Preparing Geographers for Government & Nonprofit Careers

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: Careers and Professional Development, Public/Private Affinity Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Wilson B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Organizers: Mark Revell
Chairs: Michael Solem


Geography is an interdisciplinary field that provides a solid foundation for careers in all levels of government and nonprofit organizations. This panel will feature geographers and other professionals with experience in the government and nonprofit sectors who will discuss key issues affecting career opportunities for geographers and improving their preparation for employment.

The session chair will lead the panelists in a structured discussion of the following questions:

1) What are some of the important trends in the public and nonprofit sectors that are creating career opportunities for geographers?

2) We are interested in your perspective on the importance and usefulness of geography as preparation for a career in the public and nonprofit sectors. Specifically, we would like to know …
a) What substantive geographic knowledge is important and useful to know in your position? For example, this includes knowledge and understanding of geographic terminology and substantive concepts (e.g., alluvial plain, metropolitan area, ethnic group, tertiary economy, coniferous forest, geologic fault, etc.).
b) What conceptual geographic knowledge is important and useful to know in your position? For example, this includes using “big ideas” in geography such as location, place, region, interconnection, spatial relationships, etc., to think about people, places, and environments, from the local to the global.
c) What procedural geographic knowledge is important and use to know in your position? For example, this includes spatial analysis with a GIS or other geospatial technology, designing a geographic inquiry and research study, collecting spatial data in the field, etc.

3) What other types of education and training experiences would you recommend for a successful career in the government and nonprofit sectors?

4) In what ways are government and nonprofit employers not fully tapping the potential of geography for enhancing the work they perform? What can be done to improve awareness and appreciation among employers of what geography offers and, in turn, why they should hire graduates from geography programs?

This panel will also explore cross-sector professional development issues and ideas for strengthening links between employers and academic geography programs. Time will be reserved to address questions and comments from members of the audience.


Type Details Minutes
Panelist Joshua Comenetz U.S. Census Bureau 12
Panelist Rafael Miguel González 11
Panelist Peter Chirico United States Geological Survey 11
Panelist Richard Quodomine City of Philadelphia 11
Discussant Alex Orenstein Action Against Hunger 11
Panelist Kelly Claborn World Wildlife Fund 11
Panelist G. Dobbs NCSU/USDA Forest Service 11
Panelist Ronda Schrenk USGIF 11
Panelist Michael Lechlitner National Geospatial Intelligence Agency 11

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