Thesis research will be on spatial analysis of traffic signs in Eastern Europe
Joseph “Joe” Frimel, a senior in the Department of Geography, deserves a big round of applause for his most recent accomplishment: Getting a full-ride scholarship for a masters in geography at Oklahoma State University.
Frimel chose Oklahoma State because of the faculty there – Dr. Reuel Hanks specifically, who shares joint academic research interests: Cultural geography of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
“I felt it would be a good match academically,” he says.
Frimel, who will become a full-time teaching assistant, will most likely be helping a professor teach a course or help a professor with grading, while doing his studies and thesis research on the spatial analysis of traffic signs in Latvia, a country located in Eastern Europe on the western border of Russia.
“In particular,” he says, “I want to look at a specific neighborhood within a Latvian city and discover what languages are recorded on the street signs there, as well as note how frequently they appear. Latvia is a very linguistically diverse country, so I think my findings will be interesting – I’m really curious to find out how the languages displayed on the signs correlate to the percentage of those who speak whatever language, respectively.”
Frimel plans to travel to Latvia in summer 2022 to conduct research. He will be there a few months, if he can do so safely at that time, without risk of COVID or related restrictions.
“For example, if let’s say 20 percent of the population speaks Russian, then I’d think around 20 percent of the signs would be in Russian,” he says. “Or maybe it’s not like that at all. I’d kind of like to discover that.”