UB geography professors named AAG fellows

Jessie Poon and Ling Bian elected fellows of American Association of Geographers

Release Date: February 20, 2024

Jessie Poon.

Jessie Poon

Ling Bian.

Ling Bian

“It is rewarding to see that the effort in our research, teaching and service can contribute to the discipline and be recognized. ”
Ling Bian, professor of geography
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Jessie Poon and Ling Bian, professors in the University at Buffalo Department of Geography, have been elected as fellows of the American Association of Geographers (AAG).

Fellows are recognized for making significant contributions to advancing geography. No more than 0.2% of AAG membership, or approximately 20 fellows, are selected in a given year. 

Poon, PhD, is among the world’s leading economic geographers. Her research has focused on the geographical structure of trade patterns, the dynamics of regionalization, digital economics, as well as social, cultural, financial and information networks.

Amid the recent passage of the CHIPS and Science Act, which aims to decrease the United States’ reliance on geopolitical rivals for semiconductor production, Poon’s current research tackles the national security implications of the critical minerals used to produce semiconductors. 

A longtime member of the AAG, Poon has also worked to make geography more equitable, diverse and inclusive. As the first female editor of Papers in Regional Science, Poon has published extensively on the state of women in the geography field and championed increasing representation of female scholars in research journals. 

“It is an honor to be recognized for my scholarly contributions in economic geography by the AAG, the most prestigious professional organization for geographers worldwide,” Poon says. “To be acknowledged by my peers, some of them recipients of major awards, is humbling, but I am also grateful.”

Bian, PhD, is a leading geographic information scientist whose research has contributed greatly to the growth and development of quantitative approaches in geography. Her contributions include the development of a groundbreaking spatiotemporal approach for modeling the spread of communicable diseases among people and through social networks, which has high relevance to understanding COVID-19 spread. 

Bian is an editor of the AAG’s flagship journal, Annals of the AAG, and has led national geographic information science initiatives.

“I am thrilled to be able to follow in the footsteps of many giants in the discipline to whom I owe my career. It is rewarding to see that the effort in our research, teaching and service can contribute to the discipline and be recognized,” Bian says. “I am deeply grateful to the AAG Fellows Selection Committee and the AAG Council for this honorary title. I also am grateful to the support of my department colleagues, many of whom also deserve this award, and to UB for providing a platform that allows us to bring our career to a continuously higher level.”

AAG provides students, faculty and practitioners with resources to enter the field, develop their careers and form professional relationships through programs, events and meetings. Fellows serve the organization by contributing to different initiatives, advising on strategic directions, serving on task forces or committees and mentoring early and mid-career faculty.  

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