguished Scholarship Honors goes to Li An, Professor of Geography at San Diego State University and fellow of the AAG and the American Association for Advancement of Science. An is an internationally recognized geographer known for his pioneering contributions to agent-based modeling and space-time analysis that strengthen our ability to understand spatiotemporal variability of complex human-environmental processes. His work is motivated by his longing for peace and strength in human-environment interactions through improved sustainability—a motivation inspired by his name: Li, his first name, means strength or power, and An, his last name, means peace or safety. An has contributed to this mission by using geovisualization, modeling, and simulation to bridge the division between social science and ecological modeling that previously limited the capacity to address environmental issues that are inherently human influenced, for example, panda conservation and invasive species. 

An’s innovations on spatial analysis and modeling tools both increase our capacity for representing complex processes and draw inferences in the temporal dimension. One such innovation is the development of a digital, high performance, and 4-D holographic methodology for space-time representation and modeling. An actively applied these methods to address challenges spanning climate change, biodiversity and ecosystem services, wildlife habitat degradation, urban transition, and more. A broadly applicable innovation for the field of geography is An’s work addressing the grand challenge of spatial autocorrelation in space-time data. An developed a methodology fusing the eigenvector spatial filtering approach and geography latent trajectory analysis to filter out bias arising from spatial autocorrelation, introducing a new methodology to GIScience and transforming the field. A third example of An’s many innovations is his having creatively weaved survival analysis—typically used in social science disciplines to study the timing of discrete events—with modern GIScience methods to generate a subfield called land survival analysis.  

An recently published a book, Conservation Effectiveness and Concurrent Green Initiatives, in which he presents his discovery of concurrent green efforts—overlapping conservation efforts that may have positive synergies or negative interactions that may hamper conservation efforts. The work reflects An’s exceptional interdisciplinary approach to addressing problems in sustainability. An’s focus on merging the spatial and human-environment identities, in this book and across the rest of his work, concurrently advances subfields in geography while, more importantly, developing new subfields and methods that have greater capabilities for finding solutions for complex human-environment problems.  

Geraldine Pratt

Photo of Geraldine PrattThe 2023 AAG Distinguished Scholarship Honors is awarded to Geraldine Pratt for her contributions to the fields of feminist geography, economic geography, and labor. She does so by demonstrating how labor markets work, tracing the relationships between domestic workers in Canada and their transnational families, as well as the debates over the ethics of care at home and abroad. Pratt has served as an inspiration to human geographers, demonstrating that dedication to ethical collaborations can also lead to highly-cited and influential publications. It is particularly notable that Pratt has engaged in multiple modalities of inclusive scholarship and co-production of knowledge, including the media of film, art installation, and theatrical performance. Dr. Pratt has engaged in crucial work that lays out agendas for feminist geography, including 16 years in leadership with the journal Environment and Planning D: Society & Space and two editions as co-editor of the Dictionary of Human Geography. Over decades of innovative publications, Dr. Pratt’s body of scholarship demonstrates how unpacking the role of race, class, gender and nationality shape geographic relations of migration and work. Her single-authored book, Working Feminism, published in 2004, reveals the way that place and race shape late capitalism in the work of caregiving and temporary migration programs. Pratt’s subsequent monograph, Families Apart (2012), illustrates administrative state violence in the rules and regulations that migrant caregivers navigate in their displacement from the Philippines to live-in family care in Canada. In addition, Pratt has served as primary advisor to over 25 doctoral students, contributing to a more gender-diverse human geography along the way. Pratt’s innovative work on gender, care and migration is increasingly relevant in thinking through how wealthy countries like Canada manage care of their aging populations, as well as the rising need for live-in caregivers that the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic portends. 

2023 AAG Distinguished Teaching Honors

John Strait and Ava Fujimoto-Strait 

Photo of John Strait and Ava Fujimoto-StraitThe 2023 AAG Distinguished Teaching Honors is awarded to John Strait and Ava Fujimoto-Strait for their joint teaching, mentoring, and pedagogical accomplishments at Sam Houston State University (SHSU). As Pat Harris, Chair of SHSU’s Department of Environmental and Geosciences stated, “Individually, John and Ava are great ambassadors for geography … it is hard to talk about one without talking about the other because their course and teaching styles are so intertwined.” Not only is the breadth of their teaching impressive, but they also offer innovative instruction that is engaging, place-based, and student-centered. Collectively, they have taught several different courses at SHSU, many of which are recognized for their academic community engagement, due to their emphasis on community partnerships and service-based learning opportunities. Since 2006, they have coordinated and co-directed a host of immersive field courses, both within the United States and abroad. These field courses offer students hands-on interdisciplinary experiences in such diverse locales as the Mississippi Delta, Hawaii, Spain, Italy, Morocco, as well as other locations. These transformative travel experiences, in conjunction with field-based activities incorporated within their traditional in-class courses, directly immerse students into relevant subject matter, ultimately creating strong bonds and facilitating a passion for geographic inquiry. 

At SHSU, Fujimoto-Strait delivers workshops on creating “Engaging Classrooms” and has received multiple teaching awards, including the Staff Excellence Award in 2019 and the Adjunct Faculty Teaching Excellence Award in 2014. Strait regularly offers a popular seminar on the Blues culture of the Mississippi Delta, a field-based course that uses the region’s musical culture as a lens to focus attention on various linkages between musical evolution and the geographic dimensions of the Civil Rights movement. He also shares his expertise with music and-place-based pedagogies in summer teacher workshops and institutes, including the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer K-12 Teacher Institute hosted by the Mississippi Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University. Since 2008, his lectures and field endeavors at this Institute, entitled The Most Southern Place on Earth, have been exceptionally well-received and highly rated by participating teachers from private and public schools from across the country. 

Strait and Fujimoto-Strait’s co-authored 2017 paper in The Geography Teacher, focused on the cultural and environmental diversity across Hawaii through field-based learning, was recognized by the National Council for Geographic Education as the year’s “Best Content” article. They both have been contributing faculty on the SHSU-directed “Pacific Undergraduate Research Experience in Mathematics,” a NSF-funded academic program based in Hawaii designed to increase the representation of Pacific Islanders in STEM-based degree paths. More recently, with other SHSU geography faculty, they received a National Geographic Society grant entitled “Building an Engaging Place-Based Geography Community in Metro Houston.” This endeavor entailed developing workshops with K-12 educators to demonstrate how place-based field endeavors, combined with the use of geospatial technologies, can enhance student learning and engagement, and increase interest in higher education among under-represented communities across Houston, Texas. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, John and Ava serve as mentors and academic advisors for numerous students and teachers, many of whom provided enthusiastic letters in support for this award.

Lifetime Achievement Honors

David R. Butler 

Photo of David ButlerThe American Association of Geographers awards AAG Lifetime Achievement Honors to Dr. David R. Butler. Over his 37-year academic career, Butler’s influential work at the interface of geomorphology and biogeography has advanced knowledge and understanding in physical geography. He has displayed exemplary devotion to teaching and mentoring both at the college and K-12 levels, putting diversity and equity principles at the forefront of his program. He has promoted and strengthened physical geography through his scholarship and his leadership and service. 

Butler’s extraordinary publication record includes hundreds of peer-reviewed articles, as well as monographs, book chapters, edited books, and special issues of journals. His award-winning book, Zoogeomorphology: Animals as Geomorphic Agents, laid the foundation for this subdiscipline of physical geography and is widely considered a classic text. His comprehensive works on alpine treelines have advanced our knowledge of the ways in which topography and geomorphology, including geomorphic hazards such as avalanches and debris flows, shape plant communities at high elevations. These insights have bolstered our understanding of the forces that drive stability and change in mountain ecotones. He led and edited the AAG Annals special issue on The Anthropocene (2021). 

