A Summer in Brooklyn Heights with AGS
As a sophomore in the Geographic Science major, I knew that I wanted to intern at a geographic organization. When I found the American Geographical Society, I knew it would be a great opportunity. When I got to the office and saw that I would be sitting at Isaiah Bowman’s desk surrounded by bookshelves with material ranging from Green Metropolis to the first Geographical Review from 1916, I felt like I was in the right place. Coming in I was not sure what this would entail, but it was exciting.
In the office I worked with the other intern, Christopher Ewell, and volunteer, Sophie Collings, to create maps of the week, find intriguing articles, and keep our social media pages up to date. Selene Lawrence introduced us to the organization and showed us around what we would be doing. Throughout the summer we wrote almost 200 spotlights on companies that are innovative and spread geography to the public. We spotlighted some not-for-profits, and highlighted councilors as well. Learning about these companies and not-for-profits not only helped the readers, but it helped me learn about the variety of directions that I can go in my career. While talking to the councilors I found myself becoming more and more interested in their studies and expanding my options even more.
Throughout the summer I worked on other projects. I worked with WordPress a lot to help enhance the website and add features such as an Affiliate Forum. Christopher and I spent many weeks creating and perfecting a presentation for the Executive Director, John Konarski, to open the Fall Symposium, Geography 2050. This presentation has helped me learn that geography exists in more than academia and research. Geography lives within public policy, business, not-for-profits, and every-day life.
This summer has taught me many different things about the broad subject of Geography. I am excited to go back to school and share what I have learned and allow it to help guide my future in the field. Thank you AGS for a great summer in New York!
A Spatial Summer at AGS
My name is Christopher Ewell, I’m going to be a senior at New York University, and I’m an International Relations and Environmental Studies double major. I chose to intern at the American Geographical Society because I wanted to work on analyzing and promoting awareness of how people and the environment are interconnected. This internship gave me the opportunity to undertake independent research on groundbreaking developments in geography and efforts to solve global issues, learn how to effectively present this information to the public and stakeholders, and hopefully get them to act in the best interest of our planet. AGS’s role as an intermediary between business, academia, and policy allowed me to see how global issues are approached from various perspectives, from entrepreneurial start-ups to government actors, and communicate with each of them in a professional setting. I’m planning on pursuing a career researching and addressing large-scale global crises, such as climate change and sustainable ocean governance, which will require collaboration between different countries and people. The experiences I gained at AGS in public relations and networking with regards to these issues will hopefully allow me to determine where and how I can make the best impact through my career.
I was responsible for expanding and updating AGS’s media presence by writing articles on current issues in Geography, posting interesting news, updating the website, and using mapping software to create a “Map of the Week”. Most frequently I wrote articles called Company Spotlights that featured a company doing innovative geographic or geospatial work, and reached out to the company for a quote, letting them know AGS is spotlighting them with the hopes of building geographic business memberships. I also wrote blogs on topics of my own choosing, such as the “new ocean” that has formed in the Arctic due to climate change-induced ice melt and the resulting international governance debates. Additionally, I attended conferences as an AGS staff member such as State of the Map and Capitol Hill Ocean Week in Washington D.C. to interview key individuals about their work and build a network for AGS. My main learning objectives were to build writing, technological data-analysis, mapping, and professional communication skills in ways that can successfully engage the public, funders, and decision-makers in the environmental and social issues of our globalized world, all of which I believe I achieved during my internship.
I enjoyed my time at AGS very much, and I’m excited to continue learning and involving myself in the field of Geography. The incredible and close-knit team at the office made the experience both enjoyable and intellectually challenging. I hope to return to AGS in November to attend the Geography 2050 Symposium and further interact with the inspiring people who are working towards building a better future. More than anything this internship has taught me the importance of thinking globally and thinking spatially, and helped me recognize that the field of Geography can and needs to be applied almost everywhere in order to make critical decisions regarding the fate of our planet and its people.
A Year in Brooklyn Heights with AGS
As a Human Geographer with a huge passion for geography, mapping and exploring the physical and social world, the opportunity to be part of the oldest geographical organization in the U.S. was an exhilarating prospect. I grew up being totally enamored with the AGS, an American Institution that boasted an endless repertoire of expeditions, triumphs and pioneering research since 1851, one I felt a huge need to be a part of. Due to this admiration from across the Atlantic, I was thrilled to be offered a chance to volunteer with the organization upon arriving in the U.S.
Throughout my time at the AGS I have been privileged to work alongside extremely talented and passionate people. Elise Mazur, Chris Ewell, Timur Pozhidaev and Jesse Miller have proved great coworkers, all bringing enthusiasm, innovation and interesting perspectives to the office each day.
Our key mission as a team has been to develop and implement an engagement strategy that encourages policy makers, the public, and companies to gain an interest and appreciation of geography. To do this we adopted interesting and exciting ways to present information, such as thematic and interactive maps, thought-provoking articles and blog posts, interviews with council members and highlighted geography through current affairs. Together we also piloted a new Company Spotlight initiative that endorses innovative geographical companies from around the world and has rocketed over the past few months. The annual AGS symposium has also been high on our agenda throughout the year. The event sees the AGS bring key innovators in the industry, leading academics, policy makers and huge international companies together to collaborate new ideas and celebrate geography’s might. It has been an honor to work on something so influential and I wish everyone and the symposium the very best of luck next month!
The AGS has thus showed to be an extremely progressive environment to work in, where new ideas and visions further advance the organization and where there are always new fun projects, ventures and ideas in the pipeline!
I have also been lucky to work under a great manager and geographer, Selene Lawrence, who has been a true inspiration over the past year. Her expertise, passion and wealth of knowledge has further encouraged me to embark on a geographically centered role in the UK, taking with me her insightful visions, skills and drive. Her support, praise and advice in all of my quests throughout the year (however whacky) has been extremely encouraging and appreciated, and she has not only shown to be an incredible mentor but a great friend.
I would also like to thank AGS Director John Konarski III, who gave me the chance to volunteer and consequently be part of the AGS. He has not only provided me with a professional platform to develop my geographical thinking but a chance to grow and feel valued as part of this prestigious organization. I believe his vision, determination and expertise has taken the organization by storm, taking AGS to a whole new level which has been truly inspirational to witness.
Before joining the team at AGS, my expectations of the organization were set extremely high, and so it was with rose tinted glasses that I joined the team in its Brooklyn Heights HQ. I am ecstatic that almost a year on, I am able to report that my preconceptions were enormously justified, my expectations were not only met but were truly exceeded and the experience has proved to be one of the most enriching experiences of my career!
I am forever grateful to feel so welcomed and appreciated at the AGS, working alongside such great people in what I feel has been a fundamental period of time for the organization. Thank you for such a wonderful opportunity and experience AGS, I wish everyone the very best, and I look forward to our geographical paths crossing again one day in the future!