GES Graduates!

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- Our Spring 2020 Graduates -

**Graduate details shown here are not final and may contain inaccuracies. Contact the Registrar's Office to confirm graduation status. Diplomas will be mailed in June.


Ashton Baker, major in Environmental Studies, minor in Biology (Summer 2020)

For his capstone project, Ashton examined beach nourishment projects in North Carolina. As a native of Havelock, NC, at the mouth of the Neuse River, this research was particularly personal for him. As a transfer student, Ashton had a bit of a shock adjusting to Greensboro but ultimately fell in love with UNCG and is glad he found his way here. Ashton thanks his amazing professor and advisor Dr. Aaron Allen, along with his capstone mentors Ann Somers and T’Shari White, and he is particularly grateful to his friends, sister, and parents for all their support. After graduation, Ashton hopes to work for a local environmental agency or the FDA.

Macie Barnhill, double major in Geography and in Environmental Studies (Fall 2019)

In her capstone research, Macie looked at the atmospheric and ecological impacts of livestock production for a project titled “Animal Agriculture is Burning Us Up.” She argued that cattle ranching is a primary cause of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon and that eliminating meat from one’s diet would have wide ranging and positive outcomes for the planet. Macie’s commitment to environmental quality and to living a life of integrity comes shining through with absolute clarity in her project.

Francesca Botero, major in Geography, minor in History (Summer 2020)

Being a mom to two young boys while juggling her coursework speaks volumes to Francesca’s dedication and hard work. Dr. J. says that having Francesca in his GES 305, Environmental Hazards class this spring, was delightful because of her charming demeanor and friendly disposition– and great work ethic.  Francesca would like to thank Dr. Sultana for mentoring her. Francesca plans to attend graduate school starting in the fall.

Hana Brookins, double major in Geography and in Sustainability Studies (Summer 2020)

Hana is a native of Wilmington, NC, and did her capstone project on the current and predicted effects of sea level rise on the Outer Banks. She is particularly fond of her Geography Field School experiences, both the summer 2019 in Iceland and the summer 2018 exploration of the US national parks in the Dakotas and Wyoming. Hana had an internship in UNCG’s Parking Operations and Campus Access Management and saw her Green Fund proposal for $12,000 result in new electric vehicle charging stations in the Mclver Parking Deck. After a gap year, she plans to return to school for teaching licensure.

Sean Correll, major in Geography (Fall 2019)

Sean is another one of the Department’s well-rounded geography students. He performed well in all of his courses, by being engaged and curious about all aspects of his coursework. Sean could be counted-on, after most classes, to visit with his instructors to chat about what was discussed during that particular class-period. Dr. J. mentions that what he appreciated in particular about his after-class discussions with Sean, was the unique perspective that Sean brought to geographic issues. Sean is a kind, sensitive, and delightful young man who most certainly has a very bright future ahead.

Margaret Crawford, major in Geography, concentration in GIScience (Spring 2020)

Originally from Houston, Texas, and having completed a previous Bachelor’s degree at Indiana University, Margaret feels that she has discovered her passion while at UNCG. She received the top grade in multiple classes and was awarded the Department’s Outstanding Major Award. Her capstone project examined land use cover and water quality in the Yadkin – Pee Dee River basin. She also completed an internship at the Center for Housing and Community Studies. “I have never felt more accomplished and driven than before I started studying GIS. I look forward to beginning my career and continuing to learn,” She recognizes Drs. Bunch, Patton, and Stine as being particularly influential on her education.

Madeline Ewen, major in Environmental Studies, minors in American Sign Language and Biology (December 2019)

A cat lover herself, Madeline makes no bones about the impact outdoor cats have on native wildlife. Her senior capstone project, “Outdoor Cats Are a Catastrophe,” described the vast amount of research that has revealed the extent of the harm these insatiable predators, our lovable companions, have on the natural world. Her engaging and friendly manner will no doubt be an asset to future employers and to the projects to which she dedicates her talents.

