Alumni News

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

Joseph Abrams

I'm working with URISA's GISCorps to standup a GIS Program at Kabale University, Uganda. Jambo rafikis! Jina langu ni Yusufu! I have been involved in East Africa since I had the amazing opportunity to assist my stepfather on a joint CARE/USAID project in Western Kenya in the summer of 1999. The ideal of ujama or community, is a central tenant in East African society and culture. I easily associate with this sentiment. I soon realized I wanted to take as many opportunities as possible to give back to a region that helped me grow in immeasurable ways. During my undergraduate years at the University of Georgia, I studied abroad in Tanzania with UGA's African Studies Institute and made connections with like-minded students who wanted to kick start a service learning program in East Africa via a student organization at UGA; so, we started an organization called Globally Aware and Active People (GAAP). The intent was to inform students of the needs of our adopted community in Tanzania, Msaranga, which lays at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and then recruit participants to coordinate a program to travel to the community and do service learning work.

For two summers – 2003 and 2004 – I traveled to Msaranga with GAAP. We helped acquire real estate to build learning centers, we organized community football matches, and we learned local building techniques and how to speak Swahili! Service learning is mutually beneficial and respectful. For the Kabale University GIS Initiative, Adam McKay and I have a chance to catalyze the use and understanding of very powerful GIS tools and data, which can be leveraged in myriad ways to improve urban planning, community development, and conservation in southwestern Uganda. We are excited and grateful for this opportunity and we can't wait to start working with staff and students!

Theresa Andersen

Theresa started working as an in-house editor for Research Square in May 2014. Research Square helps researchers succeed. We do this by developing software and services for the global research community, which are offered through the American Journal Experts, Rubriq, and JournalGuide brands. As an in-house editor, I use my atmospheric science expertise to edit research papers that are being submitted for publication.

Joseph Baggett

Joseph has an A.B. in geography from UGA (2001) and currently works for HERE, the map division of Nokia. HERE recently launched a mapping portal called “Map Creator” where users in registered communities can add/update/delete a wide range of map features such as roads, addresses, and points of interest such as restaurants, gas stations, etc.

Eric Fournier

Samford University geography professor Eric J. Fournier has been named the 2014 Alabama Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Fournier was recognized for his superb teaching skills at the U.S. Professors of the Year awards ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C in November.

A Samford faculty member since 1997, Fournier served as chair of the geography department for 12 years. He was recently named director of Samford’s Center for Teaching, Learning and Scholarship (CTLS), a position that will allow him to continue in his teaching role. Fournier also has taught at the University of Georgia, where he earned his Ph.D. degree, and at Kennesaw State University and Emmanuel College. A native of Biddeford, Maine, he received his undergraduate degree from Syracuse University.

William G. 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.

Lauren Lindsey

Lauren has joined the Meteorology Team in Georgia's Air Protection Branch at the State of Georgia Climate Office. The climate office collects, disseminates, and interprets climate data for Georgia.

Ted Monson

After receiving my M.A. degree in geography in 1969 from the University of Cincinnati, I began a career in corporate real estate in 1970. I then received an M.B.A. degree from George Washington University in 1975. For most of my professional career thereafter, I managed large-asset investment portfolio for domestic pension funds and a Swiss investment firm; assets included large commercial real estate projects (office buildings, hotels, shopping centers) in the U.S. and Canada, oil and gas reserves, timber and coal reserves. I averaged about $800 million in asset value in my portfolio. Carol and I are now enjoying retired life, traveling and attending as many hockey and football games as possible. I am fortunate to have been to 82 countries and all 50 states. We reside in Alexandria, Virginia, where I stay busy as a commissioner in the City of Alexandria.

Russell V. Olson, Jr.

My most recent geographically related activity took place last month when my wife and I took two of our granddaughters on a road trip to Death Valley. I have been to the Jordan River Valley several times and had always wanted to visit the lowest point in the U.S. January is a great time to visit Death Valley. I completed my M.A. at UGA geography in 1980 when the earth was still cooling.

Wendy Peloquin

Wendy Peloquin was been named URISA's Young Professional of the Year in recognition of her outstanding contributions as part of URISA's Vanguard Cabinet. Wendy is a Senior Geospatial Analyst at GISi in Jacksonville, Florida and is a Certified GIS Professional (GISP). She notes, “Serving on the Vanguard Cabinet was an invaluable experience. I appreciate the opportunity to work with not only other passionate young professionals, but also leaders within the GIS community.”

An active and contributing member of numerous URISA committees and programs, Wendy leads a workgroup in URISA's Professional Practice Division and serves as the associate program chair for GIS¬Pro and NWGIS 2015.

Chuck Ryckeley

It is kind of funny how I ended up in Geography Department at the University of Georgia. 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 and studies graduated with 213 credits, when I only needed 185 to matriculate. I went into the Air Force to pilot training and spent 14 years in the service, including four tours in Vietnam and earned three Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Bronze Stars, 23 air medals and a lot of ribbons.

Mike Seigle

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.

Joe Travis

I published this over a year ago, but it's worth checking out. I've been working for Autodesk for almost 16 years and this was a side project I did on a sabbatical to a tiny island called Kosrae in Micronesia. It's a candidate for a World Heritage site. They are expecting increased tourism and trying to find sustainable methods to offset the impact by tourists. One of the reasons many go to Micronesia is because of the snorkeling and diving on the incredible coral reefs. At the link is a video of a 3D model created by Autodesk reality capture software. The model is a compilation of 40+ pictures taken underwater: The hypothesis is that one could capture a 3D model of the reef today, then return and capture a model of the same coral in the future to measure growth or coral depletion. More work is now being done by others with this same methodology.