30
Aug 16

Coffee Hour | Summer good news | UROC and more!

IMAGE OF THE WEEK

Welcome Back Reception at Hintz

A bird’s-eye view of the department’s Welcome Back Reception held August 24 at the Hintz Family Alumni Center. Newcomers were introduced and welcomed as students, faculty and staff reunited and shared tales of their summer adventures.

GOOD NEWS

Kevin Bernstein, Yanni Cao, Carolynne Hultquist, and Mark Simpson earned their master’s degrees.

Doug Baldwin, Elaine Guidero, Li-San Hung, Paulo Raposo, and Chongming Wang earned their doctoral degrees.

Sara Cavallo, Carolyn Fish, Laura Harding, and Nari Senanayake passed their comps.

Rachel Isaacs, Nate Frey, and Jase Bernhardt defended their dissertations.

Welcome to our newest postdocs: Liping Yang in GeoVISTA and Carlington Wallace in Riparia.

Brian King and Karl Zimmerer are back from sabbaticals.

Erica Smithwick is back from her Fulbright semester in South Africa.

NEWS

Fall semester Coffee Hour kicks off September 9
This fall’s Coffee Hour lectures will start on September 9 with Ann Jolly, an epidemiologist at the University of Ottawa. Coffee Hour is a weekly lecture hosted by the Department of Geography on Friday afternoons celebrating interdisciplinary scholarship and collegiality for nearly 50 years. Topics range from innovations in GIScience, to food security, to land use and justice issues, among others. All members of the Geography, Penn State, and Centre County community are invited to attend in person or via webcast. The list of confirmed speakers is on the Coffee Hour webpage http://www.geog.psu.edu/news/coffee-hour. Details about each talk are added as they are provided. Each week’s Coffee Hour information will be included in the DoG enews.

UROC open for fall graduate project submissions
Take advantage of the great opportunity to have an undergraduate research assistant with UROC (Undergraduate Research Opportunity Connection). A research assistant can help you with making maps, reviewing literature, transcribing or coding interviews, analyzing data, etc. Your UROC project can be linked to your thesis or dissertation research, or a side project. Either way, UROC gives undergrads great experience working on real research projects, and mentoring an undergraduate can be a great way to prepare for an academic career. To get started as a mentor, submit the details of your project at: http://www.geog.psu.edu/uroc-project. Be sure to include the number of credits, and whether the work can be conducted remotely. For examples of past projects, visit the UROC page: http://www.geog.psu.edu/uroc

This year’s UROC coordinators are Russ Hedberg and Eun-Kyeong Kim.

Department Newsletter
The Summer 2016 Department of Geography annual newsletter, GEOGRAPH, is now available online.

GEOGRAPH highlight
Because of mentors like you …
I was asked to write a few words about Brent and it is with pleasure that I do so.  Brent Yarnal is my academic father. As a professor, I am often asked to write letters of recommendation or support for students and colleagues and I always try to do so as best as possible, but this letter or short note is special. I can honestly say that outside of my parents no one has had a more positive influence on my life than Brent Yarnal. I have known Brent for about thirteen years, having met him when I arrived to attend the graduate program in the Department of Geography at Penn State. Brent was my adviser for both my master’s and doctoral degrees; as such, I spent many hours with Brent as a student and later as a colleague. I could not have asked for a better mentor and friend.

RECENTLY (OR SOON TO BE) PUBLISHED

Geography of Adolescent Obesity in the U.S., 2007−2011
By Michael R. Kramer, Ilana G. Raskind, Miriam E. Van Dyke, Stephen A. Matthews, Jessica N. Cook-Smith
In American Journal of Preventive Medicine
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2016.06.016
Obesity remains a significant threat to the current and long-term health of U.S. adolescents. The authors developed county-level estimates of adolescent obesity for the contiguous U.S., and then explored the association between 23 conceptually derived area-based correlates of adolescent obesity and ecologic obesity prevalence.

Reanalyzing environmental lidar data for archaeology: Mesoamerican applications and implications
By Charles Golden, Timothy Murtha, Bruce Cook, Derek S. Shaffer, Whittaker Schroder, Elijah J. Hermitt, Omar Alcover Firpi, Andrew K. Scherer
In Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.07.029
This paper presents a preliminary archaeological assessment of extensive transects of lidar recently collected by environmental scientists over southern Mexico using the G-LiHT system of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. In particular, this article offers the results of a first phase of research, consisting of: 1) characterization and classification of the cultural and ecological context of the samples, and 2) bare earth processing and visual inspection of a sample of the flight paths for identification of probable anthropogenic Precolumbian features.

