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Faculty and students honored at college's annual awards banquet

The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences celebrated exceptional students and faculty for their academic excellence, service and leadership during its annual Wilson Awards Banquet held at the end of the spring semester. The awards banquet is the college’s annual celebration of faculty and student accomplishments and is named in honor of Matthew and Anne Wilson, major benefactors of the college, and recognized nearly 60 students and fellow faculty with awards.

“We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of our faculty and staff,” said Lee Kump, John Leone Dean in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. “This annual award celebration offers the college an opportunity to honor and recognize the hard work of our faculty and students.”

Past, present and future of Online Geospatial Education at Penn State celebrated

Here is something to think about: Some of Penn State’s current Department of Geography students weren’t even born when Online Geospatial Education at Penn State offered its first class. While online classes are now considered normal, for the educators who launched these distance education courses in the late 1990s, it was a novel and risky venture.

Federal research significant in environmental rule-making

Federally sponsored science plays a more significant role in bringing together stakeholders and facilitating environmental governance debates than all other types of research, according to an international team of researchers.

The researchers examined the role of federal government-sponsored research in the environmental rule-making process, specifically the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's proposal in 2012 to regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on federal and tribal lands. The researchers found that stakeholders cited federal government-sponsored research more often than industry knowledge, trade group knowledge, and academic research. The researchers report their results in April 29 issue of the Annals of the American Association of Geographers.

Geography student receives Ashok K. Moza Foundation Scholarship

Nicholas Lacey stepped out of the helicopter and into a crowd of people who gathered in anticipation.

The helicopter carried building materials, but for the people of Haiti, who were still suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, a devastating Category 5 storm, it was critical material to start rebuilding homes and lives.

Lacey, now a first-year student studying geography at Penn State, served five years in the Marine Corps as a geospatial analyst and took part in a U.S. humanitarian mission to Haiti in 2016.

There, he used his background in geospatial information science (GIS), leading a team to analyze damaged infrastructure and take inventory of damaged buildings, electric lines, roads and landing zones.

For Lacey, it was a chance to put his training in GIS to good use, but also an eye-opening experience.

Earth and Mineral Sciences graduate students recognized at research exhibition

Two graduate students in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences were recognized for their research and presentation skills during the 2019 Graduate Exhibition, hosted by the Graduate School at Penn State in March. Kirsty McKenzie, a graduate student in geosciences, and Weiming Hu, a graduate student in geography, placed second and third, respectively, in the physical sciences and mathematics division of the exhibition.

Hu, a third-year doctoral student, studies uncertainties in weather forecasting, focusing on reducing computational requirements to run the models. His research aims to improve the computing time and efficiency of weather prediction. He is using his programming skills and statistics knowledge to determine how much data can be omitted while still retaining accuracy in weather forecasts.

MacEachren, Prins named recipients of 2019 Graduate Faculty Teaching Award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Alan MacEachren, professor of geography in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and Esther Prins, professor of education in the College of Education, have received Penn State's 2019 Graduate Faculty Teaching Award.

The award, established in 1992 by The Graduate School, is presented to faculty members in recognition of outstanding teaching performance and advising of graduate students.

Decision makers need contextual interactive guidance

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As decision makers balance economic, environmental and social aspects of living, planners and others need decision-making tools that support the process, but do not dictate the outcomes, so that trade-off choices can reflect a wide array of needs, according to a team of researchers who looked at an interactive program using trade-off diagrams.

North Pacific jet stream, moisture and fires change with fire suppression

Future conditions in California may include more rain rather than snow during the wet season, longer fire seasons, and higher temperatures leading to drier fire seasons, according to a team of researchers who looked at the historic patterns of the North Pacific Jet, precipitation and fire.


Complex trade-offs persist in drawing fair election maps for purple Pennsylvania

Penn State Professor Christopher Fowler’s fall 2018 GEOG 421: Population Geography class won first place in the Higher-Ed division of the “Draw the Lines PA” statewide finals in February. For Fowler, the work on how to get better representation in Pennsylvania is just beginning.

Seed grants awarded to projects using Twitter data

Penn State’s  Social Science Research Institute (SSRI), in collaboration with the Institute for CyberScience (ICS) and the College of Information Sciences and Technology, has awarded over $100,000 in funding to support six new interdisciplinary teams of Penn State researchers whose work is aimed at developing innovative research programs using Twitter data.