Madeline Galliano, major in Environmental & Sustainability Studies, minors in Biology and in History (December 2019)

Madeline, who hails from Concord, California, is the recipient of the Mina Weil Memorial Scholarship and the Outstanding Environment & Sustainability Major Award, and she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. In fall 2020, she will attend the Master of Environmental Science and Management Program at the University of Rhode Island. Madeline’s capstone project examined the environmental and health impacts of the GenX chemical compound contamination of the Cape Fear River. She referred to Dr. Aaron Allen as her “rock at UNCG from start to finish … and will be forever grateful for his help.”

Angela Green, major in Geography (Fall 2019)

Angela already had a full career as a nurse, before coming to our geography program. The compassion and warmth associated with the profession of nursing was ever present when Angela was in attendance at one of our department functions as well as when she was in the classroom. Angela is a gifted student and her passion is medical geography, which she is now studying at the University of North Texas. Dr. Selima Sultana, who had the pleasure of teaching Angela in her Research Methods course, speaks very highly of Angela’s academic prowess, particularly with regard to the imagination and insight Angela brings to her research . Dr. Sultana mentions that in her Research Methods course, Angela chose to examine infectious diseases and their possible diffusion patterns through travel. Talk about a relevant topic! Angela, you are missed here in the Department , but we know you’re following your dreams. In closing, Dr. J. says “thanks for all the awesome assistance you gave Dr Patton and me when you participated last May in our field course to Iceland. You were an amazing travel companion!”

Vickey Grimsley, major in Geography, concentration in Urban Planning (Summer 2020)

Vickey has found her passion in geography, and in particular, within the concentration of urban planning. Vickey’s coursework is always “first-rate” and she is uniformly well liked by her peers and by the geography faculty. Urban planners are in high demand throughout the world, and we have no doubt that Vicky’s skills as a geographer and urban planner will be put to good use to solve many of the world’s problems that are uniquely geographic in nature. Best of luck Vickey!

Taylor Hayden, major in Geography, Concentration in Urban Planning (Fall 2019)

Taylor also found a “home” in the geographic subdiscipline of urban planning. She performed very well in all of her geography courses, but particularly so in those that comprised the urban planning concentration. She “capped-off” her concentration in urban planning with an internship in the City of Burlington’s Planning Department in the spring of 2019. Her work there was mainly focused in the area of managing the Historic District Commission’s meetings. In particular, she was in charge of processing applications, writing agendas,and performing research for the Technical Review Committee. Her direct internship supervisor, David Beal, Burlington’s Senior Planner, lauded her work and said that it reflected well on her academic background in planning. Taylor, the Geography Department is proud of you. Keep up the great work!

Kayla Hayes, major in Environmental & Sustainability Studies (Summer 2020)

Kayla is from Huntersville, North Carolina, yet for her capstone project she focused on the environmental injustices faced by communities of color in New York City. For an independent study, Kayla produced a video on Ocean Plastics and Wildlife which is now being featured on the NC Wildlife Federation Youtube channel. She is most proud of the skills she gained from studying in this department, and so it’s not surprising that she plans to attend our MS in Sustainability & Environment. Kayla is especially grateful to her family, friends, boyfriend, and teachers, and she is especially thankful for the support and mentoring of Ann Somers, who Kayla says inspired her to take action and change the world.

Kayla Hayes
Natalie Hayes, major in Geography, concentration in Earth Science, minor in Sustainability Studies (Spring 2020)

Natalie, originally from Burlington, NC, is proud of her wise decision to switch to the Geography major, as well as getting the hang of Dr. Debbage’s written exam expectations. It was in the area of GIScience where she found her calling, and she has already applied her skills to questions of immense importance. Her capstone looked at disease mapping methodologies, and culminated in her project “Exploring Demographic elements of Spatial Epidemic Confinement during COVID-19 in Urbanized Counties of North Carolina.” She also completed a major project on environmental exposure to lead (Pb) for her environmental chemistry class. She credits Dr. Jay and Dr. Debbage for leading her to switch her major, and wishes to thank Dr. Hall-Brown for advising her and working with her on GIS projects. Natalie is on the lookout for a position in environmental resources, and in the meantime plans to do lots of hiking.

