Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Geography Fair Success

The 24th Annual Geography Fair was a terrific success, with hundreds of students and family members learning about the geography of water. BSU students in Dr. Clark's Water Resources were among the volunteers who judged a hundred student projects.

While the judging took place, humanitarian Michael Cambra told the story of Mission to Liberia, an organization that he and Joseph Naranamie have created over the past several years to support recovery and development projects in Liberia, West Africa. This was the first time that the Geography Fair had such a focus on service learning, with t-shirt sales and donations being directed toward the creation of a fresh-water well in Liberia.

Near the end of the program, students and their families enjoyed the music of Khakatay, BSU's amazing West African Drumming ensemble. West Africa, of course, comprises many cultures and musical traditions, but the region as a whole is well-represented by the music of Khakatay (which means "laughing out loud"). This excellent connection was made even stronger by the appearance of educator Brigitte Ndikum-Nyada of Cameroon, whose grace and strength was a vivid reminder of something Michael Cambra had discussed earlier: in Cameroon, as in Liberia and much of the rest of the world, girls and women spend hours each day carrying water great distances, often on their heads.

Photo: Danielle Robidoux
All of the volunteers and students -- and particularly Dr. Domingo and the Massachusetts Geographic Alliance -- are to be commended for a program that was not only enjoyable and informative, but also of direct benefit to the people of Liberia.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Help with Grad School Letters

For many students, the most difficult part of applying to graduate or professional school is writing the dreaded "personal statement." What should be included? What is the appropriate style and tone? And how can you make the best use of this opportunity to sell yourself to admissions committees? 

The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) is here to help! "Writing an Impressive Personal Statement," a workshop for students, will be offered:

Tues, Nov 30, 3:15-4:30 in ECC 112 (appetizers served) and again on
Wed, Dec 8, 12:15-1:15 in the Heritage Room (lunch served). 
Students will learn practical guidelines for writing personal statements and see models of successful statements by recent BSU graduates who are now in law school, medical school, and master's and doctoral programs in various disciplines.

Food will be served at each workshop. A response is requested but not required. RSVP to Kathy Frederick in the Office of Undergraduate Research (kfrederick@bridgew.edu).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Focus on Sudan: December 3, 12 noon

Focus on Southern Sudan: January  Independence Referendum
 Friday December 3rd, 12 PM—2 PM
 Heritage Room, BSU Maxwell Library

Political boundaries in Africa could change again very soon, due to the independence referendum in Southern Sudan. Come learn about the important upcoming referendum in southern Sudan that will decide whether southern Sudan will become an independent country. “The future of Sudan is hanging in the balance,” Salva Kiir, president of southern Sudan .

Meanwhile, to learn more:
See the Washington Post article about the possibility that the vote will be delayed, a video from Al Jazeera English about preparations for the vote, and a second Al Jazeera video about fears of war in South Sudan.

Sponsored by the African Studies Program, BSU Chapter of  Free the Children, African Student Association, and Middle Eastern Culture Connection Association.
Light refreshments will be served.

Graduate Assistantships at Central Washington

Graduate Assistants in Resource Management. Central Washington University’s Resource Management (REM) Graduate Program will offer approximately ten (10) graduate assistantships for the 2011-2012 academic year. REM is an applied, interdisciplinary program that includes the Geography Department as a major participant. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in Geography, or related field at the time of enrollment. Assistantships will involve a combination of research and teaching in the Geography Department.
Apply online at: http://www.cwu.edu/~masters/forms/formsGraduate.html. Applications submitted before February 1 receive maximum consideration. For more information, please see http://www.cwu.edu/~rem/ or contact co-director Karl Lillquist at lillquis@cwu.edu.
CWU is an AA/EEO/Title IX Institution.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Graduate Opportunity at UNH

Funded Research Seeking Graduate Students Interested in Human-Environment Interactions

The University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH invites applications for a highly-motivated graduate student interested in linking human dimensions to ecosystem change to work on a new interdisciplinary project in northeastern Oregon.  This project, "Community and Forest:  Linked Human-Ecosystem Responses to Natural Disturbances in Oregon" is funded through the USDA's Disaster Resilience for Rural Communities Program.  In addition to thesis/dissertation research, this student will work closely with project directors in designing, implementing, and analyzing a household survey, will conduct field work in northeastern Oregon, and will work alongside other graduate students and community and agency partners in providing appropriate deliverables throughout the project (e.g., extension publications, briefs, conference papers, community presentations, refereed articles).  Funding is available - 2 years funding for a MS student and 3 years funding for a PhD student.

Project synopsis:
Forests in the Wallowa-Whitman Ecosystem (WWE) are threatened by the risk of catastrophic insect outbreaks and wildfire. Forecasted growth in these natural hazards implies dramatic socio-economic costs to communities that are dependent on forests and their ecosystems. Coupled with that risk is ongoing ecological deterioration concurrent with declining commodity timber-production and changing management goals on public lands, all of which has completely transformed the ways that forests are perceived, valued, and managed.  This research uses a multi-scalar, multi-disciplinary approach to examine risk perceptions and behavioral reactions to forest management with implications on land use and housing. Further, this work focuses on the dynamic feedbacks between landscape changes, land use conversion, parcelization, and the strategies people use to respond to risk in the WWE.

Application procedure:
Application is open to students from social science disciplines (e.g., sociology, geography), natural resources, landscape ecology, and related professional fields who will make significant contributions to linking social dynamics of land management and risk perception with ecological change the research project in the form of a master's thesis or PhD dissertation.  Preference will be given to individuals who have experience in statistics and GIS.  Optional qualifications include an interest in working in rural communities of the US West, rural sociology, landscape ecology, experience in satellite imagery analysis, and modeling.

