Jason C. Young, a senior at Miami University with a major in geography and a minor in economics, has been selected to USA Today's 2009 All-USA College Academic Second Team. USA Today featured the team in its Wednesday, April 29, editions.
Young, a native of Centerville, Ohio, specializes in geographic information science. He was chosen by a panel of judges out of hundreds of students nominated by colleges and universities across the United States. Judges considered grades, leadership, activities, and how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom.
Carolyn Haynes, director of the University Honors and Scholars Program at Miami and who nominated Young, describes him as a student who “does not simply read about helping others, he embodies it. I have never encountered a student who is a more capable and prolific researcher and who shows such promise for advancing knowledge in his discipline in profound ways. I am convinced that he will be a pioneering force in the discipline of human geography.”
During his first year at Miami, in a field course on the Amazon, Young became fascinated by a visit with the Maijuna people in Peru and their desire to sustain their culture and ecosystem. Former Miami botanist Michael Gilmore invited Young to assist him in collaborating with the Maijuna community to construct a map for use in their official government request for conservation of their land. Young also worked closely with Bruce D'Arcus, Miami professor of geography.
During the next year, Young gained key methodological and content-based knowledge to tackle the map project. He completed two independent research projects – one in Japan and the other in Berlin – took a graduate master class on qualitative methodology, and co-authored grant proposals to fund the mapping project.
Young returned to the Amazon in early 2008, working with members of the Maijuna community in thick forests, rivers and other terrain. He and his team collected enough information to create three of the four needed maps. Since returning from Peru, he has analyzed the data and constructed the maps, which are now being used by the Maijuna in their reclamation appeals to the Peruvian government. Young is also working with them to co-author an article for publication.
“I am deeply honored to have been selected as part of the USA Today College Academic Second Team,” Young said. “I owe my selection largely to the great mentorship of the great professors and advisers here at Miami. I will continue to aspire toward academic excellence in the future, and hope that these aspirations will both affirm USA Today's decision and bring honor to Miami.”
For more information on all the academic teams and their winners, visit allstars.usatoday.com.