Courtney Russell Award

We invite applications for the Courtney Russell Travel Award. This award is co-sponsored by the Association of American Geographers GISS Specialty Group and the Caribbean Geography Specialty Group to honor Dr. Courtney Russell who was a light in the GIS community. Through this award, we help to sustain Courtney’s legacy by supporting graduate work that has a focus on the Caribbean, and/or who are pursuing GIS research and careers. 
This award will offer two $400 travel awards to eligible candidates to attend and present their work at the Association of American Geographers (AAG) annual meeting or at a regional AAG meeting. 

Eligibility: The applicant should be a graduate student at an accredited institution of higher education who is working on a thesis or dissertation during the 2022-2023 academic year. Those who graduated in 2022 are also eligible. Their thesis/dissertation topic should be related to Caribbean geography and/or use geospatial technologies. The same/similar submission cannot receive multiple specialty group / student paper awards.

Application requirements:
(1) a resume or CV
(2) short bio to support the CV (~100 words to summarize the candidate)
(3) a description of the research to be presented at AAG (600 words max; images are allowed) 

Deadline: Applications must be submitted by FEB 24th, 2023 AOE. Awardees will be announced by early March. They will be recognized in the business meetings of the specialty groups as well as during their presentation.

Submission: Applicants must combine the three documents into a single PDF or word document, and email to Dr. Clio Andris ( and Dr. Alex Moulton ( with the subject: “Courtney Russell Award Application”. We especially encourage students from groups that are underrepresented in geospatial technologies to apply.

Image of Dr. Courney Russell About Courtney: Dr. Courtney Russell was a native of Kingston, Jamaica. He came to the United States and earned a Graduate Certificate in GIS in fall 2003 and a Masters in Geographical Information Sciences in Fall 2004 from the University of Texas-Dallas under Dr. Ron Briggs.

He was a wonderful research and teaching assistant, and his master’s project was titled “Impact of over 65 Tax Limitations on Municipal Revenue: A spatial analysis.” He joined the University of South Carolina-Columbia to pursue his PhD under Dr. David Cowen in 2004. His dissertation, titled “After-school programs (ASP) in South Carolina: supply, demand and underserved areas,” was completed in 2008.

Courtney was a beloved friend and a colleague who had a sincere dedication to his research in GIS, and much pride for his home country of Jamaica. He had a wonderful smile and made everyone more at ease and our time with him was too short. Courtney passed away from cancer in 2008 in Dallas, Texas and was survived by his wife Maxine.

Congrats to the 2022 winners!

Congratulations to Aleem Mahabir and Kristinia Doughorty, who won the 2022 award! Their work on Psychosocial Dispositions & Exclusion in the Caribbean Island of Trinidad and Resilience of Nutmeg Agroecosystems in Grenada (respectively), was presented at AAG 2022. (Photos and titles reproduced from

We thank Courtney’s former advisors, Dr. Ron Briggs and Dr. David Cowen for their support. We thank Dr. Bandana Kar (chair of the GISS Specialty Group) and Dr. Stacy-ann Robinson + Alex Moulton (of the Caribbean Geography Specialty Group) for their assistance in administering the award.