Community Updates


Annual compilation of good news, accomplishments, and announcements about students, faculty, staff, and alumni of the Department of Geography. 



The Penn State GIS Coalition was accepted as a YouthMappers chapter.

Courtney Rome won first place in the College of Earth & and Mineral Sciences Undergraduate Poster Exhibition with her poster, “Food for Thought: Differences of Geographic Food Habits between Alaska and the Lower 48” ~Project advisers: Michael Nassry and Denice Wardrop.

Luba Hristova, Danielle Ruffe, and Sabrina Yu Zhong won third place in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Undergraduate Poster Exhibition with their poster, “Fresno, California: Drought Impacts on Agriculture” ~Project adviser: Guido Cervone 


Roxanne Ahmadi, Jace Ebben, and Travis Meyer were awarded  U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) scholarships

Cary Anderson won the AAG Cartography Specialty Group’s Illustrated Paper Award for her work on assessing emotional reactions to different map designs.

Megan Baumann received a Global Programs Travel Grant to present research at the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers (CLAG) in May in Costa Rica. Her paper is titled, “Living a callejera methodology: grounding Lugones’ streetwalker theorizing in a feminist decolonial praxis.” 

Megan Baumann and Kelsey Brain organized a panel on “Intersectionality and coloniality in human-environment geography: Empirical contributions to feminist theory from Latin America,” at the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers (CLAG) in May in Costa Rica.

Kelsey Brain was awarded a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad to continue her dissertation research in Costa Rica.

Carolyn Fish received a U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation Graduate Scholarship. 

Carolyn Fish received  Cartographic Perspectives’ 2016 Student Peer-Reviewed Paper Competition Award for an article co-authored with Kirby Calvert on solar energy web maps.

Carolyn Fish accepted a tenure-track  assistant professor position at the University of Oregon.

Zach Goldberg received a research grant from Penn State’s Africana Research Center for his project, “Organic Certification of Fig Production in Ouezzane Province, Morocco: Assessing Social and Cultural Impact.”

Russell Hedberg accepted a tenure-track assistant professor position in sustainability in the Department of Geography-Earth Sciences at Shippensburg University, where he will also be serving as the University’s Sustainability Coordinator.

Mikael Hiestand and Andrew Yoder passed the FAA Aeronautical Knowledge Test, receiving their FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificates, and are now able to legally fly small unmanned aircraft under Section 107 rules. 

Eun-Kyeong Kim started her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Zurich, Switzerland in spring 2018.

Eden Kinkaid and Lise Nelson have a book chapter forthcoming in The Routledge International Handbook of Gender and Feminist Geographies. The chapter is titled “On the subject of performativity: Judith Butler’s influence in geography.”

Adrienne Kramer (nee Tucker) accepted a job as a senior GIS analyst at the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Tara Mazurczyk won Best in Show at the Bellefonte Arts & Crafts Fair held August 12–13, 2017.

Aparna Parikh accepted a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Leslie Center for the Humanities at Dartmouth College and will be housed in their Department of Geography.

Elli Nasr Azadani has been recognized by the North American Association for Environmental Education as one of their “Environmental Education 30 Under 30” for 2017. The program recognizes individuals in the United States and around the globe, 30 years of age or younger, who are game changers in their communities.

Aparna Parikh has a chapter titled “Gendered household expectations: Neoliberal policies, graveyard shifts, and women’s responsibilities in Mumbai, India” in the recently published book, Modernity, Space, and Gender.

Julie Sanchez won the Best Student Paper Award from the Polar Geography Specialty Group at the 2018 AAG annual meeting in New Orleans.

Julie Sanchez received a Graduate Research Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium.

Nari Senanayake accepted a tenure-track assistant professor position in the Department of Geography at the University of Kentucky.

Sam Stehle started a position as a postdoctoral researcher in the National Centre for Geocomputation at Maynooth University near Dublin, Ireland.

Jiayan Zhao won first place in the Saarinen Student Paper Competition awarded by Environmental Perception and Behavioral Geography (EPBG) Specialty Group at 2018 AAG annual meeting for his paper, “Walking and Learning in a Large-Scale Mediated Space: Impacts of viewpoint transition and proprioceptive feedback on spatial learning in virtual reality.”


Clio Andris won the 2017–18 Emerging Scholar Award from the Regional Development and Planning Specialty Group of AAG.

Jennifer Baka was awarded the Ryan Faculty Fellowship by the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences for 2017–20.

Jennifer Baka spoke on a panel at a League of Women Voters event in Pittsburgh on November 13, 2017. She discussed her research, which is sponsored by the University’s Institute of Energy and the Environment and Ryan Faculty Fellow research grants, on the Pittsburgh ethane cracker plant.

Justine Blanford was elected to serve as a director for the University Consortium of Geographic Information Science (UCGIS).

