Introducing Jana Gedymin – 2021 Damon Anderson Memorial Scholarship Winner

Posted By: Jeremiah Erickson Awards & Recognition, Community,

Jana Gedymin is a student at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and winner of the 2021 Damon Anderson Memorial Scholarship. Having already earned a master’s degree in Geography and a certificate in GIS and Environmental Science, she is working on her PhD.

Faculty and students alike indicate that she has excelled as a Teaching Assistant at UW Milwaukee. She has taught a variety of geography courses including but not limited to Introduction to Environmental Geography, GIS, and Geography of Race and Peoples. Showing her versatility and adaptability she has taught in person, as well as online. It was stated that Jana’s communication skills coupled with her approachable manner ensures an effective learning experience for students. Her thorough style leads to stimulating and thought-provoking discussion and is particularly aware of the wide range of needs of a very diverse cohort of students. Jana also has shared her research throughout the United States ranging from local venues to international audiences at events in Tampa, New Orleans, and Chicago, held by the American Association of Geographers.

During her time as an undergraduate student at UW-Milwaukee she was involved in the Geography Club and served in numerous leadership positions, including President. Volunteerism was also evident and that willingness to serve has continued. She is currently a member of the following organizations and many of the affiliations have been long term dating back to 2013 or earlier: Raptor Research Foundation, Gamma Theta Upsilon, American Ornithological Society, Association of American Geographers, Association of Field Ornithologists, American Ornithologist’s Union, Wilson Ornithological Society, Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, Animal Behavior Society, and the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council. You may notice a recurring theme there and it involves birds.

Jana has stated her goal after completing her degree is to work as an educator in Geography, Environmental Sciences and GIS, “I think I will be well suited to work as a professor or in the role of a Research or Academic Coordinator. I’d love to continue teaching and conducting research. I have proven myself to be a resourceful and collaborative researcher throughout my graduate career by cooperating with both academic and community partners to conduct research to address the questions of several different projects concurrently. I have consistently raised funds to finance field work and travel expenses, which demonstrates my future potential to successfully bid for external grant funding. I am a proponent of efforts that aim to maximize data usage through collaboration, and I am inclined to pool research resources whenever possible in order to collect data in the most efficient and effective manner. I present my research findings regularly at local, national and international conferences and meetings in order to share my work with larger audiences and reinforce the cycle of collaboration.”

Showing that she is thinking big picture as an educator and researcher by nature, Jana described some of her future plans and how that could evolve into future classroom coursework, “I am fascinated by phenology and hope to have the opportunity to continue work investigating indicators of phenological change at different trophic levels with research involving long-term monitoring of plant and animal species. This type of research could easily complement and enhance the field work component of wildlife courses and provide students with term projects. I also hope to have the opportunity to design a bird banding and monitoring course that would involve field techniques, data management and analysis, and would have an indoor lab component in which specimens would be utilized for an in-depth look at aging and sexing of birds using molt and other morphological traits. I am continuously looking for new research ideas that involve field work and GIS components that could compliment the curriculum of a college course. In the future, I plan to build on my current expertise in phenology and extend to other subject areas for an interdisciplinary approach.”

Jana also shared that her last semester went well. “I was able to create some habitat maps for my dissertation on phenology – specifically an insect phenology section.”  Perhaps someday Jana will be able to share some of her research findings with the WLIA at a conference. If she is able to continue as an educator and researcher at the collegiate level, Jana may eventually touch generations of lives, some of whom may become members of the WLIA themselves. Congratulations to Jana Gedymin 2021 Damon Anderson Memorial Scholarship Winner.

Jana Gedymin – University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee