Student spotlight: Anthony Ross

Anthony Ross is a senior geography major, with research interests in borders, particularly the U.S.-Mexico and Italy-North Africa borders. Here he answers some questions about his choice of major, what he enjoys about his studies, and his future goals.

Q: How did you decide to study geography?

I knew I wanted to study this ever since I was about a junior in high school. I knew this because my family comes from two different parts of the world. My father’s side is from Italy and my mother’s side is from Mexico. They happened to meet in the United States, that story I have come to learn is a product of human geography.

I was born in Salt Lake City, and then I moved to central Mexico when I was two years old. Seeing how that part of the world compared to the United States when I came back, really sparked my interest.

Early on I knew what fascinated me and all of it just happened to tie in perfectly with geography.

Q: What specific area of your major do you enjoy learning about?

Within human geography, one of the things I enjoy learning most about is the imagination of geography and the perceived notions we have about a place without ever having been there. It affects our decision making and our perception of someone who is from that place. I find that really fascinating.

Q: In terms of your influences, who or what has been important to you and why?

I think lots of my professors have been influential. I’m a transfer student and I had one professor in community college, his name was Paul Geale (confirm name), and he was really influential. That was one of my first introductions to geography and how broad it is. Hearing him talk about the way he had seen the world was interesting.

Q: What are the best three things about being a college student?

First is the freedom to pursue specific knowledge that you find really interesting. You have the ability to pursue what you want to.

Second, would be the independence that you have in making your own schedule. You get to pick the classes and you get to decide when you want to be here as opposed to when you don’t, and that’s a really big switch from high school or even community college.

Third is looking at all of the ideas that other people have to bring to the table within your discipline, things that you probably would have never thought of. In a classroom setting when someone challenges your assumption or point, I think that’s one of the inherent experiences you need to have as a college student.

Q: What are your career goals for the short and long-term future?

In the short term it’s pretty clear, for someone in the humanities I think post-undergraduate education is necessary. A master’s degree is in the near future. I’ve made a list of some schools that I’m thinking of applying to. Now I get to narrow my focus.

In the long term, I’m pretty open. Ideally I would like to be abroad. I ‘ve done some research in Italy, I’ve lived there, I’ve been there five or six times, and I’m fluent in Italian, so I want to apply those skills. Something practical would be migration and human mobility. Since Europe is having a bit of a crisis, they need a lot of people who can help get to the root of the problem.  I know that there are some opportunities in the public sector.

Q: What advice do you offer to your current classmates and future college students?

I think geography is a really broad field and you can find a niche to apply your interests and skills too. I encourage people to have because it is something that is very enjoyable. Throughout these past four to five years it’s a field of study that has made me really happy.