Blinn Students Present Local Geographic Research At State Symposium

Blinn College students are continuing a tradition of uncovering history across the Brazos Valley.

Blinn’s Geographic Society was recently invited to the 12th annual Texas Geography Student Research Symposium at Texas State University to present research on the geographic history of Independence, Texas. Located 12 miles northeast of Brenham, Independence was the first home of Austin’s Colony and Baylor University.

The students’ poster project examines the rise of wealth in Independence, attributed to its numerous plantations and well-known settlers, and its eventual decline with the abolishment of slavery. Students attended an intensive workshop on ArcGIS, an online, cloud-based mapping platform, and used the software to create their own maps for the project.

Thanh Nguyen (Saigon, Vietnam), Michael Kendall, Andrew Muse (Flower Mound), Constance O’Brien (Bryan), William Adair (Bryan), Dion Webster (Helotes), Janet Flores (Houston), Aliyah Jenkins and Olivia Jerutis represented Blinn at the conference, presenting their research poster alongside students from several institutions, including Texas State, Texas Tech and Sam Houston State universities. Blinn was the only community college in attendance.

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Students also competed in the symposium’s GeoBowl quiz competition, taking second place over four teams of graduate and undergraduate students.

“I was really impressed with the confidence they exhibited and the way they interacted with their colleagues to explain their project,” said Rhonda Reagan, Geographic Society advisor. “The pride they showed proved that the effort was worth it. This is an experience they’ll be able to take with them wherever they go.”

Founded in 2000, the Geographic Society allows Blinn students to supplement their coursework with additional hands-on experience. Members host an annual Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Day, study local geography, conduct research and learn from visiting speakers and professors. Advised by Reagan and fellow professor Susan Slowey, Geographic Society students are routinely invited to present research at conferences and symposiums across the state.

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