8. Community Updates


  • Andrew Homka had a summer GIS internship with Noble Energy in Denver, Colorado. Greg Milbourne had a summer internship in technical marketing with Esri in Redlands, California.
  • Antoinette Mastropieri received an honorable mention in Information Literacy from the University Libraries at the 2014 Undergraduate Exhibition.
  • Courtney Jackson received a Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium Undergraduate Scholarship.
  • Evan Gover was a summer intern at National Geographic Education. Bernicia Guercio and Becky John returned this semester as our work study students.




Cervone and Italian students

Italian students visit during spring 2014
Guido Cervone hosted  five Italian master’s degree students, the top performers from his class at the University of Salerno, to assist with research on three remote sensing and data fusion projects on renewable energy and atmospheric source detection.  Pictured from left to right: Martina Moccaldi, Alessio Petrozziello, Guido Cervone, Emiliano Di Marino, Anna De Angelis, and Rosa Sicignano.




  • Sterling Quinn received a $500 scholarship to attend the State of the Map U.S. conference.
  • Emma Gaalaas Mullaney received the Spirit of Internationalization Award. She was honored at the International Women’s Day Brunch on March 19, 2014.
  • Eric Taber was awarded a NASA-MSU Professional Enhancement Award to present a paper on dengue fever risk in Pennsylvania at the US-IALE symposium in Anchorage, Alaska.
  • Aparna Parikh received a Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship (DPDF) from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) for 2014.
  • Martha Bell received the J. Warren Nystrom Award (AAG annual prize for a paper based upon a recent dissertation in geography).
  • Dana Cuomo received an AAUW American Dissertation Fellowship for 2014–2015.
  • Yooinn Hong and Adrienne Tucker received 2014–2015 Centennial Research Travel Awards from the Earth and Mineral Sciences Graduate Student Council.
  • The new fall 2014 graduate students are: Kevin Berstein, Yanni Cao, Elizabeth Dzwonczyk, John Dzwonczyk, Carolyn Fish, Laura Harding, Karen Paiva Henrique, Carolynne Hultquist, Mario Machado, Elena Sava, Narmadha Senanayake, and Mark Simpson.



This is the PLACE!
The Department of Geography is proud to announce the establishment of a new research laboratory, the Penn State Lab for Analysis of Culture and Environment (PLACE) in 324 Walker Building.  Initiated by Department Head Cynthia A. Brewer, this lab is designed to support graduate student research in human geography, broadly conceived.  Kirby Calvert, assistant professor of geography, is the lab director, advised by a committee of graduate students: Dana Cuomo, Nathan Frey, Andrew Marshall and Jamie Shinn. The lab is currently funding 20 graduate students while establishing PLACE-based initiatives to foster research success and overall student well-being among the entire geography graduate student community.




  • Alan Taylor received a grant funded by the Joint Fire Science Program: “Do fuel treatments restore ecosystem function? Water use efficiency before and after fire suppression and fuels treatments in fire-prone pine forests in the western United States.”
  • Angela Rogers was named co-chair elect of the Penn State Commission for Women. She will serve as co-chair of the commission during 2015–2016.
  • Tara LaLonde began working in the University Libraries as a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist with the Research Hub’s Data and Geospatial Services Team.
  • Stephen Matthews is serving as chairman of a new Scientific Panel on Spatial Demography created by the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population based in Paris, France.
  • Karl Zimmerer is one of four University faculty members who received the 2014 Faculty Scholar Medals for Outstanding Achievement.
  • Cynthia Brewer received the Wilson Award for Outstanding Service at the College of Earth and Mineral Science’s annual Wilson Awards Banquet on Sunday, April 27, 2014.
  • Cynthia Brewer became the head of the Department of Geography, starting July 1, 2014.
  • Guido Cervone was named PI for three new funded projects: Optimal Selection of Ensemble Members using Machine Learning II sponsored by the National Center for Atmospheric Research; An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to Study Natural Hazards sponsored by the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence; and Using Social Networks and Commercial Remote Sensing to Assess Impacts of Natural Events on Transportation sponsored by the Department of Transportation.
  • Anthony Robinson received the G. Montgomery and Marion Hall Mitchell Award for Innovative Teaching at the College of Earth and Mineral Science’s annual Wilson Awards Banquet on Sunday, April 27, 2014.
  • Mark Coletti earned his Ph.D. in computer science from George Mason University.


