Meet new Geography faculty member, Anna Versluis!
Originally hailing from Michigan and Pennsylvania, Anna received her B.A. in Biology from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, VA. After graduation in 1997, Anna left the States to work for a human rights organization in Haiti for three years, which would subsequently become the location for her later professional interests. In 2000, she enrolled at Oregon State University in a graduate program in Geosciences. 2003 found Dr. Versluis attending Clark University in Worcester, MA, pursuing a Ph.D. in Geography. Her dissertation, titled “We all live downstream: Land change, vulnerability and flooding in a Haitian watershed” synthesized her time spent on Hispaniola with her background in Geography and natural sciences and was defended in the Summer of 2008.
Prior to teaching at Gustavus, Dr. Versluis taught a Human Geography course at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA, while simultaneously polishing her dissertation and doing Cartography work for various textbooks. For the 2008-2009 academic year, Anna will be teaching Physical Geography (Fall & Spring), Geographic Information Systems (Fall), Human and Environment Interactions (Spring), and a January Term course called Future of Sustainability. As far as professional goals go, completing her suite of courses along with publishing her dissertation are two of Anna’s highest priorities. In addition, there are hopes to expand research into her specific professional interests, which include land cover and land use change.
Being a firm supporter of a liberal arts education, Anna sees Geography as a powerful and uniting subject aiding in cross-discipline study. “That is the beauty of Geography” she says; it allows for the synthesis of a broad range of academic research. Additionally revealing this sentiment about the liberal arts experience is her enthusiasm for the 2008 Nobel Conference on early humans and behavior. This event was especially appealing as it was the unique occasion where representatives of scientific research and theology came together to address the public.
In her spare time, Anna enjoys hiking, camping, practicing yoga, travelling, and more recently, sitting on the dock at her new home with her husband, Ben. This winter, she hopes to experience ice fishing for the first time and make good use of her cross-country skis and snowshoes.
Welcome aboard, Professor Versluis! Thank you for accepting the opportunity to thoughtfully engage the students of Gustavus and experience the joys of academia with our excited community.