In December of 2010, Amanda graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with her Doctorate in Geography.
Dissertation: "Spiritual Landscapes in the 21st Century: The Geography of Power Mountains and Healing Waters of the Southern Appalachian Region". You can read it online here.
Amanda was able to blend her background in earth sciences with cultural belief systems.
In May of 2000, Amanda graduated from Appalachian State University with a MA in Geography.
Thesis: “An Assessment of the Effectiveness of Cross-Vane Structures used on Clark Creek and Shawneehaw Creek in North Carolina”.
This was the first research of its kind to monitor stream restoration structures in the Southeastern United States.
In May of 2000, Amanda graduated from North Carolina State University with a BS in Natural Resource Management with a concentration in Soil and Water Systems.
Minors: Botany and Crop Science
Member of Agronomy Club and organized an Organic Farming Educational Display at the NC State Fair in 1998.
Amanda's background has some twists and turns within it, but she has always stayed true to studying the earth. After a family trip out west when she was 16 and being in awe of the various landscapes she signed up for an Earth Science course at her High School which began her path. Later she took a Physical Geography course while still in high school at the community college as part of an early release program. She was hooked from those early experiences in learning how landscapes were created and the processes that shaped them.
Originally she started out working on an Environmental Studies degree. She quickly found during her first soil science class while also working on an organic farm in the late 1990's, that she really enjoyed studying soils and agriculture. She transferred to NCSU initially majoring in Agronomy. She was an active member in the Agronomy Club and put together a booth at the NC State Fair on Organic Farming. This was 1998 and organic farming was very new to the state. After her first year there again the road had a little curve in it. After she volunteered with the local USDA-NRCS office doing stream restoration. After that volunteer experience she narrowed her focus down and completed a BS in Natural Resources with a concentration in Soil and Water Systems. She also by that time had completed enough credits for a minor in Botany and Crop Science. During her summers she worked in the Crop Science Lab grinding soybean seeds for Nitrogen testing as well as with the NCSU-Stream Restoration Institute (under the Cooperative Extension Office).
She went on to ASU to earn her MA in Geography with the intention of being able to continue studying and researching stream restoration. Her research that focused on monitoring stream restoration structures that were being implemented throughout the state at that time. Her thesis was selected as ASU's entry for submission to the Council of Southern Graduate School's Master's Thesis Award in the Social Sciences and she received 2nd place in the annual Cratis D. Williams Thesis Award Competition at ASU. She also won the award for Outstanding Geography Student. She taught her first Geography course as part of her assistantship in 2001.
After earning her MA and taking a few years off to work in the corporate world for engineering consulting firms, she decided to return to the academic world. Between her MA and enrolling in the doctoral program she had started teaching as an adjunct for community colleges and at UNCG. No longer boxing herself in as a strictly physical geographer, she decided she wanted to incorporate the human side into her doctoral world, in particular, religions and belief systems connected to nature. She completed a summer field course in Arizona in which the physical and cultural geographies were explored from Phoenix to the Four Corners.
After some back and forth on research ideas she found the concept of topophilia by Geographer Yi-Fu Tuan and the dimensions of spiritual landscapes as defined by James Mills to be interesting concepts to apply to the Southern Appalachian Region. Her committee members included three geographers and a religious studies professor as her outside member. Although her topic was unusual and focused more on qualitative research which was not common within her fairly new doctoral geography program, she had the support of two committee members, who focused on Buddhism and Asian geographies and did qualitative work as well. She completed her doctorate degree with her dissertation on Spiritual Landscapes of the Southern Appalachian Region.
This course covers the human-environment interaction through time and space as a cross-listed course between Geography and Anthropology. The way Amanda approaches the course is based upon assessing the socio-cultural anthropological aspects of various case studies through seven elements of our earth. These elements include: Fire, Water, Wind, Stone, Plants, Animals, and Humans.
This course covers sacred sites, sacred geographical areas, and sacred paths (pilgrimages). The Sacred spaces, Sacred Paths course covers built environments in areas attributed with spiritual or sacred power and or energies (i.e., temples, churches, cemeteries, shrines.) This course also covers concepts of how people create sacred space through understanding sacred directions, altar orientations, and other human influenced spaces.
This course covers the concepts of topophilia, biophilia, geophilia, and spiritual landscapes. The Spiritual Landscape course covers natural areas (geologic formations, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, etc.) Through the modern lenses of tourism impacts and economic development to historical accounts of ceremonial uses of sites, archeological findings, and mythology associated with sites and their uses today, students explore and learn how these places emanate power and why for different cultures.
This is the foundational course for understanding people and places. A standard course for geography majors and highly recommended for history and secondary education majors. Everyone in the world would benefit from a World Regional Geography class. This is not the social studies class or global class you might have taken in elementary school or high school!
Upper level regional course covering the physical and cultural geography of the region through time and space. Topics typically include the Hawaiians relationship to the natural environment, the sacred art of Hawaiian Hula Dance, and the migration patterns within Oceania. Mythology, current geo-political issues, and more are covered.
Upper level regional course covering the physical and cultural geography of the region through time and space. Topics typically include the Buryats of Lake Baikal (a sacred body of water) and the environmental record of Russia along with protection and extraction of natural resources. Demographics are also covered along with language families and religions.
Physical Geography and Earth Science
Cultural Geography and Population Geography
Geography of the Non-Western World
College Transfer Success and Myth, Ritual and Magic
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