Keith Hesse, major in Geography, concentration in Earth Science (Spring 2020)

Keith, like so many UNCG graduates, is a “first generation” college graduate. He is originally from Fort Riley, Kansas and now calls Statesville, NC home. Dr. Lennartson, who had the pleasure of teaching Keith in two major-level geography courses, states that Keith is renowned for his attention to detail in his course-work and reliability in getting his work in on time. He is well-liked by his peers and the faculty and we know that Keith has a very bright future ahead. In terms of goals, Keith mentions that he hopes to give back to the local community in Statesville, NC — by working for the City of Statesville at some juncture in the future.

May Htun, major in Sustainability Studies, minors in American Sign Language and Biology (December 2019)

May is originally from Burma, and after graduation she will be moving to Charlotte to work as a Sustainability Coordinator for Live Nation while she also pursues the online M.S. in Sustainability & Environment at UNCG. For her capstone project, May weighed the positives and negatives of nuclear power as a solution to climate change. She was active in the #strawlessocean movement and was energized by the momentum of that project. May is particularly grateful for having taken some especially rigorous and beneficial courses, in which she met many passionate professors who genuinely care about their students and the environment. In particular, she would like to thank her mentor Dr. Aaron Allen for his quick thinking, attentiveness, and the care he provides for all his students.

Stephen Johnston, major in Sustainability Studies (Fall 2019)

Utilizing learned skills in geography, political science and climate studies, Stephen focused his senior capstone research on an area of the world that gets too little attention. His project, “Treading Deep Waters in Bangladesh,” looked at the impact of rising sea levels on the people living in this low lying South Asian country. Stephen’s love of writing was nurtured while under the tutelage of Dr. Susan Andreatta, whose thoughtful and positive feedback helped his skills mature.

Callie Landen, major in Sustainability Studies, minor in Studio Art (Spring 2020)

Callie’s senior capstone research was titled “LEED – Certified Infrastructure Within Higher Education.” In this project, she examined the benefits and some misconceptions related to this sustainability rating system for buildings and how it is being used in higher education, including at UNCG. Callie’s special affinity with the natural world was enhanced by her wildlife class’s field trip to Stumpy Point and Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

Caleb Mabe, major in Geography, concentration in Earth Science (Fall 2019)

Caleb brought interesting insight into his studies and the classes he attended. His real world experiences have helped him develop unique insight into geographic and environmental problems–that he was always happy to discuss in his classes–much to the delight of fellow students and the faculty. Caleb clearly has a passion for geography and we know that in his future endeavors he is going to put this passion and enthusiasm to good use. Caleb, we wish you well!

Dallas Piper, major in Geography (Spring 2020)

Dallas is a well-rounded geographer, who has excelled in all areas of the discipline and is well respected by his colleagues and the faculty. Moreover, Dallas was engaged in extracurricular activities in the Department. In particular, he was an active member and officer in the Geography Club. And, like many of his peers in geography, understands that to truly understand the geography of a place, one must travel there. To this end, Dallas has participated in two study abroad ventures: one just this past spring in Iceland, where he sampled as much of the local culture as he could, including eating Puffin eggs, a local delicacy, but not for the faint of heart. His other study abroad venture involved travel with Drs. Johnson and Lennartson to SE Asia, where his activities were no less adventurous. We fully expect Dallas to continue his lust for travel well after graduation. Dallas, keep up the great attitude and your sense of adventure!

Alexander Porter, major in Sustainability Studies, minor in Classical Studies (Fall 2019)

Alex’s senior project was titled “Is North Carolina Prepared for Potential Flooding due to Climate Change?,” in which he examined how the state prepares and responds to the storm flooding that is expected to increase in the coming years due to climate change. Alex’s love of nature was fostered by his family and nurtured during the formative years he spent outdoors while earning the rank of Eagle Scout. Being honest, genuine, and dependable are characteristics that have earned Alex the respect of his classmates and professors.

Christopher Rapp, major in Geography (Spring 2020)

Chris finds all areas of geography interesting, and is an excellent student because of his strong work ethic and the attention to detail that he brings to bear in all areas of his academic life. Chris’ Advisor, Dr. J., says that he always enjoyed his advising sessions with Chris because he came to the advising sessions well-prepared and was well organized. Chis’ instructors in geography and in other programs are unanimous in their respect for Chris as a student and as an outstanding member of the community. Chris, keep up the great job!

