Weronika Kusek, an associate professor of human geography at Northern Michigan University, is one of two recipients of NMU's 2020-21 Excellence in Teaching Award. She is a faculty member in the Earth, Environmental and Geographical Sciences (EEGS) Department.
Kusek teaches online and in-person courses in human, urban and population geography, along with the geography of Russia and others. She is a native of Poland and immigrant to the United States. Her research interests stem from her personal experiences.
“Teaching, interacting with and also learning from NMU students is my favorite part of this job,” she said. “During the past seven years at NMU, thanks to the broad applicability of geography to a variety of majors, I had the chance to truly experience how our students are genuinely interested in exploring the world and challenging their own experiences, whether they represent rural and remote areas of the Upper Peninsula or urban centers like Chicago. That curiosity and commitment to personal growth makes it easy for me to be personally committed to their success.”
Kusek's published work focuses on migratory movements of humans, personal experiences of immigrants, urban transformations, international students and geography education. She values collaboration and has published with colleagues from around the world representing universities in the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland. She said she strongly believes that using her professional and personal experiences to teach geographic concepts is the key to introducing relatable global perspectives to her students.
Her university service has included chairing the Uniting Neighbors in the Experience of Diversity (UNITED) Conference and membership on the Dean of Students' Retention Committee. She is also an active member of the American Association of Geographers (AAG). For that entity, she chaired a Committee on the Status of Women in Geography, served as chair of the Cultural Geography Specialty Group and has served on the board of the Ethnic Geography Specialty Group.
Kusek is a recipient of the AAG COVID Internship Grant, which is supporting an NMU student with a paid internship opportunity during the current semester.