View Penn State information on COVID-19 >>
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. — Erica Smithwick, Penn State distinguished professor of geography and associate director of the Institutes of Energy and the Environment, was selected as an Administrative Fellow for the 2021–22 academic year.
The Administrative Fellows Program enables participants to strengthen their administrative talents and qualifications by working with a Penn State leader in a mentoring relationship. Fellows increase their understanding of the contexts within which decisions are made and of the work done in units across the University.
Hannah Perrelli knows exactly what drew her to the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS). It was the camaraderie between students and the engagement with faculty, staff and alumni who frequented the University Park campus.
It wasn’t even the major, geography, that drew her in. She found that later.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she thought “why should things be any different?”
Penn State Global Programs has announced that Associate Vice Provost Rob Crane will retire in July 2021 from the University after 36 years as a faculty member and an administrator.
At its height in the mid-20th century, American organized crime groups, often called the mafia, grossed approximately $40 billion each year, typically raising that money through illegal or untaxed activities, such as extortion and gambling.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For Joel Burcat, retired environmental lawyer turned novelist, the first step on his career path was a physical geography course.
“I grew up in Philadelphia and attended Penn State without having declared a major,” Burcat said. “At the end of my sophomore year, I was required to declare a major. I was taking a class in physical geography with Professor Robert Larkin. He suggested that a degree in geography would be a good basis for a career in environmental law. That sounded interesting, something I’d enjoy doing and I decided to pursue it.”
Although that was 50 years ago, Larkin, now professor emeritus at the University of Colorado, remembers conversations with Burcat about physical geography and his interest in becoming a lawyer.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — When a block of ice the size of Houston, Texas, broke off from East Antarctica’s Amery Ice Shelf in 2019, scientists had anticipated the calving event, but not exactly where it would happen. Now, satellite data can help scientists measure the depth and shape of ice shelf fractures to better predict when and where calving events will occur, according to researchers.
Ice shelves make up nearly 75% of Antarctica’s coastline and buttress — or hold back — the larger glaciers on land, said Shujie Wang, assistant professor of geography at Penn State. If the ice shelves were to collapse and Antarctica’s glaciers fell or melted into the ocean, sea levels would rise by up to 200 feet.
“When we try to predict the future contribution of Antarctica to sea-level rise, the biggest uncertainty is ice shelf stability,” said Wang, who also holds an appointment in the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute. “There’s no easy way to map the depth of fractures in the field over a regional scale. We found that satellite data can capture the depth and surface morphology of ice shelf fractures and thereby allow us to consistently monitor this information over a large range.”
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Recent Master of Geographic Information Systems graduate Nate Geyer has always been interested in epidemiology and geography. As a research support assistant in the Department of Public Health Sciences in the College of Medicine, he was able to put those interests together by creating a new version of the LionVu cancer mapping tool.
“What appealed to me was my sense of creating something new and using my skills to improve public health research,” Geyer said. He programmed the new version and implemented a questionnaire to assess its usability. Then for his capstone project, Geyer analyzed the data and published an article in October 2020 issue of the International Journal of Geo-Information.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — State College native Hope Bodenschatz is looking forward to graduating from Penn State this spring with three bachelor’s degrees and one master’s degree, then starting a position as a research assistant for the director of the New England Public Policy Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
“Some of my favorite classes in high school were social studies, history and government,” Bodenschatz said, “but before I got to Penn State, I didn’t understand that these interests, plus my desire to study public policy, were all encapsulated in geography.”
Now, Bodenschatz said, geography provides an important lens for her interest in crafting economically and socially just policies.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As of Jan. 1, materials published or copyrighted in 1925 became part of the public domain and are now freely available for use. Among the most anticipated collections of such materials in the Penn State University Libraries are the Pennsylvania Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of 1925, a collection of maps of 69 towns consisting of 1,600 individual map sheets, most notably four volumes each of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. — Guido Cervone, associate director of the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences, professor of geography, meteorology and atmospheric science and Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI) associate, was elected as president-elect of the Natural Hazards Section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and begins a two-year term as president-elect on Jan. 1, 2021, and a two-year term as president on January 1, 2023.