Department of Geography and the Environment

Jessica Norriss Awarded the 2013 Holz-English Honors Thesis Fellowship

Fri, January 10, 2014
Jessica Norriss Awarded the 2013 Holz-English Honors Thesis Fellowship

Jessica Norriss has been announced as the recipient of the Holz-English Honors Thesis Fellowship for her project titled “Wildlife Habitats and Cultural Landscapes of Costa Rica and Nicaragua.” Funds from the Erich W. Zimmermann Professorship in Geography are available on a competitive basis for undergraduate students majoring in geography at the University of Texas at Austin who wish to write an honors thesis. The fellowship is named in honor of Professor Emeritus Robert K. Holz and the late Professor Paul Ward English, two important members of the UT Department Geography and the Environment for more than 30 years.

Jessica Noriss’ research examines approaches to conserve biodiversity of species and habitats. The fellowship will support travel to Costa Rica and Nicaragua with Professor Adrianne Alfred of the Department of Tourism at George Mason University. She will be looking at various ecotourism projects along the shore, meet representatives within the Costa Rica Tourism Bureau, and explore sustainable development throughout the area. From this, she hopes to better understand the economic and sociocultural roles that are played by animals and the natural environment in developing countries.

Jessica commented, “The impact of tourism on natural ecosystems is one of the most pressing issues in global conservation.  The Holz-English Honors Thesis Fellowship will allow me to explore ways to make ecotourism sustainable, rather than destructive, for the environment. I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity!”

Jessica Norriss has also received the Liberal Arts Competitive Scholarship for her thesis research. In addition to her scholarly pursuits, she is also an intern for Climate Change and African Political Sustainability and Innovations for Peace and Development on campus.

Congratulations to Jessica Norriss for her scholarly endeavors and exciting field research. To learn more about how you can get involved with internship and undergraduate research opportunities in geography, please refer to the Geography Society list and visit the EUREKA! research website. 


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