“DOG” OF THE WEEK

dog of the weekWho is this horse? Who is his family?

Each week we feature a photo of a mystery animal companion. Any animal companion can be the dog of the week. Have fun guessing which human cares for this creature and learning about the members of our community.

Send your photos and/or your guesses to geography@psu.edu. The identity of the mystery animal and the correct guesser will be revealed next week.


16
Aug 16

Pardon our dust | GEOGRAPH now online | Mapping refugees

IMAGE OF THE WEEK

229WalkerSU16

One of several renovation projects happening in Walker Building this summer and fall. Here, room 229 is being transformed into The C. Gregory Knight Collaborative Learning Lab.

GOOD NEWS

David G. Lautenschleger (’14g) has been recently hired as a full-time assistant professor at the University of Akron in the College of Applied Science and Technology.  He will be teaching Surveying and GIS courses.

Azita Ranjbar is a co-author along with Gines, K., O’Brian, E., Ewara, E., Paris, W. (forthcoming).of Teaching Philosophical “Special” Topics: Black Feminism and Intersectionality. In O. Perlow (Ed.) Black Women’s Pedagogy and Praxes.

Yanan Xin earned travel rewards for CyberGIS’16 conference and presented poster for research project “using volunteered geographic information to estimate people’s accumulated radiation exposure.”

Send your good news to geography@psu.edu to be announced during Coffee Hour and published here.

NEWS

Department Newsletter Published
The Summer 2016 Department of Geography annual newsletter, GEOGRAPH, has been mailed and is now available online.

GEOGRAPH highlight
From the Department Head: Poised for success
We are getting a jump on the university-level revamp of general education requirements and Penn State’s new emphasis on engaged scholarship: out-of-class experiences that complement in-class learning, such as undergraduate research, internships, study abroad, service learning and community-based learning. Our UROC program that pairs undergrads with grad thesis research work (Geog 494) is a successful aspect of research engagement for geography majors. We are also poised to offer some of the first gen eds categorized as meeting the new Integrative Studies (IS) requirement. All Penn State general education courses will be re-certified this year, and we are ready. Brent Yarnal, whose retirement is celebrated in this issue, was a leader in both these initiatives at the university level as past Senate chair.

We are getting a jump on the university-level revamp of general education requirements and Penn State’s new emphasis on engaged scholarship: out-of-class experiences that complement in-class learning, such as undergraduate research, internships, study abroad, service learning and community-based learning. Our UROC program that pairs undergrads with grad thesis research work (Geog 494) is a successful aspect of research engagement for geography majors. We are also poised to offer some of the first gen eds categorized as meeting the new Integrative Studies (IS) requirement. All Penn State general education courses will be re-certified this year, and we are ready. Brent Yarnal, whose retirement is celebrated in this issue, was a leader in both these initiatives at the university level as past Senate chair.

GEOGRAPH highlight
Mapping refugees through online engaged scholarship
This summer, Penn State Department of Geography online geospatial education program instructors Beth King and Fritz Kessler took ten students in the online Master of Geographic Information Systems (MGIS) program on a unique travel experience.  In the new course, GEOG 597G: Challenges in Global Geosptial Analytics, Penn State students collaborated with graduate students from ITC – University of Twente located in Enschede, Netherlands to develop solutions to analyze spatio-temporal patterns in refugee migration data.

“The current refugee crisis is unprecedented and has implications for mass migration, humanitarian aid, resettlement, and it affects nations world-wide. Our students developed visualization solutions using the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) database to provide assistance to refugees,” King said. The solutions entailed developing software, identifying potential funding sources, and making recommendations on how best to allocate resources to benefit refugees.

RECENTLY (OR SOON TO BE) PUBLISHED

Measuring Spatial Accessibility to Urban Facilities and Services in Tehran
By Rabiei-Dastjerdi, H., Matthews, S. A. & Ardalan, A.
In Spatial Demography (2016).
doi:10.1007/s40980-016-0028-2
During the last quarter century the developing world has been experiencing rapid urban growth. These rapidly changing urban landscapes can create many new opportunities for economic growth but the same processes can also generate spatial inequalities within urban boundaries. Using recent and comprehensive geospatial data we describe, map and examine one dimension of urban spatial inequality, our results suggest that accessiblity to urban facilities and services. Our case study is Tehran; one of the most rapidly growing cities in the Middle East and he developing world. Geospatial data, Geographic Information Systems and spatial analytical tools were combined for mapping accessibility to thirty different urban facilities and services in Tehran. Descriptive maps identify areas of under and over services.