  • Joel Burcat (B.S. ’76), a partner in the Harrisburg office of Saul Ewing LLP, is the co-editor of The Law of Oil and Gas in Pennsylvania.  It is available from PBI Press in both hardcover and CD-ROM.  
  • Mark Milliron (B.S. GEOG ’83), is senior emergency response planner with enGenius Consulting Group of Huntsville, Al., for a disaster planning project at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region III office in Philadelphia. He lives in Lemont, Pennsylvania.
  • Nathan Piekielek (B.S. ’00) was hired as the University Libraries Geospatial Services librarian.
  • Gregory Luna (B.S. ’01) passed his Ph.D. dissertation defense (Modeling the Aztec Agricultural Waterscape of Lake Xochimilco: A GIS Analysis of Lakebed Chinampas and Settlement) in the Penn State Department of Anthropology. Erica Smithwick was a committee member.
  • Corene Matyas (Ph.D. ’05) has been named Colonel Allan R. and Margaret G. Crow Term Professor by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University Florida for 2014–2015.
  • Jennie Karalewich (B.S.’05), a GEMS board member and a geographer with the U.S. Census Bureau, received a Bronze Medal for “superior federal service,” the highest honorary recognition awarded by the Census Bureau. Karalewich’s team was awarded the Bronze Medal for research and collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey resulting in Census’ TIGER roads as a source for USGS’ National Map. 
  • Chris Gabris (B.S. ’09) graduated in December from The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) with a M.P.S. in Geographic Information Systems and is now working as a GIS Specialist at CDM Smith in Fairfax, Virginia.
  • Chris Goranson (MGIS ’09) has been selected as a 2014 Presidential Innovation Fellow.
  • Rui Li (Ph.D. ’12) a former member of the Human Factors in GIScience Lab, will join the Department of Geography and Planning at the State University of New York at Albany (SUNY Albany) as an assistant professor.
  • Raechel Bianchetti (Ph.D. ’14) has accepted a tenure-track position at Michigan State University. She will be joining them as an assistant professor in the Department of Geography where she will be teaching cartography and continuing her research concerning human factors of remote sensing image analysis.
  • Nathan Amador (Ph.D. ’14) started a tenure-track position in Physical Geography at Ohio Wesleyan College (Columbus) in July.
  • Wei Luo (Ph.D. ’14) started a postdoc position in the School of Computing, Informatics & Decision Systems Engineering at Arizona State University this fall. He will work on an NGA project to address national security risks of climate change.

In Memoriam
Thomas Harvey, longtime faculty member in the Geography Department at Portland State University, passed away on December 13, 2013. He was born in 1951 and  raised in Tupelo, Mississippi. He completed an M.A. in Geography at Penn State in 1982 (thesis title: The Making of Railroad Towns in Minnesota’s Red River Valley), and his Ph.D. in Geography was from University of Minnesota in 1990 (dissertation: Homeownership, Housing Conditions and Neighborhood Market Dynamics: St. Paul, Minnesota, 1974-1987).
J. Chapman McGrew Jr., 67, of Salisbury, Maryland, died Friday, July 11, 2014, at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury. Born on Sept. 21, 1946, in San Diego, Calif., he was the son of the late John Chapman and Bernice Yates McGrew. He graduated from San Diego State College in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in geography and minor in math. He then received a National Defense Education Act Fellowship to study at Penn State, where he earned a M.S. in 1972 and a Ph.D. in 1977 in geography.  McGrew, as you may recall, wrote the first geography Ph.D. using goal programming in 1977, quite an innovation in its time. The substantive locus of his work was investment in the Pennsylvania State Park system under multiple and conflicting goals. He went on to a career on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, at Salisbury, and retired maybe eight years ago after having become a professor and department head. We remained in contact over the years. –C. Greg Knight.