September Undergraduate Student of the Month: Jahnieka Griffin
The Department of Geographical Sciences recognizes Jahnieka Griffin for her participation in the BSOS Summer Research Initiative (SRI) program!
Here is Jahnieka's Story:
My name is Jahnieka Griffin, and I’m from Oxon Hill, Maryland. I am a Geography major with a minor in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Upon graduation, I plan to get my Ph. D in Urban Planning with a focus in Environmental Planning. I aspire to implement environmentally conscious and sustainable communities in regions of high density population whether the regions are relatively poor or rich.
I was not always interested in geography and urban studies. I was a physics major at Hampton University. There, I participated in two NSF Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) programs, one during the summer after my freshman year and the other after my sophomore year. In addition, I worked with a couple of my physics professors in laser spectroscopy and rocketry throughout the school year. Like most students, I was clueless about what career I wanted to pursue. I took advantage of every opportunity before me so that I would get an idea of my specific interests. It was only when I transferred to UMD and took a geography course as an elective that I got the ‘aha’ about what I wanted to do with my life.
This summer, I am a participant in the BSOS SRI program where I study migration patterns among Hispanics in the Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia and the correlation place has on their academic achievement. My mentor is Dr. Ronald Luna, who studies transnationalism in relation to Hispanic cultural spaces. It has been a valued experience as I am using GIS extensively throughout the summer to map the migration patterns and demographic data from the U.S. Census database. As my interests are in urban studies and in how places vary across space, I was delighted to investigate how and to what extent a group of people can influence various institutions within their communities.
We congratulate Jahnieka on her valuable research and learning experiences!