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Geography Travel Funds and Research Awards

The department encourages graduate students to participate in professional conferences, showcase their research at the annual Ohio University Student Research Expo (held each spring), and seek funding for their research expenses. In addition to departmental sources of research funding discussed below, the university offers Student Enhancement Awards, Graduate Student Senate (GSS) Grants for Original Work, and GSS Travel Grants. Most professional organizations and associations, and many other sources external to the university, offer grants or awards to help graduate students with research or travel costs. Relevant funding sources vary depending on the research topic. Students should consult their adviser for suggestions.

Departmental Funding for Conference Travel

The department encourages graduate students to attend and participate in conferences relevant to their geographical interests. Conferences provide invaluable opportunities to meet people with similar interests and to learn about the latest research results and directions. Most faculty members and several students typically attend the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) or the American Meteorological Society (AMS), and some attend regional or specialty conferences as well.

To encourage and support you in this important professional activity, students may request from the department during an academic year up to $250 toward travel costs to a single conference at which they do not present a paper or poster, and up to $500 if they are presenting a poster or paper based on their research. The annual maximum amount of conference travel funds that a student can receive from the department is currently $500. Students interested in making a research presentation at a conference should first discuss the possibility and their presentation ideas with their adviser and do so as early as possible before an abstract submission deadline. Departmental travel funds are requested by the adviser by submitting a travel authorization form to the department, and university policies regarding travel funds must be followed.

Isaac Sindiga Memorial Fund for Geography

The Sindiga Award is given annually (if there are qualified applicants) to one or more graduate students in support of direct costs of conducting thesis research. The research must include some element of travel or fieldwork as well as research expenses that would otherwise be out-of-pocket. To be considered for the award, students must (1) have completed two semesters of full-time graduate coursework toward their OHIO geography master’s degree, (2) have approval of the project by their thesis committee, and (3) submit their application to the graduate chair by the designated due date, typically in early June. Application materials consist of a brief (maximum three-page, double-spaced) synopsis of the project indicating the research purpose (what & where), the rationale (why), and the plan for accomplishing the research (how and when). An additional page, if needed, can be used to provide the project budget, detailing estimated expenses for conducting the research and listing any other funding received or applied for to help cover those out-of-pocket expenses. Finally, the applicant’s thesis adviser must submit a letter of recommendation to the graduate chair by the application due date. The graduate committee makes award decisions based on the merits of the proposed research, quality of the proposal, endorsement of the adviser, and the student’s academic performance in the program to date. Students cannot receive a Sindiga award more than once.

Geofest and Achievement Awards

Near the end of each spring semester, the department hosts a banquet, called Geofest, to congratulate all of our graduating students and to celebrate and recognize student achievements for the academic year. Graduate student awards for outstanding teaching assistance and for outstanding scholarship are presented.

The College of Arts & Sciences and the Geography Department each give an award to recognize an outstanding teaching assistant. The two awards are given to different students and are of equal significance. All TAs are eligible for the awards, but second-year graduate students tend to receive them because they have a longer track record of TA experience. There is no application process for these awards. The graduate committee selects the recipients based on such criteria as student evaluations and faculty recommendations.

The department recognizes at Geofest an outstanding graduate scholar from the group of second-year (graduating) graduate students. Criteria used by the graduate committee in selecting the recipient include such factors as coursework and GPA, quality and status of completion of the thesis, and solicited comments from supervisors, committee members, and other faculty members.