Careers in Geography
Most geography work is centered in one of four basic career fields: business, government, planning or teaching. Career options within these basic areas are widely varied. Augustana graduates are involved in such fields as:
Environmental land-use law, urban planning, environmental protection, U.S. Foreign Service, intelligence analysis, hydrology, transportation planning, community planning and development, travel management, industrial real-estate development, public works, cartography, meteorology, timber company sales, park management, soil conservation, landscape architecture, international trade, and high-school and college teaching.
Recent alumni describe their current jobs in their own words:
Eva Peterson, ’04
Augustana’s emphasis on developing oral and
written communication skills has been vital. The Geographic Information
Systems courses at Augustana kept me current on the tools necessary to
create, read and interpret maps everyday. The Urban and Regional
Planning course allowed for a more realistic look at life as a City
Planner including common planning practices essential for this position.
My degree in Geography has opened many new doors for me; working in
Planning has expanded my knowledge and diversified my interests. I am
fortunate to have been able to complete a degree in Geography and in
Political Science, because of my broad base of liberal arts courses I
have been able to excel at the multiple tasks required of a Planner.
I work with volunteers and concerned citizens who bring forth questions and concerns about local environmental issues. One of the most common concerns deals with uncontrolled development that threatens natural resources in the area. Being a geographer and understanding the physical science behind streams, soils, and earth processes, I can scientifically analyze development proposals and the environmental impacts they will cause to make educated recommendations to politicians and decision-makers. Our intention is to ultimately influence their decisions on human-environment interactions within the community to ensure that we have a sustainable future. Along with this advocacy as well as the daily office routines, I also teach people about the importance of recycling and land and water resources and how it plays a role in their every-day lives.
By jumping into the non-profit environmental
sector, I have learned the dedication and time commitment required to
make the overlooked environmental voice acknowledged, understood, and
accepted within a community threatened by unplanned growth. However, I
could not have done it without Augustana’s Geography Department. In my
time spent learning from the phenomenal professors, the close-knit
family of fellow geographers, and real-life assignments, I acquired the
geographical tools and environmental ethic I need to make a difference,
showing once again that without geography, you’re nowhere!
Roughly 85% of the requests I process are removals
from the flood zone. In processing most of my cases I use flood
profiles, tables, and charts from the Flood Insurance Studies. In rare
instances I use various hydrologic and hydraulic computer applications
to generate pieces of data that allow me to determine the base flood
elevation for a property. Besides working with FEMA flood maps, I
constantly refer to USGS topographic quad maps, various community maps,
subdivision plats, and all kinds of other geographic information. The
job is great! I wake up every morning incredibly grateful for the
opportunity to be a member of this team. My job is just a small portion
of the FEMA contract. Another team in my office has the duty of
restudying all of the flooding sources in our three regions, while yet
another group is remapping all flood data throughout our regions into a
GIS that will be available online within the next ten years. Sometime
within the next six months I plan to start taking classes at the
University of Denver for my Masters of Environmental Policy and
Management. I am hoping someday as the up and coming Denver office
expands into a fully equipped engineering office that I will be able to
move into a job that entails environmental field work and restoration.