My name is Sophie Collings, I am a 25 year old geographer from the UK currently volunteering at the American Geographical Society in New York. I have been volunteering here since the beginning of the year, with particular emphasis on supporting the Communication and Outreach Team.
My background is very geographical; I have a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Swansea University in 2010 and a Master’s degree in Human Geography from Swansea University in 2011. My curiosity for geography was roused at a young age, when I became absorbed with the world around me, the prospect of experiencing diverse cultures, and both natural and human patterns on earth. Today, my main interests lie in social and human geography. The areas I am most fascinated by include sustainability, geopolitics, economics, population movement, national identity, and race relations. I am also very interested in the physical aspect of geography, in particular climate change, earth science, seismology, GIS and mapping.
My main passion however, lies within Immigration Studies. I have a great interest in understanding the factors at play that influence forced migration and asylum. My ultimate career goal is to work as a Policy and Communications Officer as part of a refugee charity or government body. My professional ambitions include the opportunity to examine and suggest new immigration policy, facilitate a change in public perception of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK, and represent the group more fairly, by distributing accurate and truthful information through a range of platforms.
From liaising with colleagues at AGS and through completing a range of communicative tasks as part of my role, I feel AGS is greatly enhancing my professional capacity. My current role for example, includes maintaining and updating the website, including writing and editing content, tweaking format and display and keeping all information useful and contemporary. I am also responsible for managing social media with the ultimate aim to make geographical issues interesting to a range of demographic groups and therefore maximizing engagement. I also strive to display different phenomena in a range of representations to ensure inclusive information sharing, use data to produce thematic and interactive maps as part of the ‘Map of the Week’ series and write reports and articles related to current affairs, holidays and hot topics both in the USA and around the world.
AGS has given me an incredible opportunity to independently research and produce articles and blogs based on my personal interests that I have published online by the society and distributed across an array of social media platforms. The articles have included topics such as the Humanitarian Crisis in Syria, Non Aggressive uses of Drones, the Global Distribution of Active Volcanoes, Interview Pieces with Council Members and most recently, discussing the recent Earthquake in Nepal. Thus, as part of the Communications and Outreach Team at AGS, I am able to utilize my passion. AGS does not only provide me with fundamental experience working in a world renowned society, with first-rate researchers, professionals and policy makers, it also gives me an unprecedented platform in which to create and showcase my ideas.
My time so far in the AGS headquarters has been inconceivable. I am enamored by the huge efforts and passion I witness every day, and am extremely honored to be a part of such a remarkable institution.
Written by Sophie Collings, 05/13/2015.