Melinda Shimizu

Map-Maker Extraordinaire

Howdy Y’all. Do not let my affected drawl fool you: I am Pacific Northwest Born and Raised. I grew up saying “you guys” and “hello,” but I adopted “howdy y’all” after befriending a displaced Texan in graduate school at Arizona State University. I went to Arizona State fresh off completing my Geology Degree at Central Washington University.

I wanted to study Mars, until I did and then I didn’t want to anymore. It’s complicated. Long story short: I found ArcGIS and maps. I loved maps so much I switched to the Geography department for my Ph.D. I know. This was very humbling as my unkind opinion of geographers was that they wanted to be geologists, but couldn’t hack the math. And folks. I can hack the math.

I finished my Ph.D. still convinced I was a geologist in geographer’s wool and landed my dream job at Western Oregon University where I could teach Earth Science and GIS. Sometimes you get what you want, but not what you need and the truth became abundantly clear: I am a recovering geologist who is actually a geographer at heart.

This brought me to my current job at SUNY Cortland in New York! NEW YORK y’all. I had been east of the Mississippi (river) 4 entire times in my life before I moved to my current house sight-unseen. Life is an adventure and I am loving most of it. Now I get to teach GIS every semester, and sustainability and physical geography on rotation. Sometimes, when you are really lucky (and also work your tail off), you can get what you want AND what you need.