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NMSU graduate students win scholarships regional geography conference

Graduate geography students at New Mexico State University showed their breadth of knowledge at the recent Annual Meeting of the Southwest Chapter of the Association of American Geographers by taking home four out of eight scholarships awarded for poster and paper presentations.

Group shot of four students
Graduate geography students at NMSU won scholarships at the recent Southwest American Association of Geographers for poster and paper presentations. From left are Rebecca Richman, Amalia Slaughter, Steve Walker and Charlie Jackson. (NMSU photo by Tonya Suther)

About 165 geographers from universities in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana attended the annual event hosted by NMSU this year in Las Cruces. SWAAG is the regional division for the American Association of Geographers.

"I think our regional conference was wildly successful," said Christopher Brown, head of the Department of Geography. "It provides a wonderful way for geographers to connect with their peers and learn about current programs and recruitment opportunities. I was very happy to see so many students participate in the conference. They represented a wide range of topics. I was thrilled with how well NMSU was represented by both graduate and undergraduate students."

Aamalia Slaughter received $250 for her first-place winning poster presentation, "Detection of Eragrosis Lehmanniana (Lehmann Lovegrass) Using Multispectral Imagery of an Unmanned Aircraft System."

Charlie Jackson placed first with his paper, "Object-Oriented GIS: A 'Flat' Ontology Pixels," and received a $200 scholarship.

Rebecca Richman earned third place in the graduate paper competition for her work on "Analysis of the Spatial-Temporal Distribution of Mosquito Vectors of Sylvatic Dengue and Chikungaya Viruses." She received a $100 scholarship.

Steve Walker took third place for his poster presentation, "Examining Aquifer Pollution Sensitivity in the Central Paso de Norte Region Using the DRASTIC Model." He received a $100 scholarship.

"Winning these scholarships is significant for our students," Brown said. "They've won an award at a conference that is the regional division of our flagship organization, the Association of American Geographers. Such recognitions are a wonderful addition to their resume. In my work with students in career development, I stress that students need to do something that differentiates them from other people, makes them special. Winning awards like this is an excellent way of students differentiating themselves."

The judges for the regional competition were: Rebecca Sheehan, Oklahoma State University and SWAAG treasurer and competition organizer; Alberto Giordano, Texas State University; Ron Hagelman, Texas State University; Darrel McDonald, Stephen F. Austin State University; and Carol Campbell, NMSU.

The AAG is a nonprofit scientific and educational society whose members contribute to the advancement of geography through sharing interests in the theory, methods and practice of geography. The AAG has nine regional divisions.