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Four early-career academics presented high-quality research papers in the final of the 2016 Nystrom Competition on March 30, 2016 during a special session at the AAG Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

The Nystrom Award is an annual prize for a paper based upon a recent doctoral dissertation in geography.

In Fall 2015 the Nystrom Award Review Committee considered all the papers submitted and selected four candidates to advance to the final round of the competition.

The finalists and the papers that they presented at the Annual Meeting were:

  • Vena Chu, University of California, Berkeley – “Assessing southwestern Greenland ice sheet moulin distribution and formation from high resolution WorldView-1/2 remote sensing”
  • Kimberley Thomas, University of Pennsylvania – “Bordering non-water flows: Explaining upstream-downstream power asymmetries in the Ganges Basin”
  • Sharon Wilcox, University of Texas at Austin – “Murderous Jaguars, King cats, and Disappearing Tigres: Emergent Rhetoric of Conservation in the early Twentieth Century”
  • Peng Jia, Louisiana State University – “Delineating Hospital Service Areas Based on the Revised Huff Model”

The Committee was looking for original ideas and research that makes a potential contribution to the advancement of knowledge in a particular subfield of geography. Candidates were evaluated on the basis of the clarity and effectiveness of written style in their submitted papers, and the quality and effectiveness of their oral presentation.

After careful deliberation, Kimberley Thomas was chosen as the 2016 winner. She attended the AAG Awards Luncheon on April 2 to collect her certificate and cash prize of $1,000.

All finalists have been invited to submit their papers for consideration for publication in one of the AAG’s journals, The Professional Geographer.

This award is made from a fund established by John Warren Nystrom, who served as the AAG’s Executive Director from 1966 to 1979. Nystrom was an exceptional educator who taught geography for many years at Rhode Island College, University of Pittsburgh, George Washington University, and Florida Atlantic University. He published a number of geography textbooks and periodicals on U.S. relations with the European Community, Canada and Latin America. Beyond academia, he had a long and productive career in international relations as a senior official in the Foreign Policy Department at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a partner in the international relations consulting firm of Allen, Murden and Nystrom, and a Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution. He also represented the United States at UNESCO, the United Nations’ educational, scientific, and cultural organization.