UNA Geography Students, Faculty Present Research in Washington, D.C., This Week

Apr. 14, 2010


FLORENCE, Ala. – The presentation of research at national academic conferences has commonly been reserved for university faculty and graduate students. But the University of North Alabama geography department this week is showing a national audience the value of research at the undergraduate level.

A delegation of six faculty members and 13 undergraduate students from the UNA Department of Geography is attending the Association of American Geographers annual conference in Washington, D.C. Each of the students and faculty is presenting research at the event.

“This conference consists mostly of graduate students and faculty presenting research. It is unusual for undergraduates to be presenting, and we have 13,” said Dr. Lisa Keys-Mathews, director the UNA Geographic Research Center and associate professor of geography. “I would be surprised if another school had more undergraduates than UNA at this conference.”

The annual conference of the Association of American Geographers features presentations from many leading scholars and experts on the latest in research, policy, and applications in geography, sustainability and GIScience.

UNA students and faculty are presenting research on topics such as identity theft within the United States, the geography of literature and geographical aspects of bluegrass music.

“I’ve always liked reading, and I wanted to map out the literary landscape. This event gives me the opportunity to get my name out there and get exposed to a national audience,” said Lee Terry, a UNA student who is presenting his research on the geography of literature.

Keys-Mathews said that research at the undergraduate level sets those students apart and places them a step ahead of most students.

“Having this number of undergrads is such a reflection on UNA,” she said. “People know the UNA Department of Geography because of our students.”