Council candidate bio examples

(400-600 words, plus a 200-400-word statement included after the publications section)

Marilyn N. Raphael

Photo of Marilyn Raphael by Ashley Kruythoff, UCLAProfessor, UCLA Department of Geography; Interim Director, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability; Affiliate Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research; Ph.D., The Ohio State University: Geography-Climatology; M.A., The Ohio State University: Geography-Climatology; B.A., Hons., McMaster University: Geography

Service to Geography: National Councilor of the Association of American Geographer 2010-2013, Member, AAG Long Range Strategic Planning Committee 2013-2016, Member, AAG Nominating Committee 2015-2017, Member, NSF Geography and Regional Science Advisory Panel, 2008-2010, Editorial Board Physical Geography (2014-continuing), and The Professional Geographer (2010-2016), Guest Editor Physical Geography, Member of the AAAS Section Committee on Atmospheric and Hydrology Sciences — representing Geography 2014-2019.

Honors, Awards, and Grants: Named to the Royal Society’s Women in Science List of 90 Women, Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) Women in Antarctic Science,  Winner of Atmospheric Science Librarian International Most Popular Book Award — The Encyclopedia of Weather and Climate Change, A Complete Visual Guide, Marie Tharp Fellow, UCLA Graduate Student Adviser Award. PI or Co-PI on over $6.0 million in external grants and awards from NASA, NSF, NERC, and other sources.

Professional Experience: Assistant to Full Professor at UCLA; Chair, UCLA Department of Geography (2010-2013); Vice Chair, UCLA Department of Geography (2009 -2010); Interim Director Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (2020-); Member, numerous UCLA Academic Senate Committees and Faculty Advisory Committees; Chair, the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research’s Expert Group — Antarctic Sea ice Processes and Climate (ASPeCt, 2009-present). Co-Lead of the (WCRP) World Climate Research Project’s Polar Climate Predictability Initiative (PCPI 2016-present); Member of WCRP’s Grand Challenge Committee on Near Term Climate Prediction (2017-present)

Research and Teaching Interests: I am a physical geographer with research interests in large scale atmospheric circulation dynamics and their influence on Antarctic sea ice variability and global climate change and variability. Climate variability in the Southern Hemisphere cryosphere has significant implications for global climate and climate change.   

Teaching is one of the most satisfying aspects of my career. It is my opportunity to introduce my undergraduate students to the exciting world of climatology in geography and environmental sustainability; an experience that, especially in these times, has potential to change their worldview. For my graduate students it is my opportunity make my science come alive and, in the process, introduce them to the joys of research, to sustain their interest and to bring them into the academy.

Publications: Co-author of award-winning The Encyclopedia of Weather and Climate Change, A Complete Visual Guide, Author or co-author of more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles. Articles appearing in Nature Climate Change, Nature Geoscience, Nature Reviews. Nature Communications, Polar Geography, The Professional Geographer, Physical Geography, Geographical Analysis, The Cryosphere, Journal of Climate, Climate Dynamics, Geophysical Research Letters, Journal of Geophysical Research- Atmosphere/Ocean, One Earth, Geosciences, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Elementa, Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research, Antarctic Science, Earth Interactions, Frontiers in Marine Science.

Statement: 2020 is a year in which we have seen how our global interconnectedness has facilitated the transmission of a deadly virus. The legitimate fear of infection has led to an abrupt change in the way in which society operates and communicates, exposing the realities of our inequality. We have also been sharply reminded of how much racial, social and environmental injustice continue to weaken the fabric of our society. This is all taking place against the looming backdrop of climate change-related catastrophes. The virus has taken a heavy toll, but the abruptness of the change has jolted us from our passivity and acceptance. It has enabled us to see our country in ways it was difficult to before but also gives us a chance to make changes that were difficult to do before.

Geography as a discipline and the AAG as the organization that oversees geography is ideally placed to effect the change that is needed.

