- Judy Heltman joined the Department of Geography as the new graduate administrative assistant.
- Louisa Holmes joined the Department of Geography as an assistant professor of health geography. She is a Social Science Research Institute co-hire with the Consortium to Combat Substance Abuse.
- Darlene Peletski joined the Department of Geography as the new receptionist and undergraduate administrative assistant.
- Mandy Thompson joined the Department of Geography as the new budget administrative coordinator.
- Shujie Wang joined the Department of Geography as an assistant professor. Hired into the EMS position “Understanding Land-Water Systems Using Data Analytics,” she specializes in Earth and environmental sciences using data-driven tools and methods.
- Welcome to new graduate students joining us this fall: Matthew Bauerline, Ruth Buck, Casey Hamilton, Owen Harrington, Jessica Kromer, Matthew Leddy, Dani Niziolek, Zhuolai Pan, Gillian Prater-Lee, Timothy Prestby, Emma Robertson.
- Lauren Maloney, who graduated in 2020 with a master of professional studies in homeland security, geospatial intelligence option, was awarded the 2020 Lt. Michael P. Murphy Award in Geospatial Intelligence.
- Joseph Nadonley, who earned his bachelor of science degree in geography in 2020, accepted employment as a GIS production analyst for Fugro Earthdata, Inc.
- Emily Domanico, who earned her master of science in geography in 2019, won second place in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Graduate Student Poster Competition and Recognition which took place during fall semester 2019.
- Carolynne Hultquist, who earned her doctoral degree in geography in 2019, accepted a lecturer (assistant professor) position in geospatial science in the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.
- Liping Yang, a former GeoVISTA postdoc, started in 2020 a tenure-track position as an assistant professor in the Department of Geography & Environmental Studies at the University of New Mexico.
- Morteza Karimzadeh, who earned his doctoral degree in geography in 2018, and Azita Ranjbar, who earned her doctoral degree in geography in 2017, have both started tenure-track assistant professor positions in geography at the University of Colorado Boulder.
- Jack Swab, who earned his bachelor’s degree in geography in 2017, and is currently a graduate student at the University of Kentucky, was elected Student Councilor for the American Association of Geographers.
- Nathan Amador Rowley, who earned his doctoral degree in geography in 2015, was awarded tenure and promotion to associate professor in the Department of Geology and Geography at Ohio Wesleyan University.
- Ann Myatt James, who earned her doctoral degree in geography in 2014, accepted an appointment as a data services librarian at George Washington University’s Gelman Library in Washington, DC.
- Matthew Popek, who earned his bachelor of science in geography in 2009, received his American Institute of Certified Planners certification in fall 2019.
- Brendan Collins, who earned his MGIS in 2011, founder of the spatial data science company, makepath, is supporting the effort to battle COVID-19 behind the scenes.
- Jessica Whitehead, who earned her doctoral degree in geography in 2009, was named the first chief resilience officer at the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency, tasked to think ahead in new ways to bolster the state against the effects of climate change.
- Robin Leichenko, who earned her doctoral degree in geography in 1997, now professor and chair of the Department of Geography at Rutgers University, was elected as an American Geographical Society Councilor. She will serve a three-year term.
- Carol Bouchard, who earned her bachelor of science in geography in 1987, got married in October 2019. Her husband, Glen, works in Las Cruces, New Mexico, while she is caring for her father full time in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. “Penn State gave me the proverbial golden foot in the door when I entered on duty at what is now the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency back in 1989,” Bouchard said. “I retired after a wonderful 30-year career, having visited 135 UN countries.”
- Thomas Potteiger, who earned his bachelor of science in geography in 1981, retired from Lockheed Martin in spring 2019 after 21 years. Potteiger worked in the Flight Operations Department in flight tests and as an avionics aircrew instructor on subjects including navigation solutions and digital map display. He also served in the U.S. Air Force for 25 years as a C-130 navigator from 1983 to 2007.
- Joel Burcat, who earned his bachelor of science in geography in 1976, published a novel, Drink to Every Beast. An environmental lawyer in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Burcat has been writing in his spare time for many years.
- Peter Backhaus was certified as a Wetland Professional in Training (WPIT) by the Society of Wetlands Scientists Professional Certification Program.
- Kayla Bancone, Seamus Gibbons, Jacob Grande, Sara Maholland, Kyle Myers, Jenna Pulice, Sophie Tessier, and Lixun Wang were inducted to the Gamma Theta Upsilon Alpha Tau chapter in fall 2019.
