May 17

We are … at the UN | Promotions announced | Protecting plant biodiversity


we are ... at the UN

Passing notes in class?  Bronwen Powell sends this photo from the UN Forum on Forests held in May at UN Headquarters in New York. After introductions, she received a note from fellow Penn Stater Mahmoud Ablan (’07, ’16gr), a lead organizer and advisor at the UN,  “We are …”


For the summer, DoG news will be published every other week. Continue to send your good news, story ideas, and photos from fieldwork and travels to geography@psu.edu.

Courtney Jackson (’15), who will start her Ph.D. program in geography at Penn State this fall, received an award to participate in the 2017 National Water Center Innovators Program Summer Institute.

Rachel Passmore (’14) will finish her 27 months of Peace Corps service in August. She will begin graduate school, to obtain her master of public health, at Columbia University in New York during the same month. She would like to thank Susan Friedman and Lorraine Dowler for their support throughout the application process.

Promotions announced:
Alexander Klippel has been promoted to professor.
Stefanie Rocco has been promoted to senior lecturer/senior instructor.
Michelle Zeiders has been promoted to senior lecturer/senior instructor.


Alumni mentoring program underscores dedication to improving student experiences
Looking back at when he began his first job as a geoscientist, Penn State alumnus Enrique Perez said he saw how a formal alumni mentoring program could have benefited him.

“I’m from a low-income family in Georgia and I didn’t have any relatives in the sort of career I was pursuing,” he said.

Integrative approach needed to protect crop biodiversity, researcher says
While studying ways to protect and strengthen the biodiversity and social accessibility of food plants, Karl Zimmerer, professor of geography, often finds simple solutions.

Sometimes growers have simply run out of seed for a unique strain of crop or garden plant. That food source could be gone forever, or quickly replenished if a seed bank is operating in the region.

May 17

Congratulations to grads | MOOC on FutureLearn | Scholarly publications


undergraduates at commencementGeography undergraduate students, from left (rear) to right (front): McQuillin Murphy, Jack Swab, Grant Smith, Anna Blyth, Yuhao Wang, Kathy Cappelli, Max Rudner, Judy Smith, Paul Yost, Torie Herdt, Jordan Qualtieri-Tyrrell at the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Commencement Ceremonies at the Pegula Ice Arena on Friday, May 5, 2017.


For the summer, DoG enews will be published every other week. Please continue to send your good news, story ideas, and photos from fieldwork and travels to geography@psu.edu.

Alumnus Patrick Stephens, has just had a map published as part of a scientific article.  Stephens generated this map while working on an independent study with Andrew Carleton in fall 2015.

Megan Baumann, Eden Kinkaid, and Carolynne Hultquist were elected at the new grad reps for 2017–18  Lauren Fritzsche will continue to serve during the fall semester.

Erica Smithwick was a panelist on Conversations LIVE: Climate Change with host Patty Satalia on Thursday, April 27.


Penn State opens mapping course on FutureLearn MOOC platform
Penn State’s massive open online course “Maps and the Geospatial Revolution” will open May 8 on FutureLearn, the United Kingdom’s leading MOOC platform.

Record 83 undergraduates receive 2017 Erickson Discovery Grants
Geography undergrad Eva Bonta is a recipient
At Penn State, an increasing amount of students are forgoing their usual summer routines and participating in research in the field, lab, or studio. For some, this means staying close to campus while others travel thousands of miles away to research topics in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities and arts fields.

Army captain balanced military training, deployment while completing his degree
Duhon graduated with a master’s degree in homeland security
Army Capt. Andy Duhon has been busy the past four years. He attained his current rank and position after completing Army courses and trainings. He took language immersion classes before serving overseas. He deployed to West Africa for six months, and he and his wife had two kids.


Leveraging Big (Geo) Data with (Geo) Visual Analytics: Place as the Next Frontier [book chapter]
By Alan M. MacEachren
In Spatial Data Handling in Big Data Era
Access DOI 10.1007/978-981-10-4424-3_10
A tension exists in the discipline of Geography between the concepts of space and place. Most research and development in Geographical Information Science (GIScience) has been focused on the former, through methods to formally structure data about the world and to systematically model and analyze aspects of the world as represented through those structured data. People, however, live and behave in socially constructed places; what they care about happens in those places rather than in some abstract, modeled ‘space’. Study of place, by human geographers (and other social scientists and humanist scholars), typically using qualitative methods and seldom relying on digital data, has proceeded largely independently of GIScience research focused on space. There have been calls within GIScience to formalize place to enable application of Geographical Information Systems methods to place-based problems, and some progress in this direction has been made. Here, however, a complementary view is offered for treating ‘place’ as a first class object of attention by capitalizing on the combination of “big data” and new human-centered visual analytical methods to enable understanding of the complexity inherent in place as both a concept and a context for human behavior.

