Personal Statement

The purpose of this portfolio is to document the growth and progress I have made throughout my time as a geography major at Augustana College.

The department has clearly defined goals, objectives and expectations for students who declare a geography major, I have outlined them below.

Department Mission
In keeping with the mission of Augustana College, the Geography Department seeks to be an integral part of the general education program of the college and to provide a solid major by offering courses which introduce students to the natural systems within which they live, to urban and rural environments that are the context of their life in this country, to foreign cultures, and to economic systems that characterize this country and other countries which are linked through the global economy.

Expected Academic Outcomes:
For those students who pursue a major, the Geography Department seeks to build upon the general goals outlined above, to provide a solid base upon which to pursue graduate studies or geographically-related careers, and to imbue the students with a geographical imagination. Students will demonstrate:
    1. An understanding of the principal concepts of the human and physical branches of the discipline
    2. An ability to identify and think critically about relationships between human and natural systems in both class and field settings
    3. An ability to visualize and analyze geographic phenomena through computer technologies used in the discipline
    4. Involvement and service related to this discipline in the communities of which they are a part
    5. An understanding of and appreciation for the foreign cultures, their place and characteristics and spatial organization
    6. Effective oral and written communication using procedures adopted by the Association of American Geographers

To evaluate my success in meeting these goals and objectives, I have created pages on this site for each geography class taken during my undergraduate career with descriptions of the curriculum included. Each page contains links and attachments to work completed for the course that documents my progress.

To briefly demonstrate my achievement of the intended outcomes for geography majors I will provide examples below of my experience with the subject of each goal and provide a specific example of work which deals with the matter and can be viewed elsewhere on the site.
  1. I have taken courses such as cultural geography, historical geography and  urban and transportation systems which have exposed me to principal concepts of the human branch of the discipline of geography and introduced me to career options in areas such as urban planning. To see an example of work which demonstrates my background in human geography, see this essay written about urban and transportation planning solutions in Portland,Oregon.In addition, I have taken courses such as environmental conservation, land resource management, and water/land resources which have given me a thorough understanding of the physical branch of the discipline and exposed me to career options in natural and environmental sciences. To see an example of work which demonstrates my knowledge of physical geography, see this group project write up and map which were created to assess and suggest land use options based on soil and natural land cover characteristics.
  2. Courses such as land resource management, environmental conservation, historical geography, cultural geography, water/land resources and the pacific northwest field experience have developed my ability to recognize and analyze relationships between humans and nature through in-class case studies and field-work/field trips. An example of my own work which exemplifies critical thinking about the relationship between human and natural systems comes from an essay about the history and transformation of America's National Parks.
  3. GIS/Remote Sensing and Cartography are the two classes which have developed my skills in creating and visualizing geographic phenomena using computer technologies. A record of my skills gained using ArcGIS can be viewed on a website dedicated specifically to my GIS work and the culmination of my cartographic abilities using Adobe Illustrator are featured here
  4. Service projects such as TurtlePop for my GIS class and my final map for cartography are perfect examples of using my skill learned in my courses to assist community members in understanding geographic phenomena. An internship with the Kane County Planning Department also enabled me to get involved in a plethora of projects which benefited from my background in geography. For example the development of the Kane County 2040 Green Infrastructure Plan adopted by the County Board in December 2013; the research and construction of "A Portrait of Agriculture" presentation for the Kane County Agricultural Commission about organic farms, specialty crops and farmers markets in the county; and numerous meetings with Northern Illinois Food Bank representatives to facilitate establishment of relationships with local farmers and increase  access to fresh, local food for people in need.
  5. I have developed an appreciation for foreign cultures through classes like East Asia, and cultural geography. The East Asia class taken during my junior year inspired me to study abroad in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong S.A.R and Mainland China fall term of my senior year. With my increased awareness of cultural and spatial characteristics through class and through first hand experience of Asia, I now have a greater appreciation and passion for urban planning and landscape architecture trends at home and abroad. 
  6. All of my geography classes have helped me further develop my writing skills, but both the seminar on geographic research and geographic research 2 have improved my writing and speaking skills the most. My final Senior Inquiry essay and presentation exhibit my improved communication skills and the use of AAG formatting in writing. 

Additional examples of my work can be found on the course pages in the directory to the left which further exemplify my work as a geography major and my success in achieving the department objectives.