Senior thesis research topics

Students' Senior Thesis research topics

Students in the department are required to conduct original research using geographic research techniques and geographic theory. They are required to present their papers to the GVSU community in a public forum.

All students are encouraged to present their research at GVSU's Student Scholarship Day. Authors of exceptional papers are invited to present their papers at scholarly conferences beyond Grand Valley.

Below are the authors and titles for the last few years.


  • Shea Anderson. Location and national park visitation in the contiguous United States, 2007 to 2012.
  • Kyle Barnhart. A comprehensive park equity analysis of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • Scott Breimayer. An analysis of the ethnically-influenced toponyms surrounding Holland, Michigan.
  • Corey Christensen. Spatial analysis of the environmental impact of US 131 on adjacent communities in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • Lauren Daniels. Demographic and migration patterns in Grand Rapids, Michigan,1970-2010.
  • Kayla Doshier. Exploring the concept of "Creative Class" in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • Alyssa Ellen. Race and the location of toxic underground storage tanks in Wayne County, Michigan.
  • Aynsley Gilmour. Geospatial analysis of Grand Valley State University's enrollment, 1989-2012.
  • Diane Heisner. Potential impacts of transit-oriented-development (TOD) on neighborhood demography along the South Division corridor of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • Emily Hodel. The identification and impact of urban sprawl: Kent County, Michigan, 1960-2010.
  • Geoffrey Kenney. Agricultural production in Japan, past and present.
  • Sara Mussman. The impact of brownfield sites on population in Muskegon County, Michigan, 1970 to 2010.
  • Nathan Oosterhouse. Journey-to-crime patterns: a spatial analysis of urban robbers' choice of crime site and residence in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • Diane Panaccio. Combined sewer overflow (CSO) remediation and green infrastructure improvements: a Grand Rapids case study.
  • Christian Parkes. Food deserts, a geographical analysis.
  • Aaron Ross. Wave power on Lake Michigan: an exploratory study.
  • John Scott. Climate and blueberry farming in Michigan.


  • Ben Brooks. Suitability analysis of wind turbine locations at Grand Valley State University's Allendale campus.
  • Paul Bussey. A comparative analysis of tribal planning departments in Michigan: internal and external indicators of tribal planning capabilities.
  • Erik Buys. Effects of El Nino on winter climate for the Great Lakes Region.
  • Catrina Chambers. Spatial density of the Irapay palm (Lepidocaryum tenue) in three adjacent but topographically variable areas and the economic value in Peruvian Amazonia.
  • Keith Chapman. Nuclear facilities built in proximity to population centers in the United States: A disaster waiting to happen?
  • Elisabeth Cole. Sustainability in a "boom and bust" environment: examining the effects of harvest rates and yearly flooding on Astrocaryum Chambira in north eastern Peru.
  • Mark Elenbaas. Income and population density as predictors of urban forest canopy coverage in Michigan.
  • Ron Foreman. An exploratory study of the potential contamination risk to water wells by oil and gas wells in Michigan.
  • Damon Fortney. An empirical method to identify suitable intersections for roundabout installation in Ottawa County, Michigan.
  • Cait Fritz. Proximity versus distance: a study of rent and residential choice around Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan.
  • Chris Hagan. An exploratory study of the sociodemographic impacts of vacant land in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1980-2010.
  • Lindsey Harris. The impact of air pollutant levels on asthma hospitalization rates in Michigan.
  • Brandon Jongkind. The greening of Holland, Michigan: agriculture, forestry, and urbanization, 1956 to 2012.
  • April Kibby. The why and who of community gardens: a demographic study of community gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • Rachael Luce. Spatial patterns in community health: an examination of spatial units and explanation of mortality in Kent County, Michigan.
  • Bryan May. Grand Valley State University's Pew Campus: the remaking of the lower west side of Grand Rapids, Michigan, a comparison of demographic data, 1980 and 2010.
  • Matthew Rice. Street tree Inventory as a management tool for newly planted trees in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


  • Emily Bantel. Alleyways as functional assets in U.S. cities: a GIS Inventory of reclaimable alleyways in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • Matthew Dondanville. Does 3d spatial reasoning support the push towards technology for infrastructure mapping and navigation?
  • Paul Egeler. Characterizing wind friendly communities: the impact of human geographic indicators on permissiveness of zoning ordinances for commercial wind energy on Michigan's west coast.
  • Kendall Gilbert. Geospatial analysis of veteran healthcare services and facilities In Michigan.
  • Ian Hanes. How Interstate 96 impacts Michigan settlements.
  • Cody Rose. Commodity camera for use in geographic research: making 3D modeling possible on a small budget.
  • Aaron Kates. Eastward expansion: an analysis of the effects of environmental factors on the movement and prevalence of the western bean cutworm.
  • Nathan Krings. Dining on progress - geographic disparities of consumption and culture in China, 1999-2009.
  • Nathan Mehmed. Critique and proposal: using city planning techniques to develop a comprehensive master plan for Blandford Nature Center.
  • Michael Papranec. Tornadoes in Michigan: 1950-1970 and 1990-2010.
  • Patrick Seidl. If you build it, they will come.
  • William Treat. Michigan drunk driving fatalities: 2010. How aggressive prosecution and liquor license violations impact fatality rates.
  • Ted Titus. An examination of zoning in the town center area of Allendale Charter Township, Michigan to provide solutions for future land use.
  • Carolyn Ulstad. Global diffusion of oil palm production,1800 to 2010.
  • Andrew Wisniewski. A geographical analysis of the distribution of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.


