Recent geography graduate creates student support fund

Dr. Emily Acheson, who graduated in 2020 and is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Montreal, has launched a student support fund aimed at UBC Geography students.

Coming just months after she finished her own studies at UBC, Acheson says she was moved by the urgency of the pandemic to offer this support when it is most needed. “I wanted to create a fund that would help students financially in the same way I was helped during my undergraduate and graduate years. After COVID-19 hit, I was even more motivated to get the money out there quickly to help students dealing with financial hardship.”

The Emily S. Acheson Student Support Fund in Geography is a $500 award open to all masters and doctoral students, and any full-time undergraduates in their 4th (or higher) year who meet the requirements and are using GIS (geographic information systems) or cartography in their academic work.

While individual funds have traditionally available to either the graduate or the undergraduate student community, Acheson opened hers up to both. “All students can deal with financial difficulties at any point of their work. Upper-year undergraduates and graduate students are both at a stage in their academic career where they can demonstrate their passion for GIS and cartography.”

As the beneficiary of scholarships herself, Acheson knows their benefit first hand. “One of the earliest awards I ever received was a small scholarship worth $500 while I was just entering university for the first time. It was so exciting for me and I remember that feeling up until now. Whether it was a small scholarship or a large one, every source of funding I have received was very much appreciated. It helped pay for rent, meals, tuition, and more. It also gave me a boost in confidence, showing me that someone thought I was worth investing in. In turn, it made me want to work harder.”

“GIS is my own field, and I’ve seen the amazing work it can do. I want to encourage students in this rapidly growing field to keep going. GIS use in the fight against COVID-19 is only one example of the incredible ways it can help solve world problems.”

Students interested in being considered for the fund should check that they are eligible and speak to their supervisor or a UBC Geography faculty member. Nominations must be received by February 25th.