The Midwest’s largest regional gathering of academic geographers took place on Saturday, 23 October, as the East Lakes Division of the Association of American Geographers annual meeting was held on the campus of Grand Valley State University. Eight members of the GRCC faculty, student, and alumni community made up one of the largest contingents drawn from a single institution: Amanda Colegrove, Mike DeVivo, Ben Gerlofs, Brandi Glaske, Megan Hornyak, Marina Islas, Nathan Krings, and Stephanie Krings.
Ms. Islas (GRCC 2006), who two years ago was awarded a highly competitive assistantship to pursue graduate studies at Ohio University, completed the M.A. in Geography this past June and took first-place in the conference graduate student paper competition for her presentation, “Se Hace Camino al Andar/ The Road is Made by Walking: Women’s Participation in Community-Driven Development in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua.” Mr. Gerlofs (GRCC 2008), who recently accepted a prestigious assistantship award for graduate work at Syracuse University, took second-place honors for his presentation, “Space, Place, and Power in T.C. Boyle’s The Tortilla Curtain.”
Ms. Colegrove, Ms. Glaske, Ms. Horyak, and Mr. Krings presented a collaborative effort as undergraduates with their presentation, “The Educational and Career Benefits of Joining the International Geographical Honor Society,” in which they discussed careers in geography and their production of an excellent short promotional film, which is now available for viewing on youtube. Mr. Krings, currently at GVSU completing his baccalaureate, also presented a paper in a session on economic and urban development in Asia titled, “Chai-Street Level Realities of Modern Shanghai.”
In a session on Africa, Professor DeVivo, sponsor of the GRCC chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU), The International Geographical Honor Society, presented “Integrating Foreign Area Field Studies in the Geography Curriculum: Study Abroad in Africa.” With 280 chapters worldwide, GTU exacts rigorous standards for institutional membership. The Grand Rapids Community College chapter was chartered in 2007, and it remains the only community college chapter in existence across the globe.