Potential PhD students can apply to either to the Natural Resources and Earth Systems Science (www.unh.edu/nressphd/) or Sociology (www.unh.edu/sociology/) and potential MS students can apply to either the Department of Natural Resources & the Environment (http://www.nre.unh.edu/) or Sociology at UNH.  The student has the option to begin study in late January 2011 or September 2011.

Graduate students will also work closely with the Carsey Institute (www.carseyinstitute.unh.edu/) while at UNH.

Send a CV and letter of application by December 15, 2010 to:

Joel Hartter
Department of Geography
University of New Hampshire
102 Huddleston Hall
73 Main Street
Durham, NH 03824  USA
Tel: 603-862-7052
Email: joel.hartter@unh.edu

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Two Geography Adventures -- Monday Nov 15

Dr. Domingo and Dr. Hayes-Bohanan are taking students on two adventures on Monday, November 15, and we have room in the van for additional students to join us.

First, we will be taking EarthView on a special, short program in Lexington. We will leave from the front of the Science Building at 7:00 a.m. in order to allow for traffic on our way to the Armenian Sisters' Academy for a morning-only program for grades 1-4. We will be back at BSU by noon. Read more about this visit on the EarthView blog. State Rep. Peter Koutoujian will be joining the EarthView team for this program.

Our second adventure is in conjunction with the GEOG 490 senior seminar, whose students are required to research graduate schools. We are taking advantage of the fact that perhaps the most prestigious geography program in the United States (the world? the universe?) is just an hour away, at Clark University. Our own Dr. Domingo, who got the "Dr." part of his name at Clark, has arranged for a meeting with Dr. Bebbington, Director of the School of Geography (like a department, but bigger!) and a tour of the geography facilities, which include the birthplace of IDRISI. We will then find dinner (bring some cash) at one of Worcester's many authentic, ethnic restaurants. For this outing, we will leave from the front of the Science Building at 1:30 p.m. and return sometime in the early evening.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ben Linder Film Viewing -- Thursday November 4

Thursday, November 4
Library Lecture Hall, 7:00 PM
Fair trade, organic coffee from Nicaragua and light refreshments will be served.

Please join us for a viewing of the acclaimed short documentary American/Sandinista, followed by discussion and presentations by BSU faculty and students regarding US-Latin American relations, Nicaragua, and the experience of BSU students as they engage with a global world.


In the 1980s, at the height of the Cold War, a bloody civil war between the socialist-influenced Sandinistas and U.S.- backed Contras ravaged Nicaragua. Despite the danger, thousands of Americans disobeyed White House warnings and descended upon the Central American nation, determined to lend their skills and labor to the revolutionary Sandinista cause. Using an eclectic mixture of rare archival footage, arresting still photography, and contemporary interviews, American/Sandinista tells the story of a small group of controversial U.S. engineers who went further than anyone expected, and paid the ultimate price.

This event is co-sponsored by the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program, the Foreign Languages Department, the Geography Department, and the Social Justice League.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Geography Tutors Needed

The Academic Achievement Center needs at least one tutor for introductory physical geography. This is an excellent opportunity for upper-level geography majors, particularly those interested in education careers. Meeting times are flexible and tutors are paid for their tutoring and preparation time. It is an immensely rewarding experience that will also contribute to a strong resume.

Harvard Forest

The Fisher Museum includes the famous
landscape dioramas. Built in the 1930s, they
have stood the test of time both physically
and intellectually.
On Saturday, October 30, students in Dr. Hayes-Bohanan's GEOG 332 course on land protection embarked on what has become a nearly annual tradition in the department: a field trip to Harvard Forest.

The course begins with readings of Henry David Thoreau's diaries, as analyzed by Harvard Forest director David Foster in his book Thoreau's Country. Foster mines Thoreau's writings for lessons about changes in the New England landscape. By the time of this field trip, students are well aware that the landscape shown at right would be typical of most of New England in Thoreau's lifetime, when forest cover reached its low point at 20 percent of the region. As Dr. John O'Keefe -- former director of the Fisher Museum at the forest -- explained to our group, the forest cover would have been even lower, but roughly 20 percent had to remain in forest to provide the 30 cords of wood needed each year for cooking and heating on an average farm.

The remainder of the semester will be spent studying the management implications of these lessons, as students learn about the work of land trusts, conservation commissioners, and other institutions involved in protecting the various values of open space. The visit to Harvard Forest and the related readings on forest ecology make the importance and challenges of land protection much easier to understand.
John O'Keefe's guided tour of the forest literally breathes life
into many of the readings about forest ecology. 
Photo credit: Nicole Sauber
Students in GEOG 332 never forget two important lessons about
New England forests. Forests are always in a state of change and
stone walls (lower-right of photo) are clues to forest history.

Photo credit: Nicole Sauber


Dr. Domingo (2nd-right) poses with members of the winning
 BSU Geography Bowl team.

Dr. Domingo took a group of BSU geography students to the annual meeting of NESTVAL (New England and St. Lawrence Valley Geographical Society), hosted this year by the Geography Department at UConn in Storrs, Connecticut.

Always strong contenders, this year's BSU team did exceptionally well in the annual Geography Bowl competition, coming in second only to UConn's own team of graduate students, but coming in first among undergraduate teams. Congratulations to all five of the BSU Geography Bowl participants, who also enjoyed the conference itself and a tour of the UConn department, one of only a handful offering a graduate degree in geography in New England.

The department is already planning for NESTVAL 2011, being held October 7 & 8 (very early in the semester) at Concordia University in Montreal. Students are urged to mark their calendars and secure their passports early! Funding will be available for students who plan to present research at that conference. The department will likely forgo the annual HumPhy trip in order to focus energy (and funding) on the Montreal excursion.