Michele Abee

(she, her, hers)

NTT Assistant Professor, Geography

| abeem@wou.edu

Why I chose WOU

It's commitment to students.

At WOU since



fitness, film, backpacking, climbing, white water rafting, and reading a great book

Fun fact

I am a Les Mills group fitness instructor and I am certified in their Bodypump, Bodycombat, Grit and Core programs.


Charlotte, North Carolina

Favorite book/movie

Favorite Movie(s): The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Favorite Book: Harry Potter and the All Souls Trilogy

Office Hours

open door11:00am-1:00pm11:00am-1:00pm11:00am-1:00pmopen door
These are virtual office hours.

Course schedule

Summer 2021

What you will do and learn in my courses

The joy of Geography and Social Sciences is the ability to connect and engage with one's surrounding environment.  In my courses I enjoy creating experiences that foster a sense of community, that are interactive, and connect to real-world issues.  I want students to walk away from a course having the opportunity to have explored the material and can take enough away from the course where they can use the information to engage their knowledge and become a stronger student and person.


PhD Geography, UNC - Greensboro

MA Applied Geography, UNC - Greensboro

BA History and Geography, UNC - Greensboro

Teaching focus

Human Geography and Sustainability

Research areas

Geovisualization, History of Cartography, History of Geography, Food Systems, Sustainability

Current research

My doctoral research was in geovisualization and my dissertation describes how the Mercator Projection became a default map projection for world maps and analyzes why this came to be.  My ideas for geovisualization research revolve around how map projections frame the way the map reader perceives the map's message.  Map projections and design are important and how it makes the presentation of data that much stronger.

Currently, I am blending food systems, geovisualization and geopolitics.  My initial involvement with food systems dates to the summer of 2013, when I staffed an internship at Gateway to the Arctic Camp in Talkeetna, Alaska.  The camp works with at-risk populations to provide meaningful employment while increasing food security in the Matanuska-Susitna borough through the donation of fresh produce to local food banks.  I helped develop maps of the site, build a high tunnel, and farm the new fields.  In part because of that experience, I began incorporating information about food systems in my teaching wherever possible.  My next related field opportunity did not arrive until my 2018 winter break when I participated with Hope Worldwide, an NGO, at a Marae in Auckland, NZ.  Papatuanuku Kokiri Marae uses its land in Mangere, a low-income neighborhood in Auckland, to farm organic produce for struggling families.  The Marae also partners with local fishermen, who donate any fish they cannot or do not sell at market to the families that already receive free boxes of produce. Through this project, called Kai Ika (literally 'fish food'), leaders at the Marae seek to reconnect urban Maori to the land.  These experiences, combined with the dire consequences of COVID-19, have accelerated my desire to change my research focus. 

Professional memberships

Association of American Geographers

Southeastern Association of American Geographers

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