The Student Experience

Recent graduates say:

“During my first semester at UMass Amherst, I decided to switch to be a Geography major. My interest in Geography began in sixth grade social studies, and I remember making a paper pamphlet all about Venezuela. Ever since that moment, I have loved learning about different places in the world and the people and cultures within them. In the spring of my freshman year, I was enrolled in the course ​Intro to Human Geography ​(GEOG 102) with Dr. Toby Applegate, and he confirmed my thoughts about being a Geography major because of all of the amazing stories he told as he lectured. The first time I met with my advisor, Piper Gaubatz, she introduced me to all of the branches of geography and I settled on a concentration in (Human) Urban Geography. From that moment on, I learned about urban development and issues on a global scale, as well as researched case studies on cities in most continents. Perhaps one of my favorite courses from undergrad was Economic Geography (GEOG 360), where we learned about currencies around the world and what they would amount to in other currencies. Choosing to study Geography for my undergraduate degree was the best choice I could have made, and I am able to use what I have learned about people around the world in my Graduate studies in the College of Education at UMass Amherst.” – Kelsie Butler (Class of 2020)

“I joined the Geography department fall of 2018 as a sophomore following a very difficult first semester at UMass, coming in as transfer student in engineering. After starting classes as a Geography major, I immediately recognized that I was in the right place when I saw how enthusiastic and welcoming the professors are, how involved and helpful the advising staff is, and how broad the field of geography is in its seemingly endless real-world applications. I had always been intrigued by maps, different cultures, the environment, and computer technology, and I found that these could all be linked together in a geographic career, one that I could tailor to my passions and skills. Being a part of the Geography Club has also been a fantastic way to interact with people with similar interests, and lead me to forming some very valuable friendships. Joining this department really changed my perspective on college and on my own interests and goals, and I am very grateful to be in a field that is not only important and versatile, but also enjoyable.” – Isabel Mezzina (Class of 2020)

“I began studying geography because of my interest in helping with environmental problems … The true value of having a diploma in geography is its versatility, in the past geographers were restricted mostly to teaching positions or as cartographers, but nowadays the possibilities are almost limitless.” – Gregory Hanson (Class of 2010)

Becoming a geographer is a life changing experience. It allows one to look at the world in which we live in a completely different way. I changed my major and my university to become a geography major at UMass, and the experience I have had has been amazing. I have learned to look at cities, capitalism, and my own environment in a different manner. I am able to recognize the underlying forces on a location and describe how the forces impacted it.” – Jessica Brooks (Class of 2010)

“I chose to take a minor in Geography at UMass because I feel it is an excellent supplement to my major in Anthropology. Especially for the social sciences, studying how human beings interact with their environment is essential to building a base of knowledge from which cultural analysis of place and people can be derived. Studying geography has given me a spatial understanding of human society through which I can better describe the origins and facets of culture and lifestyle.” – Tyler Fogg (Class of 2009)

“In investigating the relationship between humans and their interaction with the environment, geography crosses nearly every academic discipline. This allowed me to think broadly about ideas and expand my research into other disciplines I may not have interacted with otherwise.” – Mike Judge (Class of 2009)

“I chose geography because becoming a geographer is more important now than ever before. With jobs becoming increasingly difficult to find, the great wealth of knowledge held by geographers is something sought after by many major corporations and government agencies. Geographers are involved in land use planning, resource development, and population projection. Major issues such as global warming, overcrowded cities, the current economic crisis, natural disasters, and managing the world’s resources are all issues dealt with by geographers in a variety of environments.” – Brad Renius (Class of 2009)