Welcome to the website home of the Rural Geography Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers. Click on the menu items above or the links to the right to explore both the history and current efforts of the group.

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2018 RGSG Election – Candidate Bios

RGSG Members –

Elections are coming in a little more than a week.  Below, please find the bios of the candidates on this year’s ballot.  Thank you to all that were willing to run and serve.

On or about next Friday, April 27th, all RGSG members who were in good standing on April 1, 2018 will receive an email link to vote for the 2018-2019 officers.

If you have any questions, please contact me.  Thanks,

Dawn M. Drake
Missouri Western State University



Dawn Drake

Dr. Dawn M. Drake is an associate professor of geography in the Department of History & Geography at Missouri Western State University in Saint Joseph, Missouri.  Her research interests include competitive advantage in the farm machinery industry and change for agriculture in high pressure development areas.  She published a book on the farm machinery industry in 2013 as a part of Business Expert Press’s Industry Studies Collection and is currently working on another book project related to global food shortages.  Dr. Drake is the current Secretary/Treasurer of the Rural Geography Specialty Group, serving in that capacity since 2011.  Prior to that, she served as Student Representative for four years.


Director – At Large

Allison Brown

Allison Brown has over twenty years of experience providing business development services to international development projects. Her expertise is in strengthening market channels to support niche marketing, direct marketing, and export of high value and ultra-high value products including drug crops. Ms. Brown’s technical background combines horticulture, social science, business management, and geography. She has a long history of work on local food systems, farmer-to-consumer direct marketing, gardening for nutrition, and risk reduction. She has extensive experience in project scoping, design, and evaluation using a variety of methodological techniques. Ms. Brown regularly publishes scholarly papers on regional and local food systems, particularly farmers markets and small volume produce auctions. She also writes on the use of economic interventions in Counter Narcotics programming. She has been a member of AAG for over 15 years.

Director – East Lakes Region

No candidates

Director – Pacific Coast Division

Lisa Harrington

Dr. Lisa Harrington is a Professor at Kansas State University, where she has taught since 1994.  Prior positions were at Western Washington University, New Mexico State, Central Michigan, and Eastern Illinois.  She has served RGSG and its predecessor, CARLU (the Contemporary Agriculture and Rural Land Use SG) in a variety of capacities, including Board of Directors member, Chair, and Newsletter Editor.  She also served on the AAG Council for 5 years, has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Applied Geography Conferences, and has served on several NSF review panels.  Her primary interests in rural geography are related to natural resources management, land use, and sustainability.  Harrington is beginning three years of ‘phased retirement’ in August 2018, with her primary KSU duties being an online course on Natural Resources.  With this change, she is moving to the Pacific Northwest, where she has had a home and pursued research for over 20 years.  She is a member of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers.

Director – Southwest Region

No candidates

Director – West Lakes Region

Innisfree McKinnon

Dr. Innisfree McKinnon is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout where she does community engaged research in the local region along with continuing research in rural development and farmland preservation in Oregon. She is interested in engaging students at all levels in research and networking with other rural geographers around the West Lakes region and the nation. Dr. McKinnon is committed to making rural geography a sub-discipline that welcomes geographers from underrepresented groups and those from outside of the U.S.


Andrew Husa

Andrew Husa is a first year PhD student in Human and Historical Geography at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln under the direction of Dr. David Wishart. Along with being a proud student of UNL’s geography program, he is also a graduate fellow at the Center of Great Plains Studies. He also completed his Master’s at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, writing a thesis entitled A Historical Geography of Six and Eight-Man Football in Nebraska. Andrew’s current research is on successful small towns across Nebraska, including their demographic, economic, historical, and social characteristics.  His interests include small town geography and rural identity, and attachment to rural landscape. This love of the landscape has followed him since he was young, growing up on a farm outside of Liberty, Nebraska, a village of 76 people.

