Geography, Urban, Environment & Sustainability Studies

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 News & Updates

2013 Newsletter is now available


  • Departmental name has been changed to Geography, Urban, Environment and Sustainability Studies.
  • A new GIS major was established last fall and is the only undergraduate GIS program in the state of Minnesota. (Link to GIS Major, Minor, Certificate)
  • The department has about 170 students enrolled in its four majors (Geography, Environment and Sustainability, Urban and Regional Studies, GIS). The number of majors has increased 18% in the past year.
  • The department has signed an articulation agreement with Itasca Community College in Geography and GIS program.
  • Awards: Dr. Adam Pine, together with John Bennett (an alumnus of the department), received the Minnesota Association of Community and Leadership Education Professional Award for Excellence in research; Dr. Mike Mageau received the Staff/Faculty Sustainability Inspiration Award; Dr. Randel Hanson was awarded a resident fellow position within the Institute on the Environment (IonE) at the University of Minnesota.

2013 Scholarship Winners

Catherine E. Cox Scholarship in Geography: Arne Kallas

The Catherine Cox Scholarship in Geography honors Catherine Cox who received her undergraduate degree in geography from UMD. The award recognizes students whose academic achievements and future plans embody the goals and mission of the Department of Geography at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Arne Kallas is currently a sophomore at UMD. Arne grew up in St. Paul and has always loved to travel around Minnesota and the US with his family. He enjoys camping, biking, geocaching, snowboarding and hiking. He says that geography has always been one of his favorite students as a kid and his is looking forward to continuing his education in geography at UMD.

Fredrick and Lois Witzig Geography Scholarship: Joshua Sandstrom + Forrest Steinhoff

The Fredrick and Lois Witzig Geography Scholarship will assist a Geography, Environmental Studies, or Urban Studies major who is maintaining a 3.0 or higher GPA, to gain knowledge and personal development from a quality liberal education at the University of Minnesota Duluth. This scholarship was created by the family of Fred and Lois Witzig. Frederick joined the University of Minnesota Duluth Geography department in 1953 and continued teaching until 1990.

Joshua Sandstrom graduated from Hermantown High School in 2009 and chose UMD because he wanted to near home. He is a Geography and Geographic Information Science double major entering his senior year in the Fall. After graduation from UMD, Joshua hopes to pursue further education in Meteorology.

Forrest Steinhoff is originally from Moorhead and came to UMD to take advantage Lake Superior of all the outdoor activates offered at UMD and in Duluth. Forrest is a double major in Geography and Urban and Regional Studies. He also participated in the study abroad program to Worcester, England and is active in Students Today Leaders Forever service group, Intramural Soccer and water polo. After graduation he plans to pursuing a graduate degree in either Urban Planning or Transportation Planning.

Matti Kaups Geography Scholarship: Shane Bernard

The Matti Kaups Geography Scholarship was established in honor of Mattie Kaups, Professor Emeritus who taught in the Geography Department at UMD for 32 years. This scholarship is awarded to an outstanding student majoring in Geography and interested in pursuing a graduate degree.

Shane Bernard is heading into his junior year at UMD as a Geography and Geographic Information Systems double major. He is from White Bear Lake, Minnesota and enjoys the outdoors. His love of the outdoors and his desire to work with the environment are a few of the reasons why he decided to pursue a degree in the Geography.


Department Intro (ppt)

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2012 Scholarship Winners

Matti Kaups Scholarship: Sarah Davidson and Stephanie Gibeau

Sarah Davidson is a junior at UMD majoring in Geography and Political Science. She is from Sunny Lake Bluff, Illinois.

Stephanie Gibeau is a Junior who is majoring in Geography with a minor in Photography, and is also pursuing an Undergraduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science. Over the past few years at UMD, she has had her photographs displayed in multiple art exhibitions and is an active member in the UMD Athletic Bands.

Emma Goldman Scholarship: Tara Coberley-Horrall and Stephanie Gibeau

Tara Coberley: Growing up on a small farm near Madison, Wisconsin rooted an important ideal within me, that is the interconnectedness between daily life and the surrounding environment. This connection between humanity and the land has always fascinated me, and pursing the study of geography has continued to develop my knowledge of the intricate balance between earth systems. A minor in American Indian Studies has deepened my awareness of the struggles faced by those whose connections to the land have been severed, and I have become passionate about studying how improving the land can improve the lives of people. I hope to help strengthen communities by working on sustainable and urban agriculture, bringing renewed life to people that have been separated from the land that truly sustains us all.

Stephanie Gibeau is a Junior who is majoring in Geography with a minor in Photography, and is also pursuing an Undergraduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science. Over the past few years at UMD, she has had her photographs displayed in multiple art exhibitions and is an active member in the UMD Athletic Bands.

Catherine Cox Scholarship: Kelly Bray and Joshua Sandstrom

Kelly is a non-traditional student with a passion for learning. She has a diverse background of career and academic experiences that continually help her succeed in her pursuit of a Geography B.A., Environmental Studies Minor, and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Certificate. She is particularly interested in healthy food production and food systems. She works as a project coordinator on UMD's Sustainable Agriculture Project. After graduation she will attend graduate school focusing on Geography of Food Systems and/or GIS.

Joshua Sandstorm: I grew up in Hermantown, Minnesota and graduated Hermantown High School in 2009. I chose to major in Geography at UMD because I wanted to go to college at home, and Geography seemed to be the best major for me. After I graduate from UMD, I hope to attend further schooling for a degree in meteorology.

Fred Witzig Scholarship: Samuel Giebner

I am double majoring in both Geography and Urban and Regional Studies while completing the Geographic Information Science Certificate Program. Currently I am a junior and plan to graduate spring semester of 2013. After the completion of my undergraduate programs, I am considering pursuing a master's degree in Geographic Information Science at the University of Minnesota. Outside of the classroom, I am member of the nordic ski team and a marathon runner. I also have a passion for canoeing and wilderness camping. My passion for the outdoors and community has led to envision a career with the either the Forest Service, DNR or a County government.

Chris Anderson

Awarded an ESRI User Conference Student Assistantship for this summer 2012

2011 Department Newsletter