Hunter Geography Alumni Focus


An Interview with Shannon Doherty, BA, Environmental Studies, 2015
Edited by Christina Santiago, Hunter College, English major


Shannon Doherty received her BA in, Environmental Studies, Public Policy, and Special Honors ā€“ CUNY Hunter College 2015. Doherty also received her MPA, Environmental Science & Policy ā€“ Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs 2016. In previous years Doherty served as a Green Roof Intern, NYC Parks in the year 2013, was an Operations Analyst, NYC Parks through the years 2016-2019, and is currently a Project Development Coordinator, NYC Parks.

How has Hunter Geography helped shape who you are today/your future?
Hunter Geo shaped the foundation of how I think about the world today and my career working in parks. Before coming to Hunter, I was a freelance makeup artist and dance educator on an unsure track. When I decided to major in Environmental Studies and Public Policy, I started the big-picture thinking I had always craved. The skills I learned in Hunter Geo - particularly GIS and Excel - were super useful in graduate school and my role as an Analyst at NYC Parks. Most of all, my professors offered a ton of support helping me get an internship, a TGIF grant, a part-time campus job, and basically into graduate school with their recommendation letters. I might owe my current life to Hunter Geo.

Why is geographic approach important to your research?
I find that geographic data is almost always the best data. Whether Iā€™m working on a project about park features or figuring out where to eat for dinner, I always start with a map and carry the conversation from there. The ability to think geographically is usually advantageous because it removes a few steps.

What is your current research?
As I am motivated by serving the public, climate change, love of nature and New York City my current research is streamlining the management of discretionary awards for nonprofit programs in parks. A lot of attention and money are going to parks these days, and keeping track of it all requires a lot of systems and communication. I also participate in extracurricular activities at work, like the Leadership Development Program and the Arsenal Gardening Team ā€“ my office is in a neat historic building in Central Park, so taking care of our rooftop plants is not just a really gorgeous way to break up the workday, but somehow feels like an honor too.

Published: November 27, 2019