A fundamental way to reduce inequality and to address racial, social and environmental injustice, is through increased diversity, inclusion and representation of under-represented groups. As an individual who lives and works in a place and field where there are few like me — (Black, female, immigrant, first generation), I know firsthand the negative effect that a lack of diversity, inclusion and representation has. Because of this I have worked to make my environment more diverse. I am aware, that I bring more to the academy than my knowledge of climate. I have sought for and used my external funding to bring diverse undergraduate and graduate students into geography and I mentor them through successful completion of their degrees. I choose to work with groups at UCLA that focus on supporting diverse students so that they are successful in their academic pursuits. To me it is abundantly clear that a more diverse environment is a more just environment, a more creative environment, and simply a happier environment.

Here is what I would do as vice president. I would have the AAG make a renewed commitment to diversity, inclusion and representation. The trio of diversity, inclusion and representation has been a focus and some ground has been gained, but it remains a critical issue and the AAG can continue and increase the effectiveness of its approach. The AAG can do more to ensure that geography as a discipline becomes more inclusive and equitable.

  1. Recognize and confront racial, social and environmental injustice first by looking within the organization to see where we can do better. We can then create and coordinate the implementation of solutions to address the lack and promote the solutions to the external world.
  2. Create a welcoming environment. Embrace diversity. This means encourage and support the diversity that already exists within the organization while reaching outwards to increase the same. Success here requires sustained effort. We can reach out and continue reaching out to the places where groups that are underrepresented in Geography exist. These include, for example Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
  3. Promote discussion of these difficult issues among all of our members, among its affinity groups and specialty groups. Create opportunities for difficult conversations around these topics. These are the conversations that make us aware that we too have implicit biases, and often implicitly feel entitled. These are the conversations that allow us to imagine ideas that we can deploy to effect change.
  4. Publish and promote scholarship on these topics — not just as a single special issue, as important as they are, but as a continuing thread because changes of this nature take time to develop, before becoming the norm.
  5. While our annual meetings can consciously reflect the work that is being done, the groundwork will take place in our regional meetings. The AAG can initiate and support efforts at the regional level for diversity, inclusion and representation, reaching out to the regional leaders for answers and solutions. We can encourage them to have these difficult/uncomfortable conversations.

The effect of creating and implementing successful solutions to diversity, inclusion and representation is manifold. It will create a stronger, more just AAG and discipline, making Geography a force for positive social change.

Pablo S. Bose

Photo of Pablo S BoseAssociate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Vermont. Ph.D. (Environmental Studies), York University, 2006, M.A. (Communications), Simon Fraser University, 2000. B.A. (English), University of British Columbia, 1995. Email: pbose@uvm.edu

Professional Experience: Assistant to Associate Professor of Geography, University of Vermont (2008-). Director of Global and Regional Studies Program (2015-). Provost’s Faculty Fellow for General Education (2020-). Provost’s Faculty Fellow for Diversity and Inclusion (2018-2020). Chair, Diversity Curriculum Review Committee (2017-).

Research, Advising, Teaching: My research interests include refugee resettlement, environmentally-induced displacement, South Asian culture and history, the politics of food, and urban and regional development especially in the Global South. I have written 35 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, edited two special issues, given 25 invited lectures and presentations and authored, co-authored or edited 3 books. These include Urban development in India: Global Indians in the remaking of Kolkata (2015) and Refugees in new destinations and small cities: Resettlement in Vermont. I have received external funding from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the NSF, the Canadian Embassy, and the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Located in an undergraduate-only department, I am or have been the principal adviser of 31 honors theses and also work with graduate students across disciplines in Food Systems, Natural Resources, Education, Psychology and Public Administration. I teach courses on many different aspects of geography and regional studies from the introductory to the advanced undergraduate levels.

Service to Geography: Much of my involvement with the AAG has been through specialty groups, especially the Urban Geography Specialty group on which I have been a board member (2009-2011) and twice served as Treasurer (2014-2017 and again in 2019-2022). I was a member of the J. Warren Nystrom Award Review Committee in 2020. I have also served as a panelist for the NSF Geography and Spatial Sciences Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Awards (2016-2018) as well as for the USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive competition in 2015 and 2020. I have also served as an ad-hoc reviewer for the NSF, SSHRC, and multiple publishers and journals. In 2012 I was one of the participants in the AAG Center for Global Geography Workshop series entitled “Internationalizing Geography Education: A Focus on India and South Asia” in Bangalore and helped to develop teaching modules on the region.

