|Geography majors map out future|
|Written by Kelsey Lutz, Vidette Staff Writer|
|Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:39|
Over the years, Illinois State University has grown a reputation for providing outstanding education, nursing and business programs. However, hidden in the deep, dark depths of the ISU program book are even more interesting majors just waiting to be declared by the driven students of ISU.
Among these majors lies geography. The ISU geography program is known to be one of the first developed geography programs in the country. In fact, geography adviser Jill Freund Thomas states that the ISU geography program is the oldest one still continuing to this day. It’s a small program, yet full of endless possibilities.
“Geography is so broad based that a geographer can fit into every field. Like in insurance agencies, when there’s a tsunami, you have to have some geographical, spatial background because you need to know that region: the environment, the culture, the people and the languages,” Thomas said.
Geography entails just about every sort of field one could imagine pursuing. Thomas said those attracted to the major seem to think more globally rather than locally, with a love of traveling and curiosity of what the world is like. Each sequence involves different aspects and experiences for various interests.
“There’s cultural geography, environmental, there’s community, there’s medical, there’s Bio,” Thomas said.
Senior Leah Hoeniges didn’t originally plan on joining the geography program. After much research, some deep thinking and a couple of geography classes, she realized this department really meshed well with her interests. Looking at Hoeniges’ background, it’s hard to believe she didn’t plan on pursuing geography all along.
“I would spend hours as a child reading my grandma’s National Geographic Magazines,” Hoeniges said.
Hoeniges hopes to gain a job in GIS (Geographic Information Systems) after she graduates in August 2013. She explained that she has maps hanging everywhere at home.
“I’m not very artistic, so I really like that I am able to create a beautiful map from a blank screen using only a computer,” Hoeniges added.
Hoeniges has had amazing travel experiences while doing mission work. She spent two weeks in Brazil last summer, sleeping in a hammock on a boat going down the Amazon River. Her next adventure will be in May when she travels to Haiti to do more mission work. When asked if she plans on traveling in use of her geography degree, she expressed with no doubt that she’s hopeful for plenty of traveling in her future.
“I hope this awesome degree that centers itself around the world will allow me to travel for the rest of my life. I would love to work in another country, somewhere in South America, preferably, and immerse myself in their culture for a few years.”
The Geography department makes it mandatory for each of its students to have an internship before he or she graduates. Various opportunities are provided for the students by the program to land a great internship in Illinois or almost anywhere else in the United States.
Recently, there was even a student whose internship was stationed in Africa studying the migration of diseases from one continent to another. Hoeniges plans on doing an internship this summer, hopefully either in the Chicagoland area, or maybe even somewhere out of the country.
Opportunities are endless with a major in geography. Luckily, ISU provides such a program for those with a love of travel, mapping, culture, technology, communication, language, art, and, well, pretty much anything else. The ISU Geography Department accommodates its students with whatever they need to piece together their ideal future.