GEO123 Posted November 15, 2016 Share Posted November 15, 2016 Hey does anyone want to review this SOP for me? Much obliged! My varied academic aptitudes professional backgrounds have prompted me to pursue advanced degrees in geography, is an ideal institution for my academic interests in political ecology, environmental governance, political economy, and ultimate goal of becoming a researcher and instructor within academia. Furthermore, the specializations of the department’s faculty and research centers align closely with my own, and provide opportunities for prospective collaborations. BLANK" applies approaches and frameworks from political ecology, but was informed by methods and theories of other adjacent social sciences and geographies. I am eager to continue expanding and refining my interests in new applied and theoretical knowledge domains as a doctoral student. The Department of Geography at the University of BLANKMy master’s thesis, " where the patterns I have observed and intellectual curiosities I have cultivated have found outlets for formulation and expression. As a master’s student in geography at "BLANK" University, I have had the opportunity for inter- and intra-disciplinary exploration, professional development, and scholarly personal growth. During my undergraduate career at the BLANK State University I became embedded in the social sciences and humanities, taking courses in history, economics, sociology, English, and philosophy. I graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Geography and a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science, with minors in Philosophy and International Studies. I also pursued two years of coursework in French and became proficient in reading and composition. I joined the undergraduate geography club, philosophy club, and a more loosely organized philosophy and psychology discussion group called State of the Soul. At the 2013 Annual Association of Geographer’s meeting I presented a poster on my combined interests in geography and philosophy, which examined urban poorhouse distribution in the context of 19th century social Darwinist philosophies. I was keen to experience the theoretical perspectives and approaches of numerous disciplines, and it was in geography that I felt the most intellectually inspired and which seemed best situated to consider the issues of society and the environment that became the impetus for master’s project on environmental conflict. I was first exposed to research as an undergraduate student working on two separate projects. My first position was as a research assistant studying state level policy trends in reproductive rights using public opinion polls and dormant or active state legislation. My second position, working with the International Center for the Study of Terrorism, I collaborated with a large team of researchers from diverse backgrounds to examine the mechanisms of radicalization and recidivism in radical organizations. I gained invaluable experience coding qualitative data and interpreting results for policy proposals. These experiences as an undergraduate student introduced me to research methods and project management in the social sciences and prepared me to pursue projects in graduate school. on urban water resource management, focusing on urban water conservation obstacles in the utility sectors of cities in the western United States. As a graduate student researcher, I was able to take a more central role in administering the project and collecting data. For this position, I contacted research participants at public and private offices, assisted in mediating stakeholder meetings, helped in composing surveys, and conducted the review of theoretical and applied literature. This experience has also contributed significantly to my own research in political ecology on collaborative water governance in the Klamath River Basin. As a master’s student, I was employed in the department of geography as a research assistant working with Dr. BLANK My master’s thesis examines the mechanisms of collaboration and exclusion in environmental governance in the Klamath River Basin, which has become infamous for conflicts between fishers, tribes, farmers, and environmentalists. While this research project is situated within the critical political ecology and political economy of water governance, my broader intellectual project is to explore patterns and relationships in various regimes of environmental governance in rural area and small cities, using mixed methods of data collection and analysis. Themes that are of particular relevance to my project include formal and informal governance, scalar relationships, cultural expressions, and constructions of nature. How these different facets materialize and interact during perceived environmental crises, such as drought and species extinction, reveals not only potential paths forwards in environmental governance, but a glimpse into societies varied relations and connections with the non-human world. In addition to a political ecology/political economy perspective, I am interested in employing elements of New Materialism and other contemporary philosophical perspectives into my prospective dissertation. I am pursuing a doctoral dissertation that incorporates themes from political ecology and Science and Technology Studies to examine the spatialities, politics, management and perceptions of the disease commonly referred to as White Nose Syndrome (WNS), a cold loving fungi that effects hibernating bat populations. With the spread of mosquito borne diseases and the increasing attention to the biological treadmill of pesticide use in conventional farming, the loss of bats could likely result in serious health crises for human populations. While humans are indirectly vulnerable to WNS, we are unsure about the cause of its spread and we have been unable to identify it as a symptom of anthropogenic change or as an externality of capitalist production that has been symptomatic of many political ecology case studies. As a biological technician working for a private company collecting data on white nose and endangered bat species, I have an understanding of the management and mitigation practices for this disease and bats more generally. Data collection is primarily conducted by private companies, with different hiring standards than state or federal agencies, which affects the quality and type of data collected on this disease. During my work, I observed a difference between the capacities of states in the Mid-Atlantic region to address WNS and provide resources to track environmental change. A comparative study between Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania might be most productive because of their shared geology along the Appalachian range and socioeconomic development as mining and agricultural states. Through this dissertation project, I seek to interrogate discourses and practices of environmental governance and the limits of anthropogenic change, allowing me to build upon my intellectual project by examining the effects of neoliberalization on the production of knowledge and environmental governance. The work of Dr. Bruce Braun has been influential in guiding my current research, as well as my prospective dissertation. Dr. BLANK's interest in political ecology and New Materialist perspectives is of particular relevance to furthering my research interests, and I would welcome the opportunity to work with Dr. BLANK as a potential adviser or in other collaborative capacities. I have also been in correspondence with Dr. BLANK2, who’s research on political ecology and political economy of waste and labor in India has also been influential on my current master’s project, and who’s perspectives on development are central to my prospective dissertation. There are many other faculty within the department with whom I share research interests and whose writings have been particularly significant in my current courses and academic projects including; Dr. BLANK3 work on scholar activism and engagement and research on racial politics in post-Hurricane Katrina and Dr. BLANK4 research using spatiotemporal analysis on animal migration, which is of particular relevance to my prospective dissertation. My research experience and interests have been one of my primary motivations for pursuing a doctoral degree, my professional experiences outside of academia have contributed significantly to my research interests and how I perceive the future directions for my work. In addition to being employed as a biological technician, I was recently employed as a planning intern for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Migratory Bird and Habitat Program. In this position I worked closely with ornithologist to plan and review habitat conservation programs during several controversial western conservation campaigns, including the occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Working in the USFWS allowed me to observe governance within a federal office, and to understand the personal perspectives of employees and biologists, who often acted in accordance with political mandates that contradicted their professional opinions as biologists. I was also employed as forest conservationists for the World Wide Fund in coastal Kenya, where I worked closely with my Kenyan counterparts and local partners to set organizational goals, review Environmental Impact Assessments, and advocate for forest preservation from outside extractive interests. In many ways the WWF fit the archetype of the neoliberal conservation institution operating in a former colony, however, it also challenged some of the assertions about these organizations within political ecology and development literature. My primary project was to contend with an Australian mining company that was attempting to gain mineral rights in a protected forests with known high levels of radioactivity. The communities living in this region were divided on the mining project, and the WWF, along with several local partners, acted to disseminate information and often found itself to be taking a contradictory stance from the state environmental institutions. These professional experiences have helped to cultivate my interest in political ecology as a critical subdiscipline, while giving me practical experience on the discourses of development, conservation, and governance. I believe that my greatest asset as a student is a passion for my field and conducting creative environmental and social justice oriented research. I am applying to the University of BLANK because it is a progressive academic environment, where research projects flourish as a result of shared learning and collaboration. Recognizing the challenges of completing a doctoral program, I believe that my work ethic, professional experiences, and academic ambitions make me an ideal candidate for the PHD program in geography. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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