For any questions about the awards, please email Cheryl Morse, RGSG Awards Director, at cheryl.morse -at-

Our four main student/faculty awards are the Student Research Award, Student Paper Award, Student Poster Award, and the Redd Center/Rural West Award.  We also have faculty recognition awards (Innis, Hart, Lifetime Achievement) that are open continuously for nominations, though awards are typically given every 4 years.  Here is the schedule of when awards will be made in the coming years:

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Student Paper Award

Annual | Announced in Summer | Apply by AAG registration deadline | Presentations judged at AAG meeting | Winner announced after meeting | PRIZE: 1-year AAG Membership | Download Paper Judging Rubric

Are you a PhD, Masters, or Undergraduate student thinking about presenting a sole-authored Paper at the upcoming national AAG Conference on a “Rural Geography” related topic, and interested in a chance to win a 1-year AAG membership?

PRIOR TO the meeting registration deadline email your name, affiliation, paper title, and whether you are an undergrad or graduate (PhD or Masters) student to:  Cheryl Morse, RGSG Awards Chair,  cheryl.morse -at-  We will place those participating in the competition in RGSG-Organized Sessions so you will need to also send along your registration PIN.  If you have already planned to participate in another organized session please indicate that in your email so we can track down the day/time of your session for judging once the program is made available.  Judging is based on oral presentations only; no written component is required.  See the Judging Rubric above.

Student Poster Award

Annual | Announced in Summer | Apply by AAG poster registration deadline | Presentations judged at AAG meeting | Winner announced after meeting | PRIZE: 1-year AAG Membership | Download Poster Judging Rubric

Are you a PhD, Masters, or Undergraduate student presenting a sole-authored Poster at the upcoming Boston  AAG Conference on a “Rural Geography” related topic, and interested in a chance to win a 1-year AAG membership?

All posters entered into this competition will be viewed during one of the AAG’s LARGE poster browsing sessions in the Exhibit Hall.  This will bring great visibility to your poster and research and will also highlight the good work that students are doing in the area of Rural Geography.

PRIOR TO the poster registration deadline email your name, registration PIN, your affiliation, your poster’s title, and whether you are a graduate (PhD or Masters) or undergraduate student to Cheryl Morse, RGSG Awards Chair, cheryl.morse -at- Posters in this competition will be placed in their own row/area during the general browsing session, and there will be a Rural Geography Specialty Group placard placed by your poster.

Student Research Award

Biennial, even years | Announced in Summer | Proposals must be submitted by Nov. 1 | Proposals judged in Nov./Dec. | Winner announced by Dec. 31 | PRIZE: $500 | Download the Research Proposal Form

The RGSG promotes research and education related to the diversity of rural issues, especially agriculture, rural development, and rural land use.  We are pleased to offer $500 research grants to student members of the RGSG whose current research helps further knowledge and understanding of rural issues.  Funds may be requested for any reasonable expense that will be incurred during the research experience.  Students are strongly encouraged to present the results of their funded projects at the follow year’s AAG meeting in a RGSG sponsored session.

To enter, follow the guidelines of the Research Proposal Form (above) and submit your proposal via email to Cheryl Morse, RGSG Awards Chair, cheryl.morse -at-, by November 1.  The winner will be notified by December 31.

NOTE:  Every fourth year (2018, 2022, etc.) this award funds a student to participate in the Quadrennial British-Canadian-American Conference on Rural Geography (the “Quad”).  The next Quad meeting is scheduled for 2019 in Vermont, USA.

Redd Center / Rural American West Paper Award

Biennial, odd years | Announced in Summer | Submit paper one month prior to AAG meeting | Winner announced at RGSG Business Meeting | PRIZE: $500

Sponsored by the Charles Redd Center at Brigham Young University, this competition recognizes excellent research papers written on the geography of the rural American West to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers.  The competition is open to both faculty and graduate students who are presenting an oral paper presentation in a paper session.  The winning paper will receive a $500 award courtesy of the Redd Center.  Written papers that are to be submitted must be no more than 20 pages (double-spaced) in length (excluding bibliography).  Please place maps, tables, and other graphics in the body of the paper where they belong.

