Congratulations to our June Undergraduate of the Month, Andrew Lazara! Andrew is a Geography major with minors in Sustainability, GIS, and Remote Sensing!

What are your interests within your program(s)?

I’m most interested in the field of biogeography which is within the sub-discipline of physical geography. I enjoy understanding how species and ecosystem range’s are impacted by human factors such as through habitat destruction and climate change.

What previous jobs, internships, and volunteer experience have you had?

This past summer I worked remotely for a GIS consulting company in Virginia. In the spring of 2017, I interned for the Sierra Club at Maryland where I lead community groups to pick invasive plants in local parks. I’m currently working on campus with BikeUMD where I mark and collect abandoned bikes to best determine where new bike racks should be placed. To aid in this effort, we use mobile ArcGIS to plot bikes we find.

Where are you/have you been interning?

I’m currently beginning an independent research project with Dr. Hurtt as part of the departmental honors program.

What are your internship responsibilities?

My current duties in this research project consist of researching prior literature published about my topic to best determine what experiment I want to set up for this semester.

What project(s) are you working on or contributing to?

Though in the early stages of my research project, I believe I want to focus on how the range of biodiversity hotspots will be affected by climate change. As the climate warms, the range will shift by a certain amount which most likely will affect the species living in them. This information is vital when looking to protect these regions.

How is the internship experience relevant to your studies in Geographical Sciences?

It is especially relevant to my biogeography and environmental change class because Dr. Hurtt and I are using some of the sources from the class to research further into my topic.

What are your career goals after your graduate?

Currently my career goals after I graduate are to go onto graduate school to continue researching biogeography in a professional setting. I’m not sure after that but I’d love to work or research internationally.

What are some of your hobbies?

My favorite activity is long distance cycling. This past summer my friend and I completed a three night camping and biking trip around southern Illinois that lined up with the timing of the total solar eclipse.

Where are you from?

I’m from the Chicagoland area in Illinois.

If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would like to eventually reach every country but next I would like to travel to Asia, specifically Vietnam, Indonesia or Japan because of the large difference in culture compared to the US. I also have a friend in each one of those countries in particular.

Keep up the incredible work, Andrew! We hope to see more of your work in the future, as well as pictures from your travels! 
Andrew Lazara