Candice Luebbering, recipient of the CNRE 2021 Recent Alumni Award, holds the distinction of being the first person to earn a doctorate in the history of the Department of Geography. She studied sociology and anthropology as an undergrad at Truman State University before coming to Virginia Tech, where she completed a master’s in geography in 2007 and a Ph.D. in geospatial and environmental analysis in 2011. “After discovering geography and geospatial technology, I realized I not only liked working in the discipline, but I liked working for the discipline, promoting the field and sharing what it has to offer to everyone.”

Luebbering took that passion to the American Association of Geographers, where she served in several positions, including senior research geographer and director of outreach and membership services. She most recently served as executive director of the GIS Certification Institute, the same organization that certified her as a GIS Professional in 2015.

A self-labeled “map nerd” with strengths in outreach, research, and geospatial technology, she loves promoting and sharing geography and GIS with all audiences. “I am passionate about maps and love how we can connect with and learn from others through sharing personal geographies and our innate sense of places and spaces. There is a universal connection to the tenets of our field, and it provides a way to communicate and relate with anyone.”

In her spare time, Luebbering loves cycling and scouring auctions, estate sales, thrift stores, and spring-cleaning events for unique finds, particularly old maps, atlases, and globes as well as well-worn carpentry and industrial pieces for eclectic home decor. “My small side business, All Mapped Out, combines my love of cartography with my love of repurposing old things, making one-of-a-kind coasters with vintage maps that I sell in stores and at market events in DC.”

She notes that Blacksburg, Virginia Tech, the college, and the geography department have all played a big role in her personal and professional development. “I am happy to have been able to serve the college on the Dean’s Advisory Council, as a Women in STEM panelist, and on a CNRE Career Panel. I welcome more opportunities in the future to support Hokies of all generations as a means of giving back and paying forward on my wonderful experiences with the college and university.”