Thomas Gallinar I Am Geo

I Am Geography


My relationship with Geography began in kindergarten. I remember having a map in my classroom that I would obsess over with my best friend every day. The next year in first grade, I got my first atlas. This was my first exposure to the “grown up” world of maps and geography, and I was instantly hooked.

I quickly realized that subjects clicked for me when presented spatially, and I began to consume maps and geographic information voraciously. I competed in my first geography competition in fourth grade, and have continued doing so all throughout middle and high school, eventually making it all the way to the US Geography Olympiad in Washington DC.

In high school, I increased my involvement with the world of maps. I love maps for both their practicality and effectiveness in communicating information, as well as their potential to provide aesthetic value. The aesthetic value of maps is something I explore through antique map collecting, which I began doing in tenth grade. I have always had a love for art, and antique maps provide a means by which I can explore historical geography through an often underappreciated art form.

In recent years maps have also been a vehicle by which I serve the community. I began making maps in my junior year, mapping the running trails my cross-country team practices on around Miami. This eventually led to my involvement with OpenStreetMap and the AGS Junior Service Fellowship project. This year, I was inspired to coordinate a map-a-thon at my school, mapping rural Puerto Rican towns to help relief efforts for Hurricane Maria.

I hope to study geography in college and to take advantage of different research opportunities wherever I end up attending.   I would like to research historical geographic trends in an effort to predict the growth and spread of urban areas, aspects of culture, and language. I am fascinated by the ability to observe historical trends and apply them to predicting what often seems to be irrational human behavior. To me, this is the essence of the social sciences, and no field provides a more comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and effective approach to analyzing human action than geography.


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