Graduate Student Spotlight: Austin Bush from the Department of Geography

What department are you a graduate student in?

Department of Geography (PhD Geography), but I am also a full-time field researcher for the FSU Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program.

Why did you decide to go to graduate school?

As an undergraduate student studying Geography at Auburn University, I was presented an opportunity to participate in a research project led by several graduate students in the department. This opportunity gave me a taste of what doing research was like, and I found the experience extremely rewarding. This project snowballed into subsequent projects that ultimately fueled my decision to apply to their Master’s program to continue the work I was involved in. Upon completion of my Master’s Degree, I knew I wanted to continue to be involved in geographic research so I looked into PhD programs that embodied my research interests.

Did your interests change throughout your program?

Absolutely! I originally started with research projects that focused more on climate science and mapping climate data. As I learned more about the research process and discovered more of my own personal research interests, then my research focus shifted more towards data collection with Unmanned Aircraft Systems (drones). Over the transition from my Master’s program to my PhD program, I was introduced to new geographic concepts that helped me expand my research into topics that I am increasingly passionate about.

What do you want to do with your advanced degree?

I am interested in working as a field researcher on applied research projects within a university setting. I like to go out in the field and collect my own data, and that is something that I want to continue with moving forward in my career. Working with Unmanned Aircraft Systems as a research tool enables me to spend much of my time conducting research outdoors, rather than inside in an office all day.

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