January 2021 Student Spotlight: Richard Kirk | Department of Geography and the Environment

January 2021 Student Spotlight: Richard Kirk

Welcome to a brand-new year! We at the Department of Geography and the Environment are excited for another semester of learning and research, and to help students discover people, places, and landscapes in geography. Beginning in January 2021, we are featuring one student each month to highlight their interests, accomplishments, and goals. To kick off the Spring 2021 semester, please read on to get to know Richard Kirk:

Richard studies under Dr. Ipsita Chatterjee and is currently the Teaching Assistant for Urban Geography (GEOG 4210), taught by Dr. Chatterjee. He is also a Voertman-Ardoin Graduate Fellow. Richard's thesis investigates the relationship between neoliberal urban governance and the creation and destruction of spectacular landscapes, specifically shopping malls and mixed-use developments, in North Dallas. In his work, he is questioning the logic behind this kind of development, and how it affects community members in North Dallas.

Alongside his academic interests, Richard has always been interested in politics and governance, particularly from a critical perspective. He is interested in the coupling of geography's potential to interact with these subjects and its uniquely spatial lens, ultimately leading him to pursue a graduate degree in Geography with an emphasis in critical urban studies. Richard specifically chose UNT's Department of Geography and the Environment in order to work with his undergraduate mentor, Dr. Chatterjee, whose classes introduced him to radical urban geography. His research interests are closely aligned with Dr. Chatterjee's, which he felt made him a good fit for the program.

According to Richard, the best part about being a new graduate student at UNT, at least within the Geography Department, is the ability to develop close working relationships with his instructors. He feels they have all been incredibly supportive and have made it clear that they are here to help him become the best academic that he can be. In light of that, he intends to pursue a Ph.D. in Geography after obtaining my M.S. from UNT, and hopefully a professorship someday.

Since Richard graduated from UNT with his Bachelor of Science degree in geography, he has keen insight for fellow students who are having trouble deciding on a way forward after graduation. His advice is this - "It's fine. Take your time, and don't let anyone tell you that you can't take a break, or that you can't take a job that's out of left field. Figure out what you want, but don't decide in haste. This is the gist of advice that I once received, and that I hold close to me."

Some fun facts about Richard: he loves prehistoric archaeology and attends excavations when he can. He is also the proud dad of a shelter-rescued terrier mix named Tyrion (lending to his appreciation and fandom of Game of Thrones). And if you're looking for the best place to eat in Denton? Follow his other advice - if you're in the mood for street tacos, go to Taqueria Monterrey and if you want a sandwich, New York Sub Hub is a Denton staple that can't be beat.

Student Spotlight