Karen Schuckman, associate teaching professor at Penn State, was awarded the Outstanding Personal Achievement in Lidar Award from the International Lidar Mapping Forum and LIDAR Magazine. This is the second year in a row that Penn State faculty have received this award; Karl Heidemann won the award last year.
Schuckman teaches three courses in Online Geospatial Education, a joint program between the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute, Penn State World Campus, and the Department of Geography and also manages the Graduate Certificate in Remote Sensing and Earth Observation.
“For more than twenty years, Karen Schuckman has made significant contributions to the geospatial community, and has been instrumental in expanding the reach and impact of lidar technology in the context of mapping,” said Anthony Robinson, director of online geospatial education programs for the department.
Lidar, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure distances to Earth’s surface.
This detection method results in 3-D images of the Earth’s surface and is used in a variety of fields, including archeology, agriculture, conservation, and many others.
Schuckman is an influential professional in the lidar field. For example, she led the first statewide lidar mapping program in Pennsylvania and helped form the Lidar Division of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. Schuckman has also been recognized with other awards from ASPRS, including the award for Outstanding Service in 2011, 2017, and 2018.
“When Schuckman joined the Penn State online geospatial education program, it was primarily focused on GIS, with little emphasis on the remote sensing field. She has worked hard to significantly expand the program’s reach into education on remote sensing topics,” Robinson said. “As a result, the program now includes a graduate certificate in remote sensing and observation.”
Along the way, Schuckman developed a pedagogical approach for teaching highly technical material in an online format.
Since joining Penn State, Schuckman has taught more than 1,000 students. She currently teaches: GEOG 480 Exploring Imagery and Elevation Data in GIS Applications, GEOG 481 Topographic Mapping with Lidar, and GEOG 589 Emerging Trends in Remote Sensing. Schuckman also serves as an adviser to students in the MGIS program who are pursuing remote-sensing related research topics.