7 Oct

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.

Sophie Collings

Sophie Collings

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!


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