Featured Geographer

Bethany Rissler

About Bethany

Rissler1While growing up I didn’t know that geography was a profession and I certainly didn’t think that I would pursue an education in geography.  As I understood it I simply couldn’t be a geographer because I miserably failed at labeling all the counties on a blank world map in 5th grade and it is a standing Rissler family joke that I have a terrible sense of direction.  Luckily, being a walking atlas with a great sense of direction is not the foundation of being a geographer. 

Rissler2I was drawn to studying geography in a high school classroom in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  It was the first time that geography was not all about maps, but instead focused on the relationships that existed between people and places and why such relationships mattered.  Once at Syracuse University I stumbled upon a human geography class which emphasized the importance of a spatial perspective and took a similar approach to geography that I had become so interested in only a year before.  Curious to see the breadth of the study of geography and what it meant in other places I studied abroad in Jerusalem.  I took a historical geography and a tourism course that revealed just how influential space and place are in how we view the world.  Back at SU and still not quite convinced that geography was more than an interesting subject to study I decided to set out and see how geography was practiced.  I interned with the Syracuse Community Geographer and am currently interning at Home Headquarters where I have been, and continue to be, exposed to how geography plays a crucial role in community development, social justice and city planning. 

Now as a senior Geography and Spanish major I not only confidently defend that I study geography, but I hope to become a professional geographer.  After graduation I plan on joining local Syracuse efforts in community development and contribute to grassroots social justice initiatives.