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July 16, 2018

Geography hosts its first Summer Academy to Inspire Learning (SAIL)

The SAIL Program offers a fantastic experience for local-area high school students from under-represented backgrounds to come to campus and participate in a week-long programs that are fun interactive, and engaging. This year Geography will host its first SAIL program July 23rd – 28th, which will include activities that ask students to reflect on how we understand places, a mapathon, a GPS scavenger hunt, an urban geography scavenger hunt, lessons on using online platforms to make maps, a field trip to the Willamette River to study fluvial processes, and more!

27 students have chosen to participate in the Place Matters: Geography program. These are all students from under-represented background, including first generation students and minority students, and the program is free. Several Geography majors and gradaute students are assisting in the program. We’re excited to expose high school students who may be at UO in the next couple of years to what we do, and show that that place matters and geography matters! Learn more about the program and the opportunities it provides to students (including scholarship opportunities and more!) on the UO SAIL website.

May 25, 2018

Tea Speaker May 31st: Mary Wood, UO Law

Join us for our final Tea of the year with Dr. Mary Wood, the Philip H. Knight Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the school’s Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center. Her talk is entitled: “Juliana v. United States: The public trust principle and the global climate emergency.”  Her talk will focus on the current case being brought against the US government by several students in Eugene, which uses the public trust principle to assert that through the government’s affirmative actions that cause climate change, it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources.

As always, please join us for snacks in Condon 108 at 3:30 prior to the talk!

May 22, 2018

Mapathon Thurs 5/24, 5-7pm

MapxNW is holding their second Spring Mapathon on Thursday, May 24th from 5-7pm in Knight Library 144. This event is sponsored by the Department of Geography and YouthMappers, an organization run through USAID, which hosts a platform that allows chapter members to digitize and map data for NGO projects around the world.

This week’s projects will include mapping for food security, flood resilience, and humanitarian crises. The Department of Geography will also provide pizza! Anyone is welcome! You do not need any mapping skills. The MapxNW students will show you what to do!

May 7, 2018

May 10th: Eric Sheppard and urban transformation in Indonesia

Our Tea Speaker on Thursday, May 10th will be Dr. Eric Sheppard from UCLA who will talk about his work on urban transformation in Indonesia. Dr. Sheppard is Humboldt Chair and Professor of Geography, with research interests in geographical political economy, uneven geographies of globalization, neoliberalism, urbanization in the global South, urban sustainability and environmental justice, and critical GIS.

Please join us at 3:30pm in Condon 108 for snacks and socializing. At 4pm we will move to Condon 106 for the talk.

April 13, 2018

MapxNW Mapathon, Apr 19th!

MapxNorthwest will be holding another map-a-thon on Thursday, April 19th from 5pm to 7pm in Knight Library 144. This project is mapping a refugee crisis in Uganda. Pizza will be provided! And no prior mapping experience required.

Map-a-thons are fun, relaxing, and a great way to learn more about mapping, geography, and meeting other people who want to develop skills to assist real-life and real-time crises around the world. Please join us!

MapxNW is the UO chapter of Youthmappers, an organization run through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) that organizes humanitarian mapping events to aid in USAID development efforts .

February 27, 2018

Tues, Mar 6th MapTime event: Carto!

The Eugene chapter of MapTime is hosting another workshop on Interactive Web Mapping with Carto. In this workshop, InfoGraphics’ own Cartographic Developer Joanna Merson will guide you through how to use the web-based software Carto to upload data to the cloud and style it within the browser.

This workshop will be in Knight Library 144 on Tuesday, Marth 6th, from 4:00-5:00pm. Visit their website here for more info and the register to attend (preferred, but not required if you’re feeling spontaneous on Tuesday afternoon!).

January 24, 2018

Mapathon Fri Jan 26th

Join the newly renamed MapxNW (formerly known as Geography Club) as they do another USAID Youthmappers event to map flood infrastructure for flood mitigation efforts in Mozambique! Several MapxNWstudents will be on hand to train anyone who shows up, so no mapping experience required! Join us in Knight Library 144 anytime from 2pm – 4pm.

This mapping is easy and relaxing, but to spice things up, MapxNW is designing some activities and will be giving away prizes! Please join us!

November 9, 2017

Geography Awareness Week 2018: Civil Rights

Geography Awareness Week 2018 is upon us, and the theme from National Geographic this year is Civil Rights, a timely topic, to be sure. We have a slew of events going on to celebrate all things geography. Check it out!

All week long we’re hosting a photo contest. With the theme of civil rights in mind, we ask:

What does civil rights at the UofO look like to you?

Take the photo and post it to Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #uogaw2017

If you prefer to post anonymously, please email the photo to Leslie McLees, the geography undergraduate coordinator at with #uogaw2017 in the subject line. Your photo will remain anonymous.

Winners will be announced By Wednesday, Nov 22nd.

Tuesday, Nov 14th, 5pm, Knight Library Browsing Room: Dr. Imraan Buccus, a scholar and political commentator from South Africa, will be giving a talk entitled: The State of the Nation in South Africa: Lessons on the rise of populismDr. Baccus will draw connections between the backlash of populism in South Africa and the United States.
This week’s Tea will be an event Geography is helping sponsor for Carnegie Global Oregon Ethics Program.

Tuesday, Nov 14th, 12pm, Condon 108 (the Tea Room), The Geography will hosting a pizza lunch with Dr Buccus and 2017 alumnus Rachel Anderson. Along with his political writing, he also organizes study abroad programs in South Africa, though which 2017 alumni Rachel Anderson studied. Rachel and Dr Buccus will be on hand to chat about whatever you like, including potential for study abroad (anywhere, not just South Africa).