Mahalia Rhett, major in Environmental Studies, minors in Biology and Geography (Spring 2020)

For her capstone project, Mahalia examined “urban stream syndrome” in Greensboro’s own South Buffalo Creek with a focus on the manufacture of DEET insect repellant near campus. Mahalia advocated creating riparian buffers to protect urban waterways. Originally from Laurinburg, NC, Mahalia is looking forward to joining the workforce after only two years at UNCG thanks to her previous Associate’s degree from Richmond Community College.

Jenny Sab, double major in Environmental & Sustainability Studies and in Political Science, minor in sociology (Spring 2020)

Hailing from Franklinton, NC, Jenny was a Rachel Carson Council Fellow, a co-organizer of the first Ocean Advocacy Workshop, and a long-time member of the EVS office team. She did her capstone research on the shrinking of Lake Chad. After working for a bit, she plans to return to school for a master’s degree. For all the help and support during her difficult journey over the past few years, Jenny is particularly grateful for all the encouragement from Ann Somers. She also encourages all the GES graduates to keep in touch after graduation via LinkedIn or other social media platforms.

Allison Schwiegeraht, major in Environmental & Sustainability Studies, minor in Business (Summer 2020)

After graduation Allison, a Greensboro native, is looking forward to saving money, listening to more audio books, and moving to a big city where she plans to work in environmental education with children. For her capstone project, Allison researched the importance of youth involvement in environmental movements, particularly regarding local community organizing for environmental justice. Allison is grateful for the opportunity UNCG afforded her to step out of her comfort zone and completely change her way of viewing the world. She says that Dr. Aaron Allen has been a patient and respectful advisor, who was also an important impetus to her decision to change her academic career and major in environment and sustainability.

Cole Sell, major in Geography, concentration in GIScience (Spring 2020)

This young man hails from Belews Creek, NC, but during his time at UNCG he discovered the world. “He participated in the summer field course to Iceland, and subsequently has organized trips for himself to places throughout Europe. Cole is proud of his Green Fund grant, which he used to study commuter distances and calculate carbon footprints for UNCG students. His GIS capstone project analyzed causes of Sierra Nevada wildfires. He credits Dr. Hall-Brown for helping him with both of those projects as well as for her support during Covid-19. Cole plans to apply to the National Park Service to be a park guide, and he hopes to be able to continuing to travel the world soon. Dr. Lennartson remarks that “Cole is both fun-loving and serious at the same time, which makes him a “hoot” to engage with. Just this past winter he visited Norway, with a broken leg, to see the Northern Lights and to race across the frozen tundra on a snowmobile at 70 mph. That’s our Cole!” In recognition of his exemplary service to Geography and the Department, Cole was selected as the 2020 recipient of the John J. Hidore Award.

Robert Tate, major in Geography, concentration in Urban Planning, minor in Sociology (Spring 2020)

Originally from Raleigh, NC, Robert kept a very active schedule of curricular and co-curricular activities at UNCG. He is proud of winning 3rd place in the 14th Annual Carolyn & Norwood Thomas Undergraduate Research and Creativity Expo in the category of Business, Education, Social and Behavioral Sciences with his project “White by Nature: African American perspective on United States National Park Visitation.” He wholeheartedly thanks his mentor on this project, Dr. Sultana, for her support on this project and for rooting for his success in general. He had the pleasure of serving as an intern with the City of Burlington’s Planning and Community Development Department, and he also held the position of Vice President in the Neo-Black Society Gospel Choir. Several faculty attest to Robert’s hard work and personal growth while a student here. His mentor Dr. Sultana writes, “I am so proud of him. He was a joy in my research team and will be missed immensely,” a sentiment echoed by Josh Merced: “Serving as his mentor within and out of the research project has been one of the greatest opportunities, I’ve ever taken part in, and I’m so excited to see the great heights he will achieve with his compassionate and creative persona.” After graduation, Robert will attend the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he will pursue a Masters in Regional and Urban Planning. He thanks his parents for being the backbone of his support system.

