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Careers: Alumni Profiles

Meri Marsh '99

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR MAJOR?

"I started out at Calvin as an education major and had to take World Regional Geography to fulfill my requirements. I loved that class, I felt like geography could explain everything, but I stayed with education for a whole year. I worked in Admissions and would give tours of campus, including the geography department, and when I walked through, I always wished I was a part of it. I finally realized I could be, so I changed majors. I still think geography explains a lot, (not in the Semple sense, just in terms of understanding cultural, political, economic, and other differences across space) and I still enjoy studying the subject matter."

MEMORIES OF CALVIN

  • "I don't actually remember what class it was—I think cartography and GIS—we had to walk around that grassy area in front of the commons with GPS receivers. I remember getting lots of funny looks from outsiders thinking we were trying to contact aliens! I think Calvin's department did an excellent job getting us out in the field to see how what we learned in class actually manifested itself in the landscape."
  • The many field trips.
  • Studying Central Places.
  • Taking soil cores from outside the nature preserve.
  • My own traveling to all the cemeteries of Grand Rapids to better understand their geography.

WHAT AT CALVIN PREPARED YOU FOR YOUR CAREER?

"I don't think any two geography departments are the same so I think it's probably impossible to be comprehensively prepared for any graduate school department. However, by requiring courses in both physical and human geography, I felt my preparation and knowledge was quite well-rounded. Additionally, the statistics and geomorphology classes generally prepared me for the quantitative rigor I faced in grad school."

LIFE AFTER CALVIN

Geography Masters at the University of California

WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW?

"I'm in graduate school at the University of California at Santa Barbara--in the geography department. It's my third year, and I'm still finishing up my Master's, but hoping to be done with it in March. I've had a couple of projects that have been distracting me—I'm just finishing up co-authoring "Barron's Guide to the AP Human Geography Exam," and once that's done, I'll be able to spend more time writing the thesis. I'm writing a learning module on globalization for high school students. In addition, I've been working as a teaching assistant, which involves teaching a couple of sections a week for an introductory class in human geography. I have to admit, the best part of what I do is the freedom I have, both over how I spend my days, and what I want to study. I can't really imagine anything better than spending my days either learning or teaching things that interest me."

Major/minor

geography

Career tags

graduate school, human geography

Contact

merimarsh@yahoo.com