Editorial Experience: I serve as part of the editorial team for Urban Geography, with responsibility for the series “Urban Pulse” that focuses on the work of emerging and established scholars especially in/on cities of the Global South.

Awards and Honors: Finalist, Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award, Campus Compact (2019). Winner, Dissertation Award, Urban Geography Specialty Group, AAG.

Public Engagement: Member, Public Works Commission, City of Burlington (2019-). Member, Community Advisory Board, Community Justice Center, City of Burlington (2018-). Member, Brownfields Advisory Committee, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (2012-). Member, Board of Commissioners and Chair, Strategy Committee, Chittenden County Transportation Authority (2014-2016). Member, Board of Commissioners, Burlington Housing Authority (2013-2016). Public Investment Review Committee, Waterfront Tax Increment Financing Plan, City of Burlington (2013-2014). Advisory Committee, Uncommon Alliance to Dismantle Racial and Ethnic Profiling, Chittenden County (2007-2012).

Statement: My background, training and inclination is interdisciplinary and this is what has made geography such a good home for me personally and professionally. I have been attending AAG conferences as well as regional meetings, workshops and specialty group conferences in geography since 2005. I have benefited from excellent mentorship and support within my department and guidance from colleagues across the discipline as I have made my own way through this field and academia in general. I am thus keenly aware of the importance of solidarity and support in the continued development of geography for undergraduate and graduate students, for the communities and institutions in which we work and for ourselves as geographers within and outside of academia. I place the question of what we do and why at the heart of my own research, teaching and service, like so many in our profession. Such a focus on praxis seems especially important as we grapple with so much uncertainty and change both in the immediate future and the long term. It has become a well-worn cliché that the pandemic does not create a crisis so much as it exposes and intensifies existing inequities but it does not make it any less true.

My main objectives as an AAG councilor would be to work on pressing and timely issues that I believe fundamentally affect our future as a discipline. In particular, I am interested in the question of equity and justice within geography. This includes the subjects that we study (and are funded), the topics that we teach, the research that is published, the composition of our departments and programs and our leadership – and conversely all that is marginalized or left underrepresented. We have seen this past summer a rush towards a kind of racial reckoning and yet it remains to be seen whether declarations and good intentions are reflexive and performative or rather suggest a deeper engagement with these issues. It is the latter that I wish to work on.

I am also keenly aware of the ways in which so much of the crucial work that geographers do remains under assault. The denial or delegitimization of climate science, of census data, of particular urban or environmental projects, and many other critical fields is of growing concern. In my own work I have seen the disappearance of city-level refugee resettlement data by federal agencies after its regular publication in the decade prior – the absence of such numbers leaves major gaps in our understanding of important settlement patterns. It is thus important for the AAG to continue its advocacy on behalf of members and the discipline to gain access to necessary data and to be able to disseminate results without being politicized or undermined.

Also under threat in an uncertain pandemic/post-pandemic environment is academia itself; the changing landscape of state and private funding may mean particular and perhaps even existential threats to many geography departments. We are all keenly aware of the long-standing concerns with declining enrollments and closures or consolidations of geography departments, yet what will the future hold with tighter budgets and the impacts of COVID-19 increasingly affecting our institutions?  It is important for the AAG to strategize how it will support members and departments as we navigate this future.

Finally, I would like to participate in conversations about how the AAG’s annual conference can be made more accessible and useful for participants, especially graduate students. I have attended as many of these conferences as I can and have enjoyed them yet often feel that they are more bloated and overwhelming than they need be. The AAG has made many changes and tweaks over the years to improve them yet they remain in many ways unaffordable and inaccessible even for many regular participants. The virtual nature of the pandemic conferences across many fields surely call into question many of our existing practices and also provide an opportunity to rethink what these conferences are meant to do and what they potentially can do.

Thank you for your consideration.