To enter, please submit a non-PDF electronic copy (MS Word, preferably) of the paper via email to Cheryl Morse (cheryl.morse -at-, RGSG Awards Director, no later than ONE MONTH prior to the AAG Conference. The winner will be announced at the RGSG business meeting the week of the AAG (see final conference schedule for date, time, and location of RGSG business meeting).

Nominations for RGSG Recognition Awards

The Rural Geography Specialty Group seeks to recognize the work of geographers making significant contributions in the field of Rural Geography.  Submit your nominations to Cheryl Morse, RGSG Award Chair (cheryl.morse -at- by June 1 of each year.  Though nominations may be solicited each year, the award recipients may not be recognized until the next scheduled year a reception could be held – every four years.  Any AAG member may nominate candidates.  Nominees may be requested to submit an electronic copy of their CV and the names and addresses of three references to the awards chair.  The awards committee’s recommendation will be forwarded to the RGSG Board of Directors for a final decision.

  •  Donald Q. Innis Award for Research Excellence

This award was established to acknowledge the contributions of Donald Q. Innis in agricultural and food geographies, and is usually presented once every five years to a scholar in recognition of research excellence in these areas.

  •  John Fraser Hart Award for Research Excellence

This award was established to recognize the contributions of John Fraser Hart, and is usually presented once every five years to a scholar who has achieved and maintained excellence in the fields of agricultural and/or rural geographic research.

  • Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Rural and Agricultural Geography

This award was established to recognize individuals whose accomplishments have distinguished them at a level above and beyond their peers.

Past Winners

John Fraser Hart Award

2017 – Darrell E. Napton, South Dakota State University
2013 – Lisa M.B. Harrington, Kansas State University
2010 – Michael Woods, Aberystwyth University
2009 – Peter Nelson, Middleburg College
2008 – Leslie Duram, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
2002 – Phil Gersmehl, University of Minnesota
2001 – Stephen E. White, Kansas State University
1997 – David Kromm, Kansas State University
1996 – Michael Troughton, University of Western Ontario
1992 – Rebecca Roberts, University of Iowa
1991 – M. Duane Nellis, Kansas State University
1990 – Owen Furuseth, University of North Carolina-Charlotte

Donald Q. Innis Award

2017 – Leslie A. Duram, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
2013 – Janet Henshall Momsen, University of California-Davis and U. of Oxford
2010 – Marla R. Emery, USDA Forest Service, Aiken Forestry Sciences Laboratory
2009 – Julie Guthman, University of California-Santa Cruz
2008 – Blake Harrison, Yale University and Southern Connecticut State University
1996 – Richard Lonsdale, University of Nebraska
199x – Wes Jackson, The Land Institute, Salina, Kansas

Lifetime Achievement Award

2017 – John C. Hudson, Northwestern University
2010 – Michael Bunce, University of Toronto
2009 – Janel Curry, Gordon College
2008 – Timothy J. Rickard, Central Connecticut State University
1999 – John Fraser Hart, University of Minnesota

Rural American West Paper Award

2014 – Randall Wilson, Gettysburg College, Thomas Crawford, East Carolina University, and Sara Cawley, University of Michigan, “Collaborative Conservation and Rural Sustainability in the American West”

2011 – Colleen Hiner, University of California, Davis
‘Defining Moments’ and Negotiating Difference: Land Use along the Rural-Urban Interface in Calaveras County, California

Student Research Grants

2016 – PhD: Gretchen Sneegas, University of Georgia, “Environmental Subject Formation at the Intersection of Hydraulic Fracturing and Agricultural Production: A Critical Q Study of the Twin Tiers Region of New York/Pennsylvania”

2014 – Quadrennial British-Canadian-American Conference on Rural Geography Student Research Grant: Levi Van Sant, University of Georgia PhD candidate, “When Local Comes to Town: From Truck Farming to Local Food Systems in the South Carolina Lowcountry”

