I am Jason Ehlenberger, a graduate student at Appalachian State University pursuing a Master of Arts in Geography with a GIScience concentration and a Master’s Certificate in Climate Change. In May 2023, I graduated from AppState with two degrees – a Bachelor of Science in Community and Regional Planning and a Bachelor of Science in Geography with a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) concentration. During my senior year, I was also part of the Accelerated Admissions Program (4+1).
My passion for geography and GIScience began in the US Navy, where I had a successful career for 21 years. I started as an enlisted Aerographer’s Mate (“weather guesser”) and rose through the ranks to Chief before commissioning, eventually retiring as a Lieutenant. I specialized in meteorology and oceanography, conducting hydrographic surveys in various parts of the world, including Honduras, the Philippines, and Romania. I also participated in humanitarian relief missions in Pakistan and East Timor.
My interest in geography was also fueled by my global travels and exposure to different cultures and environments. I have lived in ten states, visited all but Alaska, and set foot in all continents except Africa and Antarctica. I have sailed the seven seas and transited many straits that connect them, such as the Strait of Magellan, Hormuz, Gibraltar, and Turkey’s Dardanelles and Bosporus. I have witnessed the beauty and diversity of nature and culture firsthand.
As a result of these experiences, I was highly motivated to learn GIS while training as a hydrographic surveyor. I decided to pursue it as a follow-on career after I retired from the Navy in 2019. I have a strong background and interest in geography and GIScience, and I have applied GIS to various spatial problems and projects. I am determined to pursue a career in geospatial sciences and positively impact society.
Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” (The Innocents Abroad, 1869)
My studies in Boone, learning from the faculty and fellow students at AppState, have further inspired my passion for geography and GIScience. I look forward to continuing this journey with the memories of my AppState years always fresh in my mind.
I graduated from Appalachian State University with a B.S. in Mathematics and a Certification in Geographic Information Systems, May of 2023. As an undergraduate I was a Research Assistant working with Dr. Gregg Marland within Appalachian State's Research Institute of Environment, Energy, and Economics. Senior year of undergrad I became a Research Assistant for Dr. Maggie Sugg. During my time as an undergraduate, I also participated on the App State Swim Team and was Vice President of Math Club, along with being the Chair of the Mathematical Science Department's Student Advisory Board. I also had the opportunity during my last semester as an undergrad to present my Honors Thesis project on classifying community resilience, at the NC GIS Conference.
My grad school journey started with the 4+1 accelerated admissions program within the Mathematical Sciences Department, but I really enjoyed my GIS classes and wanted to continue using those skills and working with the Geography and Planning Department. Now I will be at App State for two more years in a Dual Degree program to receive a Masters in Mathematics and Geography. I will also be a Graduate Research Assistant under Dr. Maggie Sugg, with a research interest in maternity health.
In my free time I really enjoy baking, being outdoors, reading, embroidery and other arts, and always singing and dancing for fun.
I graduated from Appalachian State in May of 2023 with a degree in Geography and earned a GIS certificate. I am looking to continue my education and earn a Masters in Geography at App State while focusing on Physical Geography and GIS. During undergrad I developed an interest in Hydrology and Water Resources and hope to broaden my knowledge.
I Pole Vault on the App State Track and Field team and raft guide in the summertime on the Nolichucky River. I enjoy being outside, traveling, and dancing.
I graduated from Appalachian State University back in 2013 with a degree in Middle Grades Education and taught 6th grade Language Arts and Social Studies locally for 8 years. It was great! However, a desire for a change had been brewing for a few years; I needed a “pause” from teaching. Geography has always been a personal interest of mine as well as my favorite subject to teach within my Social Studies curriculum. I had no interest in leaving Boone, and once I learned more about the Geography Department here, pursuing a Masters of Geography seemed like a perfect next step.
I am still figuring out my research interests, but I am most interested in studying geography through a “human lens”. Returning to teaching or working with geography education is always in the back of my mind as well! I am excited to learn more about the discipline, and I have no doubt that throughout my studies my interests will become more narrowly defined.
In my personal time I enjoy reading, exploring, hanging out with friends, rock climbing, playing board games, and just being outside. My current travel dreams include seeing the Northern Lights and visiting Antarctica.
In May 2020, I graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne University with a B.S. in Engineering Physics. While at Lenoir-Rhyne, I was part of an engineering team that specialized in rocket design and competed in national competitions sponsored by NASA.