Diana Ojeda

Photo of Diana OjedaAssociate Professor, Cider (Interdisciplinary Center for Development Studies), Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia. Ph.D. and M.A., Clark University, 2009 and 2012. B.A. Universidad de los Andes, 2002 and 2004. Email: dc.ojeda@uniandes.edu.co Twitter: @diana_ojedao

Professional Experience: Associate Professor of Sustainability, Development and Environment, Cider, Universidad de los Andes (2019-). Assistant to Associate Professor, Instituto de Estudios Sociales y Culturales Pensar (Institute for Social and Cultural Studies Pensar), Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (2014-2019). Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (2011-2014).

Research, Advising, Teaching: I am a Colombian feminist geographer. Bridging political ecology, feminist geopolitics and social studies of science, my work is characterized by highly interdisciplinary, collaborative, community-based and publicly-engaged research. In working across these fields and theoretical approaches, my research connects the grounded and embodied stories of socioecological devastation, gendered and racialized dispossession, and state sanctioned violence. This work requires finding creative ways to trace environmental and political histories of degradation and recovery, including the transversal role of violent conflict, in order to disrupt generalized narratives of environmental change. I have written more than 30 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, edited four special issues, and given about 30 invited lectures. As part of my commitment to public scholarship, I have also published two graphic novels. External funding for my research includes the British Academy, the University of California Global Health Institute, the Inter-American Foundation and The Society of Woman Geographers. In 2017 I received the Stonewall Javeriano Anti-Discrimination Award from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. I teach courses on gender and environment, political geography, research methods, and space, gender and sexuality, from the introductory to the doctoral level.

Statement: To say that these are difficult times is clearly an understatement. We are witnessing the expansion of extractivism, the military industrial complex, and environmental degradation amidst heightened political violence, rampant dispossession, and gendered and racial injustice. If anything, these times call for transformative actions. Different collectives have recently pushed the discipline, the AAG in particular and academia as a whole towards a more reflective and critical work that centers Geography’s legacies of imperialism, colonialism, racism, sexism and transhomophobia. If we are to make progress on addressing these long-standing injustices, we need to open up more spaces for advancing AAG’s efforts towards diversity, equity and inclusion, and pushing the boundaries of that trilogy as it becomes colonized by regressive institutional logics. This work includes a commitment to anti-colonial work and considered, careful partnerships with geographers outside the North American heartlands of the AAG. This involves, among other actions, creating spaces where racial, gender and sexual discrimination, harassment and violence are not only not tolerated, but are actively destabilized through deliberative practice. It also involves further addressing the connections between geography and militarization, as a much needed aspect of transforming oppressive social realities. The AAG can do more in building spaces that recognize and value students’ and colleagues’ various intersectional backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, while understanding their differences as crucial to building and sustaining a nourishing intellectual community. The dire need for creating more diverse, inclusive, just, and safe spaces for all must translate into concrete actions towards strengthening the discipline’s work against oppression.

Amariah Fischer

Photo of Amariah FischerPh.D. Candidate, Department of Geography and Geospatial Sciences, Kansas State University; M.A. in Geography, Kansas State University (2018); B.S. in Geography, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2016).

Service to AAG and Geography: Membership in the Rural Geography, Environment Perception and Behavioral Geography, Geographies of Food and Agriculture, and Geographic Information Science and Systems specialty groups. I am also a member of the Graduate Student and Mental Health Affinity Groups. I have served as President of the Beta Psi chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon (2017, 2019) and am currently serving my second term as the Treasurer (2020-present).

Academic Service: I have had the honor and privilege of advocating for my peers in positions such as Graduate Student Faculty Liaison, Department of Geography and Geospatial Sciences, KSU (2020-present), Student Advisory Board Member, KSU Rural Resources Resiliency NSF Research Training program (2019-2021), and Graduate Program Committee Student Representative, Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences, UI (2018-2019). Beyond service to my peers, I have served as a Student Ambassador for the KSU Rural Resources Resiliency NSF Research Training program (2020-2021), a judge for the Kansas Future Farmers of America Agriscience Fair (2021), and a volunteer for the Kansas Geography Bee (2017-2018).

