Geography Students Are Standouts at Regional Conference

Geography Students Are Standouts at Regional Conference

Senior geography majors Michelle Ritchie and Fatima Cecunjanin won the student poster competition at the New England-Saint Lawrence Valley Geographical Society’s (NESTVAL) annual meeting, held at at the University of New Hampshire on Oct. 24-25. NESTVAL is the oldest regional professional geographic organization, dating to 1922, and draws geographers from around the region to discuss cutting-edge research and advancements in the field.

Ritchie and Cecunjanin presented their research entitled “Preparing for the Next Sandy: Coastal Resilience and Beach Stability Studies along the Connecticut Shoreline.”  In addition to a monetary prize, they have been invited to publish their work in the journal Northeastern Geographer. Ritchie and Cecunjanin have worked closely with Southern faculty James Tait (environmental studies) and Patrick Heidkamp (geography) over the course of their studies. Their research detailing the relationship between beach width and hurricane damage garnered them a first-place finish in a competitive field of both undergraduate and graduate scholars.

Ritchie and Cecunjanin also competed with Southern students Jacob Gant and Aaron Gant at the NESTVAL geography bowl. The SCSU team won four of their five rounds, resulting in a four-way tie for first place. The students were accompanied to the conference by Elyse Zavar, assistant professor of geography, who presented her research focused on “Access and the Use of Floodplain Buyout Open Space,” and Heidkamp, who presented his research titled “From Visualization to Tactilization: Using 3D -printing to Represent Geospatial Data.”