David R. Butler also merits this award for his exceptional commitment to education. He has mentored dozens of successful master’s and doctoral students, many of whom are now professors, and has co-authored numerous publications with them. For his teaching effectiveness, he has received many honors and awards, among them the Distinguished Teaching Achievement Award from the National Council for Geographic Education. Diversity, equity, and inclusion have always been core tenets of Butler’s mentoring program, and he is widely recognized by colleagues for seeking to increase the presence of underrepresented groups in graduate programs and beyond. 

Coupled with exceptional scholarship, teaching, and mentoring, Butler has an impressive record of professional service, including editorial and leadership roles within the AAG. Despite his emeritus status, he continues to be AAG Annals Editor for the Physical Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences section, editor for Progress in Physical Geography, and an editorial board member for Physical Geography and Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. As Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium Steering Committee Chair, he worked to diversify the board and include more early-career scholars. Within the AAG, he has chaired the Geomorphology and Mountain Geography Specialty Groups and been on the Executive Board of the Biogeography Specialty Group

Mark Monmonier 

Photo of Mark MonmonierThe American Association of Geographers awards AAG Lifetime Achievement Honors to Mark Monmonier. Over the course of five decades, he has made outstanding contributions to geographic research, most notably in the fields of cartography and geographic communication. He also has an extensive record of distinctive leadership at national and international levels, and in service to the discipline of geography and the AAG. He is a valued colleague and esteemed mentor and inspiration to hundreds of students, many of whom have become leaders in the academic community, government agencies, and industry. 

Monmonier’s scholarship in the history of cartography, environmental cartography, geographic information, and map design has resulted in a plethora of articles, book chapters, and books, including three titles that received the Globe Book Award and the Outstanding Academic Books by Choice for Public Understanding of Geography. Monmonier’s works are timeless and have transformed how people see, analyze, and interact with maps. For example, his widely acclaimed and classic text How to Lie with Maps (1991, 1996, 2018) continues to inform how the maps we produce and circulate represent unique perspectives on the places where we live. This single book has been translated into Chinese, Czech, French, German, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish, evidence of its global research impact. With the explosion of the field of data visualization, lessons learned from Monmonier’s research are as relevant today as they have been in the past. 

Monmonier’s professional leadership and service to the discipline of geography and to the AAG is exemplary. He served as vice president and president of the American Cartographic Association and on the Coastal Elevation and Sea-Level Rise Advisory Committee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Within the AAG, he twice served on the editorial board of the Annals, and he chaired the Cartography Specialty Group. Monmonier’s peers and those whom he has mentored describe him as “a model of organization and administration, trailblazing, and generous.” He has received the Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence Lifetime Achievement Award by Syracuse University.

Linda Peake 

Photo of Linda PeakeThe 2023 AAG Lifetime Achievement Honors is awarded to Linda Peake for her scholarly contributions to feminist and urban geographies and for a career dedicated to extending equity, diversity, and inclusion at her institution (York University, Canada) and across the discipline of geography. 

Linda Peake’s four decades of scholarship have spanned feminist, social and urban geography, studies of race and racism and mental health. Her early research was focused on feminist urban geography and led toco-edited volumes such as Women, Human Settlements, and Housing (1987) and Women in Cities (1988). In the 1990s, her perspective broadened to include race and sexuality, and engaged the idea of intersectionality—a hallmark of Peake’s scholarship—long before this term came to be commonly used and understood in geography. Peake has also helped shape these fields through her editorship of Gender, Place and Culture (GPC) and Social and Cultural Geography. 

Peake’s later research has expanded to the exploration of comparative urban feminist theorizations. This work has been funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada and is reflected in co-edited volumes that include Rethinking Feminist Interventions into the Urban (2013), A Feminist Urban Theory for our Time (2021), and The Elgar Handbook on Gender and Cities (forthcoming). In 2017, as Director of the City Institute at York University, she assumed leadership of a multimillion-dollar SSHRC Partnership Grant: “Urbanization, gender, and the global South: A transformative knowledge network (GenUrb). “This project expands understanding of urban place ecologies of precarity and violence, engaging a transnational team of researchers working in six cities across the global South. This research project includes many early career and non-academic researchers and exemplifies Peake’s commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion. 

Linda Peake’s commitment to social justice is demonstrated by her engagement with activist organizations and in efforts to transform the discipline and the academy. She has worked with the grassroots women’s organization, Red Thread, in Guyana to train women scholars and build local research teams. She serves as an expert witness for U.S. law firms representing Guyanese deportees. In partnership with Beverley Mullings and Kate Parizeau, Peake has organized conference sessions and workshops to raise awareness of and prompt action on mental health issues in U.S. and Canadian universities. 

For her work, she has received the 2004 Julian Minghi Outstanding Research Award from the Political Geography Specialty Group (together with Eleonore Kofman and Lynn Staeheli). She is also a recipient of the Jan Monk Service Award from the AAG Geographic Perspectives on Women Specialty Group (2015), the Distinguished Scholar Award, Regional Development and Planning Specialty Group (2016), the Inaugural Solidarity Award (2019) from the AAG Socialist and Critical Geography Specialty Group (as an editor of GPC), and the 2022 AAG Diversity and Inclusion Award (with Mullings and Parizeau). She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2022).

William Wyckoff 

Photo of William WyckoffWilliam Wyckoff, a recipient of the AAG’s Lifetime Achievement Honors, has played a leading role in research focusing on the historical evolution of interactions among people and places in the American West. While serving on the faculty of Montana State University since 1986, Wyckoff conducted a continually evolving set of research projects focusing on several important segments of this vast territory and its diverse population. Some of his research focused on specific places, while other projects were broader regional examinations. Wyckoff’s research built on traditional historical geography themes and approaches, but he employed new perspectives and techniques to provide novel insights into the complex interactions among people and places across the region. 

Many of Wyckoff’s publications were directed at broader audiences, which has enabled students, scholars, and the general public to explore the transformation of landscapes and better appreciate those places; to explore the impacts of economic, cultural and environmental changes; and to enhance their capabilities to care for those places more effectively. Some of Wyckoff’s publications have employed historical photographs and contemporary images taken at the same locales to show changes over time. His book, How to Read the American West (2014), is a creative field guide that provides visual and textual interpretations of myriad landscape features and elucidates the significance of specific features and what they tell us about the region. 

As a professor, Wyckoff engaged students, scholars, and broader audiences in diverse subject areas through lectures that involved the expert weaving of maps, photographs, graphics, stories, and evocative description. Wyckoff’s excellence in the classroom was matched by his reputation for effective mentoring when he met with students individually or in small groups. In addition to his on-campus activities, Wyckoff was a part of a team that co-authored six editions of a leading college-level world geography textbook. 

In all of his endeavors, Wyckoff gave equal attention across the full breadth of humanity. His research publications, classroom presentations, and textbooks examined the actions and impacts of diverse groups. His interactions with students and colleagues made it clear that regardless of who they were, he was willing to discuss their interests and ideas and to give them honest and encouraging advice. Former students from groups historically underrepresented in geography commented that Wyckoff’s explicit attention to their situations and aspirations were critical in helping move their careers forward. 

Because of his innovative research, which has significantly expanded knowledge about the evolution of interactions among diverse groups of people and the broad mosaic of landscapes in the American West, his effective dissemination of new insights to both scholarly and popular audiences, his superior teaching in classroom and field settings and through a widely used collegiate textbook, his contributions to building a broader and more diverse set of scholars in geography through his research, teaching, and mentoring, the AAG honors William Wyckoff.


