Nov 15

Coffee Hour: Grad lightening talks | Murphy award for Chang | Geography Awareness Week


Geography Awareness WeekWe’re celebrating Geography Awareness Week with events all this week.


Wei Luo (Ph.D., ’14), currently PostDoc at Arizona State, was elected as a Board Member for the International Association of Chinese Professionals in Geographic Information Sciences.

A paper led by Christoph Kinkeldey (How to Assess Visual Communication of Uncertainty; based on work he did as a Ph.D. visiting scholar in the GeoVISTA Center) received the 2015 Henry Johns Award for the top paper in the Cartographic Journal for 2014.

Lucas Harris received a NASA Space Grant Fellowship and a travel grant to present research at the 6th International Fire Ecology and Management Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

Catherine Airey Lauvaux also received a travel grant to present research at the 6th International Fire Ecology and Management Conference.


Coffee Hour Graduate Student Lightening Talks: Adrienne Tucker, Sam Stehle, Russell Hedberg, Nate Frey, Amanda Young, Arielle Hesse, Sterling Quinn, and Jenn Titanski-Hooper. Each speaker will give a 5-minute talk on their area of research.

Human rights advocate is recipient of Murphy Award
Angela Chang, a human rights advocate with Amnesty International and a student in the Penn State online master’s degree program in Geographic Information Systems, Geospatial Intelligence option, was the 2014 recipient of the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Award. Chang was unable to attend the 2014 U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) Symposium, where the award is usually presented; therefore, she was presented with the award at the Department of Geography’s Coffee Hour weekly lecture on Nov. 13.

Really Big Data
Eun-Kyeong Kim is part of the Big Data Education Project Team and Alan MacEachren is serving as an advisory board member in this project.
According to an article on Forbes.com, whether we want it or not the world of Big Data is here. What exactly is “Big Data”? For the uninitiated, it is every photo ever shared, every Facebook post ever written, every Google question ever asked. In other words, Big Data is us.

SWIG collection for CCWRC holiday basket
For the last few years SWIG has committed to sponsoring a family through the Centre County Women’s Resource Center Holiday Sponsorship Program. With the support of the community, the CCWRC provides holiday gift baskets to women and children who have experienced relationship violence. Individuals/children participating in the program are often living in the shelter or temporary housing. SWIG purchases gift cards for each member of the family and a small basket of gift items for the holidays. This year SWIG is sponsoring a family of three. The total amount of money needed to fulfill this commitment is $195.  Last year many members of the geography community donated $5 or $10 and we quickly reached this total.  Nari Senanayake (nus192@psu.edu) is collecting money through Friday, December 4.

UROC open for graduate project submissions
It’s time to submit UROC projects again. To get involved, carve out an area of your research where an undergraduate could help. In the past this has involved map making, GIS analysis, coding transcripts, programming, wrangling spreadsheets, or reviewing literature. It doesn’t have to be glamorous: many undergrads are just happy to have some part in a real research project to supplement their coursework. A fairly complete list
of past projects can be found via the links here: http://www.geog.psu.edu/uroc
Once you have your project defined, submit the details to this very easy
website by November 20: http://www.geog.psu.edu/uroc-project

Questions: contact Nate Frey (nlf147@psu.edu) or Amanda Young (aby113@psu.edu)

Nov 15

Coffee Hour with Matthew Ferrari | Position announcements | NGA partnership


IpanemaBeachsunset.webSterling Quinn took this beautiful photo of Ipanema Beach at sunset while at the International Cartographic Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August 2015.


Alex Klippel, together with colleagues from Vanderbilt and Johns Hopkins, received an NSF–Cyber-Human-Systems award “Improving Wayfinding and Navigation in Immersive Virtual Environments,” The three-year project will use immersive technologies such as Oculus Rift to inform models of human behavior in built environments. The objective of this research is to enable more effective design and use of virtual worlds.

Tim Yuskavage (B.S. ’11) is enrolling in the Master’s of Arts in the Security Studies program at Georgetown University beginning in January 2016. He is currently employed as an analyst for the US Department of Defense.

Send your good news to share to geography@psu.edu.


Coffee Hour with Matthew Ferrari
A world without measles? the ecology of eradication
Though the global reduction of measles disease through vaccination is heralded a one of humanity’s great public health triumphs, measles still results in 400–500 childhood deaths per day. Thus, understanding the ecological dynamics that allow the persistence of this infection, despite dramatic control efforts, is of both practical and intellectual importance, as understanding these mechanisms may translate to the design of control programs to reduce or eradicate other pathogens.

