2021 Geography Faculty Award Recipients

Geography Faculty Award Recipients


This award is aimed at recognizing the active engagement and outstanding academic performance of our majors. The students selected this year have both made unique and positive contributions to the UM-Geography community. This year we are recognizing James Fain McGough and Nicolas Munoz.



Fain Mcgough birding at Cape Farewell, South Island New Zealand
Photo: Fain Mcgough birding at Cape Farewell, South Island New Zealand

Fain Mcgough

Being a renaissance soul, a degree in Geography could not have been a better fit for Fain. Fain writes, “The diverse topics covered in my Geography courses ensured that I would graduate with a well-rounded perspective of the world and skill sets in both quantitative and qualitative analysis. Coupled with the Certificate in GIS, I feel ready for whatever life brings next. With such varied interests, it is hard to know what this will be. Looking to the immediate future, I will be continuing an internship with NOAA analyzing deep sea data which I landed thanks to the fantastic data visualization skills acquired through the Certificate in GIS.”


Nicolas Munoz in his field research site of The English Garden, Munich, GermanyPhoto: Nicolas Munoz in his field research site of The English Garden, Munich, Germany

Nicolas Munoz

Nicolas was drawn to a degree in Geography because he has always been interested in learning about places and their spatial characteristics and processes. One of the highlights of his undergraduate program has been the opportunity to study abroad in Dortmund, Germany.  This experience inspired the topic of his senior thesis on crime patterns and environmental planning in urban parks. Nicolas was able to conduct fieldwork in Munich, Germany for his project. Nicolas writes, “One aspect I really appreciated during my time studying in the Geography department was the professor and student dynamic. The professors took the time and effort to get to know their students which made a big difference in my motivation and involvement in both coursework and department activities." After graduation, he plans on pursuing a master's degree in urban planning at a German university with the goal of working in the planning field.