The exact moment I realized I was a geographer was the same moment I realized I was a journalist: I was standing in a pile of rubble, what was left of a 19th century mansion, staring out at the Gulf of Mexico, which seemed so calm and serene, aside from the roofs and trees penetrating the ocean surface. I had to keep my mouth and nose covered because of the smell of rot and mildew. I found family heirlooms, teddy bears and bodies.
A week earlier, Hurricane Katrina destroyed everything I had ever known. National Guard blockades kept most of the curious crowds out, but not me. I grabbed my camera and notepad and found a way past the troops. It was the first time I realized how connected we all were – nature and people. I was 16.
It took me a long time to understand the complex web of relationships man shares with the Earth and with each other. Now in my senior year as a Geography and Newspaper Journalism major at Syracuse University, it’s hard for me to believe I ever saw the world any differently.
My time at SU has made me into someone who barely resembles who I was when I got here: I am now a vegetarian, speak in spatial and temporal scales and am a GIS connoisseur. Above all, I like to think discovering geography was like finding religion for me. It changed the core of who I am.
Now, as a single mother, geography has become all the more important. It’s not long just about research or theory for me, it’s about creating a better world for my son and every other child in the world.
I have worked as a geography in several capacities: as an intern with the Syracuse Center of Excellence, and as a journalist for multiple news organizations, including The Post-Standard, DemocracyWise and The Daily Orange. I built a recycling program from scratch in my home town in Mississippi, and worked with the Onondaga County Save the Rain program to reach out to community members and lead education about green infrastructure.
I have been accepted into the Geography graduate program at Louisiana State University, where I will begin in January 2012. My focus there will be climate, energy and society. I hope to build community energy programs which allow impoverished areas to have access to renewable, sustainable energy resources. I will always be dedicated to truth and justice, the two pillars of my two majors