At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Andrew has served one year as the Geography Student Organization and Gamma Theta Upsilon’s Vice President and Treasurer. He also led efforts for the department’s participation in The Big Event, the university’s annual community service event, and served on the Student Planning Committee of the Campus-wide Workshops for Graduate Teaching Assistants. Beyond the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Andrew has served as a Regional Student Social Outreach Coordinator for Gamma Theta Upsilon, where he gained experience working with the group’s social media pages. Andrew is excited to be considered for the position of Rural Geography Specialty Group Student Representative.

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RGSG Student Poster Competition

Dear Geographers,

As students submit their work for the AAG poster deadline, please keep in mind the Rural Geography Student Poster Competition!  Click HERE for more information.

The Rural Geography Specialty Group announces the second year of its Student Poster Competition.  The Poster Competition is open to undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students whose work is related to a rural geography theme. Interested students must submit a poster abstract by the AAG deadline of February 14, 2018, and separately forward the accepted abstract to RGSG Awards Chair Cheryl Morse at cheryl.morse@uvm.edu.

Thank you!

Cheryl Morse
University of Vermont

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Spring 2018 Newsletter

Dear Rural Geography Specialty Group members,

We are currently assembling the Spring 2018 RGSG Newsletter.  Please email any contributions to rgsgnews@gmail.com by 2 March 2018. Potential contributions include, but are not limited to,:

  • articles published since October 2018 on rural geography topics that you would like to see listed
  • similarly for books on rural geography topics published or with release dates coming up between now and October 2018
  • similarly for any blogs or digital projects you would like to share
  • announcements of any upcoming conferences, workshops, or events relevant to RGSG members (both invitations to attend events already scheduled and calls for submissions are welcome)
  • CFPs for upcoming special journal issues, edited volumes, or blogs/digital projects
  • a brief (250-500 word) profile of current research or highlights from recent field work related to rural geography
  • field work photos with brief, descriptive captions (could be submitted with or independently of a written profile).
  • brief (250-500 word) review of any general audience entertainment/media that might be of interest to rural geographers (e.g. movies, novels, etc.)

Thank you!
Lisa P.

RGSG Communications
@rgsgnews on twitter

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Fall 2017 Newsletter!

Thanks to everyone who contributed material to the Fall 2017 RGSG newsletter, and to Lisa Powell for putting it all together!  If you have any questions/comments, please don’t hesitate to ask!  (email: crlaingen@eiu.edu)

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AAG 2018

Dear Rural Geographers,

As we gear up for the next month’s abstract writing & session creation work, I just wanted to write to remind everyone of a few things to keep in mind:

  • AAG (New Orleans)
    • paper abstract deadline:  October 25
    • session organization deadline:  November 8
    • Preliminary Program online:  January 2018
    • poster abstract deadline:  February 14
    • abstract & session editing deadline:  February 23
    • AAG Annual Meeting:  April 10-14, 2018
  • if you have any questions about the student paper/poster competitions, please see the Awards page (above) and contact Dr. Cheryl Morse.
  • if you have any questions about the New Voices session(s), please contact Avantika Ramekar at avantika@k-state.edu
  • Please remember to USE and PROMOTE our group as a sponsor/co-sponsor for any session(s) you or your colleagues organize that relate to Rural topics/themes/ideas/etc.

A couple of other items to keep in mind:

  • The annual report is nearing completion and will be sent off to AAG headquarters in the next couple of weeks.  I think I’ve got everything I need, but I may be contacting a couple of you for some additional details.
  • The fall newsletter is also in the works.  Please send myself and Lisa Powell any recent publications/presentations, updates from regional or other rural-related conferences, research highlights, grants, call for abstracts, etc. We are also in need of someone to write a brief “Research Article” that describes what you’ve been up to in recent months, hopefully with a photo or two (1 page maximum or more if adventurous).  A few additional specifics to include – call for awards (Cheryl), call for nominations (Dawn).


