Convocation, Geography

Perfect score and new modelling approaches earn PhD grad top honours

June 08, 2020

New PhD graduate Taylor Anderson’s groundbreaking work on spatial modelling approaches strikes gold earning her top honours at this year’s convocation celebration. 

Taylor graduated with a PhD in geography and a perfect 4.33 grade point average (GPA). She is the recipient of the 2020 Governor General’s Gold Medal, awarded to two graduate students who achieve the highest academic standing upon graduation from a master’s or doctoral degree program. 

"I am impressed with Taylor's enthusiasm to conduct scientific research, her interpersonal and leadership skills, and passion to pursue an academic career,” says Suzana Dragicevic, geography professor and Taylor's PhD supervisor.

Her research focuses on developing new spatial modelling approaches to represent and analyze a range of complex systems. In her dissertation she applies these approaches to insect infestation and infectious disease spread. The models provide useful tools for predictions and scenario testing to better inform decision-making processes. 

"Taylor's work has great potential to further expand data-driven models within the geospatial big data paradigm with application areas ranging from ecological, urban and social phenomena," says Dragicevic.

Additionally, Taylor’s innovative work earned her the 2020 William L. Garrison Award for Best Dissertation in Computational Geography. She also published 10 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters.

Now an assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science at George Mason University, Taylor credits SFU with providing the foundation, community, and support for her to excel.

“There were endless opportunities to engage in research, take classes, teach, collaborate and exchange ideas, and take up professional development workshops. The culmination of these valuable experiences helped to push my teaching and research to the next level and led me to my career today.”

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