After completing my undergrad, I decided to focus my graduate career towards my interest of Geography. During my graduate career at Appalachian State, I completed research work related to trail recreation development in Pisgah National Forest and analyzed upcoming projects currently under construction in Old Fort, Linville Gorge, and Mortimer, NC.
During the program, I took a year off to serve abroad with a group and do humanitarian work. We travelled to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Caucasus region working with orphans, refugees, and youth. Being in Eastern Europe during the start of the Ukraine-Russia war and getting to help Ukrainian refugees served as a significant eye-opening experience.
My research interests include human geography, outdoor recreation planning, and geopolitics. During my free time, I love to go hiking, travel to faraway places, ski, be involved with my church, and go on caving trips through the Flittermouse Grotto out of Asheville, NC.
I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in May 2022 with a BA in Geography and decided to work in the field for a year as a GIS Research Consultant for a commercial real estate agency. While working, I discovered that I had a passion for research and I figured out that my next step was returning to my studies. I was offered to work with Dr. Kara Dempsey here at Appalachian State under her Graduate Research Assistant Mentoring Program project: Best Practices for Refugee Resettlement: International Field Research Project. I'm very excited to approach geography through a political and social lens through this research work.
In my free time I enjoy reading, origami, and hanging out with my cats.
I graduated in May 2021 from Sam Houston State University with a B.S. in Geography and a minor in geology.
While at SHSU, I had the privilege of teaching Weather & Climate labs for two years and was the head lab instructor for the second. In the same year I started teaching, I conducted a research project on Rapid Ohi'a Death, a disease endemic to the Hawai'ian Islands. In December of 2019 and 2021, I traveled to the Big Island as part of a field course offered by SHSU's Geography Program and witnessed the phenomenon firsthand. Due to my involvement with the department, I was elected president of Geographers of Sam Houston (GOSH), a student organization focused on furthering members' education in geography. I held the position for two years.
After graduating, I spent a year working as a native plant landscaper in and around Houston, TX. I learned about the benefits of native plants and the importance of incorporating them into residential and commercial spaces. My research interests include native plant conservation and restoration, environmental planning, and the impacts of climate change. I am also interested in studying fluvial geomorphology, hydrology, and ecology. I am currently working with Dr. Martin, under his NSF grant, researching the influence of wood on river system geomorphology in coastal plain rivers.
In my free time, I enjoy hiking, camping, rock climbing, gardening, picking up litter, playing Terraforming Mars, and hanging with my cats.
I graduated in May 2022 from Marietta College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and minors in Leadership and Geographic Information Systems. As an undergraduate, I was also a lacrosse team member and a two-year captain. I also was active in campus life, working at
the recreational center and as a tour guide.
For my graduate degree, I am focusing on the planning concentration. This interest was sparked during courses I took during my undergrad, and I am excited to continue my curiosity in that field. I am also looking forward to working with Dr. Perry as a graduate assistant. Furthermore, I will be a part of the ROTC Mountaineer Battalion during my time here at Appalachian State.
I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2022 with a B.A. in Geography and minors in Urban and Regional Planning and Environmental Justice. I am continuing my education at App State by pursuing my M.A. in Geography with a Planning concentration. As an undergraduate student, I interned at the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle where I researched indicators of food insecurity at the neighborhood level and created mapping resources for use within the nonprofit.
My research and career interests are quite broad, but include housing affordability, urban geographies, and environmental justice.
In my free time, I enjoy powerlifting, walking, cooking, and watching Love Island.
In May 2023, I graduated from Wofford College with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a minor in Data Science. As an undergraduate, I had the privilege of being a part of two interdisciplinary studies that documented, analyzed, and communicated inequities in human-environmental interactions in Spartanburg County, SC. From early on at Wofford, I knew I wanted to continue my research at a formal Geography department so that I could expand my geospatial skill set and apply what I have learned to new real-world problems and places.
As I began my search for a graduate program, Appalachian State University became the clear choice because of its small size, distinguished faculty, and beautiful location western North Carolina. Further, I was offered the opportunity to study with Dr. Maggie Sugg under her NSF Career Grant in mental health. My research methods are primarily quantitative with interests including human-environmental interactions, environmental justice, and mental health.
In my free time, I enjoy being outdoors, hiking, running, traveling, cooking, and knitting.