Impact assessment of PM10 cement plants emissions on urban air quality using the SCIPUFF dispersion model
By Vincenzo Leone, Guido Cervone, Pasquale Iovino
In Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
doi: 10.1007/s10661-016-5519-5
The Second-order Closure Integrated Puff (SCIPUFF) model was used to study the impact on urban air quality caused by two cement plants emissions located near the city of Caserta, Italy, during the entire year of 2015. The simulated and observed PM10 concentrations were compared using three monitoring stations located in urban and sub-urban area of Caserta city. Both simulated and observed concentrations are shown to be highest in winter, lower in autumn and spring and lowest in summer. Model results generally follow the pattern of the observed concentrations but have a systematic under-prediction of the concentration values. Measures of the bias, NMSE and RMSE indicate a good correlation between observed and estimated values. The SCIPUFF model data analysis suggest that the cement plants are major sources for the measured PM10 values and are responsible for the deterioration of the urban air quality in the city of Caserta.

 


03
Aug 16

UAVs get A-OK | PSU@esri | Taylor going the distance

IMAGE OF THE WEEK

PSU alums at esri bootcamp

Adena Schutzberg (’88g) sends this photo from new hire training at Esri with about two dozen folks. Among them are four other Penn State geography grads. She managed to wangle a picture with Chris Cappelli (1988) and Jack Dangermond. Schutzberg writes, “Keith Swavely and I are returning Esri employees. The other folks are Adam Ziegler (’02), Matt Viverito (one of my online GIS certificate students!), and Jena DiFrisco (’16).”

GOOD NEWS

International Journal of Digital Earth Special Issue Call for Papers: Human-Centered Virtual and Augmented Reality Geovisualization Environments. Penn Staters Alexander Klippel, Jan Oliver Wallgrün, and Danielle Oprean are guest editors along with Arzu Coltekin, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

• Martha Selig (’06 and a grader in GEOG 483) was awarded second place in the Analytic Presentation Map category for her poster “Protecting Los Angeles County’s Scenic Ridgelines” at the 2016 Esri User Conference. It describes how the County creates vertical buffers down from the tops of scenic ridges to define protection zones. View the poster here: http://www.esri.com/events/user-conference/exhibits/map-gallery-results.

NEWS

Dutton Institute director dedicated to enriching lives of others
Author, administrative leader, university senator and even student — these are just a few of the numerous roles Ann Taylor has held over the more than 20 years she has spent in the Penn State community, and they’ve all played a role in helping her achieve her career goals.

“It’s been great to work in so many positions where I can have a hands-on aspect to my work and also collaborate on resources that can benefit faculty, staff and students across the University,” said Taylor, who is the director of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences’ (EMS) John A. Dutton e-Education Institute.

Global climate models do not easily downscale for regional predictions
One size does not always fit all, especially when it comes to global climate models, according to Penn State climate researchers.

“The impacts of climate change rightfully concern policy makers and stakeholders who need to make decisions about how to cope with a changing climate,” said Fuqing Zhang, professor of meteorology and director, Center for Advanced Data Assimilation and Predictability Techniques, Penn State. “They often rely upon climate model projections at regional and local scales in their decision making.”

Cleared for takeoff: University use of unmanned air vehicles resumes
Geography faculty use UAVs to teach about landforms

“Alright, are you ready, Mike? Motor’s hot! Launch! Launch! Launch!”

With those final commands from aerospace engineering doctoral candidate John Bird, the AutoSOAR unmanned air vehicle was launched into the sky above the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, releasing with it nearly a year of bottled-up anticipation among faculty, staff and graduate students across the Penn State community.

Eat your vegetation: Linking landscapes to children’s diets in Indonesia
Geography faculty member Bronwen Powell’s research cited

Children need a healthy diet to grow strong bodies and minds, and to protect against deadly infections. In Indonesia, getting kids to eat healthy foods is a vital step toward overcoming problems of stunting and child mortality.

But could your child’s diet be influenced by the type of landscape you live in?

This question was addressed in a recent study by scientists at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), which looked at children’s diets and landscapes across Indonesia.


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