AAG Fellows

The AAG Fellows is a recognition and service program that applauds geographers who have made significant contributions to advancing geography.

The 2023 AAG Fellows selection committee: Anne Chin, University of Colorado Denver; Doug Allen, Emporia State University; Jovan Lewis, UC Berkeley; David Butler, Texas State University; Daniel Block, Chicago State University; and Heike Alberts, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

Timothy Beach

Photo of Tim BeachDr. Timothy Beach is an internationally recognized leader in soils, wetlands, geomorphology, and geoarchaeology through hundreds of publications. His research — deriving from his soils lab at UT Austin and a range of field sites across the world including Guatemala, Mexico, Belize, Turkey, Italy, and the USA — has substantially elevated our understanding of wetlands, geomorphology, human interactions with soils, and global change, especially relating to Maya civilization. Beach is recognized with major awards from several disciplines, universities, and numerous invited lectures including at the Vatican. The awards include the G.K. Gilbert Award and Ellen Mosely-Thompson Paper of the Year Award from the American Association of Geographers (AAG), the Kirk Bryan Award from the Geological Society of America (GSA), the Carl O. Sauer Distinguished Scholarship Award from the Conference of Latin American Geography, and the Fryxell Award from the Society for American Archaeology (SAA). Beach also received fellowships from Guggenheim and Dumbarton Oaks (twice) and is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The University of Texas at Austin honored Dr. Beach’s research with the C.B. Smith Centennial Chair in U.S.-Mexico Relations. In addition, Georgetown University awarded Tim Beach with the Distinguished Research Award and the Georgetown School of Foreign Service Professor of the Year Teaching Award. Beach is also an Alumnus of the Year at California State University-Chico. An active member over four decades, Tim Beach has provided outstanding leadership and service to the AAG, most notably as chair of the Geomorphology Specialty Group and co-founder of the Paleoenvironmental Change Specialty Group. He has similarly held leadership roles in the GSA, SAA, and the American Quaternary Association. Beach’s long record of service to his discipline also includes the scores of special sessions that he organized or co-organized, that have produced special edited journal issues.

Martin Doyle

Photo of Martin DoyleDr. Martin Doyle is well known as a physical geographer, and he’s also very comfortable in the realms of environmental policy, finance, and aquatic ecology. He has won major awards for his ground-breaking research, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the AAG’s Meridian Book Award for The Source: How Rivers Made America and America Remade its Rivers and the AAG’s Geomorphology Specialty Group’s G.K. Gilbert Award. He is a strong mentor, including collaborating with and supporting female river scientists, and through his role as Associate Dean at Duke University, where he has been an advocate for female scholars and scholars of color. He served in President Obama’s Department of the Interior, and on the US Army Science Board. He is widely known as a “go-to” figure for interviews in the media, and is an important spokesperson for watershed protection and restoration. He is known as a powerful mentor of students as well as early-career scientists, and although no longer in a geography department, he remains a member and strong supporter of the AAG and the Geomorphology Specialty Group.

LaToya Eaves

LaToya E EavesDr. LaToya Eaves has established a record of transformative research, dynamic teaching, and dedicated mentoring in the field of geography. Her contributions to the fields of Black Geographies, Black feminism, queer geographies, and the U.S. South are particularly noteworthy. Dr. Eaves’ rigorous and accessible scholarship pushes geography as a discipline to engage with the importance of Black geographic thought and practices in the production of space and place. Her scholarship provides accessible entry points for students to engage with Black Geographies, and she has contributed foundational texts for scholars doing work within Black Geographies literature. Her research has been published in Geoforum, Dialogues in Human Geography, Gender, Place & Culture, The Professional Geographer, and Journal of Geography in Higher Education, among other journals and edited volumes. She has received numerous accolades within geography, including but not limited to Department of Geography’s Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Academic Advancement Award by the Tennessee LGBT+ College Conference, the Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors by the AAG, and the Enhancing Diversity Award by the AAG. One of the founders of the Black Geographies Specialty Group, Dr. Eaves’ organization and caring mentorship has transformed the discipline of geography and provided a space and academic home for Black scholars and scholars of Black Geographies.  She is a generous and caring mentor as well. Her reputation within the geography community broadly and within the Black Geographies community specifically speaks to her generous mentorship of students and junior scholars, much of which is invisible, uncompensated, and unrecognized work in institutional settings. She has been committed to recognizing and honoring senior Black scholars, organizing panels, special issues of journals, and award applications to assure that these senior scholars are recognized for their foundational contributions.  Beyond the subfield of Black Geographies, Dr. Eaves has served the AAG in the roles of National Councilor, Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee. She also contributed to the AAG Harassment Free Task Force and the AAG Task Force on Diversifying the Curriculum in Geography, and she co-chaired the AAG New Orleans Featured Theme Committee. She has served as an editor for Dialogues in Human Geography and on numerous editorial boards.

A. Stewart Fotheringham

Photo of Stewart FotheringhamDr. A. Stewart Fotheringham has been described as the strongest researcher of his generation in quantitative geography and spatial analysis. He has been at the forefront of efforts to improve our understanding of spatially distributed phenomena, and of the social and environmental processes that operate in space and time. His publications on spatial interaction modeling have become the accepted authorities in the field for their theoretical and quantitative rigor and for the richness of their applications. Fotheringham has also significantly advanced our understanding of the problems of making statistical inference from spatial data across the health, social, and environmental sciences. More recently, his work on spatial process heterogeneity has led to powerful new insights from place-based analysis, a topic that he has pioneered through the development of geographically weighted regression and the creation of analogous versions of many standard statistical techniques. He has made these advances readily accessible to researchers in geography, and in the health, social, and environmental sciences more broadly, through software, tutorials, and workshops, and the development of appropriate inferential tests. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and he has done much to promote geography and spatial science across the social sciences and internationally. He has been a long-time member of the American Association of Geographers despite his long periods at European universities, and he has been a regular attendee at AAG meetings and a contributor to geographical debates on both sides of the Atlantic. His research, including numerous papers in the Annals of the American Association of Geographers, is very heavily cited.

Nik Heynen 

Photo of Nik HeynenDr. Nik Heynen’s sustained and exemplary record of research, mentorship, and service has left an enduring impact on the discipline of geography. Dr. Heynen’s scholarship has been transformational and field-defining in the areas of urban political ecology, abolition geographies and ecologies, and geographies of neoliberalism and racial capitalism. His work theorizes and demonstrates empirically how racialized processes of capitalism, white supremacy, and settler colonialism produce structurally unjust geographies and ecologies. His work centers Black scholars and their scholarship to create a social justice-oriented research agenda that produces not only rigorous, theoretically sophisticated scholarship but also practical, justice-centered work. Dr. Heynen’s scholarship is only surpassed by his commitment to his advocacy for reparations and service within the discipline. Dr. Heynen has served as part of the editorial collective at Antipode and was the founding Chair of the Institute for the Geographies of Justice. He has served as an editor for Annals of the AAG and is the founding editor of the University of Georgia Press book series Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation, as well as a co-founding editor of Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space. Dr. Heynen has a long-standing research and service relationship with the Gullah-Geechee community on Sapelo Island, where he frequently returns to support the restoration of traditional agricultural practices. Dr. Heynen’s service shows a sustained commitment to anti-racist, justice-oriented advocacy and action. Despite his over 100 publications, millions of dollars in external grant funding, and abundant service commitments, Dr. Heynen finds time to be a patient, caring, and selfless mentor within the discipline as well. His students have gone on to accept academic positions at some of the most prestigious institutions and departments in geography and are a testament to his caring, supportive, and effective mentorship. 

