Geography Celebrates End-of-Year Through Zoom Party

Grant Elliott showing his wild side

On Friday, May 8, the Department of Geography held an event unlike any other: The End-of-Year Celebration — via Zoom. More than 30 were in attendance, and recognitions and awards were given out. In addition, there was a Best Costume/Best Zoom Background contest, organized by Alex Ringling with help from Taylor Fox and Sydney Bailey.

Department Chair Soren Larsen began the Geography Spring 2020 Celebration with music courtesy of the faculty band (Urban Coyotes) and few comments on the crazy year of Covid-2019. “Welcome everyone to the first ever virtual geography spring celebration,” he says. “Of course, it's been it's been a heck of a year; it's been a crazy year; if not, the craziest year in the history of this department since 1950. But part of what made it such an awesome year is everything, everything that has happened.”

Host of Zoom party, Department Chair  Soren Larsen

He continued to mention the Meridian newsletter being reintroduced to faculty/staff, students, alumni and others; American Association of Geographers’ West Lakes awards, with three notable presentation winners: Steven Cardinal, James Kaemmerer and Taylor Fox; Tom Vought’s arrival to his Geography office in Stewart Hall from Mizzou North; The Geography Open House, with s’mores, virtual reality and drones; Tim Matisziw’s work on the reaccreditation for the GeoIntelligence Certificate; Clayton Blodgett’s idea for online Geographic Information System (GIS) labs; Joe Franklin coming onboard as the new undergrad advisor; Mark Palmer and Joanna Hearne awarded a National Science Foundation grant to study translating indigenous calendar knowledge into virtual realities; Doug Hurt’s winning of the National Council for Geography Education  Distinguished Mentor Award; James Kaemmerer receiving the Green Chalk Teaching Award, and so much more.

“It’s just stupendous to think of everything that happened. I mean, you can see I can just go on and on and on.,” says Larsen. “And as I did that one thing that struck me was, man. I just spent about two or three minutes, not thinking about the pan-damn-demic.”


Mason Trafford as Elton John

First recognized were those initiated into Gamma Theta Upsilon (the geography international honor society): Kyle Bals, Jefferson Daubitz, Sarah Frost, Rachel Hehr, Fran Rodriguez-Hart, Krystal Saverse, Cyd Smith and Masson Trafford.

Those awarded Geospatial Intelligence Certificates were: Kayla Barker, Matthew Beyer, Melissa Church, Maxwell Cook, Bradley Curl, Jacob Esser, Nicholas Hoehne, Ian LaGrace, Brent Linneman, James Rakestraw, Laura Wyle and Olivia Woosley.

Those awarded GIS Certificates were: Hunter Bentch, Tyler Gerstheimer, Zeyana Hamid, Rebecca Harbison, Colton Kimminau, Cory Metz, Megan Richter and Zhentao Wang.

Geography graduating seniors (2019 -2020) include Ian Arnett, Hunter Bentch, Matthew Beyer, Alex Bradshaw, Will Cazel, Madeline Clarke, Bradley Curl, Brady Hamilton, Zachary Hartwig, Nicholas Hoehne, Griffin Johnson, Colton Kimminau, Ian LaGrace, Gabe Lima, Cory Metz, Ryan Munos, James Rakestraw, Anne Eilis Schwab, Trevor Sellers, Jonathon Steele and Mason Trafford

Matt Foulkes, bonfire style

Master’s graduates were awarded books from their advisors. Those receiving books of various topics were: Sydney Bailey, Steven Cardinal, Hesston Bridgeman, Taylor Fox, James Kaemmerer and Alex Ringling.

Undergraduate award winners were: Madeline Clarke, Jesse H. Wheeler Award Undergraduate Achievement Award; Matthew Beyer, Richard G Boehm Graduating Senior Award; William (Colton) Kimminau, Walter A. Schroeder Award; and Ian Arnett, Larry Hall “On the Bubble” Award.

Graduate students receiving awards were: Taylor Fox, Jesse H. Wheeler Superior Graduate Achievement Award; Steven Cardinal, Richard G. Boehm Outstanding Graduate Student Award; Sydney Bailey, Outstanding Geography Graduate Teaching Award; Caitlin Sliva, Outstanding Geography Graduate Teaching Award; and James Kaemmerer, the department’s nominee for the highly prestigious Donald K. Anderson Award.

Clayton Blodgett won Best Zoom Background Contest, which was a view of Hollywood; and Kadie Clark won the Best Costume Contest with her Alexander von Humboldt impersonation.