Fieldwork with Students

I encourage all of my students to apply what they learn in my classroom to their interactions with the world around them.  I teach two field courses at ISU: one to New Mexico and West Texas and the other to Japan (a short term study abroad).  In both courses, we employ cultural landscape observation and analysis techniques to understand the human geography of place, more generally, and a place-based sense of identity, more specifically.  
Japan 2015 Chusonji

ISU Students in 2015 Japan Study Abroad interacting with a local junior high group at Chusonji in Hiraizumi.

New Mexico Field Class

ISU students at Guadalupe Mountains National Park during 2014 Spring Break Field Class to New Mexico and Texas.

    In my advanced geography and GIS courses, I have also provided a number of opportunities for students to use geographic techniques in the field.  GPS/Mobile GIS mapping projects completed by my students in Advance GIS & GPS (Geog 4330) at Sinsinawa Mound (a living and activity center for the Sinsinawa Dominican sisters) and Wisconsin’s Devil’s Lake State Park are good examples.  Both of these projects were supported by the UW-Platteville Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement (PACCE).
Fieldwork at Devil's Lake

Students mapping natural features using mobile GIS at Devil's Lake State Park.

Research Fieldwork

In researching Las Vegas for my doctoral work and my book, I spent eight months living there, talking to local residents, and observing patterns of local interaction with the tourist city.  Since, then I have returned on a number of occasions to extend this research, including a month during December/January of 2010-11 when I was a research fellow at UNLV's Center for Gaming Research, and during December 2015 to study atomic landscapes in the city.
A view of Las Vegas

A view of Las Vegas from Frenchman Mountain.

More recently, I have extended my field work to future prospective projects in Japan, Cuba, and Pacific Island nations of Fiji, Kiribati, and the Marshall Islands.  
Havana, Cuba

Havana, Cuba: A place stuck in time but changing rapidly.

Hiroshima At Night

Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, an emotional and stark reminder of places made by atomic weapons.


Ujae is an island on Majuro Atoll in the Marshall Islands and one of the places where the Bikinian people relocated to following displacement for the purposes of US atomic testing in the Pacific.

Tarawa from the air

Tarawa Atoll in Kiribati. This is the most populated, and some say most threatened island in the country, which has looked to Fiji for refuge land holdings.

Naviavia, Vanua Levu

Naviavia is a village on Fiji's second largest island of Vanua Levu. It has been purchased by the Kiribati government as a climate refuge should it's people be forced to leave their low-lying island nation.