Reece Jones 

Photo of Reece JonesDr. Reece Jones is Professor and the Chair of the Department of Geography and Environment at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. He has created influential research on borders and immigration and is dedicated to service within the AAG and the wider academic community. He is currently the Chair of the Local Organizing Committee for the 2024 Annual Meeting in Honolulu. He previously served as the president of the Political Geography Specialty Group (PGSG) of the AAG in 2013 and 2014, was the Secretary/Treasurer of the PGSG from 2011-2012, and served on the PGSG executive committee from 2009-2016. Reece has served the discipline of geography as the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Geopolitics for the past four years. Prior to becoming Editor-in-Chief, Reece was the Forum and Review Editor at the journal for two years. Reece is also on the editorial boards of the journals Political Geography and the Journal of Borderlands Studies and the editor of the Routledge Studies of Geopolitics book series with Klaus Dodds. In addition to Reece’s service to the AAG and the discipline, perhaps his most significant contribution is in his ground-breaking research on borders and immigration. In April 2021, Reece was named a Guggenheim Fellow by the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. His book Violent Borders, published in 2016, won multiple awards for the best book in political geography and has been translated into French and Slovenian. The citation from the British Royal Geographical Society called it “one of the most influential Political Geography books published in recent times.” 

David H. Kaplan 

Photo of David KaplanDavid H. “Dave” Kaplan is well-known both nationally and internationally for his work in political and urban geography. He has written or edited 14 books, ranging from sophisticated analyses of ethnicity and nationalism to textbooks on urban geography. He has published about 70 journal articles and book chapters, given over 80 invited presentations, and is editor-in-chief for the journal Geographical Review and editor of National Identities. Dr. Kaplan has served the AAG in numerous capacities, including as Council member, President of the East Lakes region, and Chair of the Healthy Departments Committee. Perhaps most significantly, Dr. Kaplan served as AAG President during two of the most significant events during the AAG’s recent history: the transition from AAG Executive Director Doug Richardson to Gary Langham, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The latter included the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Annual Meeting and the establishment of the COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Force to minimize the impact of the pandemic. To list just one major contribution to the AAG that speaks to his engagement to increase the diversity of the discipline, Dr. Kaplan created the International Councilor position to ensure that AAG leadership also reflects the international membership of the organization. 

Robin Leichenko

Photo of Robin LeichenkoRobin Leichenko is an extremely creative, inquisitive, and giving academic and public scholar whose career has spanned economic and environmental geography, focusing over the past 20 years primarily on economic impacts and responses to climate change. She has been a professor at Rutgers University for over 25 years, where she has chaired 11 Ph.D. committees, served as department chair and graduate director, served as co-director of the Rutgers Climate Institute, and is currently Associate Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences. She is an exemplary public scholar. She has served on multiple committees on responses to climate change, including serving as a review editor on the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), serving as co-chair of the New York City Panel on Climate Change, and serving as co-lead of the Society and Economy Sector of the New York State Climate Impact Assessment. Dr. Leichenko’s research journey shows her inquisitiveness and willingness to try new things. Early in graduate school, she was an environmental geographer, but during her Ph.D. program at Penn State, she became focused on economic geography, obtaining a M.A. in Economics along with her Ph.D. in Geography. After coming to Rutgers, she began to return to environmental geography, but combined the work with her knowledge of economic systems. Her ability to speak the language of scholars and practitioners across the various fields focusing on climate change has helped her to make immense contributions both to the academic study of climate change and to the debate on public responses to it. She has also been very active in the AAG itself. Among other things, she was chair of the Economic Geography specialty group. She has also acted as a mentor to many early and mid-career geographers, particularly women. Overall, Robin Leichenko is a model geographer, unafraid to cross boundaries, who works both inside and outside the academy.

Wei Li

Photo of Wei LiDr. Wei Li is a highly productive researcher who has published well over 100 academic articles and 10 books, edited books and special issues of journals, and delivered more than 75 invited lectures, with many focusing on urban and ethnic geography as well as highly skilled migrations. She is most known for her work on ethnic and racial settlement patterns, where she coined the now widely known term ethnoburb. Her work is well-respected both nationally and internationally, and she has held various visiting positions both in the U.S. and internationally. Dr. Li has provided extensive service to the AAG, including leadership positions in the Ethnic Geography Specialty Group, and serving as National Councilor and on the JEDI task force as well as other diversity-related initiatives. Beyond her own valuable contributions, she is also exceptional in drawing attention to and applauding the contributions of others. Dr. Li also deserves praise for her exceptional work in mentoring and advising graduate students and junior colleagues, including an extensive record of co-presenting and co-authoring papers with her students.

Wenwen Li

Photo of WenWen LiDr. Wenwen Li is a nationally recognized researcher at the forefront of geography, developing new methods for spatial pattern analysis and regionalization for solving real-world problems across disciplines. She is among the first to introduce classic inertia theory from physics to the measurement of spatial compactness patterns. Dr. Li has conducted innovative research on cyberinfrastructure, utilizing big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to enable geospatial intelligence for data-driven discovery and intelligent spatial decision making. For this
pioneering AI transdisciplinary expansion into the geospatial world, she has become widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading scientists responsible for the emergence of GeoAI research. Her approaches have been widely adopted in landscape ecology, climate research, geomorphology, urban studies, as well as in biomedical imaging, bioengineering, and toxicological science.

Dr. Li has a very strong service record to AAG and other research communities. This record includes serving on journal editorial boards, reviewing numerous manuscripts, and serving on multiple proposal review panels. She was a founding member of the AAG Cyberinfrastructure Specialty Group and has served as its treasurer, board member, vice chair, chair, and past chair. She has also organized and chaired several dozen activities at AAG annual conferences, and has collaborated with the AAG GeoEthics group to host an Ethics in GeoAI webinar.

Priscilla McCutcheon 

Photo of Priscilla McCutcheonDr. Priscilla McCutcheon has built an eminent record of innovative research, impactful teaching, and dedicated service in geography. Dr. McCutcheon’s work in Black food geographies and land politics weaves together geographies of religious organizations, environmental justice, land/food access, and Black geographies to interrogate the structural inequalities and racial disparities in land ownership, particularly in the U.S. South. Her scholarship on race and environment also highlights racially marginalized peoples as agentic actors rather than simply communities trapped in oppressive struggles. Dr. McCutcheon’s scholarship is an important and vital contribution to geography, food justice, and Black studies. Described as “one of the most important scholars of her generation,” Dr. McCutcheon’s research in many journals including Antipode, ACME, Gender, Place, and Culture, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, and Annals of the AAG has led to numerous awards, including the inaugural Rickie Sanders Junior Faculty Award from the Feminist Geography Specialty Group, Emerging Diversity Scholar Citation from the National Center for Institutional Diversity, Diversity and Inclusion Fellow from the University of Kentucky, and Transdisciplinary Research Award from the University of Louisville. Dr. McCutcheon’s exceptional record of research is matched by her dedicated record of service within the discipline. She has served on the editorial boards of Progress in Environmental Geography, Environment and Planning E, and Agricultural and Human Values as well as serving as Chair of the Black Geographies Specialty Group and committee member on AAG’s Finance Committee, Awards Committee, and Diversity Committee. Dr. McCutcheon also serves as a dedicated and caring mentor and advisor to numerous graduate and undergraduate students as well as Associate Chair and Director of Undergraduate Studies for African American and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky. Dr. McCutcheon is active in community service initiatives and has been generous as an unofficial mentor within the broader discipline to junior scholars and students.