  • Zachary Christian-Rotramel. Michigan Inland Lake Water Quality and Surrounding Land Cover Change.
  • Donald Curry. Code Blue: A Study on Safety and the Role of Blue Light Phones on Grand Valley State University's Allendale Campus.
  • Michael Dow. Geographic Analysis of Crime.
  • Miles Hunsinger. Effect of Center Line Rumble Strips on Head-on and Sideswipe Automobile Collisions in Michigan, 2004 to 2009.
  • Taylor Huttinga. The Economic Impact of the Michigan Statewide Smoking Ban on Bars/Restaurants.
  • Stephen Kelley. The Perceived Effects of Socioeconomic Status on Academic Achievement.
  • Mary Lyons. Palm and Policy: Oil Palm Diffusion and its Effects on Biodiversity in Southeast Asia.
  • Stephanie Kozlowicz. Geographic Analysis of North Ottawa Community Hospital's Birthing Patients and the Pediatricians they Choose.
  • Anne Santa Maria. Assessing Campsite Impacts in the Allegheny National Forest: A Critique and Proposal.
  • John Martinez. Build-out Analysis: Assessment of Zoning and Land Use in Muskegon and Egelston Township.
  • Tanya Pavlishin. Politics, Economics, and Immigration from Ukraine to the USA, 1910 to Present.
  • Rebecca Seelbach. An Analysis of Potential Bus Clientshed in Allendale, Michigan Using GIS Technology.
  • Andrew Smith. Land Use and Soil Erosion in the Muskegon Watershed: An Application of the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation.
  • Kendra Socks. Homelessness in Grand Rapids: Mapping Affordable Housing and Services.
  • Corey Yunke. Who Wants to Garden? Demographic Characteristics of Prospective Gardeners at Rolling Estates.
  • Andrew Zahrt. Land Use Types in West Michigan Resistant to Urban Sprawl, 1984 to 2008.


  • Christopher Carlson. Modeling the effect of urban sprawl on land use and land cover in Michigan, 1996-2006.
  • Aaron Cumings. Patterns of U.S. military deaths in Iraq, 2003-2009.
  • Eduardo Diaz. Health care choices, does geography matter?
  • Ashley DuRocher. From cherries to Chardonnay: an exploratory analysis of price and land use change in the Northwest Fruit Region of Michigan, 1982-2006.
  • Maxwell Dillivan. The impact of the Lakes Mall, Muskegon, Michigan, on urbanization, 1998-2008,
  • Samuel Dykstra. Geographic patterns of foreign-born population in Michigan.
  • Erin Hayden. Farm location and farmers' participation in farmers' markets in Southwest Michigan.
  • Diane Miller. The impact of size of place on sense of community in the United States.
  • Anthony Petersen. A GIS model of land use/cover change in Rockford, Michigan: 1978-2005.
  • Kirk Scarbrough. Spatial analysis of the Ann Arbor Fire Department response system.
  • Christie Smith. Finding campers for Judson Collins Center camp: a GIS approach.
  • Jeffrey Sweeney. Travel cost and participation in recreation.
  • Daniel Meengs. Demography and standardized school test scores in Michigan.


  • Tarah Burgess. Analysis of preschool safety in urban and rural areas.
  • Richard Cole. The impact of campus forests on air quality: An exploratory study of Grand Valley State University.
  • Enzo Crescentini. The diffusion of Islam in the United States of America, 1920 to 2008.
  • Ian Fox. Measuring land use change from 1978 to 2005 in the Benton Harbor area using remotely-sensed data.
  • Tyler Homrich. An exploratory study on the impact of Rivertown Crossings mall on the City of Grandville.
  • Nick Langeland. Democracy and freedom in the Middle East and North Africa, 1973 to 2007.
  • Greg Lowman. Improving the classification of plant functional types using evidential reasoning on remotely-sensed imagery of lower Michigan.
  • Elizabeth McMurray. Urban redevelopment and migration into the city: An exploratory study of Baker Lofts in Holland, Michigan.
  • Nathan Mort. Oil Prices and Amtrak Ridership: 2002-2008.
  • Michael Nowak. Geographic patterns of rent in the Grand Rapids to Allendale transportation corridor, 2008.
  • Diana Page. Hispanic migration to the United States, 1980 to 2000.
  • Erin Piscopink. An analysis of Detroit and its potential for success as a viable city.
  • Craig VanGalder. Globalization of basketball: diffusion of American culture.
  • Whitney Willis. Social service dependency among Habitat for Humanity homeowners in Kent County, Michigan.


