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American Association of Geographers names SIUE’s Martinez to first cohort of public scholars

Adriana Martinez, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Geography and Geographic Information Sciences (SIUE photo)

The American Association of Geographers (AAG) has announced its first-ever cohort in the new “Elevate the Discipline” program, which will train and showcase geographers in action, in the media, as voices for public policies and in advocating for change, on this year’s theme of Climate and Society.

The AAG has selected Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Adriana Martinez, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Geography, Geographic Information Sciences and Environmental Science as one of the newly selected participants to represent the rich and diverse range of practice within the discipline, including hydroclimatology, political ecology, climate and health, disaster geography, geo informatics, soil science and more.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to learn new skills to showcase my work regarding the U.S.-Mexico border fence,” said Martinez. “Climate change is likely to result in increased flooding in the Rio Grande valley and the border fence has already been shown to exacerbate the effect these floods have on local residents. Joining this cohort of geographers gives me a great opportunity to make sure this work reaches a wide audience.”

Fifteen geographers were selected through a competitive process. The program will train them over the next several months in leadership, media skills, and policy strategies, and thereafter will connect and elevate their work in public discourse.

“It’s exciting to support the work of these scientists as they engage in community-oriented, justice-based work on climate change,” said Rebecca Lave, AAG’s 2023-24 president and a professor of geography at Indiana University Bloomington. “We want to open up avenues to value and protect geographers’ opportunity to do public and engaged scholarship.”

The program launched in July 2023, with frequent virtual meetings culminating in a week-long intensive training onsite at AAG headquarters in Washington, D.C. Thereafter, AAG will work with the participants and their institutions to continue to promote their public scholarship.

“Geography is essential to understanding and solving the world’s most pressing issues,” said Gary Langham, AAG executive director. “We created Elevate the Discipline to help geographers raise the profile of their work, showing how instrumental our discipline is to addressing climate change and critical social issues.”

For more than 100 years, The American Association of Geographers (AAG) has contributed to the advancement of geography. Our members from nearly 100 countries share interests in the theory, methods, and practice of geography, which they cultivate through the AAG’s Annual Meeting, scholarly journals (Annals of the American Association of Geographers, The Professional Geographer, the AAG Review of Books and GeoHumanities), and the online AAG Newsletter. The AAG is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 1904.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high-quality education that powerfully transforms the lives of all individuals who seek something greater. A premier metropolitan university, SIUE is creating social and economic mobility for individuals while also powering the workforce of the future. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of more than 12,500.

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