In the fall of 2014, four senior geography students embarked on a semester-long effort to assess the condition of the Cheshire Rail Trail North, a former railroad right of way that now forms the foundation of a nearly 18-mile long rail-trail from downtown Keene to Walpole, NH. With support from Southwest Region Planning Commission, the students discovered that the most well-maintained portions are within Keene, but some of the most scenic sections are found along the Connecticut River valley, many miles to the north and west. Read more about their project and others on our Student Work page.
Geography grads Dave Daly (’12) and Chris Ordway (’12) found their way to the center of North America on their recent sojourn across America. The students are taking their time seeing the country as they relocate to Colorado.
Our very own Charlie Stoll was recently profiled in Keene State College news. The article describes how Charlie has had an interesting path from his career as a plumber to majoring in geography and his current interest in fluvial geomorphology (a scientific way of describing the ‘plumbing’ of river systems). Please read more about Charlie’s story here.
Each spring we are proud to induct a new class of students into Keene State’s Beta Theta chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU), the International Honor Society of Geography. To be eligible, students must maintain a 3.3 GPA in all classes and in geography courses. This year’s new class of GTU members includes Lena Fontana, Samantha Gaudette, Emily Pelletier and Kat Wood. Not pictured are new members Brian Jones and Megan Pietrowski. New officers were elected for the 2014-15 academic year: President: Charles Stoll, Vice-President: Kat Wood, Secretary: Samantha Gaudette, and Treasurer: Lena Fontana. Also present for the induction ceremony were current officers Michael Harpool and Keith Pancake. After the ceremony, we celebrated over dinner at Elm City Brewing Company.
Fifteen Geography seniors and four faculty members recently attended the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers. Held this year in Tampa, Florida, this is the premier conference of our discipline, attended by thousands of academic and professional geographers and scientists from a variety of disciplines.
Keene State was one of the best represented departments among the hundreds attending, as our students made six presentations over four days. One group of seniors, Brian Cote, Brian Jones, Michael Harpool and Abby Martelle, received the award for Best Undergraduate Paper Award from the Regional Development and Planning Group, for their project “The Ultimate Commute: An Assessment of Bike Path Conditions in Keene, NH.”
Faculty members Lara Bryant, Chris Cusack and Chris Brehme presented their latest research results during paper sessions, and emeritus professor Klaus Bayr presented a poster with alums Chris Dunn and Adam Riffle describing Dr. Bayr’s ongoing glacier research.
It was not all work and no play in Tampa. Most of the group took in an NHL Hockey game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. On Wednesday evening we enjoyed a delicious dinner of pizza and cold drinks following our extensive self-guided tour of downtown Tampa. Thursday allowed for some relaxing hours poolside at the conference hotel.
The Annual AAG Meeting has become a rite of passage for our graduating seniors as most look forward to the final weeks of their undergraduate college experience. This year’s juniors should already be looking forward to AAG 2015 in Chicago!
Geography Seniors made a splash at the 2014 Academic Excellence Conference on April 5th with twenty-two seniors presenting six projects. Parents, friends and faculty joined them to share in their success. Read more about all six projects on the student work page. In addition, senior Mike Desjardins gave an oral presentation on the results of his KSC Undergraduate Research-funded work on coral reef conditions in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Read more about his work under his student profile.
Geography Seniors worked in coordination with Peterborough Parks and Recreation Director Jeff King during the Fall of 2013. Their goal was to gain a better understanding of how the town’s recreation facilities are serving current residents and how future trends may impact the recreation department. Many of the facilities are located near the town center, however residents are clustered in several other parts of town. Students used a survey to collect public input, then analyzed the results in GIS and statistical software. The recreation inventory itself is a significant report with locator maps, lists of amenities, images and descriptive information. You can read the entire project report on our Student Work page.
In the fall of 2013, Geography seniors Mike Desjardins, Kristin Carlson, James Shea and Ethan Yazinski undertook work to better understand the recreational amenities and wildlife habitats of Surry, NH. Their research contributed to the development of an ongoing Natural Resources Inventory, or NRI. The NRI is an important tool for municipalities to establish a baseline of understanding about natural resources, to identify areas of concern, and to plan for the future. The work of these students involved an assessment of current recreation areas and a survey of wildlife habitats that builds on the New Hampshire Wildlife Action Plan. Read more about their research in the complete report on the Student Work page.
Spatial Skills involve concepts such as direction, orientation, and adjacency. Geography students Jenn Lundquist, Hallie Oullette and Amanda Smith used a National Geographic giant floor map to test these skills in fifth and sixth graders from local elementary schools. Their research, conducted in the Fall of 2013, revolved around whether these skills might be improved by interacting in this large space. Students were given a pre-test, then invited to play a game of ‘Simon Says’ on a 30 foot x 30 foot floor map of South America. After this activity, the students were given a post-test of questions involving the same skills. Read more about their project and the results in their full report on the Student Work page.
Here we feature our third of six senior capstone projects. One of the greatest amenities of Keene is the recreational paths that thread through downtown, and wind out toward the surrounding countryside. In the Fall of 2013, five of our senior geography students analyzed the use and conditions of these pathways by bikers and pedestrians. As stated in the abstract, “Data were obtained using bike counters, GPS receivers, visual counting and through surveys administered to the public and Keene State College students.” This project will be presented with five others at Keene State’s Academic Excellence Conference on Saturday, April 5th. The poster presentation will be from 4:15 to 5:15 in the Student Center.