Department recognizes achievements at annual reception

Monday, May 5, 2014 - 12:14pm

Students, faculty, staff, and friends of the Department of Geography gathered on Friday, May 2, 2014 at The Nittany Lion Inn for the annual Recognition Reception to give awards and honor achievements for the year.

View or download a PDF of the program booklet.

Gwen McCauley and Greg Milbourne







Gwen McCauley with Jeff Gockley Memorial Award recipient Gregory Milbourne.




The event began with relaxed socializing over punch and hors d'oeuvres while completing master’s degree students displayed posters of their work.

Karl Zimmerer served as the master of ceremonies, sharing the lectern with Cindy Brewer and Brent Yarnal for the presentations of undergraduate and graduate student awards, respectively.

Fred and Marianne Gockley and Gwen McCauley attended and presented the Jeff Gockley memorial award.  The Jeff Gockley Memorial Award was established in 2005 to honor the memory of alumnus Jeff Gockley (B.S. 1997). It is awarded to top graduating senior(s) in the GIS option. This year’s recipient was Gregory Milbourne. 

Bruce and Ruth Balmat attended and presented the Balmat Family Scholarship in Geography to Marina Burka and Erica Lyle.  The Balmats also recognized the recipients of the Balmat Family Fund in Geography for Honors Scholars, William Coughlin, Aaron Dennis, Ryan Gallagher, and Britta Schumacher.

Highlights of additional awards presented and acknowledged

Undergraduate student awards

  • G. D. Richardson and Kathy LaSauce Undergraduate Scholarship in Geography in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences: Michelle Lenze, Barbara Munin, Britta Schumacher, Jake Simon, Everleigh Stokes
  • Geography Alumni Scholars (Outstanding Student) Award: Patrick Boynton, Anne Harris, Yiting Ju, Benjamin Levine, Thaddeus Lopatka, Marybeth McGinnis, Melissa Peterson, Sarah Sharp, Mark Szajkoqski
  • E. Willard Miller Award in Geography: Evan Gover, Sarah Sharp           

Graduate student awards

  • E. Willard and Ruby S. Miller Distinguished Graduate Fellowship: Lucas Harris
  • E. Willard and Ruby S. Miller Geography Graduate Student Fund: Raechel Bianchetti
  • E. Willard Miller Award in Geography: Doug Baldwin, Morteza Karimzadeh, Jonathan Nelson, Azita Ranjbar, Jennifer Titanski-Hooper
  • Geography Alumni Scholars (Outstanding Student) Award: Dana Cuomo
  • Geography Outstanding Research Assistant Award: Alexander Savelyev

Faculty and staff awards

  • Staff Outstanding Service Award: Angela Rogers
  • Gladys Snyder Education Grant: Kirby Calvert
  • Wilson Travel Grant: Deryck Holdsworth
  • Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Social and Behavioral Sciences: Karl Zimmerer
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS): Alan MacEachren
  • Alexander and Ilse Melimid Medal from the American Geographical Society: Karl Zimmerer
  • USGS Henry Gannett Award for Exceptional Contributions to Topographic Mapping: Cindy Brewer

After all the awards were presented or acknowledged, department graduates were recognized.  Undergraduate geography degrees were earned by 51 students in summer 2013, fall 2013, and spring 2014. Also during the 2013–2014 academic year, there were 55 MGIS degree, nine master of science degree, and five doctor of philosophy degree recipients.

Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU) officers conducted an induction ceremony for the new members of the international geographical honor society. Twenty students and Karl Zimmerer were inducted.

The program concluded with a special recognition and thank-you gift presented by Associate Head Brent Yarnal to Karl Zimmerer in appreciation for his term of service as department head, which ends on July 1, 2014.