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Texas State University

Geography student team clinches fourth consecutive championship

Student Achievements 

Lauren Hartung | November 25, 2019

Team group photo
The 2019 Texas State Wild Rice Geobowl team, left to right: Eric Wilson (Master’s Student), *Walter Furness (PhD Student), *Joshua Hodge (Captain, PhD Student), Nina Garcia (Undergraduate), Mael Le Noc (PhD Student), Sean Companion (Undergraduate). *Team member each year since 2016 and high scorer in individual points.

A team of students representing the Department of Geography at Texas State has won first place in a regional geography competition – the SWAAG Geobowl – four years in a row (2016-2019), organized as part of the Southwest Division of the American Association of Geographers (SWAAG) Meeting.

The team – named “Texas State Wild Rice,” after a species of grass endemic to the San Marcos River – defeated student teams from universities across the southwestern United States at the annual SWAAG Meeting held October 10-11.

Teams participating in the Geobowl accumulate points from both individual and team questions. The top two teams participate in the championship round. Dr. Jason Julian, Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Geography, has advised and supported the Texas State Wild Rice team for the past five years. 

“The GeoBowl at the annual conference is an intense competition among the top universities in the region, including University of Texas, Texas A&M University, University of North Texas, University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, and Louisiana State University,” said Dr. Julian. “The fact that we have beat all these top-tier universities for the past four years confirms that Texas State Geography is one of the best geography programs in the nation, largely because of our exceptional students.”

Joshua Hodge has served as the team captain since 2016. Hodge, along with assistance from Dr. Jason Julian, has helped recruit, advise, and train team members every year. (Read about Hodge’s award-winning research here)

“Building and maintaining a well-rounded championship team requires a year-round effort, and it is important to have team members who bring significant geographic knowledge in their primary areas of interest, such as physical geography, human geography, and cartography. Competing in the Geobowl is very fun, builds teamwork skills, and is a great way to express your passion for geographic knowledge,” said Hodge. 

The top six scorers from the SWAAG Geobowl get to represent the SWAAG division in the annual American Association of Geographers (AAG) World Geography Bowl. Hodge has served as the team captain for the SWAAG division since 2018, and will lead the SWAAG team into battle at the AAG World Geography Bowl in Denver, Colorado, in April 2020.


The Texas State Wild Rice Geobowl Team huddled together
The Texas State Wild Rice Geobowl Team (left), huddled together for a team question at the SWAAG Geobowl, Fort Worth, TX, October 10, 2019.

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922