Graduate Students

Harrison Brown

I graduated from Appalachian State University in Spring 2020 with a B.A. in Geography and Planning and a B.A. in German Language, Literature, and Culture.

My research involves remote sensing, human geography, and linguistics. I intend to further research the connections between climate change and human/political geography, specifically, how to connect with people in order to effectively communicate the need for climate change policy and climate justice reform.

My personal interests are listening to music and playing my guitar and bass, as well as learning about different languages and cultures.

Emma Crider

I graduated with a B.S. in Sustainable Development, Environmental Studies with minors in Sustainable Technology and Geography from Appalachian State University in December of 2021. My main research/career interests include food geography and forest ecology, climate solutions, and sustainable technology.

I love working with people and plants alike. When I’m not in the classroom you can find me working at the Office of Disability Resources on campus, making floral bouquets or picking vegetables as a Springhouse Farm intern, cooking, painting a picture, or playing in the dirt somewhere.

Caity Duncan

I graduated from Appalachian State University in May of 2021 with a B.S. in Community & Regional Planning, a GIS Certificate, and a minor in Geography. I am also an Accelerated Master's student within the department. 

My research interests include the geographic distribution of climate change and its effects on historically marginalized populations, hazard mitigation planning, natural disaster recovery, GIS technologies, and biodiversity conservation. I have previously been involved in research with RIEEE that focused on examining climate resilience in rural inland areas, with a specific focus on western North Carolina, as well as a project examining the decoupling of carbon dioxide emissions from economic growth. 

My personal interests include spending time on my family's farm, hiking, vegan cooking, and playing soccer.

Matt McGregor

 

I graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Community and Regional Planning and conjunctively obtained a certificate in GIS. I am currently continuing my college education at Appalachian State University by pursuing a Master of Arts Degree in Geography.

During the Spring and Summer of 2021, I worked for the Town of Boone’s Planning and Inspections Department as their Planning Intern. I was very thankful and honored to take on this position as their first intern in several years. Through my experience working for the Town of Boone, I formed meaningful connections with the dedicated and influential people who form the Planning and Inspections Department. Through my position, I learned what it truly means to contribute to the planning process of a town. One of the projects I tackled in this position was collecting physical records and translating them into obtainable electronic data to be accessible to the general public of Boone. I also researched the prevalence of hostile architecture in Boone and possible solutions. Along with these tactile tasks, I was an active contributor to the weekly meetings run by the Town of Boone in collaboration with numerous organizations, such as the Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment, Community Appearance, Historic Preservation Commission, and the Sustainability, Economics, and Environment Committee. Although I am obtaining a generalized Geography degree, I still hold a special place in my heart for planning. My hope in obtaining my Master’s Degree is that I gain experience in all fields of Geography and Planning.

My research interests consist of Transportation Planning, Zoning, Human Geography, History, Climate Change, and Political Science. I would love to positively contribute to society in any way that I can and am passionate about the overall interaction with the community on a personal level.

My interests in my free time consist of creating art pieces, playing video games, basketball, reading historical articles, and consistently listening to music.

Erali Miller

I graduated from Sam Houston State University in Texas where I received my B.S. in Geography with a minor in Psychology. Prior to my graduation I had the opportunity to complete two separate research projects. I conducted research into the effectiveness of three different environmental not-for-profit agencies operating throughout the Hawaiian Islands. This research I presented at the Kona Science Lecture Series in December of 2019. In April of 2020, I presented research at the Undergraduate Research Seminar that I had conducted into the effectiveness of not-for-profit organizations with community supported agriculture (C.S.A.) as their focus within the state of Texas. After conducting this research, I decided to join the American Association of Geographers Geographies of Food and Agriculture specialty group.

I am interested in research surrounding food sovereignty and food justice. During my graduate career, I will be working with Dr. Schroeder through the Graduate Research Associate Mentoring (G.R.A.M.) Program. While collaborating with Dr. Schroeder on her research, I hope to gain new perspectives on my research interests.

In my free time, I enjoy rock climbing and hiking with my two dogs. I really love cooking, baking bread, and practicing yoga. I am also learning Swedish, and my goal is to be a polyglot.

Josh Platt

I graduated from Appalachian State University with a B.S. in Geography. During undergrad I jumped on an opportunity to conduct field work on the Watauga River, surveying channel morphology and monitoring suspended sediment prior to the removal of the Ward’s Mill Dam. This historic dam brought energy and industry to the surrounding community and presents a cultural aspect to the study that shouldn’t be ignored. “Nature and culture are inextricably linked.”

With the dam removed in May of 2021, I am thrilled to continue this research during my time with the grad program. Small scale dam removals are a growing trend and the vast majority of studies indicate the ecological benefits of removal far outweigh the economic benefits this aging, often obsolete infrastructure could potentially bring. However, there is a gap in literature for such removals on Appalachian streams and I am honored to have the opportunity to contribute my findings.

Besides fluvial geomorphology, I am also interested in examining past semi-autonomous communities of Appalachia and their future in a post-extractive economy.

In my free time, I enjoy drumming, olympic weightlifting, mountaineering, climbing, snuggling my dog, and mountain biking.

Sophie Ryan

I graduated from the University of Vermont in May 2018 with a BA in Geography and a minor in Geology. At UVM, I conducted research and completed a senior thesis on phosphorous transport from forested watersheds in Vermont to further address and answer questions regarding toxic algae blooms.

During my undergrad I also conducted research looking at ocean terrace sediments and their nutrient content, diurnal stream chemistry variability, water quality in a rapidly developing coastal town and human-environment interactions with regards to high Andean grasslands – páramo. I love conducting research and learning more about the landscapes and history of where I live and visit. My research interests include water chemistry & quality, climate change & human health, and natural disasters.

After graduating college, I moved to the Tetons of Idaho and Wyoming where I worked as a landscaper, environmental educator, and cross-country ski coach.

In my free time I love to run, hike, kayak, cook, cross-country ski and read on my porch.

Taylin Spurlock

I graduated in Spring 2021 from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in Geography with a focus in Climate and Climate Change. I came to the Geography Department after studying abroad with Semester at Sea and seeing the effects of climate change firsthand. During my time in the department, I did undergraduate research in the Laboratory of Paleoenvironmental Research and worked in the GIS Outreach and Engagement Lab to promote geography education in K-12 schools. 

My current research interests include climate, biometeorology, and GIS. I hope to combine these interests to study how climate affects public health. 

Outside of class, you can find me traveling, doing yoga, or anything related to being outdoors. I also have two pups who love to hike!

Luke Wertis

I graduated from Appalachian State University with a B.S. in Applied Physics in May 2017.

My research interests include GIS technology, climate change, and water systems. I am currently doing research with AppAqua looking at river quality/quantity of the Upper South Fork of the New River watershed.

In my free time, I enjoy rock climbing and reading.