UCSB Grads Make Their Mark in AAG 2014 World Geography Bowl


The East Lakes Team won first place in the 2014 World Geography Bowl, an annual quiz competition for teams of college-level geography students representing the Association of American Geographer’s regional divisions. The event was a milestone for AAG as this was the 25th year that it had hosted the competition during its Annual Meeting.

On April 11, seven teams, each representing an AAG regional division, competed at the Tampa Convention Center. Of the nine regional divisions, the following seven were represented by teams: the East Lakes, Great-Plains Rocky Mountains, Middle Atlantic, Middle States, New England-St. Lawrence Valley, Pacific Coast [UCSB is in this category], and Southeast Divisions. A spoiler team was also added, comprised of students present at the competition.

The final round matched the top two teams from the round-robin tournament: the Middle Atlantic and East Lakes Divisions. The Middle Atlantic Division team, though it had been undefeated during the round-robin play, came up short in a challenging final against the East Lakes Division by a score of 120-90. At the conclusion of the exciting competition, AAG President Julie Winkler wrapped up the event with an uplifting message and presented the winners with prizes. Bob Dulli (representing National Geographic Society) partnered with Julie Winkler to give out atlases as prizes for the second runner-up Pacific Coast Division team.

The second runner-up Pacific Coast Division team’s roster was: Brendan Gordon (Team captain), University of Idaho; Crystal English, San Diego State University / University of California, Santa Barbara; Biniam Mengisteab, San Francisco State University; Daniel Phillips, University of California, Santa Barbara; and Tina White (team sponsor/coach), Pasadena City College (source). As Crystal English put it, “APCG took 3rd place (which is huge because we usually come in last or second to last). And we did it with only 4 people – two of us from UCSB. Yay!”

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Crystal English is a PhD candidate in the joint UCSB-SDSU Doctoral Program; her advisor is Professor Keith Clarke.

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Alumnus Daniel Phillips (BA, Geography, 2013) receiving the Colville-Dearborn Award from Dean Wiltzius at the commencement ceremony. The award is given for outstanding academic achievement as an honors student majoring in the sciences. After graduating, Daniel procured a job with the AAG in Washington, DC as a research assistant. He will join the UCSB graduate Geography program this fall.