Lindsay Naylor

Photo of Lindsay NaylorDr. Lindsay Naylor is an outstanding researcher, teacher, and member of the AAG who is extremely qualified to become an Early/Mid-Career AAG Fellow. In the past seven years, she has published 27 articles, mainly as a first author, as well as a book, Fair Trade Rebels, published by the highly regarded University of Minnesota Press. This book won the 2020 Julian Minghi Distinguished Book Award of the Political Geography Specialty Group of the AAG. She also has a second book under contract with the University of Georgia. Her research focuses on food systems, bodies, care, and agriculture, concentrating on stories and research on material subjects in particular places, and often involves partnering with local community organizations. She is quickly emerging as one of the premier scholars in both political geography and the geographies of food and agriculture. In addition, she is a strong teacher, serves as the current graduate advisor for the Geography program at the University of Delaware, and has been extremely active in the AAG. As a graduate student, she was one of the founders of the Geographies of Food and Agriculture specialty group. Lindsay was instrumental in the AAG Covid-19 Rapid Response and with AAG staff and a committee of AAG members developed the graduate student learning skills program (she is the current chair), which has been a tremendous support system for our members. She is also active in the Political Geography Specialty Group (as a former board member) and as a former board member of the AAG Middle States Region, from which she was elected as a Regional Councilor to the AAG. In sum, in her career to date, Lindsay Naylor has added an enormous amount to the field of geography as a researcher, a colleague, and a mentor.

Duane Nellis

Photo of Duane NellisDr. Duane Nellis has had an outstanding career as a leader in remote sensing in geography, and through his positions as leaders of major universities across the United States. Nellis forged an impressive career as a geographer and as a senior administrator at several public research universities. He has published numerous papers in the field of geography and remote sensing, and he has guided the continual growth of this field serving in his long-standing role as co-editor of Geocarto International. He has carried out this editorial work in addition to his university leadership roles as dean of arts and sciences (West Virginia University), provost (Kansas State University), and president (University of Idaho, Texas Tech, and Ohio University). In all these roles, Nellis crafted creative, joint-venture opportunities between the university and external foundations and corporations, shifting the narrative of public universities being victims of defunding to empowered agents of their own destinies. He also used his bully pulpit to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at every university in which he served. One powerful example of his efforts was the designation of Texas Tech University as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. Nellis also served the AAG through his efforts in the Remote Sensing Specialty Group, and especially through his terms as Vice-President, President, and Past President of the AAG. He received many awards and commendations over the course of his distinguished career, and has richly deserved all the recognition. He received the Gilbert Grosvenor Geographic Education Honors in 2001 for his distinguished contributions to geographic education. He also received the highest-level scholarly achievement award from the AAG Remote Sensing Specialty Group and the John Fraser Hart Award for Distinguished Scholarship from the Agriculture and Rural Land Use Specialty Group.

Bimal K. Paul 

Photo of Bimal PaulDr. Bimal K. Paul, a Fulbright-Flex Fellow, has an international reputation as a leading scholar on disasters, hazards, and health and is known for frequently offering deeper understandings of complex issues and debunking long-held myths. Stanford University identified him as among the top two percent of researchers in the world. His research expertise is not just evidenced by his long record of publications, which includes numerous articles and several books, but also by his selection as a member of the observer team at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, and more recently the Paris Climate Change Conference. Dr. Paul’s work is well-known and respected beyond North America, as proven by numerous invited talks in various Asian countries as well as his service as the external reviewer on 20 dissertations at foreign universities. Dr. Paul is recognized as an expert on South Asia both within and outside academia and is frequently interviewed by the media on a wide range of topics including natural disaster mitigation, disaster relief, and health. Dr. Paul has served the AAG in a variety of capacities, including leadership of the Asian Geography Specialty Group, the AAG Affirmative Action and Minority Status Committee, and the AAG Research Grants Committee. He has also held editorial positions for the Geographical Review, and The Professional Geographer (book review section) and has served on the editorial board for the AAG Review of Books. 

William Solecki 

Photo of William SoleckiDr. William Solecki is an internationally recognized geographer whose research has significantly advanced understanding of urban environmental change and transitions to adaptation and resilience in the face of a changing climate. Among Dr. Solecki’s sustained, high-impact contributions are his leadership roles in climate assessments at the international and national levels. For the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 2006, he has served as contributing lead author, lead author, or contributing author for chapters in the 4th Assessment, 5th Assessment, and 6th Assessment reports. Solecki was also a lead author for “Chapter 1 Framing and Contexts” of the IPCC Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5°C. He was also a lead author for U.S. National Climate Assessment chapter reports, most recently for a chapter on the Northeast (AR4). Infusing geographical concepts, and transcending academic scholarship to co-involve policymakers and practitioners, are significant attributes of Dr. Solecki’s work. His engagement with climate change issues in New York City has provided a living laboratory for his research and teaching at Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY). He was the co-Chair of the New York City Panel on Climate Change, founding director of the Institute for Sustainable Cities at Hunter College, founding (interim) director of the CUNY-led, Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay, co-founder of the Urban Climate Change Research Network, and founding editor of the Journal of Extreme Events. Dr. Solecki received the 2020 Gilbert White Distinguished Public Service Honors from the AAG for “outstanding work to improve the human condition through direct community engagement, wide-ranging public service, and salient, cutting-edge research.” 

David Wilson 

Photo of David WilsonDr. David Wilson is a distinguished urban geographer who has led the excellent urban geography program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for 30 years. His research has focused on urban redevelopment, political economy, governance dynamics, and race in Rust Belt Cities of the global north, particularly in Chicago, Flint, Glasgow, and Cleveland. He both studies these cities and has become closely tied to them, particularly their Blues music scene. Dr. Wilson also excels as a mentor, both for urban geography students and for junior faculty. He is a giving scholar, with an open-door policy for all. He is also devoted to the promotion of diversity and inclusion at the University of Illinois and in the field of geography in general. In the AAG, he has been a leader in the Urban Geography Specialty Group, where he co-organizes the annual plenary lecture. He has also been on the editorial board of more than 10 national and international journals. 


AAG Presidential Achievement Award

The AAG Past President recognizes individuals who have made long-standing and distinguished contributions to the discipline of geography.

Gillian Hart

Professor Gillian Hart is recognized for her foundational work in the critical human geography of development, agrarian political economy, and postcolonial Marxism.

Dr. Hart has inspired a generation of geographers with her theorizations of relational comparison, conjunctural analysis, and critical ethnography as powerful methodologies for interrogating contemporary social relations. After her earlier research on agrarian Southeast Asia, including groundbreaking contributions to feminist debates about gender and the household, Dr. Hart turned her scholarly focus to post-Apartheid South Africa. Her ground-breaking book Disabling Globalization critiqued discourses of globalization through attention to multiple social-spatial trajectories, while Rethinking the South African Crisis analyzed nationalism and the proliferation of populist politics, focusing on local governments as key sites of contradiction.

Dr. Hart has been a leading figure in demonstrating and interpreting Antonio Gramsci’s contemporary salience, and in offering geographical explications of the contemporary global politics of resurgent nationalisms and authoritarian neoliberalism. At UC Berkeley, she chaired the Center for African Studies for five years and co-chaired the Development Studies major for two decades. She was an Honorary Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and since 2016 has been Distinguished Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. She was awarded the Vega Medal by the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography in 2018.

Matthew Turner

Professor Matthew Turner is recognized for his extensive and profoundly interdisciplinary contributions to nature-society geography, particularly of arid and semi-arid regions of West Africa. His research blends a deep understanding of place and cultural practices with expertise in biophysical geography and geospatial analysis.

