I am a broadly trained human geographer with specializations in ethnic geography, tourism geography, and the North American culture region (the U.S. and Canada). I have eight years of full-time university teaching experience, having taught at The University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh; Texas State University-San Marcos; and Humboldt State University (a campus in the California State University system). I have been a summer adjunct, teaching for UMD's Department of Geographical Sciences, since 2014.

I currently work as an instructional designer in Bender Library's E-Learning Support Services at American University in Washington, DC. My job is to support faculty across disciplines in the development of pedagogically sound and engaging online courses that effectively use instructional technology. I received a certification in e-learning instructional design from UC-Irvine in 2015 and was certified as a Quality Matters Peer Reviewer in 2017.

Although my full-time position is not directly related to my academic training in geography, I use a lot of the transferable skills I have developed as a geographer, including project management, communication, interdisciplinarity, critical thinking, and a big-picture perspective. Prior to shifting careers to work in instructional design, I was a Senior Researcher at the Association of American Geographers for three years, where most of my responsibilities focused on research and outreach related to career pathways and professional development for geographers and initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion within the discipline.

Areas of Interest

  • The U.S. & Canada
  • Human geography
  • Ethnic geography
  • Tourism studies
  • Career readiness and preparedness
  • Active/applied/experiential learning
  • Curriculum development and instructional design for online and hybrid courses


  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    The University of Texas at Austin, 2006 (geography)
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Texas State University-San Marcos, 1999 (applied geography)
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    The University of Texas at Austin, 1994 (geography)
Joy Adams in front of AU's Bender Library
Department of Geographical Sciences
joy.adams [at] gmail.com
Office Hours
By appointment, online or by phone/videoconference