Getting to Know you – Syed Amirul

Salam Sejahtera!

My name is Syed Amirul, I am currently a Senior majoring in Economics (BA). I have now lived in State College, Pennsylvania for four years, but I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (which was why I greeted you in Bahasa Malaysia- it means hello!). I have a keen interest in photography so I might pursue a career in doing commercial photography while helping my family run our business. My interest in this course is to generally learn about the Earth. I’m always interested in learning about the nature ( I took meteorology and astronomy classes) and I think learning geography will help me connect the dots between human and environment interaction and its effects towards one another. One fun fact about me- I can solve a Rubik’s cube in 40 seconds. If anyone could solve it faster, please teach me!

Now that we’ve been introduced to some perspectives in the field of geography, one example that came in mind was an issue that’s becoming a national controversy in my country. In Pahang, the largest state in Peninsula Malaysia, the government are being condemned after active bauxite mining that has turned into a harmful economic activity to the locals of the area. Many reports have address the issue and its negative impact, one coming from Malaysian Society of Marine Sciences chairman Dr Harinder Rai Singh who said the contamination would be fatal to marine life. The coast of Pahang are mostly contaminated and is bound to be ‘dead sea’ within three years. This issue is important to be scrutinized on, mainly on how the human-environment interaction caused these harmful conditions, and how that in turn will affect the lives of humans living in the vicinity of the polluted area.

Getting to know you-Siying Chen

Hi, my name is Siying Chen and I’m a junior student studying environmental resource management at penn state university park. I’m from Guangzhou, China but I came to study abroad in U.S. since 2013, and since I only go home once a year, I basically live here in state college now. Although I haven’t have a clear picture about my future, I would like to do something related to water or waste treatment in the future, but before that I may want to go to study in graduate school. I’m taking this course to fulfill the requirement of my geography minor, and I’m also really interested in sustainability, to me, sustainability is one of the reasons why I choose this major. Outside of school, I like to play guitar and travel, so far I’ve set foot on 10 different countries and I’m hoping to visit South America someday!

In module one, I learnt about human-environment interaction and I think it’s very important. One of the main reasons why people study geography is to fulfill human being’s needs for natural resources. Since natural resources may be exhausted someday, we need to find a sustainable way to fulfill our need and recover the environment at the same time. Thus more and more people become interested in sustainability. As for living in a sustainable way, developed countries such as U.S. do a much better job than developing countries like China, so I hope I can learn some of the sustainable methods that developed countries used and the effects of that, and hopefully one day I can contribute some help in protecting the environment in my own country.

Jason Cruz: Getting to know you

My name is Jason Cruz. I currently live in Scranton only about five minutes from Worthington Scranton. I grew up in the tip of northeastern PA in a town called Lakewood. My major is Information Sciences and Technology with a minor in Security Risk Analysis. As if now I am not sure where I would like to go after school, just looking for a decent company that keeps me interested in the IT field. I am taking this course as an elective to satisfy a natural science credit required for general education. I always had a slight interest in parts of history and geography all throughout schooling hence the reason I chose this class. Some fun facts about myself, I am a tire technician at Sam’s Club and in between classes I enjoy playing table tennis competitively.

A topic that interests me is the interaction between social and ecological systems. This is also quite the talked about topic as well considering there is usually some talk of a movement, protest, law, etc. when it comes to the environment and how humans effect it. At the same time nature has its effects on humans when you think about things like natural disasters such as the drought mentioned in the module in California (2012-2014). Even today, California still has wildfires that destroy acres of crops and forests both in which humans use as well as wild animals. The issue lies within the sustainability of both social and ecological systems. It is obvious that the environment would exist and flourish without human interaction however, does the same go in the opposite direction? Is our governance too loosely handled  to the point that human interaction possible prohibits environmental growth?

Getting to Know Dorish Nguyen

Hello! My name is Dorish and I am currently a freshman at Penn State University Park with an intended major of aerospace engineering. I was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana, where the University of Notre Dame is located. I have lived here my entire life until recently when I decided to make the trek to State College, Pennsylvania in order to be here at Penn State. Currently, I am a part of Phi Sigma Rho sorority and currently serve as fundraising chair. I chose to study aerospace engineering because I truly feel like I can make a difference in the world. I joined this course due to its description for being a “geographic perspective on sustainability and human environment systems,” which I believe fits the interest of what I want to do in aerospace engineering. I am very interested in air and space craft and believe that as an engineer, I can hopefully eventually work for Boeing and develop better aircrafts and combat climate change. Airplanes burn a lot of fossil fuels, thus releasing a lot pollutants into the atmosphere. Therefore, by taking this course I hope to understand the earth better in order to create efficient and less wasteful airplanes one day.