Justine Blanford was selected as a member of the inaugural cohort for  TRELIS (Training and Retaining Leaders in STEM-Geospatial Sciences), professional development for women in the geospatial sciences in higher education.

Robert Brooks announced that after thirty-eight years of service at Penn State (Twenty-five years as founder and director of Riparia and fifteen years in geography) he will be retiring at the end of August. See his retirement story in this issue.

Guido Cervone’s work was mentioned in an article in the scientific section of the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, the second most widely circulated newspaper in Italy. The article is in Italian, and its headline, “I Sensori Siamo Noi” means “We Are the Sensors,” and talks about his work on using citizen science during disasters.

Guido Cervone and Penn State colleagues received a seed grant for “Multi-Scale Estimates of Solar Power Water Stress by Integrating Process-Based Descriptions with Deep-Learning-Based Mapping of Solar Farms” from Penn State’s Institutes of Energy and the Environment.

Guido Cervone was named to the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences at National Academy of Sciences.

Sarah Chamberlain’s book, Field Guide to Grasses of the Mid-Atlantic, has been published by Penn State University Press.

William Easterling III, professor of geography and former dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, was elected a 2018 Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

Chris Fowler was promoted to associate professor.

Joshua Inwood delivered the inaugural Liberal Arts First-Year Valedictory Address.

Joshua Inwood participated in the first-ever “Rock the News” podcast about everyday ethics.

Brian King’s book, States of Disease: Political Environments and Human Health, received the Julian Minghi Distinguished Book Award from the Political Geography Specialty Group of AAG.

A multi-disciplinary research team, led by Alexander Klippel, received one of ten seed grants to pilot programs that support Penn State’s 2016–2020 Strategic Plan for his proposal, “Digital Innovation through Immersive Technologies: Establishing New Paradigms for Environmental Decision Support.” Mention see article on seed grant?

Lise Nelson was selected as a Resident Fellow for the Humanities Institute at Penn State for fall 2018.

Danielle Oprean, postdoctoral researcher in ChoroPhronesis, accepted a position at the University of Missouri in the School of Information and Learning Technologies. She will begin her tenure-track faculty position starting August 2018.

Hari Osofsky’s Emory Law Journal article, “Energy Partisanship,” (with University of Melbourne’s Jacqueline Peel) was awarded the 2018 Morrison Prize, which recognizes the most impactful sustainability-related legal academic article published in North America during the previous year. 

Erica Smithwick participated in two of four WPSU-TV projects that received Telly Awards: “Managing Risk in a Changing Climate,” which received a bronze in the Television - Public Interest/Awareness category and  “Women in Science Profiles,” which received a bronze in the Online – General Education category.

Erica Smithwick was promoted to professor.

Emily Rosenman, won the best dissertation award from the Urban Geography Specialty Group in 2018.

Missy Weaver is back as the undergraduate administrative assistant. She returned on Monday, November 6, 2017.


Mark Monmonier ’67g, ’69g published a new book, Patents and Cartographic Inventions: A New Perspective for Map History.

Wayne Brew ’81 assistant professor of geography at Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania, was granted a sabbatical for fall 2017, and embarked on a long road trip.

Tony Greulich ’96 was recently promoted to the position of planner IV in the Development Review and Design Division of the Department of Planning for Henrico County, Virginia. He credits Roger Downs with setting him on the right career path.

Frank Boscoe ’00g was interviewed for the AAG career profiles page.

Mark Read ’02g, ’14g assumed duties as the head of the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, one of the thirteen academic departments at the U.S. Military Academy.

Sterling Quinn ’09g, ’16g and undergraduate student  Doran Tucker co-authored an article “How geopolitical conflict shapes the mass-produced online map,” appearing in the open access journal, First Monday. 

After nearly eight years with Esri, Mark Smithgall,’09 started a new position as a GIS administrator for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation.

Tim Yuskavage ’11 received his master of arts degree from the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University in May 2018. He continues to work for the U.S. government as an analyst.

Mallory Henig ’12 started a career with Conservation International at their headquarters in Arlington, Virginia as a development coordinator.

Peter Howe ’12g was awarded an NSF CAREER grant from the Geography and Spatial Sciences program. The five-year project is titled “CAREER: Location-Aware Social Science for Adaptation: Modeling Dynamic Patterns in Public Perceptions and Behavior.”

Loren Pfau ’13g and Justine Blanford have published “Use of geospatial data and technology for wilderness search and rescue by non-profit organizations” in The Professional Geographer.

Siddharth Pandey ’14 was selected to be in xyHT Magazine’s “40 under 40 list for Remarkable Geospatial Professionals” in their January 2018 edition.

Joshua Stevens @jscarto was recognized as one of 50 Must-Follow Twitter Accounts for Geospatial, Data Science, and Visualization. 

Jase Bernhardt ’16g, now an assistant professor in the Department of Geology, Environment and Sustainability at Hofstra University, was elected director of the AAG Climate Specialty Group.

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