Announcing the 2022 MSU Geography Award Recipients

April 25, 2022

Photos of 2022 MSU Geography Award Recipients

The Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University offers a hearty congratulations to all of our 2022 GEO Award recipients recognizing student academic achievement.

College of Social Science - Outstanding Senior in GEO | Nick Catanzaro

Nick is a senior from Ann Arbor, Michigan. He will graduate this spring with a degree in Environmental Geography and a minor in Cognitive Science. Nick's interest in Geography comes from wanting to explore human-environment interactions and learn about geographic information systems. Nick has been an active member of the MSU Outdoors Club since his freshman year, leading outdoors trips for his peers. His favorite geography memory is doing field research with Dr. Theuerkauf in his GEO 871 seminar, the pumpkin ice cream they enjoyed afterward wasn't too bad either! Nick's favorite professor was Kyle Redican, from whom he learned many foundational skills that helped him get internships and research experience. After graduation Nick plans to go aboard the R/V Thompson as an AUV Sentry technician surveying ocean ridges off the coast of Northern California with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Then he will be working with NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory and traveling as much as possible. Congratulations Nick, and good luck to you!

Marjorie and Lawrence Sommers Geography Graduate Fellowship for International Research & Travel | Herve Kashongwe

The Marjorie and Lawrence Sommers Geography Graduate Fellowship is awarded annually for Master's or Ph.D. students to support international research and travel within the next 12 months.

Herve Kashongwe is a Ph.D. candidate in the department. His research seeks to quantify aboveground biomass in regrowing natural forests using a combination of recent NASA Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) satellite data, a Landsat global forest change product, and forest inventory information. Herve believes the award will contribute to the success of his research by defraying some of the fieldwork expenses to the MNRP reserve. Congratulations Herve!

James Potchen Awards in Geography for Graduate and Undergraduate Students (Undergraduate and Graduate Student of the Year) | Jiang Chang And Josh Pepper

The E. James Potchen Award was established in 2008 by Harm de Blij to fund yearly cash awards for one outstanding graduate and one undergraduate student who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and service to the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences. The students will have shown remarkable professionalism and leadership skills in activities within both the department and the campus community.

Jiang Chang is a Ph.D. student in the department. Jiang is deeply honored to receive the E. James Potchen Award and would like to thank the estate, the award committee, his advisor Dr. Igor Vohnovic and his entire GEO family. Congratulations, Jiang!

Josh Pepper is a junior in the college. He is very grateful to have received this award and would like to personally thank the Harm de Blij estate that funds the award. He feels extremely fortunate to have worked with GEO students and faculty that have helped him pursue his interests. Josh plans on using this scholarship to fund his living expenses for the next school year. Congratulations, Josh!

Daniel Jacobson Memorial Scholarship in Cultural Geography | Ethan Kalchik

The Daniel Jacobson Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding student at the Junior level, majoring in Human Geography or Economic Geography, and especially interested in the cultural geographies of Native Americans, other marginalized groups, and geography education. 

Ethan Kalchik is an undergraduate student in the college. He is honored to receive the Daniel Jacobson Memorial Scholarship. Geography has been a passion of Ethan's for a long time, and he is so proud to be associated with Daniel Jacobson and all he has done for the field of geography. Congratulations, Ethan!

Owen Gregg Endowment for Global Climate Change Research | Mehmet Eroğlu

The Owen Gregg Endowment was established in 2012 to support global climate change science research in the MSU Department of Geography. Undergraduate majors or graduate students in Geography pursuing studies that make significant progress toward understanding climate change, its causes, and impacts are eligible to apply.

Mehmet Eroğlu is a Ph.D. student in the department. He is honored to be selected for the Owen Gregg Global Climate Change Research Award. Mehmet is exploring how coal phase-out policies, which are becoming increasingly popular in Europe and North America to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, affect historical coal mining cities spatially, economically, and socially. He will utilize this award to further his fieldwork. Congratulations, Mehmet!

The de Blij Geography Scholars | Jessica Davis

Instituted in 2013 by Harm de Blij and supported by other major donors, the de Blij Scholars awards scholarships to promising first-year students who choose to major in Geography at Michigan State University.

Jessica Davis is an undergraduate student in the college. She feels sincere gratitude for receiving the de Blij Scholar Award. Jessica will use the scholarship to fund her tuition for her undergraduate major in Environmental Geography. Congratulations, Jessica!

Michael A. Graff Dissertation Completion Award | Donald Akanga

Donald Akanga is a Ph.D. candidate in the college. He is very excited to receive the Michael A. Graff Dissertation Completion Award. His research examines interconnections between land cover changes, climate variability, and livelihoods in the Greater Mau Forest Complex (GMFC), Kenya. Having recently defended his dissertation proposal, Donald is preparing for fieldwork this summer. This award will go a long way in supporting the fieldwork component of his research. Congratulations, Donald!

Harold A. "Duke" Winters Scholarship | Riley Gugel

Riley Gugel will be graduating this semester and has accepted a contractor position with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). He plans to continue his education and research after spending some time in the public sector. Riley is very honored to receive the Winters Award and grateful to continue the legacy of Dr. Winters through research on Michigan's glacial history and novel mapping technologies. Congratulations, Riley!