19 Nov

Jordan Cissell I Am Geo

I am Geography

Maps have always fascinated me, but growing up I never realized that geography was something that someone could do. But when I took Professor Mary Pitts’s Earth Surface Processes course during my junior year at the University of Alabama, she introduced me to a dynamic, interconnected world in which environment and society are linked across both time and space. One year later, my advisor, Dr. Michael Steinberg, showed me geographic information systems’ (GIS) and remote sensing’s unique and powerful capabilities for examining these relationships. I was hooked!

My graduate research integrates GIS, remote sensing, local knowledge, and ground verification to map and monitor coastal environmental change, particularly historical changes in mangrove forests and the animal species that call them home. Tropical mangrove forests are the foundations of worlds unlike any others, and GIS and remote sensing have taken this Alabama boy snorkeling in Florida Bay, crocodile tagging in Belize, meeting with Cuban national park scientists, and clambering through stilt roots in Mexico.

This fall, I had the opportunity to teach our department’s introductory remote sensing course. This is an exhilarating time to be involved with remote sensing science, as the boundaries of possibility are constantly pushed and software and data are increasingly democratized, and I feel so lucky to be able to share the field that I love with students, to show them that geography can take them, be it via satellite or snorkel, places they may never have dreamed they would go.

Become a member of the AGS, and let us feature you as part of our “I AM GEOGRAPHY” campaign which will light the path for all of you closet geographers to get involved in making our world a better place through Geography.

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