Kristen Ziegler

This Pirate plans to apply her knowledge
for global impact.

Kristen Ziegler wants to work with people of developing countries.

Kristen Ziegler, a senior at East Carolina University, plans to combine her studies in applied geography and sociology as a way to help others in developing countries. She hopes to make a global impact through applied knowledge of sustainable development.

Combining geography and sociology allows Ziegler to study both the people and locations of the areas where she hopes to have an impact. “Everything has a geography, whether it’s real or abstract, or (even) past, present and future,” Ziegler said. She noted that geographic science and principles can be applied to a multitude of disciplines.

“Geography is such a powerful tool. Advances in geography and geographic technologies are continually helping organizations and individuals create real, positive change in the world,” said Ziegler.

“I picked geography because there are so many applications to it and I really liked it. I picked sociology because I like studying different cultures,” said Ziegler.

Her motivation for making a global impact began with her interests in helping others and traveling.

“I want to see as much of the world as I can because those experiences are invaluable,” said Ziegler. “I think being able to immerse yourself in different kinds of cultures and ideas just makes you a more understanding, compassionate, knowledgeable person.”

Ziegler said she would like to pursue her passions of helping people while serving with an organization such as the Peace Corps. “I’ll get to travel and experience a new piece of the world while at the same time, working with like-minded individuals to do good for so many communities.”

Currently, Ziegler helps her fellow students on campus as a geography tutor in the Pirate Tutoring Center. “I love the chance to get to know more people in my department,” said Ziegler. “Tutoring has made it so easy to meet other geography majors, as well as getting opportunities to bounce ideas off professors.”

Why did you choose to attend ECU?
ECU's physical science department is fantastic and North Carolina is a great place to go into geographic systems. ECU has great professors, the program was highly recommended and my brother was coming here. I thought I would check it out and I loved it.

Why did you decide to major in applied geography?
Because you can do anything with it. You can go into any field you want. There’s a technical side where you learn about hardware and you really get hands-on in the field. We’re learning about history and all these great achievements and the people who came before you and built this field. I like that you get the best of both worlds.

Why is membership in the geography honor society (Gamma Theta Upsilon) so important to you?
It took a lot of hard work to earn an invitation to join. I'm also really proud to be part of an organization that is committed to excellence within the field of geography and whose members are doing such great things for the discipline all over the world.

What do you like most about tutoring in the Pirate Tutoring Center?
Geography is an often misunderstood field, so I always look forward to a tutoring session with someone who is as interested in it as I am; it really makes me love my department and my major even more.

What is something cool about ECU that you wish you had known your first year?
I didn’t come to ECU until my junior year, but I do wish I had known more about all of the different student groups on campus. People here are really passionate about all of kinds of amazing things.

Photography by: Cliff Hollis
Written by: Jamitress Bowden



College: Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

Major: Applied Geography

Age: 21

Class: Senior

Hometown: Wake Forest, North Carolina

Hobbies & Interests: Map collecting, anything with owls on it, cooking, traveling and spoken word poetry

Clubs & Organizations: Pirate Tutoring Center, Dean’s Leadership Council and Gamma Theta Upsilon


Hangout: Brewster Building

Place to Eat: Hibachi Xpress

Class: World Geography: Less Developed Regions with
Dr. Jeff Popke

Website: stumbleupon.com

TV Show: Walking Dead and Frasier

Musician: Young the Giant and Local Natives

Movie: The Breakfast Club and Labyrinth


Most Influential Professor: Dr. Karen Mulcahy and
Dr. Burrell Montz

Dream Job: Humanitarian/ Philanthropist/ Global travelers

You Can’t Live Without: My faith

Role Model: My parents - Paul and Joan Ziegler

Words to Live By: Psalm 34:5 - “Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”

Advice to Fellow Students:  “Find that thing you love, work really hard at it, and then use it selflessly for the benefit of others. Make yourself more aware of the world and the people around you; make them more aware of you.”

Words of Wisdom

“Find that thing you love, work really hard at it, and then use it selflessly for the benefit of others.”

– Kristen Ziegler