Professor maps children’s course

To know Meghan Cope, professor of geography, is to know her love of spaces and architecture.

That’s why her office, nestled in the historic Old Mill building, seems perfect for her.

“I really love Old Mill and the campus,” Cope said.

Her love of architecture was just a stepping stone to her path of studying geography, she said.

Cope said she first studied sociology as an undergrad, but eventually shifted to geography while exploring graduate programs because it allowed her to pursue her various interests.

“I loved the way that it allowed me to look at society, politics, economics, the environment and architecture — all these different things that I was interested in,” she said.

Cope’s personal interests have heavily influenced her work as an urban social geographer, which is why she is adamant about changing the conversation around her beloved field.

“Geography is a really misunderstood discipline,” Cope said. “People think we sit around memorizing capitals and things like that, and it’s so much more.”

She is currently working on a new project called Mapping American Childhoods, where she studies themes such as geographic mobility and migration in childhood.

“I’m really interested in public space and the ways that kids are either welcomed or not welcomed in public space and how that is enforced,” Cope said.

With all the work she does as an urban social geographer, Cope hopes to change the attitude around children as individuals.

“I would like to heighten awareness of children as an interesting social group worthy of study, worthy of listening to, worthy of paying attention to their interests, needs and desires,” she said.

Although there are many things at UVM that make Cope’s role as professor enjoyable, she said her students are her favorite part of her job.

“I am just amazed and impressed by the quality of the students,” Cope said. “I love their passion and spark.”

Senior Alex Rosenberg said that professor Cope is one of his favorite professors.

“Her classes are incredibly engaging and the content is always interesting and relevant,” he said.

Senior Andrew Fusco said that professor Cope’s interest in the relationships between places and people is shown in her work.

“Many fellow students frequently wonder what geography is all about, and Dr. Cope has taught me to reply with: it is the relationship between space and place…place and people, space and identity,” Fusco said.