Recently on the news, I have been seeing a lot of articles on Flint, Michigan’s tap water and how it has become toxic to the point of crisis. What happened was that there was a financial emergency in Flint, so the state decided to switch Flint’s water supply line from Lake Huron to the Flint River as a “cost-saving” measure, which turned out to be very corrosive. Geography fits this situation well, because geography does not just entail maps but as I learned, also includes human-environment interactions and politics. The Flint River would not have been so polluted had humans taken care of it, and the government should have implemented environmental policy in order to control the human impact on the Flint River. The topic of human environment interactions poses the question of “how does the natural environment shape, control, and constrain human systems?” The instance of the Flint water crisis sheds light on this question where the health of the Flint River has caused many citizens of Flint to suffer due to the inaccessibility to clean tap water. This situation is an eye-opener to how humans need to become more sustainable in order to have clean water systems so when times come when they need to access a certain water source, that water source is not deemed toxic like in the case of Flint, Michigan.

Getting to Know Sebastian Hollabaugh

Hello everybody! My name is Sebastian Hollabaugh. I currently live off campus at University Park, PA, but I grew up in Sunbury, PA. I’m currently in my last semester as an Architectural Engineer. I will be working in the Philadelphia area starting in June once I finish up. One of my biggest hobbies is competing in Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64. It is quite different from more its recent iterations, and I enjoy competing at local and national tournaments in it.

As an architectural engineer I think that buildings are very interesting, and geography has arguably the biggest impact on building design. The physical landscape, location, and local environment provide the basis when designing a building. I think an issue that geography is well suited for is mapping climate zones to address specific building mechanical systems. Since climate change is occurring relatively rapidly, maintaining an updated climate map is essential for system selection in relation to buildings. For example, the choice heat or enthalpy recovery is greatly dependent on location, and having a reliable climate map is necessary for making the proper selection.

Getting to Know You (Module 1) – Bernstein

Hello everyone!

My name is Teresa Bernstein. I am a Junior majoring in International Relations (a branch off of the International Politics major) and currently attend the World Campus “location”. Even though I was born in North Carolina, I was raised here in Bernville, Pennsylvania. Bernville is a rather small town about 12 miles away from the more well-known city of Reading (if you need a point of reference). In the future I hope to get into politics – hence my major – and maybe even represent the United States abroad (as I have my Bachelor’s in German from Lycoming College already). The part of this course that I am most anticipating is talking about human-environment interactions and the implications thereof. I do not have too much to say about myself fact wise; I am very big into music and can play 6 different instruments (some of which I taught myself how to play), and like to participate in karate in my free time (a hobby of mine since I was about 9 years old).

One issue that geography would be well suited to address is human-environment interactions. Environment and Society Geography can help analyze why certain areas of the world are left with a larger human footprint than others. Globalization and integration as a result also play a large role in this particular issue. If Country A has a natural resource that Country B wishes desperately to acquire, the Cultural integration between these two countries could lead to Economic integration in order to meet the desire for this resource. Too large of a demand then has the possibility to stress Country A and could deplete resources at drastic rates unless sanctions are put in place. As a result, this can fuel the fires of an economic and/or political battle – which all started with Geography. I believe it is important to understand how much of an effect we have on our surroundings because it ties into more than one would think at first glance.

Getting to Know Me: Chris Miller

Hi everyone, my name is Chris Miller.  I’m a senior Finance major at Penn State.  I currently live off-campus in downtown state college.  During my childhood in Pittsburgh, I developed an appreciation for nature by playing in the woods behind our home. I also enjoy lifting and playing basketball in my free-time. This is my fourth year at Penn State and with graduation approaching, I’ve been considering different career options.  I spent the past seven months working at IBM in New York. I’ll either end up in corporate finance or banking. I’m excited to take this course and learn about geography at the college-level.  Specifically, I would like to gain a better understanding of our negative interactions with the environment and how these can be improved.

I’m interested to see how geography can analyze human-environment interactions and help solve global issues.  With this problem I believe it’s essential to look at scale, globalization, and governance.  Many country specific environmental issues have far reaching implications.  We need to examine how globalization increase the strain on these resources and how nations can govern trade to reduce the strain.  This governance should promote sustainability, without economically harming local actors. Over-fishing is a great example because it’s a global problem with severe consequences for local communities.  Governments need to create a sustainable framework of laws and treaties to combat this problem, while keeping scale in mind.  Globalization has increased demand for seafood and people at the local level are incentivized to meet this demand.  Any solution should consider this local scale and explore ways to provide new employment.  A possible solution would be to construct a fishery in the local region, which would meet demand and provide an alternative to fishermen.