Bringing long-term ethnographic fieldwork together with household surveys, GIS, remote sensing, and soil analysis, Dr. Turner has made substantial contributions to political ecology, development geography, common property theory, the ecology of tropical savanna vegetation, and rangeland ecology. Moreover, through the integration of rigorous social theoretical engagement with mixed social science and ecological methods, Dr. Turner has fundamentally challenged dominant narratives surrounding environmental science and resource management in the Sahel and across semi-arid ecosystems more broadly. His scholarly interventions also include bringing political ecology together with Science and Technology Studies, and advancing geographical knowledge about pastoralism, gendered dimensions of food insecurity, and climate change and conflict.

Dr. Turner has served as department chair as well as director of the University of Wisconsin Land Tenure Center. Known as an extraordinarily generous mentor to students and junior faculty alike, Dr. Turner has advised 26 Ph.D. students, 43 graduate students overall, and served on roughly 150 additional graduate committees. He is Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Learn more about AAG Presidential Achievement Award


AAG Honorary Geographer

Recognizes excellence in research, teaching, or writing on geographic topics by non-geographers

Rebecca Solnit

Rebecca Solnit, author and activist, is recognized for her consistent witness to shine light on possibilities for a better world, and her engagement in fighting for the planet’s future.

Learn more about the AAG Honorary Geographer Award


AAG Stanley Brunn Award for Creativity in Geography

Given to an individual geographer or team that has demonstrated originality, creativity, and significant intellectual breakthroughs in geography.

Susanna Hecht

Susanna Hecht, UCLA, is recognized for creative work to contribute to our understanding of the cultural, political, and natural conditions for deforestation and reforestation in the Amazon.

Learn more about the AAG Stanley Brunn Award


AAG Wilbanks Prize for Transformational Research in Geography

Awarded to geographers from the academic, public, or private sectors whose research has made transformational contributions to Geography or GIScience, or to Science and Society

Audrey Kobayashi

Audrey Kobayashi, Queen’s University, has conducted transformative research on the intersectionality of gender, race, politics, and place. After initial studies of the experiences of Japanese immigrants in Canada, Kobayashi’s research expanded to examine the ways in which women and people of color encountered and responded to discrimination and other socially constructed barriers. Her theoretical work fostered expansion and integration of feminist and other critical approaches to the study of space, place and racialized landscapes, thereby refocusing geographic inquiry on the complex processes of identity formation, place formation, and inequality.

As one of the first feminist geographers to emphasize the intersectional nature of gender and race, she enhanced basic knowledge about the social and political construction of race in many contexts. Kobayashi also engaged with universities, governments, and other organizations to implement changes in how those institutions combatted racism and other forms of discrimination.

Her consistently innovative and socially relevant research has stimulated new modes of critical analysis and empirical study and helped address fundamental problems in academia and society.

Learn more about the AAG Wilbanks Prize


Meredith F. Burrill Award

Honors work of exceptional merit and quality that lies at or near the intersection of basic research in geography and practical applications or policy implications

James K. Mitchell

Professor Emeritus of the Department of Geography at Rutgers University, has devoted his over fifty years as a geographer to the human dimensions of environmental risks, hazards, disasters, and resilience. Incorporating natural, social, and management sciences, he has taken a broad front approach to bridging deep theoretical thinking and geographical knowledge with institutional practices to influence policymaking processes and outcomes in disaster response, recovery, and mitigation.

Mitchell’s work has been pathbreaking, engaging a wide variety of organizations at all levels of governance, and bringing together researchers, policy makers, and members of the public for complex discussions about developing actionable outcomes to help transform landscapes and people’s livelihoods to achieve sustainable development. Over several decades, he has tirelessly encouraged the engagement of geographers in policy making processes and outcomes, and inspired generations of students to move in new and promising directions in hazard and disaster research and mitigation.

Learn more about the Meredith F. Burrill Award


AAG Harold M. Rose Award for Anti-Racism Research and Practice

Honors geographers who have served to advance the discipline through their research and had on impact on anti-racist practice.

Malini Ranganathan

Dr. Malini Ranganathan, Associate Professor at American University’s School of International Service, stands out for her sustained and exceptional contributions to debates in racial geographies, political ecology, and urban geography, as well as for her antiracist institutional leadership, intellectual mentorship, community engagement, and advancement of geography.

Dr. Ranganathan’s scholarship engages how processes of racialization, racial capitalism, and racial liberalism can be understood both within and beyond European and American contexts and articulate with projects of coloniality, casteism, ethno-nationalism, and Islamophobia. She studies these macro historical processes primarily in the context of cities and their spatial, housing, and ecological inequities. Her recent work continues her engagement in a deep and ongoing dialogue and study with Dalit-led anti-caste social movements in India that is aimed at supporting their struggles. Her work rigorously establishes and carefully develops crucial transnational connections. Focusing on water access exclusion in peripheral urban areas in both the U.S. and in India, she has called for “comparative learning” on the politics of informality. Within the U.S., her scholarship focuses on anti-Black and anti-Latinx racisms related to water, housing, and climate change, including work on governance and water tragedy in Flint, MI and abolition ecologies, featured and stimulating discourse in popular press and media. Her teaching and institutional service convey her intellectual rigour and care as well, most notably in her role as the interim director of the Center for Anti-racism at American University, cultivating a leadership model to foster a diffuse and inclusive shared governance infrastructure, centering on especially diverse groups of women of color.

Harold M. Rose was a pioneer in geographical research and practice engaging anti-racism and focusing on the social conditions faced by African Americans. Rose’s work is a reminder that scholars can and must go beyond theoretical understandings of racism and intersecting conditions of oppression to make a difference in actual communities. Dr. Ranganathan’s prolific combination of research, mentorship, teaching, and community-building carries the torch of Rose’s work and his commitment to geographical anti-racist praxis.

Learn more about the AAG Harold M. Rose Award


Diversity & Inclusion Award

Honors geographers who have pioneered efforts toward or actively participated in efforts toward encouraging a more diverse discipline over the course of several years.

CindyAnn Rose-Redwood

Dr. CindyAnn Rose-Redwood, Associate Teaching Professor of Geography at the University of Victoria, is recognized for her sustained commitment to diversity and equity in her service to her department and university. Dr. Rose-Redwood is also recognized for her consistent efforts to incorporate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion themes in the geography curriculum; and for her work to promote the inclusion of international students in higher education. Dr. Rose-Redwood played an active role as a racialized minority, female faculty member on the Faculty of Social Sciences’ Equity & Diversity Committee at the University of Victoria, a position she successfully leveraged to create a department-level Equity & Diversity Committee of which she became the founding committee chair. These efforts paved the way for the appointment of the department’s first Indigenous hire in recent years.

Besides her tireless service in teaching and administration, Dr. Rose-Redwood has conducted research on the international student experience within higher education institutions, specifically addressing issues of diversity and inclusion themes relating to these students’ academic and social experiences. She has also demonstrated leadership in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education through her editorial roles as an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and Associate Editor of the Journal of International Students, which are well-known journals that engage with diverse student bodies and call attention to DEI issues within higher education spaces.

Learn more about the Diversity & Inclusion Award


Glenda Laws Award

Recognizes outstanding early to mid-career scholars’ contributions to geographic research on social issues.

Shiloh Krupar

Shiloh Krupar’s work combines scholarship on nuclear politics and policy with performance-based community activism.  Her creativity and her commitment to public scholarship are remarkable.  Among her many noteworthy projects are the National Toxic Land/Labor Conservation Service, a faux government agency that enlists artists-activists to propose projects focused on the environmental legacies of American militarism to actual government agencies. In addition, her A People’s Atlas of Nuclear Colorado invites the public to learn about, and to engage with, the history of the Cold War and nuclear landscapes in Colorado. This interactive digital atlas, which tackles Colorado’s nuclear military-industrial complex, represents stunningly innovative, interdisciplinary, collaborative and public facing scholarship that stretches the political and social scope of what it is that an atlas can do. In receiving this award, Dr. Krupar wishes to acknowledge her long-term collaborator on these projects, Sarah Kanouse.  She is affiliated with Georgetown University.

