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Source: Melissa Belz, belz@k-state.edu

Thursday, April 28, 2011

SCHOLARLY SUCCESS: RESEARCH EARNS GEOGRAPHY DOCTORAL STUDENT SCHOLARSHIP

MANHATTAN -- A Kansas State University doctoral student in geography has earned a $500 scholarship for her research from the Association of American Geographers' Mountain Geography Specialty Group.

Melissa Belz, Boston, was selected for the 2011 Chimborazo Student Research Grant Award from the geography group at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers, April 12-17, in Seattle, Wash.

The award is presented to a graduate student who proposes outstanding research that promises to support the mission of the Mountain Geography Specialty Group, which is to foster communication, promote theoretical and applied research, enhance education, and encourage service related to mountain peoples, mountain environments and their interactions.

Belz's doctoral dissertation is "Architectural Significance and Cultural Landscape Change: Ornamental Features of the Vernacular House in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, India."

"I'm studying the traditionally carved wooden houses found in a region of the Himalaya to understand what they mean to local people, and how and why this tradition is changing," Belz said.

To be considered for the award, Belz had to submit a proposal identifying a research problem and its significance, explain her methodology and summarize anticipated results; a brief biographical sketch; and a letter of support from her faculty adviser, Jeffrey Smith, associate professor of geography.

Belz earned a bachelor's in environmental design from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a master's in vernacular architecture from Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, England.