  • 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
  • Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:00 p.m.
  • The lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.
  • Coffee Hour To Go Webcast
  • Next Week: Graduate Student Lightening Talks with Adrienne Tucker, Sam Stehle, Russell Hedberg, Nate Frey, Amanda Young, Arielle Hesse, Sterling Quinn. Jenn Titanski-Hooper

M.S. or Ph.D. student position announcement
The Vegetation Dynamics Lab is looking for an M.S. or Ph.D. student to work on a collaborative project with Penn State and USFS scientists and resource managers on fire effects and forest development in ponderosa pine forests in California. The goal of the project is to better understand how structural attributes influence fire resilience in ponderosa pine forests.

Assistant/associate professor of geography and global ethics sought
The Department of Geography and The Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State invite applications for a tenure-track faculty position at the assistant or associate professor rank. We seek an individual whose research explores the social, political, racial, technological and/or environmental dimensions of human vulnerability and global ethics.

Zelinski mentioned in The New Yorker article about the geography of barbecue
Hollis Zelinski notes, “Trillin and my dad go way back and he cited him in one of his food stories a few decades ago.  It’s bittersweet but thrilling to see Trillin mention him again now, after his death.  He and Reed (with whom my father had a large professional correspondence) clearly get a kick out of my father’s old ‘Where the South begins Mule vs. Horse’ census study— apparently, one of his enduring claims to geographical fame.” Read the article here: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/11/02/in-defense-of-the-true-cue

Penn State partners with National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
On October 2, 2015, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) renewed two five-year partnerships with Penn State, one with the Department of Geography in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and another with the Applied Research Laboratory (ARL). The partnerships, or cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs), focus on improving both education for geospatial analysts and an imaging tool used by geospatial analysts known as urban terrain zones (UTZs).

Video: Erica Smithwick studies how much carbon is in the forests of South Africa’s Eastern Cape province.

Nov 15

Coffee Hour with Amy Ross | Circuits of Justice | Smithwick gets Fulbright


street musicians KievAzita Ranjbar sends this image of a street musicians from Kiev, Ukraine, where she is observing elections.


Carolynne Hultquist received the ACM travel award for ACM SIGSPATIAL International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems in November.

Gabriella Ferruzzi received the PSU postdoc society travel award for ACM SIGSPATIAL International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems in November.

Gabriella Ferruzzi and Guido Cervone will conduct a workshop on Smart Cities and Urban Analytics at ACM SIGSPATIAL International Conference in November.

Carolynne Hultquist, Mark Simpson, Guido Cervone, and another colleague will present a paper on the Use of GIS in Emergency Management at ACM SIGSPATIAL International Conference in November.

Alex Klippel, with Danielle Oprean from the Stuckeman School, has received funding from the LMI Research Institute for a yearlong project titled, “Virtual Reality for Distributed Workforce Settings.”

Eun-Kyeong Kim, Alex Klippel, Mark Simpson, and Sam Stehle attended the Conference On Spatial Information Theory XII (COSIT), October 12–16, 2015. Kim gave three presentations. Simpson gave two presentations, and Stehle gave one presentation.

Send your good news to share to geography@psu.edu


Coffee Hour with Amy Ross
(Self) Defense and the Killing of Others: Army ROTC and the Laws of War
A century ago, nine out of ten casualties of war were armed combatants. Today, however, 90 percent of the casualties of war are civilians. This paper investigates how US service personnel are trained to distinguish between civilians and combatants in today’s complex conflicts. For centuries, ethical and political theorists have debated the appropriate means of waging war. Identification of the enemies deemed the legitimate targets of warfare is central to the concept of “just war.”

  • 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
  • Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:00 p.m.
  • The lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.
  • Coffee Hour To Go Webcast
  • Next week: Matthew Ferrari

Circuits of Justice workshop to explore human rights and wrongs
Graduate students from Syracuse University and Penn State will convene Nov. 6 – 7, 2015 to address the nature of geographic justice at the “Circuits of Justice” workshop, hosted by Penn State’s Department of Geography. The public is invited to a panel discussion and the keynote by Amy Ross, associate professor of geography at the University of Georgia.

Ross is a leading scholar in what she describes as “the study of human rights and wrongs.” Her research engages with matters related to international justice including genocide, transitional justice and the spatiality of violence.

Professor awarded Fulbright to study tree carbon storage, teach in South Africa
In January 2016, Penn State associate professor of geography Erica Smithwick will have the opportunity to greatly expand the scope of the ecological research portfolio she has been building for several years in South Africa. The recipient of a prestigious Core Fulbright U.S. Scholarship, Smithwick will spend six months investigating how much carbon is stored in trees in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province, and how that could impact global warming. She will also teach a course on sustainability at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa.

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