Geography Department: When did you graduate from MU and what degree did you acquire?
Roust: 2003, Master of Arts in Geography
Geography Department: What are your fondest memories of being a part of geography?
Roust: Without a doubt, the camaraderie of the other students pursuing master’s degrees. Whether it was a spirited seminar debate over how geography is distinct from other disciplines or the late-night antics at the annual field gig, we always had a great time together. My fellow grad students both challenged and supported me throughout the ups and downs of graduate student life.
Geography Department: What were some of the most important concepts you learned while taking geography classes?
Roust: Broadly speaking, my studies in geography taught me invaluable critical thinking skills. Prior to grad school, my academic successes largely came from my ability to memorize and regurgitate facts and definitions. Studying geography pushed me to apply my arsenal of facts and figures to problem-solving situations. I owe a lot of my success as a GIS analyst to those professors who forced me to look for the “so what?” in every situation.
Geography Department: Would you recommend the MU Department of Geography to other students? Why or why not?
Roust: Certainly. Mizzou has always had excellent geography faculty members who excel in their research, and the recent enhancements to the facilities are giving students opportunities well beyond what I had in the early 2000s. Geography is such a wonderfully interdisciplinary subject that there is something for everyone who studies in the field.
Geography Department: What have you done since your graduation? How did your education help with your successes?
Roust: My husband and I moved around quite a bit, living in Michigan, France, Ohio, and Illinois before finally settling in Kansas in 2014. The skills I developed at Mizzou gave me the flexibility that I needed to find great jobs while my husband developed his career in professional academia. While in Chicago, I transitioned from a geography teaching career to one in local government as a GIS specialist. I enjoy teaching, but I found my true calling in the GIS world. I genuinely look forward to going to work every day as a geospatial database administrator for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Oh, and in the middle of all of that, I was blessed with two beautiful children: Eleanor (14) and Bennett (7).