Willie J. Wright

Dr. Willie J. Wright has made his mark in the discipline with his scholarship on Black geographies and urban studies.  He is committed to social justice and to community engagement while also embarking on creative partnerships with cultural institutions.  His current project (with Dr. Sage Ponder) on the Jackson People’s School, funded by the Antipode Foundation, and his year-long Galveston Artist Residency are all worthy of note and praise. He is deeply committed to advancing the fight and struggle for justice in communities long written out of mainstream geographic scholarship. Dr. Wright is also a board member of the Cooperative Community of New West Jackson, Mississippi, a grassroots resident-led community development organization.

As an Assistant Professor at the University of Florida, Dr. Wright has made vital contributions to social justice teaching, including a dedicated course on Social Justice in the City and a graduate course on Black Geographies. He is committed to community-oriented scholarship and bridging the gap between the academy and knowledge that exists within communities. This is crucial because knowledge creation is not a one-way street but is reflected in the intersection between the ‘Ivory Tower’ and community activists and organizers working to transform communities.

Learn more about the Glenda Laws Award


Susan Hardwick Excellence in Mentoring Award

Given to an individual geographer, group, or department who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in building supportive academic and professional environments in their departments, associations, and institutions and guiding the academic and or professional growth of their students and junior colleagues.

Heather A. Smith

Dr. Heather A. Smith, University of North Carolina Charlotte, is recognized for her outstanding style of mentorship that emulates, honors, and embodies the spirit, memory and legacy of the late Dr. Susan Hardwick.

Students and colleagues of Dr. Smith praise her generosity, inclusivity and focus on collaboration, service, and leadership. Dr. Smith is recognized for her commitment to providing more access, more opportunity, more attention, more care, more critical engagement, and more professional development than is typical in academia, all while exemplifying high standards for excellence and engagement. Further, she has provided students with the skills and resources they need to succeed as scholars and practitioners. She shows sustained interest in the continued growth, well-being, and success of current and former students and faculty colleagues. The far-reaching impacts of her style of mentorship are carried forward by her mentees into other spaces and places.

Dr. Smith’s professional interests and mentoring strengths have guided a generation of geography students in effective community engagement and in the ethical conduct of engaged research. Through highly impactful professional development meetings and other structured mentoring spaces and activities, Dr. Smith engages and guides students at every level, from undergraduate to Ph.D. She also sustains junior colleagues in effectively and successfully navigating academia and beyond. Her mentorship is exemplary and invaluable.

Learn more about the Susan Hardwick Excellence in Mentoring Award


AAG Award for Associates Program Excellence

Honors U.S. college and university Geography departments and Geography programs within blended departments that have significantly enhanced the prominence and reputation of Geography as a discipline and demonstrated the characteristics of a strong and engaged academic unit.

Sinclair Community College Geography/Geospatial Technology Department

The Geography/Geospatial Technology Department at Sinclair Community College has a well-developed combination offering of an Associates degree in Geography, designed to be the transfer program, aligned with Ohio’s public universities, and an Associates degree in applied GIST, aimed at preparing students for a career track in Geospatial Technology. In addition to this Associates degree line up, Sinclair offers three GIS certificates.

The program has an impressive GIS internship component as a capstone. The Map Dayton project as the platform for applied learning in the classroom has connected the Department with partners and raised awareness of it in the community. Engagement in programs like Vestiges of Redlining provide power learning experiences for both participants and audiences. The program is a wonderful synergy of classroom and place, and this has translated into career opportunities for students and helped Dayton work on pressing issues.

Learn more about the Program Excellence Award
Honorable Mention: AAG Award for Associates Program Excellence
Grand Rapids Community College Geography Program

The Geography Program at Grand Rapids Community College has risen from a program with 3 lower-level geography courses in 2002 to eleven courses, and has plans to bring a GIS certificate online in a couple of years, with an amazing level of enthusiasm and drive. The leader of this program, Michael DeVivo, clearly has a talent for making a space for students to become excited about geography and able to explore the world (with a program in South Africa, coupled with an initiative to send African women to high school). In addition, DeVivo has embraced student-led efforts to address food insecurity and poverty in Grand Rapids itself.

The other striking feature of this leadership is fundraising and grantsmanship to support students for conferences and fieldwork. The rich history of the program and the current vision of a space to address society is compelling. The alumni and collegial testaments, along with the letters of support indicate a strong and reputable program.

Muskegon Community College Geography Program

The Geography Program at Muskegon Community College (MCC) has been run for many years by 1-2 full-time geography faculty, with faculty and students highly engaged in being part of a geography community emphasizing experience, outreach, and engagement.

It is clear that this program fosters a supportive community of learners. The faculty are deeply dedicated to the practice of teaching. The existence of an active Geo Club and a GTU chapter is evidence that the students are very engaged in the program itself, and the students’ trip to Western Michigan University to meet transfer students allowed them to experience what the ‘other end’ of the transfer process entails. Clearly, the collaboration between WMU and MCC is part of what enabled the hosting of East Lakes Division of AAG meeting – the first community college to do so. Students’ routine participation in AAG regional and national conferences is further testament to the program’s success.

Learn more about the AAG Award for Associates Program Excellence


J. Warren Nystrom Award

Recognizes a distinguished paper based upon a recent dissertation in geography.

Gengchen Mai, University of Georgia, “Towards General-Purpose Representation Learning of Polygonal Geometries”

Learn more about the J. Warren Nystrom Award


Harm de Blij Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

Recognizes an outstanding achievement in teaching undergraduate Geography including the use of innovative teaching methods.

Gabriela Hamerlinck

Dr. Gabriela Hamerlinck (Gaby), an instructional faculty at the University of Florida, is an exceptional geography teacher. Her innovative and rigorous courses focus her students on applied activities and real-world examples such as designing a global pandemic response plan, critiquing how disease is portrayed in popular culture, or creating a zombie movie! She requires students to write, provides detailed feedback, and promotes constructive peer review between students.

Hamerlinck incorporates participatory approaches to teach culturally diverse topics. Examples of her creativity include low technology ‘nanobugs’ as an example ‘game’ on how diseases spread; and social media ‘campaigns’ for effective educational programs. She created multiple new courses, including a required UF Quest course “The Next Pandemic” which she was teaching when COVID hit. Gaby also developed Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) for Geography. This CURE platform increases undergraduate research in the geography department and serves as a pedagogical tool shown to increase learning gains and retention for all students, especially those who have been historically excluded from higher education.

Hamerlinck is also a highly trained PhD in mathematical biology and offers her students a fresh perspective on those tools in geography. In each semester she teaches, more students find geography, and many pursue the discipline as a major. Hamerlinck has also taken several of her courses through the University of Florida’s rigorous processes for confirming access for all.

Learn more about the Harm de Blij Award


2022 AAG Meridian Book Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work in Geography

Awarded for a book written by a geographer that makes an unusually important contribution to advancing the science and art of geography.

Kristian Karlo Saguin

Urban Ecologies on the Edge: Making Manila’s Resource Frontier (University of California Press, 2022) by Kristian Karlo Saguin (University of the Philippines) is an outstanding work of geographical scholarship, balancing empirical and conceptual insights that contribute to current interests in urbanization, the infrastructure turn, and environmental change in cities of the Global South. Saguin provides a relational political ecology that describes the unequal ways that Laguna Lake functions as a resource frontier and as a living ecology and is enrolled in and transformed by the urban political ecologies of Manila.

