8. Community updates

 

Students, staff, alums represent department in PGS
At the 2013 annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Geographical Society (PGS), undergraduate senior Shannon Grumbly presented a poster based on her summer research conducted at the University of Iowa through the SROP program.  Grumbly and fellow senior Kira Smith co-facilitated with Jodi Vender a roundtable discussion on networking and professional development for students. 
     Several alumni also participated in the meeting, including Joe Bencloski (Ph.D. ‘76)  faculty member at Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Gina Bloodworth (Ph.D. ‘05), faculty member at Salisbury University in Maryland; and Michael Glass (Ph.D. ‘07), faculty member at University of Pittsburgh. Vender is past president of the organization, and Tim Dolney, associate professor of geography and GIScience at Penn State Altoona, is president-elect. Planning is underway for the next annual meeting, which will take place in State College, Pennsylvania, November 7–8, 2014.
    



Remembering Dr. Frederick L. Wernstedt
By Mark Kissel (B.S. ’77)

 

As I reflect on the passing of Frederick L. Wernstedt, I want to note his vital contributions to Penn State’s geography department. Dr. Wernstedt may not have had the high academic profile as his contemporaries, but I believe that his contributions to Penn State’s Department of Geography were just as important.  As the Undergraduate Officer, he took on the task of counseling all of us undergraduates.  Many of us transferred into the major, uncertain of such a decision.  We quite often found ourselves defending our decision to parents and friends.  The questions would take form as, “You transferred to what major?  Really?  What will you do with that?  So, you will be a teacher?”  
Yes, geography was a different kind of choice before the GIS revolution swept aside such concerns.  On one occasion, when my father had returned me to University Park after a break in the academic calendar, I suggested that we visit the Deike Building (home of the department before the Walker Building).  We walked the floor and by chance Dr. Wernstedt was in his office, working on a map of Mexico.  After introductions and general conversation, Dr. Wernstedt said to my father, “Well, your son is in the right major.”  That helped with “selling” geography—at least to my parents.  Dr. Wernstedt guided us 20 or so undergraduates, gave us confidence, and encouraged us to make the most of the wonderful resources at our disposal in the department, the college, and the broader university.  He instinctively knew how to guide us collectively and individually.  His efforts to guide and counsel the undergraduates helped build the program and galvanized the loyalty of us undergraduates to Penn State geography.  


UNDERGRADUATE
John Swab won the Freshman Award in the EMS Undergraduate Poster Exhibition and Competition held on December 4, 2013, for his poster “Streetcars: The Start of the Suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland.”

Ariel Alvarez (B.A. ‘13) was honored at the fall 2013 EMSAGE Laureates award dinner.  She is currently an intern at the National Geographic Society.

GRADUATE
At the 2013 Middle States AAG Annual Meeting in Buffalo, October 18-19, the Penn State team won the Middle States Regional Geography Bowl. The team was composed of grad students Ashlee Adams, Crista Livecchi, Adrienne Tucker, and Jase Bernhardt. Furthermore, Adams, Livecchi, and Bernhardt qualified to represent the region at the World Geography Bowl at the 2014 AAG Annual Meeting in Tampa. Bernhardt also won the award at the conference for Best Student Paper.

Russell Hedberg and his wife Kaitlin announced the birth of their son, Jack Hiland Hedberg, on October 19, 2013.

Aparna Parikh had an article titled “Jane in the Call Center” published in the Critical Planning Journal, UCLA. Additionally, she co-edited the proceedings for a conference titled “The Nature of Spatial Practices” which she had co-organized in spring 2013.

Adrienne Tucker received an American Meteorological Society travel grant to attend the annual meeting of the AMS in January 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Linda Foster’s paper “Development of a workflow prototype utilizing ESRI’s Parcel Fabric” (co-author: Justine Blanford) was accepted in the URISA Journal.

Wei Luo, Peifeng Yin, Qian Di, Frank Hardisty, and Alan M. MacEachren had a paper accepted by PLOS ONE: “A Geovisual Analytic Approach to Understanding Geo-Social Relationships in the International Trade Network.”

Adrienne Tucker and Jase Bernhardt have been awarded NASA Space Grant Fellowships for the 2013–14 and 2014–15 academic years.

Vincent Ricciardi was one of two recipients of the 2013 M.G. Whiting Student Indigenous Knowledge Research Award.

Jonathan Nelson received a Big Data Social Science IGERT traineeships.

FACULTY AND STAFF
Justine Blanford and colleagues published a paper in PloS Pathogens, “Chemicals, climate and control: Increasing the effectiveness of malaria vector control tools by considering relevant temperatures.”

Cynthia Brewer earned the 2013 Henry Gannett Award from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) for Exceptional Contributions to Topographic Mapping.

Rob Brooks, Alan Taylor, and Todd Bacastow are the principal investigators on a grant renewal with the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs at Fort Indiantown Gap to assist with the Sustainable Range Program, in the areas of range management, forestry, wildlife, and GIS.

Karen L. Schuckman
has been named a 2014 American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) Fellow Award winner. 

Alan M. MacEachren was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Petra Tschakert traveled to North Lakimpur, India, to take part in a consultation workshop on flexible flood management in December 2013.  The workshop was part of the Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP).

After six years in the Department of Geography office, Kary Isett takes on a new administrative support assistant position at the Dutton Institute, working with the GeoINT and iMPS-HLS programs.

Jennifer Balch was awarded a NASA grant from the Terrestrial Ecology program. The grant is titled: “Understanding Climate and Land Use Drivers of Invasive-Grass Fueled Fires Across the Western U.S.”

Erica Smithwick and Petra Tschakert were elected to serve on the Faculty Senate.

Guido Cervone was awarded a grant from the Office of Naval Research for his research project: Filling Gaps in Remote Sensing Data Using Social Media During CBRNE Emergencies.

Karen Cox joined the department as the bookkeeper.

Karl Zimmerer
organized an interdisciplinary symposium on agrobiodiversity and sustainability at the 2014 annual meeting of the AAAS held in Chicago, Illinois.

Barbara Luther joined the department as the new undergraduate administrative assistant.

ALUMNI
Adria Liszka Reutzel (B.S. ’00) welcomed to a baby boy, William Joseph, into her family on June 11, 2013.

Frank Boscoe (Ph.D. ’00) had his first book published. Geographic Health Data: Fundamental Techniques for Analysis. He has a dual appointment with the New York State Cancer Registry and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the University at Albany.

Amy Trauger (M.S. ’01) and Jennifer Fluri (M.S. ’01, Ph.D. ’05) co-authored an article in the February 2014 issue of the Professional Geographer. “Getting Beyond the ‘God Trick’: Toward Service Research.”

Steven Lachman (Ph.D.’03) was elected as a State College district judge on Tuesday, November 5, 2013.

Geoff Hatchard (M.S. ’03) started a new job with Apple, working on their Maps programs, in Cupertino, California.

Michael R. Glass (Ph.D. ’07) edited a book with Reuben Rose-Redwood (M.S. ’02, Ph.D. ’06) for Routledge. Performativity, Politics, and the Production of Social Space was released late December 2013. In addition, Lise Nelson contributed one of the chapters: “Engaging Butler: Subjects, Cernment, and the Ongoing Limits of Performativity.”