A decade of colonization: the spread of the Asian tiger mosquito in Pennsylvania and implications for disease risk
By Taber, Eric D.; Hutchinson, Michael L.; Smithwick, Erica A. H.; Blanford, Justine I.
In Journal of Vector Ecology  Jun 2017, Vol. 42 Issue 1, p3-12. 10p.
In recent decades, the Asian tiger mosquito expanded its geographic range throughout the northeastern United States, including Pennsylvania. The establishment of Aedes albopictus in novel areas raises significant public health concerns, since this species is a highly competent vector of several arboviruses, including chikungunya, West Nile, and dengue. In this study, we used geographic information systems (GIS) to examine a decade of colonization by Ae. albopictus throughout Pennsylvania between 2001 and 2010. We examined the spatial and temporal distribution of Ae. albopictus using spatial statistical analysis and examined the risk of dengue virus transmission using a model that captures the probability of transmission. Our findings show that since 2001, the Ae. albopictus population in Pennsylvania has increased, becoming established and expanding in range throughout much of the state. Since 2010, imported cases of dengue fever have been recorded in Pennsylvania. Imported cases of dengue, in combination with summer temperatures conducive for virus transmission, raise the risk of local disease transmission.

Constructing landscapes: Healthcare contexts in rural South Africa
By Margaret Winchester and Brian King
In Medicine Anthropology Theory 4, no. 1: 151–176
Access http://www.medanthrotheory.org/read/7212/constructing-landscapes
The concept of therapeutic landscapes has been adopted from geography by anthropologists with a similar commitment to addressing the intersections between the construction of place and the multifaceted and symbolic dimensions of health. Drawing from health geography and medical anthropology, we take up the challenge from these fields to approach health broadly in order to understand how health decision making is connected to intersecting political, economic, social, and cultural processes that shape what options are available to people. This article presents findings from an ongoing study of the political ecology of health in northeastern South Africa. We consider how therapeutic landscapes are produced by physical infrastructure, social dynamics, and the use of
natural resources for livelihoods and health management. While each of these dimensions is critical in shaping human health, we argue that it is through their interaction that therapeutic landscapes are produced. Landscapes of care are thus complicated and shifting, with rural households making strategic decisions to leverage government support, social support, and resources for health management. We conclude by emphasizing the need for further integration of anthropological and geographic frameworks in studying human health.

The determinants of dietary diversity and nutrition: ethnonutrition knowledge of local people in the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania
By Bronwen Powell, Rachel Bezner Kerr, Sera L. Young and Timothy Johns
In Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
Access DOI: 10.1186/s13002-017-0150-2
Diet and nutrition-related behaviours are embedded in cultural and environmental contexts: adoption of new knowledge depends on how easily it can be integrated into existing knowledge systems. As dietary diversity promotion becomes an increasingly common component of nutrition education, understanding local nutrition knowledge systems and local concepts about dietary diversity is essential to formulate efficient messages.
Methods. This paper draws on in-depth qualitative ethnographic research conducted in small-scale agricultural communities in Tanzania. Data were collected using interviews, focus group discussions and participant observation in the East Usambara Mountains, an area that is home primarily to the Shambaa and Bondei ethnic groups, but has a long history of ethnic diversity and ethnic intermixing.
Results. The data showed a high degree of consensus among participants who reported that dietary diversity is important because it maintains and enhances appetite across days, months and seasons. Local people reported that sufficient cash resources, agrobiodiversity, heterogeneity within the landscape, and livelihood diversity all supported their ability to consume a varied diet and achieve good nutritional status. Other variables affecting diet and dietary diversity included seasonality, household size, and gender. The results suggest that dietary diversity was perceived as something all people, both rich and poor, could achieve. There was significant overlap between local and scientific understandings of dietary diversity, suggesting that novel information on the importance of dietary diversity promoted through education will likely be easily integrated into the existing knowledge systems.

Map Projections and the Internet [book chapter]
By Kessler, Fritz, C., Sarah E. Battersby, Michael P. Finn, and Keith C. Clarke
In Choosing a Map Projection
Access DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-51835-0_4
The field of map projections can be described as mathematical, static, and challenging. However, this description is evolving in concert with the development of the Internet. The Internet has enabled new outlets for software applications, learning, and interaction with and about map projections . This chapter examines specific ways in which the Internet has moved map projections from a relatively obscure paper-based setting to a more engaging and accessible online environment. After a brief overview of map projections, this chapter discusses four perspectives on how map projections have been integrated into the Internet. First, map projections and their role in web maps and mapping services is examined. Second, an overview of online atlases and the map projections chosen for their maps is presented. Third, new programming languages and code libraries that enable map projections to be included in mapping applications are reviewed. Fourth, the Internet has facilitated map projection education and research especially with the map reader’s comprehension and understanding of complex topics like map projection distortion is discussed.

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