Saguin’s theoretically rich book is the product of extensive research, which represents an important contribution to political ecology and urban geography, as well as the historical geography of the environment. The writing is lively, highly accessible, and nuanced, and it is likely to serve as a model for students seeking to examine other urban places across the globe. This is a timely book and well-deserving of the AAG Meridian Book Award.


Honorable Mentions: 2022 AAG Meridian Book Award
Mirela Altic

Encounters in the New World: Jesuit Cartography of the Americas (University of Chicago Press, 2022) by Mirela Altic (University of Zagreb) is a beautifully written masterpiece, representing an impressive work of scholarship, collating over 150 Jesuit maps from different national archives to examine the development of cartography, exploration, and encounter in the New World. By tracing the paths trodden by Jesuit explorers and mapmakers in Spanish, Portuguese, and French New World possessions, Altic reveals the character of the territories crossed by learned men who offered their interpretations on “flat sheets of paper” to foster deep understanding of the cultural landscapes and natural environments traversed.

Not only does she push forward our understanding of the colonial development of the Americas, Altic also offers ample evidence to support the notion that Jesuit epistemology was more closely aligned with the Enlightenment than heretofore often thought. This book contributes a very important chapter to the history of cartography.

Jessica Barnes

Staple Security: Bread and Wheat in Egypt (Duke University Press, 2022) by  Jessica Barnes (University of South Carolina) provides a captivating account of her noteworthy fieldwork in Egypt, which documents the imperative role bread plays in the Arab World. This splendid narrative offers deep insight into aspects of food insecurity that heretofore have largely remained unexplored. Barnes reveals views, tastes, and aromas of a cultural landscape often shaped by the nuances that glue together strategic elements of Egyptian society.

Her analysis bridges the affective and the structural, working connectively across scales from the personal to the global to untangle the varied significance of bread as food, heritage, commodity, and policy object. This work is certain to be considered a major contribution to ethnographic study.

Learn more about the Meridian Book Award


2022 AAG Globe Book Award for Public Understanding of Geography

Given for a book written or co-authored by a geographer that conveys most powerfully the nature and importance of geography to the non-academic world.

Daniel D. Arreola

Postcards from the Baja California Border (University of Arizona Press, October 2021) by Daniel D. Arreola (Arizona State University) offers a window into the historical and geographical past of storied Mexican border communities. Once-popular tourist destinations from the 1900s through the 1950s, the border communities explored in Postcards from the Baja California Border used to be filled with revelers, cabarets, curio shops, and more. The postcards in this book show the bright and dynamic past of California’s borderlands while diving deep into the historic and geographic significance of the imagery found on the postcards.

This form of place study calls attention to how we can see a past through a serial view of places, by the nature of repetition, and the photographing of the same place over and over again. Arreola draws our focus to townscapes, or built landscapes, of four border towns—Tijuana, Mexicali, Tecate, and Algodones—during the first half of the twentieth century. With an emphasis on the tourist’s view of these places, this book creates a vivid picture of what life was like for tourists and residents of these towns in the early and mid-twentieth century.

Postcards from the Baja California Border is a rich and fascinating experience, one that will take readers on a time-travel journey through border town histories and geographies while celebrating the visual intrigue of postcards.


Honorable Mention: 2022 AAG Globe Book Award
Adam Mathews and Chris Ferrie

ABCs of Geography (Sourcebooks, 2022) by Adam Mathews (Western Michigan University) and Chris Ferrie (Centre for Quantum Software and Information) is a fun, accessible, and informative book about the fundamentals of geography aimed at children and, by extension, their caregivers.

Learn more about the Globe Book Award


2022 AAG John Brinkerhoff Jackson Prize

Encourages and rewards American geographers who write books about the United States which convey the insights of professional geography in language that is both interesting and attractive to lay readers.

Mrill Ingram, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Loving Orphaned Space: The Art and Science of Belonging to Earth (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2022) provides a thoughtful and carefully crafted ode to landscapes that few of us stop to consider, even though we experience them daily. Ingram counsels the reader to rethink abandoned lots and other ignored slices of land, reconceptualizing them as “orphaned” spaces worthy of love and care. Clearly written and finely illustrated with numerous maps and color photographs, Loving Orphaned Space is structured around three case studies where art-science collaborations bring orphaned spaces to life.

Ingram uses each fascinating example — an abandoned gas station lot on Chicago’s South Side, a hidden and channelized reach of the Bronx River, and stormwater basins in Fargo, North Dakota — to illustrate a variety of themes in cultural geography. By attending to overlooked and disconnected spaces as containers for story and relationship, she offers gentle wisdom about the consequences and meanings of deindustrialization, disinvestment, and neglect. Further, by focusing on community collaborations that “reject the void” and create meaning in orphaned space, the book orients readers toward hope, action, and attention.

Learn more about the Jackson Prize


AAG Council Award for Best Student Paper at a Regional Division Meeting

Encourages student participation at AAG Regional Division meetings and supports their attendance at the AAG Annual Meeting.

  • Olivia Cameron, Oregon State University, Pacific Coast, Graduate
  • Naomi Hazarika, University of Colorado Boulder, GPRM, Graduate
  • Lauren Gerlowski, University of Wisconsin, Middle Atlantic, Graduate
  • Xueyuan Eric Gao, University of Maryland, Middle Atlantic, Undergraduate
  • Maria Morresi, West Chester University, Middle States, Graduate
  • Carolyn Weinstein, SUNY New Paltz, Middle States, Undergraduate
  • Sarah Jackson, University of South Carolina, SEDAAG, Graduate
  • Weiying Lin, Texas A&M University, SWAAG, Graduate
  • Sarah Pettyjohn, University of North Texas, SWAAG Undergraduate
  • Jacob Hines, Tarleton State University, SWAAG Undergraduate
  • Ruijia Hu, University of Cincinnati, East Lakes, Graduate
  • Connor O’Loughlin, Northern Michigan University, East Lakes, Undergraduate
  • Theresa Cocola, Southern Connecticut State University, NESTVAL Undergraduate
  • Antoine Lachance, Concordia University, NESTVAL Graduate
  • Owen Bomba, West Lakes
  • Lauren Weber, West Lakes
Learn more about the Council Award for Best Student Paper


Marble-Boyle Undergraduate Achievement Award in Geographic Science

Recognizes excellence in academic performance by undergraduate students from the U.S. 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.

  • Rachel de Sobrino, University of Minnesota
  • Laurel Sparks, Georgia State University
Learn more about the Marble-Boyle Undergraduate Achievement Award


AAG Darrel Hess Community College Geography Scholarships

Awarded to outstanding students from community colleges, junior colleges, city colleges, or two-year educational institutions who will be transferring as geography majors to four-year universities receive support and recognition from this scholarship program, provided by Darrel Hess of the City College of San Francisco since 2006.

  • Shemania Accema, transferring from Valencia College to the University of Florida
  • Jeffrey Varga, transferring from Southwestern Oregon Community College to Oregon State University
Learn more about the AAG Darrel Hess Community College Geography Scholarships


AAG Research Grants

Supports direct costs for fieldwork and research.

  • Joynal Abedin, Texas A&M University
  • Michael Desjardins, Johns Hopkins University
  • Emma Gaalaas Mullaney, Michigan State University
Learn more about AAG Research Grants


AAG Dissertation Research Grants

Supports for doctoral dissertation Research for Ph.D. candidates of any geographic specialty

Nicole Moller-Gonzalez, Syracuse University
Learn more about AAG Dissertation Research Grants

Specialty and Affinity Group Awards

AAG’s specialty and affinity groups acknowledge members’ work within their specific areas of the discipline and interest.


More awards announcements coming soon.