Who are you?
Keith Yearwood. I am a lecturer at the University of Maryland in College Park in the Department of Geographical Sciences. I am also employed on a seasonal basis by the National Geographic Association to do two things. I am a Steward for National Geographic representing the State of Maryland and I do set quiz questions for the Organization’s Geography Bee.
When did you attend UF? What degrees/certificates did you earn the the Department of Geography?
I was a student in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning from August 1999 to December 2001. I did a Masters degree in urban and regional planning. I started my P.h.D. in the Department of Geography in January 2002 and completed it in May 2010.
What is your greatest memory from your time as a GeoGator?
I served as the lone student representative in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning on a search committee. There was a need to hire a professor to teach Housing Courses at the university. My job was to get the students to attend all the talks (5 of them), do one on one interviews and have students interview the candidates and make my contributions to the search committee. It was unforgettable.
How do you use what you learned in the Geography Department in your life?
I am a lecturer and the Geography Department taught me several things. I was given the opportunity to teach several courses in the style of my choice. I was trusted by the Head of Department – Dr. Waylen, and I earned incredible confidence and maturity in the area of teaching. When I got my first job after I graduated, I was already seasoned and knew what to do. In fact, the job was a one year position where I filled in for two faculty members who were going on sabbatical leave. When I left that job, there was a noticeable increase in the number of Geography majors. I am proud that I was a part of that. The knowledge I acquired is important in my profession but more significantly, the discipline required by my professors has helped me to evaluate and assess what is useful and what is not in the field of academia. That serves me well all the time.
Do you have a message to share with current/prospective students?
Yes I do. Make your time at UF a rewarding one by extracting as much as you can but also by contributing as much as you can. Share your knowledge and expertise. Mingle, Make friends. Help your classmates. I probably could not have completed my two graduate degrees without leaning on others for help. I will always remember that. Finally, your professors seriously want to help you. They too were once students like you and they have not forgotten that.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
The degree you will obtain from the Department of Geography at the University of Florida is a solid one. Don’t allow anyone from anywhere tell you otherwise.
If you would like to tell the world about your GeoGator Alumni Adventure, please send an email to Mike Ryan Simonovich.