Coffee Hour schedule | The Tea Institute | MOOCs with FutureLearn


Devin Yeatman takes a short break after a burnout operation during the September 2012 Mustang Complex, a fire in the Bitterroot Mountains on the Idaho-Montana border.

Devin Yeatman takes a short break after a burnout operation during the September 2012 Mustang Complex, a fire in the Bitterroot Mountains on the Idaho-Montana border. Photo by Josh Tereszkiewicz.

Alumni mini-profile: Devin Yeatman earned his B.S. in 2007 and has worked as a firefighter with the Nature Conservancy and Chena, Alaska hotshot crew.  He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Natural Resources at the University of Idaho,  analyzing the pre-fire vegetation conditions around houses that were involved in major wildfire events to explore the relationship between vegetation surrounding a home and whether it burns or not. Yeatman remains active in the University of Idaho’s prescribed fire program on the university’s experimental forest and with local partners like the U.S. Forest Service. He plans to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail this summer with his fiancée.


  • Catherine and Thomas Lauvaux are delighted to announce the birth of their son, Robin Amédée on Feb. 7, 2017.  Everyone is doing well.
  • Please submit your nominations for department awards for outstanding teaching or research assistant. All nominations should be saved as a single file by the faculty member writing the letter of support and emailed to the awards committee chair at The due date for nominations is March 17.


Coffee Hour schedule announcement
Due to Spring Break, March 5–11, there will be no Coffee Hour on March 3 or March 10. The next Coffee Hour will be March 17. The speaker will be Roger Downs, the Ruby S. and E. Willard Miller professor of geography in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.

Remainder of the spring 2017 Coffee Hour schedule:

  • March 24 Antoinette WinklerPrins, NSF Program Director of Geography and Spatial Sciences (GSS) DDRI
  • April 14 The Miller Lecture with Anthony Bebbington, Higgins Professor of Environment and Society and Professor of Geography, Clark University
  • April 21 tbd

Remember, if you missed a talk, you can view the archived webcast on Mediasite.

Geography undergraduate researches tea plantation loss through Tea Institute
For Zongjun Li, a junior majoring in geography at Penn State, the chance to explore real-life opportunities with his degree is what drives him as an undergraduate student.

“It’s important to me to take the knowledge from our textbooks and bring it to life out in the real world,” Li said.

Raised in Guangzhou, China, Li, who is majoring in geographic information science (GIS), has always been fascinated by the applications of the geography major.

Penn State to offer MOOCs on FutureLearn online learning platform
Penn State will begin offering massive open online courses through FutureLearn, the United Kingdom’s leading MOOC platform, as part of the organization’s launch in the United States.

Penn State’s first two MOOCs with FutureLearn will be offered in the spring and will be taught by renowned faculty members in their fields. Richard Alley, a world-renowned climate scientist and Evan Pugh University Professor of Geosciences, will teach “Energy, the Environment and our Future.” Anthony Robinson, assistant professor of geography, will teach “Maps and the Geospatial Revolution.”


Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of Active Lions: A Campaign to Promote Active Travel to a University Campus
By Melissa Bopp, Dangaia Sims, Stephen A. Matthews, Liza S. Rovniak, Erika Poole, Joanna Colgan
In American Journal of Health Promotion
To outline the development, implementation, and evaluation of a multistrategy intervention to promote active transportation, on a large university campus. The Active Lions campaign aimed to increase active transportation to campus for all students and employees. The campaign targeted active transport participation through the development of a smartphone application and the implementation of supporting social marketing and social media components. Component-specific measures included app user statistics, social media engagement, and reach of social marketing strategies. Overall evaluation included cross-sectional online surveys preintervention and postintervention of student and employee travel patterns and campaign awareness.

Short-term photovoltaic power forecasting using Artificial Neural Networks and an Analog Ensemble
By Guido Cervone, Laura Clemente-Harding, Stefano Alessandrini, Luca Delle Monache
In Renewable Energy
A methodology based on Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) and an Analog Ensemble (AnEn) is presented to generate 72-hour deterministic and probabilistic forecasts of power generated by photovoltaic (PV) power plants using input from a numerical weather prediction model and computed astronomical variables. ANN and AnEn are used individually and in combination to generate forecasts for three solar power plants located in Italy. The computational scalability of the proposed solution is tested using synthetic data simulating 4450 PV power stations. The NCAR Yellowstone supercomputer is employed to test the parallel implementation of the proposed solution, ranging from 1 node (32 cores) to 4450 nodes (141,140 cores). Results show that a combined AnEn + ANN solution yields best results, and that the proposed solution is well suited for massive scale computation.

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