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The Marble-Boyle Undergraduate Achievement Awards in Geographic Science

Deadline: October 15, annually

The American Association of Geographer’s Marble Fund for Geographic Science is pleased to announce the new Marble-Boyle Undergraduate Achievement Awards. These awards aim to recognize excellence in academic performance by undergraduate students from the United States and Canada who are putting forth a strong effort to bridge geographic science and computer science as well as to encourage other students to embark upon similar programs. These awards, together with the William L. Garrison Award for Best Dissertation in Computational Geography, are activities of the Marble Fund and are supported by donations to the Fund.  In the case of the current awards, the support of Mr. Jack Dangermond is gratefully acknowledged.

The award is named for Dr. Duane Marble, creator of the Marble Fund, and for the late Dr. A. R. (Ray) Boyle who was a major contributor to the early development of both computer cartography and geographic information systems.  Ray Boyle was born in England in 1920 and served with the British Admiralty during World War II.  After the war, he developed and patented many graphic systems for plotting and digitizing and was the inventor of the “free cursor” digitizing system that was the basis for the digital entry of much early spatial data. After moving to Canada in 1965 he was appointed Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan where, among many other achievements, he developed the first digital system for nautical chart production for the Canadian Hydrographic Service. He worked for many years with Dr. Roger Tomlinson on the technical evaluation of GIS software and was also an active member of the IGU Commission on Geographical Data Sensing & Processing for many years.

Duane Marble & Ray Boyle in Honolulu 1982_2.jpg

Duane Marble and Ray Boyle in Honolulu at the Joint U.S.–Australia GIS Meeting in 1982

The Awards

Each of the Marble-Boyle Undergraduate Achievement Awards consists of a cash prize of $1,000 and a certificate of recognition. Esri has also agreed to provide priority consideration to any of the awardees who may be interested in participating in their Summer Intern Program.

Initially, up to three awards will be made available each year. Formal presentation of the awards will be made at the annual AAG awards luncheon. Awardees are encouraged, but not required, to attend.

Applications will be reviewed by the Marble Fund’s Undergraduate Achievement Award Committee. After review, the Committee will recommend up to three applications to the Marble Fund Trustees as winners. Final awards will be made by the Trustees.


  • Applicants must be enrolled in a full–time program of undergraduate study at an accredited United States or Canadian college or university.
  • At the time of the application, the applicant must be no more than twelve months from graduation.
  • Applicants must demonstrate a reasonable intent to embark upon a career or further education that will make use of their joint geographic science and computer science knowledge.
  • There is no limit with respect to the number of students who can apply from a single institution. There will be, however, only one student per year from a single institution who may receive an award.
  • Applicants do not need to be members of the Association of American Geographers, but they are strongly encouraged to consider membership.


Please gather all required supporting documents before completing the online Application Form at this link. The Application Form will require you to upload all supporting documents before being able to complete your submission. You cannot save a partially completed form and return to it later, so it is important to have all materials ready before accessing the online Application Form. For questions or difficulties, please contact or call the AAG at 202-234-1450. All elements of the application must be received no later than the close of  business in Washington, D.C. on October 15.

This form will ask applicants to provide:

  • Personal information (name, address, email, phone number, etc.).
  • An essay of no more than 800 words, formatted in 12 pt Times New Roman, double-spaced with 1” margins, identifying the individual’s areas of interest within geographic science and computer science, a description of his or her career goals, and a statement as to  how his or her  joint background in geographic science and computer science will help to meet these goals.
  • A letter of recommendation from the student’s faculty advisor, department chair or program director. The letter should clearly address both the applicant’s academic performance as well as their potential for a career or further education that utilizes their geographic science and computer science background. Recommendation letters must be signed and written on institutional letterhead. They must be sent in PDF form directly by the referee to the Chair of the Review Committee to .
  • An official or unofficial copy of the applicant’s transcript(s) with all relevant courses in geographic science and computer science, and grades received in these courses, highlighted.
  • For each highlighted course, the applicant must provide a one or two sentence description of the course content, the text book(s) used (if applicable), and the name(s) of the instructor(s).

Previous Awardees


Jessica Embury, San Diego State University

Daniel Council, Ball State University


Jacob Bostick, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs

Nathan Fiscus, University of North Alabama

Chelsie Perkins, East Tennessee State University


Katherine Jolly, Macalester College

Pearl Leff, Hunter College - CUNY

Rachel Pierstorff, University of Denver


Noah Irby, University of North Dakota


Coty Welch, University of North Alabama


Andrew Green, Jacksonville State University

Jeffrey King, University of Missouri

Taylor Mckeeman, University of Calgary


Angel Pitts, University of South Carolina


Andrew Ortego, The University at Buffalo


Sergey Reid, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi


Darren Boss, University of Victoria


Rheannon Brooks, University of Victoria

Jason Jones, University of Southern Mississippi

Brandon Zook, University of Wyoming

2009 (inaugural recipients)

Joanna Merson, University of Victoria and MFSA Supplemental Research Fellowship for September 2009 - February 2010  at the MicrGIS Foundation in Switzerland.

Kenneth Robertson, Central Michigan University

Doris Lam, York University honorable mention