Intern Introduction – Cedar Attanasio

What’s up, Geography Education Blogosphere? My name is Cedar Attanasio, and I’m psyched to be interning here at the National Geographic, blogging about my favorite subject: geography. You and I will be swapping stories, links, information, analysis and opinions for the next few months, so I figured I’d give you all some idea of who I am and where I’m coming from. 
I grew up around northern New Mexico between Santa Fe, Ojo Sarco and Las Vegas. I also spent most of my childhood off the grid, which I talk more about in this audio profile
Like most American kids I didn’t do any geography in school after 4th grade. That all changed in my senior year, when I started I.B. geography at the Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong. Geography was my favorite course, not only because of the content but also the context: out of 20 kids in the class, around 15 were from different countries, and I was the only American. 
cedar_suit (1).jpg
Fast forward to the present day where I am a super senior (one semester left) at Middlebury College, pursuing a double major in Geography and Spanish. While I did enjoy my time tromping around Asia, my regional focuses in college have been Latin America, West Asia, North Africa, and Iberia.
Living in a border state and having many immigrants in my immediate family, transnationalism, migration, and labor issues are very close to my heart. With the ACLU in New Mexico and the Alianza Latina y CaribeƱa club at Middlebury I’ve channeled that passion into activism, as well as various volunteer projects working with Latino/Hispanic/Latin migrants. Other academic topics on my radar include Medieval Islamic history and colonialism in the Americas (I’m interested in how these intersect), as well as Spanish translation and the history of cartography. 
Outside of the classroom, I write for the news section of my college newspaper and edit the features section. I also publish non-fiction work on my own blog, TheCedarBoardOutside of computers, I love to travel, hike (no GPS!), scuba dive, and read. I’m also a bit of a movie buff, and like to act and work my favorite filmmakers in my free time. 

Aside from the Wonderful World blog, I’m spending the summer seeing the sites around D.C., traveling to other cities on the East Coast, and working on research and fellowship applications and for two of my other interests: tortillas and stilts. I learned how to walk on stilts when I was ten years old. For the past two years I’ve been preparing a Watson Fellowship application to research stilt walking in West Africa, Spain, Belgium, Trinidad and Tobago, and elsewhere. Last semester, I got obsessed with tortillas: their history, who eats them, where they are made, etc. I’m working on a Fulbright proposal that would allow me to research tortilla factories and cornmeal production plants in Mexico. 
While I’m sure that my interests and background will color the content and direction of my posts, I’m looking forward to using this space to explore areas of geography that I usually don’t write about. I’m looking forward to my role in this blog, but am even more excited to interact with all of you through feedback, musings, and other conversations in the comments. 

6 responses to “Intern Introduction – Cedar Attanasio

  1. Hey Cedar,
    So I’m thinking: Stilt walking across boarders while juggling tortillas and dictating a blog post.
    Ready? Go!

  2. Hey Cedar!
    Welcome aboard– I love your enthusiasm and as a former 4th grade teacher who infused geography around every corner, it bums me out it isn’t included much after! Can’t wait to read more from you this summer,
    Wendy :)

  3. Hi Wendy, thanks for the comment. One of my fondest memories from 4th grade was making my own game based on a map of the British colonies in America, so I’ll probably post an activity like that. :P
    -Cedar

  4. Howdy Cedar!
    Perhaps we can counter-balance that unfortunate bumper sticker that reads: “War: The way Americans learn geography”
    To do so means having access to many more global human interest stories. Stories without an “agenda”, if that is possible! Stories that link people to place and all that is common to us.

  5. Hi Maura,
    Excellent point, and I appreciate you’re enthusiasm!
    I guess the joke of the bumper sticker is that we only start caring about countries that we’re in conflict with. If you feel like there are topics you’d like to see discusses, send me ideas at cattanas@ngs.org. I can’t promise I’ll use them, but I will certainly consider them.
    For stories that link people to place, check out some of Wade Davis’s work, by typing his name into Google or the search bar of Nat Geo, or by searching for any of the Nat Geo explorers on ted.com.
    It is a challenge to avoid having an agenda–an underlying intention or motivation–which, for me, on this blog, is all about arguing that geography is important, and providing my readers with tools related to geography education.
    Cheers,
    Cedar Attanasio, for My Wonderful World

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