My name is Mia Bennett, and I am a PhD Candidate and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in the Department of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Currently, I am based at the University of Vienna in the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, where I am participating in a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (NSF GROW) program. In Vienna, I am collaborating with a team of anthropologists studying the relationship between people and infrastructure in the Russian Far East. 

I am a political geographer with geospatial skills interested in transportation infrastructure and natural resource development in northern frontiers, namely the Arctic and Russian Far East. As news headlines declare the Arctic newly opened by climate change despite five centuries of extraction, I ask who is really benefiting from major development projects occurring in the region today.

I’ve done fieldwork on bridges both real and imagined in the Russian Far East and on a new highway to the Arctic Ocean in Canada’s Northwest Territories, and atop the melting Greenland Ice Sheet and inside air-conditioned offices in Singapore.

My research is supported by generous grants from the International Council for Canadian Studies, the UCLA College of Social Sciences, the American Geophysical Union’s Cryosphere Focus Group, the UCLA Canadian Studies Program, and the UCLA Urban Humanities Institute. I also collaborate with the Configurations of Remoteness (CORE) project at the University of Vienna.

I received an MPhil in Polar Studies from the University of Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute with the support of a Gates Scholarship. My masters research investigated the extent of an Asian-Arctic region, focusing on the northern activities of ChinaSouth Korea, and Japan. 

When not doing research or blogging, I lead outreach efforts for the U.S. Association of Polar Early Career Scientists and coordinate the UCLA Central Asia Workshop.

My academic publications are listed in Google Scholar and are available to read on and ResearchGate. I post occasional 140-character thoughts on Twitter, square-sized photographs on Instagram, and updates on Facebook. Email me at mbennett7 at ucla dot edu, and I’ll respond to you in English, Russian, French, or Swedish.