Alumni News

We enjoy hearing from you and would like to share your news with your former classmates. Please contact Emily Coffee ( if you have news to share for future newsletters.

Eric Fournier

I just won the Dean's Award for Outstanding Teaching from Samford University's Howard College of Arts and Sciences. I got my first teaching award way back in 1995 from the UGA Graduate School. Since then I have also been recognized with teaching awards from the National Council for Geographic Education and the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers. My experience teaching weather and climate labs for UGA's department of geography helped pave the way for a successful academic career.

William Holt

William G. Holt, Ph.D./J.D., has been named Coordinator of the Urban Environmental Studies Program at Birmingham-Southern College. A Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at Yale and Albert Switzer Foundation Fellow at Dartmouth, Holt received his M.C.P. from Georgia Tech and worked for the National Capital Planning Commission in Washington, D.C. He competed his joint Ph.D./J.D. with Yale and Vermont Law School in energy law. Holt's newest research involves the North Birmingham Superfund in which he's coordinating a community archives project involving videotaping residents with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute through the Mellon Foundation. His newest book is Sustainable Cities: Global Concerns/Urban Efforts forthcoming in fall 2014. He is a 1989 graduate of the UGA geography department.

William A. Noble

Received both B.A. and M.A. degrees from your department. My M.A. thesis advisor was Dr. Merle Prunty: thesis covering Hopeton / Altamaha Plantation on the coast of Georgia. Later Ph.D. from LSU. Fieldwork in India through 30 years career. Hope your library might obtain a copy of the Encyclopedia of the Nilgiri Hills, in two Parts, ed. by Paul Hockings, published by New Delhi, Manohar Press, in 2012, because I was a major contributor to it. Am currently working on finalizing a book on the Toda (my tribal friends) Funeral.

Nina Hutchinson Pruitt

Well – it has been a long time since I have darkened the doors of UGA. Surprisingly I still use GIS as part of my life – a business focus in targeted marketing for life science pursuits. Both commercialized products and R&D site/patient recruitment endeavors. For example:

  • Generate heat map of patients diagnosed for easy data visualization
  • Assess # of patients diagnosed in U.S. or on a per-county basis
  • Compare the patient population proximity to sites (doctor’s office)
  • Evaluate historical site performance and make sound recommendations to the R&D teams

Note: we are using Google Maps as part of the product, but evaluating the cost-benefit to more sophisticated and granular GIS functionality. After graduating with my M.A. (under Dr. Thomas Hodler), I started my career consulting at Ernst & Young (using GIS as a tool for various industries including insurance, banking, oil/gas, government etc.). From there I went to ETAK, the original in-vehicle navigation system development company. It was exciting times. This fundamental skill set – coupling large, complex databases with a GIS to deliver spatial correlation insights – has been invaluable as I have traversed my career to GlaxoSmithKline, ICON Clinical Research, Acurian, Optum (part of UnitedHealth Group) and now IMS Health. Each time I am with a colleague who “sees” the gaps or the ideal targets and realizes this “ah ha” moment, I smile widely. Welcome to the world of geography – not your average landscape!

Chuck Ryckeley

I was originally in pre-med and applied to the University of Georgia School of Medicine. I was accepted, but my commitment to the Air Force would not allow me to attend. I was not allowed to delay entry; USAF would not pay for or wait for me to finish college. So my senior year I changed all my subjects to geology to use all my science credits for a lot of the credits would be lost; so, I had to switch to geography and took urban planning and land-use studies, graduating with 213 credits when I only needed 185 to matriculate. Went into the Air Force for pilot training and spent 14 years in the service, including four tours in Vietnam. I earned Three Distinguished Flying Crosses, two bronze stars, 23 air medals and a lot of other ribbons no one cares about. But as you know, when we came home from Vietnam (you were not born yet) people spat on us and cursed us. It does not make for a happy outlook in the civilian world. You really cannot use anything that I would give you, because most of the experience I had overseas in 14 different foreign countries is so out of date now, as to be ridiculous.

Mike Seigel

I graduated with a B.A. in geography in 1991. I am currently a data manager and pollster with Landmark Communications in Alpharetta. I use my geography background to properly target and weigh the various polls I work with. During the height of the political season, I may do as many as four or five polls a week. I am also the GOP Chairman of the 4th Congressional district.