20 Nov

Introducing AGS Junior Service Fellow: Thomas Galliner

Congratulations to Thomas Galliner, of Belen Jesuit in Miami Florida for becoming the first AP Human Geography (APHG) student to become an AGS Junior Service Fellow (AGS JSF).

When asked about the value of APHG to him, Thomas said, “My main takeaway from APHG was a reinforcement of the value I place on Geography as a tool for understanding the world around me. Concepts have always clicked for me when shown on maps. Through APHG, I saw the power geography has to present concepts and visualize data that are both concrete (such as agriculture and infrastructure) and abstract (such as the spread of language and culture).  The topics presented were so varied, but made sense when connected through a spatial perspective.”

After successfully completing the APHG exam, Thomas learned about the opportunity to become an AGS Junior Service Fellow over social media.  “I learned about the AGS JSF opportunity through Twitter. The process for earning the fellowship through GeoBadges was very accessible and allowed me to put many of the concepts I learned in APHG into practice.”

In order to become an AGS JSF, Thomas had to earn an additional skills badge on www.GeoBadges.org.  “My first experiences in mapmaking and GIS was through ArcGIS. The first map I made was of the running loops my cross country team takes during practice around my school. I chose to get the OSM Editor GeoBadge because the interface was intuitive and I liked the wide range of edits the program allows users to make.  The edits that I made to earn the badge were updates to my school’s campus (as we are currently undergoing various construction projects) and marking various running trails around Miami.”

Now that he is an AGS Junior Service Fellow, Thomas will need to undertake 10 hours of public service through Geography every year.  When asked what is public service plans were this year, Thomas said, “Currently, I am excited by the applications of Geography to ongoing hurricane relief efforts, an issue that is particularly front and center in Florida because of the large presence of Puerto Ricans in the Hispanic community, but in disaster relief more broadly. I am coordinating a map-a-thon on OSM through my school’s Social Studies Department to map rural Puerto Rican towns that were devastated by Hurricane Maria.”

Thomas has clear ideas about how he wants to put his geographic knowledge and skills to work in the future.  “In the future, I would love to use geography as a tool to solve challenges presented by rapid population growth in urban areas. I have always been fascinated by the expansion of cities, particularly, the idea of applying historical trends in urban development to planning for the future growth of cities in centers of dramatic population growth.”

Said AGS Chairman Dr. Christopher Tucker, “Thomas is a great example of the geographic talent and inspiration that will help build our nation’s next generation of leaders.  It is heartening to see such youthful energy and initiative applied to public service through Geography.  We look forward to working with Thomas and other AP Human Geography students who choose to become AGS Junior Service Fellows to bring geography to each of their communities, our nation, and the world.  We at the AGS are excited by the prospect of the good things that will happen as we support our Junior Service Fellows in their future efforts as they enter institutions of higher education and the workforce.”

To learn more about AGS JSF, please click here.