Lauren Traub, Major in Environmental & Sustainability Studies, minor in Biology (Fall 2019)

As a child, Lauren experienced unsupervised time outdoors that she credits as being an important influence in choosing her major and minor. Her undergraduate career included engagement with both the Geography Club and the Biology Club and time spent volunteering with the Piedmont Land Conservancy. Using the lens of fire ecology, she explored the role and importance of insect pollinators in post-fire plant succession for her capstone project. An avid gardener, Lauren understands the importance of plant-insect relationships and argued that those who use control burns ought to consider the symbiotic relationship between native bee populations and the health of the ecosystem. Lauren intends to pursue UNCG’s M.S. in Sustainability and Environment.

Jamie Watkins, major in Geography, concentration in Earth Science (Spring 2020)

Jamie, who is from Salisbury, NC, has been a constant presence in the Department during the past several semesters, which is all the more impressive because she simultaneously worked to complete her certification as an Advanced EMT. She is proud of her final GES 357 Cartography project, especially overcoming the Covid-19 restrictions on accessing the computer labs to work on it. She has volunteered for several environmental organizations, including as the Leopold Society Intern for the Three Rivers Land Trust in Salisbury, where she drafted a monthly newsletter about nature and designed conservation based lessons for students. She was named Hunter Education Volunteer Instructor of the Year for the Southern Piedmont Region by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. The recipient of the Department’s prestigious Dorothy Stafford Mason Award for 2020, Jamie plans to continue her graduate studies in GES.

Tolkien Wedding, major in Environmental Studies, minor in Geography (Fall 2019)

Tolkien hails from Burlington, NC, yet his interests in the sea led to his capstone project on the impacts of carbon emissions on the global oceans. He is particularly grateful to Dr. Jay Leannartson for making learning truly fun and to Dr. Aaron Allen for support and assistance. Tokien is proud of graduating despite having to confront the profound struggle of losing his father while a student at UNCG. For his time after graduation, Tolkien is planning to pay taxes and grow old.

Alex Williams, major in Geography, minor in Music (Spring 2020)

A resident of Morrisville, NC, Alex looks back on his experiences at UNCG with pride on how the past four years have led him to become a more open person and go outside his comfort zone. He took advantage of UNCG’s study abroad program during Fall 2019 in Rennes, France. Described by Dr. Lennartson as a real “renaissance student,” he drank from the font of liberal arts during his academic career, including as a violist for the orchestra and recorder player for the Spartan Pep Band. Alex plans to take a gap year and begin graduate school the following year.

Stephanie Winslow, major in Environmental Studies, minor in Biology (Spring 2020)

Stephanie’s capstone project was a website called “Plants Are Cooler: How Animal Agriculture Drives Climate Change and Why a Plant Based Diet Can Help.” After graduation, she and her husband will move from their native Winston-Salem, NC, to the American west to explore more of our beautiful National Parks. Stephanie is particularly proud of being challenged at UNCG to
receive new information contrary to her own beliefs and develop new views. After many years of schooling at UNCG and elsewhere, Stephanie says she’s never admired two people more than Ann Somers and Dr. Aaron Allen. She will always be grateful for their experience, generosity, and unwavering support.

Kristen Wood, major in Sustainability Studies, minor in Women’s and Gender Studies (Fall 2019)

Kristen drew on her roots and love of place when she chose her senior capstone research on the Haw River watershed and its relationship with her hometown of Saxapahaw, NC. After graduation, she is aiming for a career in sustainability management or conservation work. Kristen says that she is most proud of getting out of her comfort zone and studying sustainability in Italy during the summer of 2018. She took that trip with her advisor, Dr. Aaron Allen, and she’s grateful to him for the experience and for all his encouragement to think about sustainability and the environment from new perspectives.

Drew Wright, double major in Environmental Studies and in Anthropology (Spring 2020)

Currently from Burlington, NC, but with family in West Virginia and Georgia, Drew did two capstones on two very different places: for environmental studies, she studied the negative impacts of mining on salmon runs in Bristol Bay, Alaska; and for anthropology, she wrote about how the Berlin Wall created contrasting sexual experiences for German women during the pre-unification period. After graduation, she plans to continue working at the Greensboro Science Center and go to graduate school, preferably in UNCG’s M.S. in Sustainability and Environment. Drew is proud of her initiation into the Lambda Alpha National Anthropology Honor Society, and she is especially grateful to Anthropology professors Dr. Susan Andreatta and Dr. Arthur Murphy. Drew is a first generation college graduate, and she dedicates the earning of her BA degree to her great grandmother Sybil “Mema” Wright, whom she calls the light in her world and whom she wishes could be here to see her graduate.