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2017 Board Election Biographies

The Rural Geography Specialty Group has several offices that are open this year.  Terms are three years in length, with the exception of student representative, which is a two-year position.



East Lakes


Great Plains Rocky Mountains

Audrey Joslin

Audrey Joslin is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Geography at Kansas State University. Prior to joining Kansas State University, she earned her PhD in geography from Texas A&M University where she was an active member of the Human-Environment Research Group. Her research focuses on the social, political and economic dimensions of natural resources and the environment. She is particularly interested how urban areas influence rural landscapes that are re-conceptualized as infrastructure providing ecosystem services.  Latin America has been the site of much of her research, and she has most recently worked in the Ecuadorian Andes investigating the application and on-the-ground impacts of a Payments for Ecosystem Services program on rural communities sharing the watershed with the city of Quito. With reflection upon her work and research interests, she has recently discovered that she too is a rural geographer and is excited for the potential opportunity to serve the Rural Geography Specialty Group as a representative of the Great Plains/Rocky Mountain region.

New England and St. Lawrence Valley

Cheryl Morse

Cheryl Morse is Assistant Professor of Geography and a member of the Food Systems Graduate Faculty at the University of Vermont.  She has served on RGSG as the representative for NESTVAL since 2014, and this past year was co-coordinator with Chris Laingen for the RGSG Awards Committee. In 2015 she joined other rural geographers from the US, UK, and Canada for the Rural Quadrennial Meeting in Wales. Cheryl is a rural geographer who studies the interactions between people and nature, and how such interactions produce identities, social change, livelihoods, and place. Questions regarding the lived experience of rural people and sustainable socio-ecological functioning of rural landscapes drive her scholarly work.  She has published in the areas of rural and landscape studies, migration, therapeutic landscapes, and youth geography. She teaches at all levels, from introductory World Regional Geography to intermediate Rural Geography to a seminar on nature-culture theory and sustainability, and a graduate immersion course in Food Systems. Service learning and learning in the field are central components in several of her courses.  She holds two degrees from the University of Vermont (BA in Environmental Studies, 1989 and MA in Geography, 2000) and received her doctorate in Geography from the University of British Columbia (2006).  In her free time she coaches youth lacrosse, renovates a 19th century farmhouse in the Green Mountains, and gardens.






Avantika Ramekar

Avantika Ramekar is a Geographer by profession.  She likes to visit new places and explore new cultures.  Traveling is her way of life.  Avantika enjoys listening to people and their stories.  Viewing the world through a geographic lens places her in a unique position, one that is both powerful and vulnerable.  It is powerful because it gives her an opportunity to bring diverse and oft-marginalized views to the field.  It is vulnerable because of the responsibility of learning, respecting, adapting and adopting, to some extent, a foreign culture.  Negotiating this delicate position has broadened her outlook toward life.  Avantika’s interest in rural areas comes from her extended family’s stories and experience in rural Kansas.  The opportunities, challenges and interrelations in these areas are far from simple, and make them interesting to study.  Studying rural sustainability in Kansas, where depopulation is a major issue, is one of her main interests.  The chance to serve as an educator is one of the most fulfilling aspects of Avantika’s life.  Helping others develop spatial and analytical reasoning skills to address the complexities of our world is an important role, and one to which she is dedicated.  She has been fortunate to be an outlier among her colleagues.  Avantika was born in India: a society where gender duties and roles are bound by expectations and rules.  She grew up in a progressive family that challenged these societal expectations, and was given the liberty to pursue a career of her own choice, even if it was far from home.  Avantika makes sure to use this opportunity with responsibility.  Serving as a student executive member with the Rural Geography Specialty Group would be a welcome next step in her progression as a scholar, and a role she would perform with dedication.


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~Communications Team~

The RGSG Communications team is Allison Brown, Lisa Powell and Ryan Bergstrom. If you are interested in volunteering for this team, please contact the chair, Allison at broccoli1313  at – yahoo.com

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