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Geographers in Government/Public Sector Careers

Type: Panel
Theme: Expanding the Community of Geography
Sponsor Groups: Careers and Professional Development
Poster #:
Day: 4/7/2020
Start / End Time: 2:25 PM / 3:40 PM (MDT)
Room: Virtual Track 14
Organizers: Mark Revell
Chairs: Michael Solem


Geography is an interdisciplinary field that provides a solid foundation for careers in all levels of government. This panel will feature geographers and other professionals with experience in the public sector 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 kinds of career opportunities are currently available for geographers within your organization/department/agency? What are some of the important trends within the public sector that are likely to create new opportunities in the future?

2) What substantive geographic knowledge is important and useful to know in your position? For example, knowledge and understanding of geographic terminology and substantive concepts (e.g., alluvial plain, metropolitan area, ethnic group, tertiary economy, coniferous forest, geologic fault, etc.)

3) What conceptual geographic knowledge is important and useful to know in your position? For example, “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.

4) What procedural geographic knowledge is important and useful to know in your position? For example, GIS or other geospatial technology, designing a geographic inquiry and research study, collecting spatial data in the field, etc.

5) What other types of education and training experiences would you recommend for a successful career in government?

6) In what ways are government 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 13
Panelist Stephanie Deitrick City of Tempe/Arizona State University 12
Panelist Suparna Das DC Department of Health 13
Panelist Johanna Ostling Trinity County Transportation Commission 12
Panelist Richard Quodomine City of Philadelphia 13
Panelist Arvind Bhuta USDA Forest Service 12

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