- A class project for GEOG 586 Geographical Information Analysis in the online MGIS program was published in PLOS ONE. Blanford, J.I., T. Belcher, T. Black, E. Derner, J. Dunham, E. Galvan Campanero, M. Gority, R. Jones, B. Kaley, J. Kuli, R. Ligon, E. Mandal, T. Quink, J. Shinsky, M. Sodek, N. Teigland, and S. Turner collaborated on, “Pedal Power: Explorers and commuters of New York Citi Bikesharing scheme.”
- Harrison Cole and Saumya Vaishnava were named as 2020–21 representatives to the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Graduate Student Council.
- Jeremy Diaz received a 2020 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
- Andrea Garcia wrote the articles “From 1967 to 2020: A history of the racism Black students have faced at Penn State” and “Black community members at Penn State share frustrations with University’s administration,” in The Daily Collegian.
- Zachary Goldberg received the American Association of Geographers Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group Field Study Award.
- Mikael Hiestand and Andrew Carleton’s paper, “Growing Season Synoptic and Phenological Controls on Heat Fluxes over Forest and Cropland Sites in the Midwest U.S. Corn Belt,” was published in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology.
- Milan Liu was selected to represent the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences as the student marshal for Penn State’s summer commencement, which was held virtually on Aug. 15.
- Jamie Peeler received a Graduate Research Innovation Award from the Joint Fire Science Program for her dissertation research in Wyoming.
- Michelle Ritchie accepted a tenure-track assistant professor position at the University of Georgia’s Institute for Disaster Management and the Department of Health Policy and Management. She will finish her last year of her Ph.D. program remotely.
- Marie Louise Ryan received the Graduate Student International Research Award from the Graduate School at Penn State.
- Hannah Schreck was named a spring 2020 EMSAGE Laureate.
- Harman Singh received an Erickson Discovery Grant for summer 2020, for her project, “Examining the Relationship between Flooding and Land Use Land Cover in Kochi through a Mixed Method Approach.”
- Jacklyn Weier’s first single-author research paper, “(Re)producing the sexuality binary: on bisexual experiences in U.S. gay and heterosexual spaces,” was published in Gender, Place & Culture.
- Yanan Xin won the Best Presentation Award in the 3rd ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on AI for Geographic Knowledge Discovery (GeoAI’ 19) for, “Mapping Miscanthus Using Multi-Temporal Convolutional Neural Network and Google Earth Engine.”
- Wendy L. Zeller Zigaitis was named the 2020 recipient of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation K. Stuart Shea Endowed Scholarship.
Faculty and staff
- Jennifer Baka joined the editorial board of the Annals of the American Association of Geographers.
- Cynthia Brewer was selected by the American Geographical Society to receive the O. M. Miller Cartographic Medal for outstanding contributions in the field of cartography.
- Lorraine Dowler was awarded the 2020 Jan Monk Service Award from the American Association of Geographers Feminist Geographies Specialty Group.
- Helen Greatrex joined the World Meteorological Organization Societal and Economic Research Applications Working Group.
- Joshua Inwood wrote an article for The Conversation titled, “Closing polling places is the 21st century’s version of a poll tax.”
- Denise Kloehr received the 2020 Department of Geography Staff Outstanding Service Award.
- Doug Miller was on the team that won the fall 2019 TechCelerator pitch competition hosted by the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern Pennsylvania. The team was awarded a $10,000 investment for their fledgling enterprise, RealForests.
- Hari Osofsky was quoted in the Reuters news article, “Climate battles are moving into the courtroom, and lawyers are getting creative.”
- Bronwen Powell was invited by the United Nations Forum on Forests and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN to participate in a meeting to set global forest indicators.
- Emily Rosenman received a seed grant for “‘Invest in People, Literally’: The Rise of Income Share Agreements as an Alternative to Student Loans in US Higher Education,” from the Penn State and the University of Auckland Joint Collaboration Development Program.
- Luke Trusel’s research was cited in the 2019 UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate.
- Manzhu Yu received a seed grant from the Penn State Institute for Computational and Data Sciences for her project, “Utilizing geometric deep learning to predict the rapid intensification of tropical cyclones.”
- The article, “Fine‐scale spatial homogenization of microbial habitats: a multivariate index of headwater wetland complex condition” by Jessica B. Moon, Denice H. Wardrop, Erica A. H. Smithwick, and Kusum J. Naithani, published in Ecological Applications in October 2018, was among the top 10 percent most downloaded papers among work published between January 2018 and December 2019.