Publications: Frontiers in Water, Agriculture Education Magazine, Agriculture and Human Values (book review).

Presentations: GPRM AAG Meeting, Lincoln, NE (2021); AAG Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA (2018); GPRM AAG Meeting, Grand Forks, ND (2017).

Awards, Honors, and Fellowships: Kansas State University Rural Resources Resiliency NSF Research Training Program Fellow (2019-2021), Natural Resources and Environmental Science Graduate Fellow, Kansas State University (2020), Graduate Student Leadership Award, Department of Geography and Geospatial Sciences, KSU (2021), Susan White GTA Excellence Award, Department of Geography and Geospatial Sciences, KSU (2018), Outstanding Department Citizen Award, Department of Geography and Geospatial Sciences, KSU (2018).

Research, Mentoring, and Teaching: I am a human-environment geographer with research interests integrating both geography and sociology. My research focuses broadly on rural and agricultural sustainability and leverages quantitative, qualitative, and GIS approaches. My current dissertation work is comprised of three complimentary research projects that investigate the influence of the environment on farmers’ values, typologies of rurality, and the role of systems thinking in the adoption of regenerative farming practices. Through this research, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between culture and environment in rural and agricultural communities that could in turn inform sustainability efforts. During my time as a graduate student, I have been a Physical Geography Lab TA, the Head TA for the Physical Geography Lab, a lecturer for Physical Geography, and a discussion section TA for Contemporary Environmental Issues. Through my role as the Natural Resources and Environmental Science Graduate Fellow, I had the opportunity to mentor an interdisciplinary group of undergraduates through a semester-long research project.

Statement: During my time as a student in higher education, I have struggled with my mental health and seen my peers endure the same struggle. I have had friends drop out of their graduate programs due to depression, anxiety, and burnout. I have lost friends to suicide. Students today are painfully aware of the increasing expectations placed on them in order to graduate and to be competitive in their desired job markets post-graduation. While mental health has become a common topic of conversation at many universities, the conversations surrounding mental health often do not carry the weight of seriousness warranted by the pressure placed on students in academia. Many mental health resources provided to students by academic institutions focus on stress management or mindfulness, but for the main purpose of maintaining productivity. Further, nearly all efforts made by universities and academic organizations to help students with their mental health make students solely responsible for their mental health. While these resources are undoubtably valuable to students, this approach fails to recognize and address the systematic structures and broader cultural norms within academia that negatively impact student mental health.

I am encouraged by the increased mental health resources available to students at many academic institutions, as well as the establishment and efforts of the Mental Health Affinity Group and the mental health resources provided by the Graduate Student Affinity Group. However, I believe there is opportunity at AAG to be more progressive in our efforts to prioritize student mental health through workshops centered on educating advisors and mentors on healthy student-mentor relationships and how departments can structurally support student mental health. Our efforts to recruit students to geography and prepare students for future careers is in vain if we cannot create academic environments that allow students to maintain the level of physical, emotional, and mental health needed to successfully complete their degrees. As such, I would like to see AAG be more proactive at addressing the broader cultural and structural practices that negatively impact student mental health.

As a graduate student, I have volunteered and been nominated for positions where I can advocate for my peers. Rarely in academia are students given a voice, so when I am in a position to be the voice for my peers, I take the responsibility seriously. Part of advocacy is actively listening to the needs of your peers but also communicating and pushing for those needs to be addressed by those who have the power to do so. As such, I would like to establish formal expectations and structure for how the Student Councilor communicates, interacts, and works with the Graduate Student and Undergraduate Student Affinity Groups. In an organization the size of AAG, it is not possible to speak to every student about their needs or concerns, but the GSAG and the USAG have already made great strides in supporting and representing students, and their efforts can be leveraged to allow for better advocacy on the side of the Student Councilor. I believe the Student Councilor position, the GSAG, and the USAG are all more beneficial to students when they work together, and it is my hope to work closely with these groups to better advocate for the students of AAG while also establishing a system of collaboration that can be used by future student councilors.