University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Geography

Honors Research Theses

The College of Arts and Sciences Honors Program provides an opportunity for undergraduate student to pursue two semesters (six credits) of independent research under the direction of a faculty sponsor. Students meeting the GPA eligibility requirement submit their application proposals early in the senior year. Proposals are evaluated by the College of Arts and Sciences Honors Committee and, if approved, students can register for honors credit.Honors Thesis students are encouraged to meet a standard of excellence that can lead to the publication or formal presentation of their results.

Honors Thesis students are encouraged to meet a standard of excellence that can lead to the publication or formal presentation of their results. Many students participate in UVM's Student Research Conference, as well as regional and even national professional conferences to report on their original results based on their thesis work.

Recent Geography Students' Honors Thesis Topics (2015-16)

Sammie Ibrahim Thesis title: The scalar politics of refugee resettlement in Vermont.

SAMMIE IBRAHIM examined the process of refugee resettlement in Vermont, paying particular attention to how the organizational structures of resettlement interact across local, national, and international scales. She analyzed meeting notes from local consultation meetings, interviewed local and national stakeholders, and quantitative resettlement data to identify how the structure and decision-making of resettlement at the national level impacts the effectiveness of local refugee resettlement programs. Her thesis, advised by Dr. Pablo Bose, built upon previous research conducted with Dr. Bose on his NSF-funded project, 'Refugees in Vermont: Resettlement in a Non-Traditional Location'. Sammie's thesis was awarded the 2016 Nuquist Award for best student research paper from the Center for Research on Vermont. Sammie received a Fulbright Award to conduct research in Kazakhstan for the year after graduation.

Jack Kilbride Thesis title: New Dendrochronological Approaches to Identifying Climate Drivers in Northern Conifers.

JACK KILBRIDE's honors thesis explored the relationship between climate drivers and tree growth in Vermont. The aim of the study, advised by Dr. Shelly Rayback, was to quantify the principal drivers of forest growth and to examine the temporal stability of climate signals over the 20th and 21st centuries. Forest growth was explored using dendrochronology, the study of tree rings. Ring-width measurements were used alongside a novel dendrochronological technique: blue intensity analysis. Jack is pursuing a Master's degree at the University of Maine following graduation.

Alex Rosenberg Thesis title: Can a T-Shirt Create Long-Term Change? Cause-Related Marketing in Preemptive Disaster Response and Mitigation Efforts

ALEX ROSENBERG wanted to combine his backgrounds in geography and public communication into an interdisciplinary thesis. His interest in the susceptibility of less-developed countries to natural disasters, due to a lack of adequate risk-management practices, prompted him to consider a variation on programs utilized to aid those impacted by natural disasters. With advising by Dr. Pablo Bose, Alex researched 1) whether or not cause-related marketing would have an appeal among college-aged consumers at UVM, and 2) whether or not those consumers would support a garment brand that engaged in long-term disaster mitigation projects and the creation of a preemptive relief-aid fund in the less-developed countries they operate in.

Erika ShepardThesis title: The Emerging Immigrant-Friendly City: How and why cities frame themselves as welcoming places to immigrants

ERIKA SHEPARD Erika Shepard explored the emerging movement of American cities seeking to welcome and support immigrants and refugees. Using census data, discourse analysis, and interviews, her project examined the characteristics, goals, and strategies behind cities' welcoming initiatives. The project, advised by Dr. Meghan Cope, analyzed immigrant-friendly cities on a national scale, regional scale, and local scale. At the regional scale, Erika specifically focused on the 'Rust Belt' and at the local scale she completed a case study of Dayton, Ohio. Erika received funding from the College of Arts and Sciences' APLE program to travel to Dayton to conduct interviews with key actors involved in the city's welcoming initiative. Erika is completing an urban planning internship in Minneapolis after graduation and plans to go into the planning field.


For further information on research opportunities or on the internship program, please contact the department chair, Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux at or (802) 656-2074.

Last modified June 06 2016 02:36 PM