Ohio Wesleyan Students Earn ‘Best’ Awards At Geography Conference

East Lakes Division of the Association of American Geographers Recognizes Lonnie Barnes, Hayden Knisley
Ohio Wesleyan geography majors Hayden Knisley and Lonnie Barnes (center) earned Best Undergraduate Paper and Best Undergraduate Poster awards, respectively, at the annual conference of the East Lakes Division of the Association of American Geographers. The students are shown with their OWU mentors – faculty members Nathan Amador (left) and Nicholas Crane (right). (Photo by John Krygier)

Ohio Wesleyan geography majors Hayden Knisley and Lonnie Barnes (center) earned Best Undergraduate Paper and Best Undergraduate Poster awards, respectively, at the annual conference of the East Lakes Division of the Association of American Geographers. The students are shown with their OWU mentors – faculty members Nathan Amador (left) and Nicholas Crane (right). (Photo by John Krygier)

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University students Lonnie Barnes and Hayden Knisley earned Best Undergraduate Poster and Best Undergraduate Paper awards, respectively, at the annual conference of the East Lakes Division of the Association of American Geographers.

The conference, held Oct. 9-10 at Kent State University, featured presentations from faculty members, graduate and undergraduate students, and professionals from all fields of study in human geography, physical geography, and cartography.

Barnes, OWU Class of 2016, is a geography major and Spanish minor from Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. His poster shared information about his research into “The Geography of Chicago’s Heat Island from 1995 to Today.” Barnes was mentored by geology-geography faculty member Nathan Amador, Ph.D.

“In 1995, Chicago experienced a heatwave that killed over 700 people,” Barnes said, explaining that the severe weather was made worse by the “urban heat island effect,” a phenomenon in which cities become hotter than their surrounding areas.

“Since then,” Barnes said, “the city has implemented various strategies to reduce the heat island effect – more parks, trees, etc. – so with this project I wanted to investigate whether the difference in the intensity of the heat island between high- and low-income areas has been addressed by these initiatives.”

Knisley, OWU Class of 2017, is a geography major from New Vienna, Ohio. His paper discussed his study of “Student Playgrounds: Alliances of Entrepreneurial Governance in the Creation of Student Spaces at Two Universities.” Knisley was mentored by geology-geography faculty member Nicholas Crane, Ph.D.

“My paper was examining the role that universities play in the creation of student spaces in the areas surrounding their respective campuses,” Knisley said.

“Specifically, I was looking at how these constructed spaces encourage certain lifestyle choices for the students, and how these choices imbue the students with ‘value’ (when competing in the job market for example),” he said. “I then explained how these scripted student lifestyle choices interact with the way secondary education works in the United States, relating it to the student debt crisis.”

Both students anticipate attending graduate school to pursue advanced degrees and both received Ohio Wesleyan-funded Student Individualized Project grants to support their experiences at the Association of American Geographers conference.

Founded in 1904, the Association of American Geographers is a nonprofit scientific and educational society featuring members from more than 60 countries who share interests in the theory, methods, and practice of geography. The East Lakes Division is one of nine U.S. divisions of the association and includes the states of Ohio and Michigan. Learn more about the professional organization at www.aag.org.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers 87 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world experience. OWU’s 1,675 students represent 43 U.S. states and territories and 33 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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