Thursday, Nov 16th, Geography Club will be hosting a MapTime event at 3:30 in Knight Library 144. MapTime is a national organization that seeks to being together people interested in mapping an visualization and learn some fun and innovative techniques for mapping. Joanna Merson, our new InfoGraphics researcher, will be presenting on using Google Mash-ups. Bring your laptops or use a computer in the room. You’ll learn something new!

Friday, Nov 17th, YouthMappers will be hosting another Mapathon in Knight Library 144 from 2-4pm. This time, focus on on maternal and infant health in Tanzania, Zambia, and Nigeria. No mapping experience needed! Engage in some digital humanitarianism!

We hope to see you at our exciting events!

November 4, 2017

Geographers and the Career Fair Week at UO!

It’s common for students to feel overwhelmed and uncertain at career fairs. What kinds of jobs can I do? What skills do I even have that they want? Do they hire geographers? Will they look at me blankly when I tell them I’m a geography major? What if I don’t like GIS and mapmaking? Will they ask me the capital of Burkina Faso? Aauuugh! (the capital is Ouagadougou, in case it comes up).

In reality, our students are very well-prepared, at least academically, for a career fair. The big trick is learning how to articulate all of the things you CAN ACTUALLY DO to an employer. If you’ve taken the Professional Geographer (GEOG 419), you’re on your way to doing this. If you haven’t (yet), there is still hope (email Dr. Leslie McLees, your advisor at

The Career Center is holding a week of activities designed to help prepare you for the Career Fair (See here for an even more in-depth list, which highlights certain employers holding extra workshops). This is brilliant. I particularly want to draw attention to the workshop on Tuesday about how to attend a career fair.
Here is an overview of the schedule:

  • Mon, Tues and Wed, Nov 6-8th
    Drop-In Career Advising Hours
    2 pm – 4pm          Career Center (in Hendricks Hall)
  • Mon, Nov 6th
    Workshop – Make the Most of the Fair
    11am                    Hendricks Hall
  • Tues, Nov 7th
    Workshop – What to Expect and How to Present Oneself
    11am                    Hendricks Hall
  • Wed, Nov 8th
    Pre-Fair Resume Check
    10am-2pm           Rec Center
  • Wed, Nov 8th
    Fall Networking Night
    5pm-7pm             EMU Ballroom
  • Th, Nov 9th
    Fall Career Fair
    12pm-4pm           EMU Ballroom
  • Fri, Nov 10th
    Fall Fair Interviews
    9am-4pm             EMU Ballroom

It’s difficult to just show up to a career fair without doing any preparation. First, you’ll get nervous and lose your motivation to go. Second, you won’t be prepared to think creatively about both the types of jobs you CAN do, and the types of jobs that these companies might have! Sometimes, even the recruiters don’t fully understand the breadth of what their companies do. It’s true, many get stuck in a business mindset, and don’t realize that Target will hire GIS Analysts and social science researchers. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Service will hire Data analysts AND biogeographers. Business, non-profits AND government want people who can think creatively across disciplinary divides (wait… economic development thinking might benefit from an environmental perspective? Where are the geographers!).

Do some RESEARCH on the employers you are interested in. There are 104 employers attending this event. Check them out here (upper left hand box). Get creative and think about what you can offer. They likely have a job for that!

Think about what you have learned. The top 10 skills that companies are interested in aren’t GIS or accounting. They are:
Ability to work as a team
Written communication
Oral communication
Strong work ethic
Analytical/ quantitative skills

There’s more, including detail-oriented, organization, friendly, interpersonal skills, etc.

Notice something? These are predominantly soft-skills. You can be trained how to push buttons. What employers want are people who can think critically to solve problems and effectively communicate! That’s what a degree in the liberal arts gets you. And since you’re studying what you really like (because who doesn’t like geography?!), you’re effectively learning those skills. Think about course projects (story maps? research paper?), clubs, volunteering, jobs, anything!

Don’t get caught up in job titles. Most of them are vague and don’t reflect what the entirety of the position. Keep an open mind. There’s won’t be a job title called Political Geographer or Person interested in the interactions between the Environment and Development. Instead, think about what you’re interested in (migration, refugees, resource use, climate change, spatial analysis, social justice, tree pollen) and find a way to talk about it. When you talk about what you’re passionate about, you will come across in a much more positive light and stick in the mind of that recruiter.

By the way, I can always help you learn to articulate these things in a career advising session ( or, our regular academic advising, or in GEOG 419 in Winter 2018! Or, while many of the jobs adds are slightly out of date (i’ll update it soon!), look at all the resources on this page.

Take resumes! You just never know…
But make sure it’s a well-formatted one. There are a million templates online. Do not be fancy, just get your info across to the reader.

Finally, think about the open ended yet answerable like…
-What kind of entry-level positions exist within your company?
-What does your company consider the 5 most important qualities in an employee?
-What courses do you suggest in order to be a successful candidate?
-What is the typical career path of an entry level employee?

Good luck! And let me know if you have any questions!
– Dr. Leslie McLees

October 30, 2017

Geography Tea Series: Dr Anne Nolin, Nov 2nd

Please join the Department of Geography in welcoming Dr. Ann Nolin a professor in Geography, Environmental Sciences, and Marine Resource Management at Oregon State University. Her talk is entitled Snow- forest interactions in a changing world. The talk will begin at 4:00pm in Condon 106.

Please join the department at 3:30 in Condon 108 for snacks and socializing before the talk.

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