2013 – PhD: Laurel Bellante, University of Arizona,  “A Small Solution?  A Political Ecology of “Small Farmer” Development in Chiapas, Mexico”

2013 – Master’s: Carly Nichols, University of Arizona, “Hidden Hungers: Political Ecologies of Food and Nutrition in Rainfed India”

2012 – PhD: Richard Salkowe, University of South Florida, “Federal relief and community recovery of flood-affected rural counties in the US”

2012 – Master’s: Catherine Jampel, Pennsylvania State University, “How bears become ‘problems’: Understanding human-bear-cattle relations in the northern Ecuadorian Andes”

2011 – Emma Gaalaas Mullaney, Pennsylvania State University, “The Paradox of Landrace Persistence: Modern Farmers and Traditional Maize in Central Mexico”

2010 – PhD: Mark Cooper, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “Making Markets and RemakingSubjects: New Zealand Farmers and the Regulation of Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Emissions”

2010 – Master’s: Justine Law, Ohio State University, “Looking Under the Canopy: The Role of Private Owners in the Regreening of Souteastern Ohio”

Student Paper Award

2018 – Britta Schumaker, UC-Santa Barbara, “Characterizing Migratory Behavior, Climate Perceptions & Agricultural Practices in South Central Tanzania”

2017 – Andrew Maclaren, University of Aberdeen, “More-than-Representational Knowledges of Rural Ageing”

2016 – Jeffrey Jenkins, University of California-Santa Cruz, “The Shifting Nature of Public Lands: Land Exchanges, Commensurability of Value, and Rare Earth in the West”

2015 – Sarah Mason, Western University (Ontario), “The Plant is Up and Running and the Wounds are yet to Heal: Biosolids Facility Siting, Community Conflict and Changing Emotional Geographies in Rural Ontario”

2009 – Andrew Riely, University of Texas at Austin, “Are Grass Fed Cattle Ranchers Real Cowboys?”

2008 – Colleen Hiner, University of California, Davis, “The Rural Visioning Project: Understanding Participation and Capacity Building”

2006 – Ryan E. Galt, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “The Political Ecology of Regulatory Risk in Costa Rica: Export Farmers’ Responses to  U.S. Pesticide Residue Regulations”

2005 – Gina Thornburg, California State University, Northbridge, “Communities in Transition: Responses to Economic and Population Change in Four Small Kansas Towns”

2004 – Amy Trauger, The Pennsylvania State University, “‘I don’t get out of my boots to go to the bank’: Towards a Theory of Rural Public and Private Spheres”

2003 – April Luginbuhl, Ohio State University, “The Conservation Rural Enhancement Program in Ohio’s Western Lake Erie Watershed:  Federal and State Partnership”

2002 – Katherine Albert, Rutgers University, “Working Too Close to the Stump: Environmental Justice, Rural Poverty, and Forest Politics in Maine and Eastern Canada”

2001 – Christopher R. Laingen, South Dakota State University, “Land Use Change in Teton County, Wyoming”

2000 – Margaret Foraker, University of Tennessee–Knoxville, “A Socio-Spatial Analysis of the Rural Poor in Eastern Tennessee”

1999 – Randal K. Wilson, The University of Iowa, “Public Lands and Community-based Collaboration on the San Juan National Forest: an analysis of participation”

1998 – Patricia L. Drews, The University of South Carolina, “A Statistical Model of Rural-to-urban Land Use Conversion”

Student Poster Award

2018 – Adriana Uscanga, University of Oregon, “Examining causes and consequences of regime shifts in human–environment systems of the Mexican cloud forest”

2017 – Matthew Brooks, Kansas State University, “Countering Depopulation in Kansas: Understanding Perceptions of Rural Life and the Effectiveness of the Rural Opportunity Zone Program”

*Apologies to any past award winners who have been omitted. If you have information that will help complete this list, please send us an e-mail.

last updated 5/14/18 by C. Laingen


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