College of Liberal Arts

Geography Students Partner with the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program

Mon, Jan 6, 2014

Two graduate students from the Department of Geography and the Environment, Niti Bhushan Mishra and Matthew LaFevor, will be serving as mentors with the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Pre-Graduate School Internship program. The objective of the program is to connect undergraduates with faculty and veteran graduate students in their field of study to explore those unique aspects of graduate study that make it distinct from the undergraduate experience. 

Niti Mishra is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography and Environment. As part of the IE internship program Mishra mentored a Geography major in fall 2013 and will be working with two more interns (both Geography majors) in spring 2014. He trains interns in geospatial techniques, especially remote sensing of environment, and offers them an opportunity to work on a small research project as part of the internship. His research interests are in characterizing, monitoring and evaluating Land-use and Land-cover (LULC) dynamics and human environment interactions, with a focus on the Kalahari in Botswana.

Niti Mishra helps motivate, train, and prepare students for the graduate school experience. In speaking about his time as a mentor, Niti says:

"Being a mentor to an IE-pre grad intern was an academically rewarding experience for me as it provided the opportunity to integrate my own research with teaching. This experience helped me improve as a teacher and advisor as I taught my intern critical geospatial techniques/tools and also provided her an insight into my own research. As I prepare for my own academic career, this mentorship also made me realize the importance of time management."

In fall 2013, Niti Mishra worked with undergraduate student Rachel Snavely, a senior in geography pursuing the GIS track. Her project is titled " Monitoring vegetation recovery and land cover dynamics in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest: A multi-temporal remote sensing based approach” and she will be presenting her research for a poster session at the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Conference in spring 2014. Along with Niti Mishra, she received a scholarship from the IE program for travel to the AAG conference. In addition to her scholarly research, Rachel Snavely also serves as Vice President of Academic and Professional Development for the UT Geography Society.

In spring 2014, Niti will be working with Emily Mixon and Alison Simerly, both Geography majors and members of the UT Geography Society. Emily is a Plan II Honors/Geography major and serves as the Director of the Campus Environmental Center, mentors students through KIPP Austin College Prep, works for the Orange Jackets, and was a Fulbright Fellow in 2012-2013 with the Fulbright-Wales Summer Institute.

Alison Simerly is a Plan II Honors and Geography junior. She has worked with the Girl Scouts of Central Texas as a High Adventure Team leader for several years, mentors a student at KIPP Austin, and participated in the development of Texas Connector - an online mapping tool for nonprofit networking. An alumna of the Wildlands Studies Big Sur Program, Alison conducted field research on UC Santa Cruz's Big Creek Reserve in 2013.

Matthew LaFevor will be mentoring a student who is researching rice farming in the Trinity River Delta, east of Houston. Matthew LaFevor is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Geography and the Environment. His research interests include human-environment relationships, conservation agriculture, environmental history, and historical resource management in Mexico and Latin America. 

For more information about Niti Mishra and Matthew LaFevor, please visit their graduate student profiles. To learn more about how to become more engaged with research in geography, please visit the Intellectual Entrepreneurship webpage, the Geography Society Facebook or the department honors program page.

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