Monthly Archives: March 2018

Career Moves of a Third Culture Kid in 2018: Somewhere between geography, design, and new media

By Joey Lee


UBC Geography Joey Lee
NYC Subway // March 2018 //

My name is Joey Lee and I’m a Third Culture Kid ( Throughout my life I’ve developed personally between cultures — as a Korean-American/foreigner — and unsurprisingly and professionally between disciplines — as a designer and researcher. Despite the never ending existential questions, I’ve found that I’m happiest in the mash-up between these spaces I’ve been occupying. It’s perhaps why I found a home somewhere in between geography and design/new media.

Geography has more to do with articulating the right questions
about the world, rather than having the answers to those questions

By training, some might consider me to be a capital “G” Geographer — I studied geography at UCLA (B.A.) and UBC (M.Sc), worked on developing new ways of mapping Greenhouse Gas Emissions in cities (with Dr. Andreas Christen), and gained a deep appreciation for critical perspectives ( and a strong foundation in spatial thinking. Through my experiences in Geography, I learned to consider everything, to ask more and better questions, and to be thoughtful about the ways my work (and the work of others) affects people and places. For me, Geography has more to do with articulating the right questions about the world, rather than having the answers to those questions. While as a geographer I might not have the answer to all of the world’s pressing questions, at least I will have (hopefully) unpacked more thoughtfully than most, where, how, and why those questions are being expressed. After all, you can’t solve a problem if you don’t know what the problem is in the first place. All that being said, the lens of geography is critical for what I do, but it’s fitting to say that I’m not “doing geography”.

From what I’m seeing, expressing new and critical perspectives
from the arts, humanities, and social sciences about/using
technology is what the world could use more of.

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My journey from a very keen but distracted (and probably depressed) undergraduate to a Professor of Geography at Simon Fraser University

By Nadine Schuurman

Remember the Friendly Giant? Never heard of him? Well he was voted Canada’s most loved TV show last year in a CBC poll (you can find it on Youtube). He always started the show with “look up, way up” because he was a giant and very tall. To write this blog, I had to look back, way back.

I did my undergraduate degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), about as remote as you can get from Ottawa where I went to High School. I probably took just about every type of course in my first couple of years before settling on Geology as a major. Sadly, that did not go well. It didn’t go well because my little brother became very ill and died. Before he died, during the period that he was sick and in and out of hospital, I tried running long distances, then reading books by myself in my freezing cold bed-sit, then partying. It all worked to distract me – so much that I failed all of my courses in the Spring semester of 1979.

Me around the time of my expulsion (1979)

Failing all of your courses resulted back then (and possibly today) in what was called the Dean’s vacation: a two year forced expulsion. They weren’t very happy years but by the time I returned to MUN as a 21 year, I knew I wanted to become a geographer, especially a GIS type of geographer.

I was self-supporting after my spectacular failure at my first university attempt and that really sharpened my focus. I ended up doing quite well. I won a few minor scholarships, was given a Teaching Assistantship as an undergraduate and started to think “hey maybe I can go all the way with this academic gig”. Beginner’s confidence. Continue reading