Alicia is a PhD student in Geography at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. The primary focus of her research is to use maps and the mapmaking process as a participatory, inclusive, and community-building technique that supports marginalized communities and improves Wisconsin’s public institutions, such as community centers, prisons and jails, and universities. Her passion for this work grew out of a mapping workshop focused on better understanding the emotional power of mapmaking. The workshop was conducted after spending a year volunteering with an after-school program for teens at a Madison, WI neighborhood center. Through this deep contact, she developed a multi-day and personalized sketch mapping workshop that made cartography accessible to these youth, who had previously experimented with GIS but had found minimal interest and application in their daily lives. As her studies and experiences with GIS advanced, she became determined to use her place of privilege, platforms, and networks to work alongside and to raise up the voices and work of others. She told us, “It has never been more apparent how critical it is that I help others develop spatial understandings and thought processes to imagine and construct a more just and equitable world.”
When not studying and working Alicia is a mom to a five-year old and a nine-month-old, and loves playing with her children, especially outdoors. She loves to swim recreationally, to hike, to paint, to line dance–basically, to fully embrace being a kid at heart and to be as present and as joyful in every moment as she can be.