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Get your hands dirty

Dig deeper into what you love about geography or anthropology! You’ll have research experiences that prepare you for your career while working closely with expert faculty. And UW-Eau Claire is one the best places to conduct research — use advanced equipment and study fascinating places on and off campus. The research opportunities the department of Geography and Anthropology offer are usually only available to graduate students at other universities.

You’ll study things like bikeable cities, the Chippewa River, gentrification trends or hypoxic zones in the Mississippi River delta. Unique experiences like these create knowledge and memories that last a lifetime.

Geography faculty spend significant time teaching students in the field as well as in traditional classrooms. The sense of community that develops because of the shared experiences helps students thrive.

Geography research garners national attention, inspires career path

A more-than-decadelong study on how the Chippewa River came to have its current characteristics — and how its valley became a suitable place to establish a city like Eau Claire — is finally complete, thanks to multiple faculty members and more than 100 UWEC geography students. 

And because the study is one of very few like it, the team’s research is now being celebrated as a new model that can be applied to the study of river systems around the world. It also recently received the G.K. Gilbert Award for Excellence in Geomorphological Research, a national award from the Geomorphology Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers. 

Dr. Phil Larson, research study co-author and UWEC geography alum, said this work was “the single driving force for convincing me that I truly loved research and wanted to become a researcher, scientist and academic. It is what inspired me to believe in myself and to inquire and pursue answering questions about the natural world in which we live.” 

Spread the wealth

Sharing the knowledge you gain from research is half the fun! Research students present their findings at many different state and national conferences. UWEC geography and anthropology students are known for showcasing some of the best undergraduate research around. Presenting to students, professors and professionals gives you great confidence when doing similar things later in your career.

The geography department’s view that students are future colleagues provides a healthy and strong network of peers, which, combined with their drive to incorporate all of their students into real research, provides for a life-shaping experience.

Zach Hilgendorf Environmental Geography
Associate Professor Joe Hupy works with GEOG students on mapping landforms.
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