  • Kevin Coles. The problem with a third party and it's influence on voter behavior during the 2000 and 2004 Presidential Elections in Florida.
  • Danielle Danowski. Comparative analysis of mothers who give birth at North Ottawa Community Hospital: pediatrician use in Grand Haven vs. elsewhere.
  • Eric Guikema. Sustainability of Michigan's six largest universities: a comparative study.
  • Dustin Hall. Changing geography of church adherence in Michigan 1952 to 2000.
  • Patrick Jurgens. The foreclosure problem in Michigan.
  • Pete Papadakos. Crime on university campuses in Michigan.
  • Sarah Phillips. Study of the causes of the organic movement in the United States.
  • Ben Sanborn. College recruitment: a comparison of geographic origins and majors for university student populations and their football Players (an exploratory study).
  • Joseph Shafer. Land use cover change analysis in Georgetown Charter Township, Michigan, 1998-2005.
  • Brent Thelen. Mapping the shoulders of Ottawa County roads: A helpful guide for biking enthusiasts in the county.
  • Andrew VanderMeer. The causes of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
  • David Welch. Mapping land cover change in Grand Haven Township.


  • Craig Bettis. A study of crime trends at GVSU.
  • Rochelle Bright. HIV/AIDS: the case of Sub-saharan Africa.
  • Ian Clowes. An exploratory study examining the impact of the South Beltline Freeway on land use in the Kalamazoo Avenue area south of Grand Rapids, 1988-2005.
  • Colleen Cone. The effect of poverty on education and education funding.
  • Bret Groendyke. An exploratory study on firefighter attitudes towards combining fire departments in the Grand Rapids metropolitan area.
  • Clinton Klamer. Spatial diffusion: the spread of soybean cultivation in the United States, 1927-2005.
  • Matt Lashell. An exploratory study of crime and demographics in the city of Grand Rapids.
  • Andrew Million. Land use change along the coast of Grand Haven Township.
  • Trent Mills. A deer hunter's journey to hunt.
  • Seth Rennie. Study of E. coli contamination in the Coldwater River near Freemont, Michigan.
  • Sunalath Siakhasone. Exploratory study on gas station location: why do they locate the where they do?
  • Sara Smith. An exploratory study of housing costs and proximity to Grand Valley State University.
  • Jon Vos. Where sex offenders live: A study of two hypotheses using GIS technology.


  • Neil Besteman. Crime rate and income level in a rural Michigan county.
  • Matt Catanzarite. Testing exotic flora locations: landscape and knotweed colonization.
  • Tisha Cooley. Change in the distribution of HIV/AIDS in Africa.
  • Karen Cooper. Residential build-out analysis of Allendale Township.
  • John Dillay. Analysis of Michigan's Trophy Game Fish and the Best Areas to Catch Them.
  • Brent Hutton. Growth of golf courses in Michigan.
  • Carissa Jackson. Bamboo.
  • J.R. Lotto. Patterns of Arson in Michigan between January 2001 and October 2004.
  • Joe Kalee. Using Landsat 7 imagery and aerial photos to identify land-use patterns near active volcanic regions of New Zealand's North Island.
  • Ben O'Connor, Stephen Carlson, Malinda VanSledright. Citizen Survey of Grand Haven Township: a sample survey of knowledge of and satisfaction with Township services.
  • Leon Palmer. Analysis of commuter habits of students adjacent to Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.
  • Aaron Ratke. Diffusion of grape cultivation from 1982 to 1997, USA and selected states.
  • Jeremiah Saier. Using GIS to determine the difference in frequency of vehicle - deer collisions along two different routes between Benzonia and Allendale, Michigan.
  • Jason Skantze. Michigan golf and its courses: it's all about a good lie.
  • Blake Terhune. The human contribution and reaction to desertification in Northern Africa.
  • Joe Van Alten. Price and change in field crops grown in Michigan, 1981 to 2001.
  • Brian VandenBrand. Twenty Years of land use change in Grand Haven Township: Patterns of change and economic implications of development.


  • Ryan Bosscher. Distribution and statistical analysis of traffic accidents in Grand Haven Township, September 2002 to September 2003.
  • Tim DeYoung. The impact of current events on students' mapping of the Middle East, 2000 to 2003.
  • Jay Dirkse. Changing geography of soybeans in Michigan counties, 1950 to 2002.
  • Andy Moore. A study of bus rider satisfaction in the Grand Rapids metropolitan area.
  • Matt Rowbotham. Build-out analysis: A GIS Approach for understanding the effectiveness of land use regulations.
  • Jessica Stempky. Mapping the Middle East: gender differences and spatial cognition of students.
  • Michelle Bootz. Examining big box mega malls and local businesses: who gets the sales?
  • Jim Hauter. Analysis of point and nonpoint e coli contamination in the Sand and Deer Creek watersheds.
  • Michele Kintigh. Geographical analysis of client distribution.

Page last modified October 23, 2014