Ayanda Masilela (she/her/hers)

Graduate Student
Aya Masilela

Contact Information

Office Hours
CSSCR (W 2024): Tue: 8:00-18:00; Wed 18:00-21:00 (Zoom); Fri 8:00-12:00


PhC, Geography, University of Washington, 2014-Present
MS, Geography, Virginia Tech, 2014
BA, Geography GIS/Cartography, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2010
Curriculum Vitae (312.24 KB)

My current research interests center geographies of health, discourses of health and health care, and health care accessibility. My dissertation project investigates the martial arts. WIth this project I aim to discover how practice spaces as microgeographies enable practitioners to develop understandings of health management in often high-impact environments. I will also investigate the collision of Eastern and Western medical discourses in these practice environments.

For my Master's Degree, I investigated maternal and infant health outcomes in indigenous Northern Plains communities. With that project I encountered the intersections of health, culture, and history, as well as the limitations of quantitative methods due to the inability of normative record-keeping standards to account for the consequences of systemic oppression.

As a masters student and undergraduate, my work centered GIS, spatial analysis, and quantitative methods. This is reflected in my current teaching work, which has primarily featured GIS and digital geographies. My goal is to further my understanding of the powers and limitations of specific research methodologies, and how to render visible narratives that some methodologies erase.

Courses Taught

Additional Courses

Virginia Tech

  • GEOG 2004: Introduction to Water Resources and Environmental Protection, Population, and Development, Spring 2014
  • GEOG 4074: Medical Geography and Geographic Theory and Research, Fall 2013
  • GEOG 1004: Introduction to Human Geography, Spring 2013, Fall 2012
  • GEOG 4054: Geography of Wine, Spring 2013

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