The AGS Council Fellowship was created in 2013 to support AGS student members in their pursuit of geographical knowledge and is worth $1,000.00.

AGS announced the recipients of the first American Geographical Society Council Fellowship to support student research. Oliver H. Wigmore, a Ph.D student at the Ohio State University and Sara N. Hughes, a Ph.D student and political geographer at the University of California, were selected from a highly competitive field of applicants.

2015 Winners
The American Geographical Society (AGS) announced today the recipients of the AGS Council Fellowships to support student research. Sophia Albov, who is a graduate student at the University of Montana and Nora Sylvander, who is a Ph.D. candidate at Ohio State University, were selected from a highly competitive field of applicants. The winners were named by Council Fellowship Selection Committee Chair, Dr. Marie Price, who is Chair of the Department of Geography at George Washington University. The fellowship recipients will be recognized at the American Geographical Society’s Fall Symposium held in New York City on November 19th and 20th of 2015.

For Ms. Albov, the fellowship will support her continued research into the “Socio-geographic Components of the Alternative Agricultural Sector in Finland”. This research addresses the question of agricultural sustainability with a focus on three aspects of the alternative agricultural sector, including: urban agriculture, organic farming, and community supported agriculture (CSA). The project has three objectives: 1) to identify the geographic factors that influence the uptake and spatial diffusion of alternative agriculture; 2) to examine the specific European Union (EU) and Finnish state policy mechanisms driving the alternative agricultural sector and changes in Finland’s agricultural geography; and 3) to investigate farmers’ responses and adaptations to these policy mechanisms as well as other complex social and environmental challenges related to food production in the 21st century.

Ms. Sylvander will use the money towards the first phase of her dissertation fieldwork this summer in Nicaragua, which she expects to complete by 2018. Her research in Nicaragua examines the dynamics by which non-indigenous “mestizo” migrants are blamed for undermining conservation goals in the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve in Nicaragua. Drawing on political ecology, she will explore the relationship between the “Socio-political Marginalization of Mestizos and Conservation Outcomes in Nicaragua”.

“Both of the winners this year have taken on projects that have real-world application. These studies do more than increase our geographical knowledge…they help to build a better world”, said Dr. Marie Price, Chair of the Department of Geography at George Washington University and Chair of the AGS Council Fellowship Selection Committee.

2014 Winners

Oliver H. Wigmore is part of a Glacier Environmental group. Dr. Bryan Mark is his supervisor. He earned his B.A. in Anthropology and a B.S. in Geography from the University of Auckland in New Zealand.  Since coming to OSU for Graudate School he has conducted field research in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. His dissertation research combines field hydrology, satellite remote sensing and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) to identify drivers and quantify spatial and temporal variability in soil moisture storage in the pro-glacial valleys and wetlands of the Cordillera Blanca, Peru. Funds from the American Geographical Society’s Council Fellowship will be used to purchase components for the development of a multi-rotor UAV capable of operating at 4,000 to 5,500 meters above sea level in the Andes and collect high resolution multispectral imagery. This platform will be used to map surface soil moisture, land cover and glacier surfaces and to generate digital elevation models at centimeter resolution across the study sites. Oliver expects to complete his dissertation in 2015.

Sara N. Hughes is a Ph. D. student and political geographer at the University of California, Los Angeles where Dr. John Agnew is her advisor. She will use the money towards three months of dissertation fieldwork this summer in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. The project explores why Israelis, many of them recent immigrants from the United States, would choose to live in a military-occupied area because of a sense of community and security. She hopes to address how residents are defining danger, safety, and community. Sarah Hughes earned her B.A. in Arabic in 2009 at UCLA. She then earned a M.A. in International Studies at the University of San Francisco in 2011. In 2013 she received a FLAS Summer Fellowship to study Hebrew. She expects to complete her dissertation at UCLA by 2016.

“True to our roots in geographical exploration and discovery, the members of the AGS Council selected projects that reflect the changing nature of our world…the research projects we selected are important and what we learn from the results will have real-world applications”, said Dr. Marie Price, Chair of the Department of Geography at George Washington University and Chair of the AGS Council Fellowship Selection Committee.

 

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