Michele Abee, Ph.D. in Geography (Fall 2019)

Originally from Charlotte, NC, Michele had a long and storied career in the Department, completing undergraduate coursework with us, then subsequently both her M.A. and Ph.D. Her doctoral dissertation is entitled “The Mercator Projection: Its Uses, Misuses, and Its Association with Scientific Information and the Rise of Scientific Societies,” and it provides a thorough investigation of how it came to be that the highly imperfect Mercator map projection came to be so ubiquitous in popular cartography. Her co-advisors for this project were Dr. Jeff Patton and Dr. Linda Rupert (History), who she wishes to thank along with the rest of her committee, the numerous friends she made in the Department, and Ms. Lois Carney. While at UNCG, Michele served as the graduate assistant for the STAMPS program and Science Everywhere! and also taught group fitness at the Kaplan Rec Center. She is proud of having the privilege to be a part of the graduate student committee at UNCG. Michele is currently a NTT Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Sustainability at Western Oregon University.

Matthew Balentine, Ph.D. in Geography (Spring 2020)

Matt is originally from Florence, AL, where he also graduated from the University of North Alabama in geography before furthering his studies in political geography under noted electoral geographer Dr. Jerry Webster at the University of Wyoming, earning a Master’s degree. He then began his doctoral studies at UNCG, His dissertation examined the geography of the plasmapheresis industry in the U.S. and culminated in a dissertation entitled “A Geographical Analysis of US Plasma Centers and their Economic, Social, and Public Health Impacts.” His advisor was Dr. Johnson. A highly regarded instructor and social butterfly of the Department during his time here, Matt returned to Alabama where he will assume a position as an assistant professor of geography at his alma mater, UNA, in Fall 2020.

Emily Jones, M.A. in Applied Geography, concentration in GIScience (Spring 2020)

Proudly hailing from Goldsboro, NC, Emily could always be counted on for brightening any room she entered with her smile and positive energy. She pursued research on animated cartography, but once she was offered an opportunity to complete a year-long internship at the agriculture research division of Syngenta Corporations as a GIS technician, she decided to pursue the internship option for her M.A. “I have gained so much experience and have worked on many different types of projects that have greatly improved my GIS skills,” Emily writes. Her projects ranged from simple data management and entry to time sensitive soil classification for external partners. Her hard work paid off, as she was offered a position with Guilford County as a Tax Mapping Technician in February. She is proud of the dedication and effort she invested in her graduate career, and so are we. She wishes to thank Dr. Patton and Lula Ghebremichael for their faith in her and encouraging her to step outside her comfort zone and work towards goals, and her parents, Austin, Kristen, Sabrina, and Brent for keeping her sane.

Carter Spradling, M.A. in Applied Geography, concentration in Urban Planning and Economic Development (Spring 2020)

Carter, from Greensboro, would like to be remembered as a nice guy who treated his classmates and instructors with kindness and respect. That seems like an accurate assessment, but it doesn’t capture the keen intellectual curiosity that Carter brought to his coursework, even if it was far afield from his internship work as a transportation planner with the Piedmont Triad Regional Council. For his internship he conducted an inventory of sidewalk conditions in the Northwest Piedmont, physically surveying the sidewalk network of nearly 30 municipalities in an eight county region and noting sidewalk conditions and ramp ADA compliance in ArcMap for future use in transportation planning projects and funding opportunities.He hopes to continue at the PTRC after he graduates.

Bimita Thapa, M.A. in Applied Geography, concentration in Urban Planning and Economic Development (Spring 2020)

Bimita came to the M.A. program from Nepal, and her studies here were the first time she had spent an extended time so far from her home. Her undergraduate degree is in architecture, but she thoroughly enjoyed learning about what geography has to offer in understanding planning, transportation, and politics. While a student, she was a Data/Infographic Intern at UNCG’s Center for Housing and Community Studies, where she compiled and analyzed community and housing data in Guilford County. She completed an internship report based on this work. She hopes to continue in the field of planning and geographical analysis after graduation. Bimita wishes to thank her advisor Dr. Sultana for her guidance and mentorship.