Emory & Henry senior Colt Pierce to pursue PhD program after graduation

Posted by Allison Galloway
Our Emory & Henry 2020 seniors are preparing to graduate and change the world.

After graduating from Emory & Henry College in May 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Geography, Colt Pierce will be heading into the Geography PhD program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The university is ranked 20th in the world and the Geography program is ranked as the top Geography program in the nation. 

“When I was first admitted into the Geography doctoral program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, their first remark was how obvious Emory & Henry has prepared me to engage and express in various fields of thought,” says Pierce. “I owe a great deal of my accomplishments to the several professors who have taken the time to ensure my success.” 

Pierce has spent a considerable amount of time during his undergraduate years researching how deviant ideologies arise in society by using geographic spatial theories through the lens of music. In May and June 2018, he spent time in Norway focusing on white supremacy, satanism, and nordic paganism in black metal music. He conducted interviews with several bands and observed Norwegian culture and interactionism. Several of the graduate programs to which he applied were very excited and impressed by his research, which he will be using for his honors thesis and the focus of his PhD research.  

In addition to this research, Pierce was heavily involved on campus. He completed an internship research project with Housing & Residence Life as well as served as a Village Community Advisor. Pierce was also a member of the Honors Program, Blue Key Honors Society, Phi Gamma Mu Honors Society, Gamma Theta Epsilon Honors Society, president of the Hermesian Society, and captain of the men’s cross country team. 

“I believe the most important factor that has shaped my experience at Emory & Henry is the interpersonal relationships professors craft with their students,” adds Pierce. “My advisor, Dr. Davis, has continually challenged me beyond what I thought were my own capabilities, and has given me numerous opportunities to improve myself not only as a student, but also as a member of society.” 

After Pierce obtains his PhD, he hopes to conduct research throughout the world to understand how music impacts our perception of place and the surrounding environment. 

  • Colt Pierce
    Colt Pierce
When I was first admitted into the Geography doctoral program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, their first remark was how obvious Emory & Henry has prepared me to engage and express in various fields of thought. 
- Colt Pierce

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