Coffee Hour with Amy Glasmeier | Baka’s research funded | Where the wild things are


Powell interviews friend

Bronwen Powell discusses dietary diversity and life in general with friend and research participant, Zaina Housseni, in the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania in 2012. Photo: Keith Powell. Read more about Powell’s research in her faculty profile below.


Carolyn Fish received the Geospatial Intelligence Foundation Doctoral Scholarship.
Alumnus John Ingram (’71) is running for mayor of Allentown, the third largest city in Pennsylvania.
Laura Clemente-Harding’s daughter, Lana Dorothy Virginia Harding, was born on September 29.


September 29 Coffee Hour with Amy Glasmeier: How Recessions, Job Loss, Permanent Unemployment and Social Stigma Brought Us Contemporary Populism
The sociologists have it right. The average American, lacking access to the American Dream is tired of sharing the fragile benefits of a weakened economy. From the 1970s onward, American manufacturing jobs experienced a steady decline in numbers being replaced by ever cheaper imports. New jobs called for different skills and too often no skill. Shunted aside, American workers faced few opportunities to regain employment in jobs paying a living wage. Changes in public policy— taxation, trade, and labor market regulation— further contributed to economic insecurity. In the USA, progressive policies hard won during past eras of political liberalism were susceptible to interest- group influence that shaped and reshaped the direction of government practices. The 1970s were an economic watershed. The combined forces of globalization and the consequences of technological change transformed the economies of countries around the world and the local communities within them.

  • 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.: Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m.; the lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.
  • Watch the webcast on Mediasite

Baka awarded fellowship to study impact of petrochemical plant on community
Jennifer Baka, assistant professor in the department of geography, has been at Penn State for a little more than a year but she has a lifetime of experience assessing the implications of energy.

She grew up in a coal mining region of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and watching the relationship a rural community has with a global enterprise factored into her choice to become an energy geographer. It’s a field that combines political and industrial ecology to look at how energy projects impact all segments of society.

[Editor’s note: The Summer 2017 GEOGRAPH Newsletter was published and mailed in August. We are placing the articles on the department website and will highlight this content during the fall. Want to get your copy in the mail? Send your postal address to]

From the Summer 2017 GEOGRAPH newsletter
She knows where the wild things are for dinner
Bronwen Powell joined Penn State in January 2016 as an assistant professor of geography and African studies. She joined Penn State after nearly four years as a postdoctoral researcher with the Center for International Forestry Research. Powell has spent a large portion of her career living and working in Africa, where she examines the social, cultural, and environmental determinants of human diet and nutrition.

From the Summer 2017 GEOGRAPH newsletter
How my capstone MGIS project evolved into a business venture
By Sarah Linden (’13g)
When most people think of geographic information systems (GIS), they think of maps. That’s not necessarily wrong; it’s just incomplete. My professional background demonstrates many commercial applications of GIS. Individuals using current technology also apply GIS in a number of ways on a daily or momentary basis: GIS is represented in the navigation on our phones; it largely powers our cars’ computers (and the future of autonomous driving); it helps us search for that best vacation spot; it even assists us with recommendations through our Facebook profiles. GIS is now a fundamental component of everyday life decisions, whether we notice it or not. GIS will inevitably become even more intimately involved in decision making and confer many benefits for individuals.


Collaborating remotely: an evaluation of immersive capabilities on spatial experiences and team membership
By Danielle Oprean, Mark Simpson, and Alex Klippel
In International Journal of Digital Earth
Today’s workforce environments are steadily becoming more distributed across the globe, calling for improved ways of facilitating collaborations at a distance, including geo-collaborations or collaborations at critical locations. Newer technology is allowing distributed teams to move away from traditional conference rooms, taking collaborations into the field and giving remote teams more information about the environment. This idea of situating a remote collaborator’s experiences in the field, virtually, promises to enhance the understanding of geographically remote spaces. Newer technologies in virtual reality (VR) hold promise for providing mobile spatial experiences in real-time, without being tied to fixed hardware, such as systems in conference rooms. An exploratory study using VR technology on remote user experiences in a collaboration was conducted to identify the added value for remote collaborators. The findings suggest immersive capabilities improve feelings of presence in the remote locations and perceptions of being in the remote location increase feelings of team membership.

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