Grad Students

Mia Bennett

Contact Information

Office  Not Available

Fields of Study

Political geography, the Arctic, regional development, infrastructure, indigeneous peoples, frontiers


Dr. Laurence Smith (UCLA Geography, co-chair)
Dr. John Agnew (UCLA Geography, co-chair)
Dr. David Rigby (UCLA Geography, committee member)
Dr. R. Bin Wong (UCLA History, external committee member)


AAG Dissertation Grant (2017)
AAG Political Geography Specialty Group Travel Grant (2017)
AAG Eurasian Geography Specialty Group Student Paper Competition - Honorable Mention (2017)
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2014-2017)

Charles F. Scott Fellowship (2016-2017, 2015-2016, 2014-2015)
International Council for Canadian Studies Graduate Award (2016)
UCLA Russian and Eurasian Studies Endowed Award (2016)
AAG Asian Specialty Group Best Graduate Student Paper Award (2016)
UCLA Canadian Studies Graduate Student Award (2016)
American Geophysical Union Cryosphere Innovation Award (2016)
AAG Conference Travel Grant (2015)
UCLA Urban Humanities Initiative Student Research Grant (2015)
Center for European and Eurasian Studies Summer Language Study Grant (2014)
Center for European and Eurasian Studies Conference Travel Grant (2013)
UCLA Dean's Scholar Award (2013)
Asia Pacific Week Travel Scholarship, Australia National University (2013)  
Gates Cambridge Scholarship (2012-2013) 
Fulbright U.S. Student Grant (2012) (Declined)
Phi Beta Kappa (2010)


I am a political geographer with strong geospatial skills interested in Arctic development in a climate-impacted world. My approach incorporates fieldwork and remote sensing to critically analyze discursive and material practices of Arctic development at local and global scales. My case studies involve transportation infrastructure projects in the Northwest Territories, Canada and the Sakha Republic, Russia, along with an examination of Singapore's partnerships with indigenous organizations and corporations in the Arctic.


MPhil with Distinction, Polar Studies, University of Cambridge (2013) 
BA, Political Science & European Studies, summa cum laude, University of California, Los Angeles (2010)


1. Bennett, M.M. and Smith, L.C. (2017). "Using multitemporal night-time lights data to compare regional development in Russia and China, 1992-2012." International Journal of Remote Sensing.

2. Bennett, M.M. and Smith, L.C. (2017). "Advances in using multitemporal night-time lights satellite imagery to detect, estimate, and monitor socioeconomic dynamics." Remote Sensing of Environment 192, 176-197.

3. Bennett, M.M. (2016). "The Silk Road goes north: Russia's role within China's Belt and Road Initiative." Area Development and Policy 1(3), 341-351. 

4. Bennett, M.M. (2016). “Discursive, material, vertical, and extensive dimensions of post-Cold War Arctic resource extraction.” Polar Geography 39(4), 258-273.

5. Bennett, M.M. (2016). "Torched earth: Dimensions of extraterritorial nationalism in the Chinese and Russian Olympic torch relays." Geoforum 74, 171-181.

6. Bennett, M.M., Greaves, W., Riedlsperger, R., & Botella, A. (2016). "Articulating the Arctic: contrasting state and Inuit maps of the Canadian North." Polar Record 52(6), 630-644.

7. Bennett, M.M. (2015). “How China Sees the Arctic: Reading between Extraregional and Intraregional Narratives.” Geopolitics 20(3), 645-648.

8. Bennett, M.M. (2014). “The Maritime Tiger: Exploring South Korea’s Interests and Role in the Arctic.” Strategic Analysis 38(6), 886-903.

9. Bennett, M.M. (2014). “North by Northeast: Towards an Asian-Arctic Region.” Eurasian Geography and Economics 55(1), 71-93.

10. Bennett, M.M. (2013). "Bounding Nature: Conservation and Sovereignty in the Canadian and Russian Arctic," Arctic Yearbook 2, 85-106. 


"Torched earth: dimensions of extraterritorial nationalism in the Chinese and Russian Olympic Torch Relays." Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers, San Francisco, USA, April 2016. Paper presentation.

"Singapore: the “global” city in a globalizing Arctic." American Association of Geographers Political Geography Specialty Group Pre-Conference. San Francisco, USA, April 2016. Paper presentation.

"Nighttime lights, socioeconomic development, and revitalization policies in Northeast Asia." Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union. San Francisco, USA, December 2015. Poster presentation.

"Detecting Arctic ice roads and related industrial activities with remotely-sensed night-light imagery," Regional Conference of the International Geographical Union, Moscow, Russia, August 2015. Paper presentation.

"Visualizing the Power Geometries of Arctic Transportation Networks," Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers. Chicago, USA, April 2015. Paper presentation.

"The Changing Shape of the Arctic Region," High North Dialogue. Bodø, Norway, March 2015. Invited talk.

"After the Flood: Socioeconomic and Environmental Impacts of Iceland's Karahnjukar Megaproject," Eighth International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences. Prince George, Canada, May 2014. Paper presentation.

"Asia in the Arctic: What Difference Will It Make?," Asia's New Security Agenda. Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Aairs and RSIS. Singapore, March 2014. Invited talk.

"Beyond Border Lines: Sovereignty and Foreign State-Owned Enterprises in the Arctic," Arctic Energy Summit, Akureyri, Iceland. October 2013. Paper presentation.

"The Maritime Tiger: Exploring South Korea's Interests and Role in the Arctic," The Geopolitics of the Arctic: Commerce, Governance and Policy. Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi, India, September 2013. Invited paper presentation.

"Bounding Nature: Conservation and Sovereignty in the Canadian and Russian Arctic," Oxbridge Canadian Conference. Canada House, London, UK, June 2013. Paper presentation.

"The Maritime Tiger: Exploring South Korea's Interests and Role in the Arctic," Asian Arctic expansion? Non-Arctic states and the Arctic Council. Royal Institute of Technology/KTH, Stockholm, Sweden, February 2013. Invited talk.

"The Maritime Tiger: Exploring South Korea's Interests and Role in the Arctic," Arctic Frontiers. Tromso, Norway, January 2013. Paper presentation.

Going North: The Geopolitics of Northern Development. Center for Global Affairs, NYU, New York, February 2011. Invited panel participation.