Caps and gowns | NASA Space Grant Graduate Fellowship | Abandoned factories


commencement spring 2018

Caps and gowns: Penn State Geography class of 2018 (with department staff Melissa Weaver and Jodi Vender, front) at the Pegula Ice Arena on May 4 for the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Commencement.


  • 2018 Ice Cream Social and United Way Basket Raffle will take place on June 20 in the courtyard at Walker Building. We will begin scooping ice cream at 1:00 p.m.
  • Justine Blanford was elected to serve as a director for the University Consortium of Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) and also one of the inaugural TRELIS fellows, selected from a group of her peers to participate in a new UCGIS initiative focused on the professional development of women in our academic discipline.
  • Tim Yuskavage (’11) received his Master of Arts from the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University in May 2018. He continues to work for the US Government as an analyst.
  • One more grad rep has been elected: Jade Huang.
  • Sarah Chamberlain’s book, Field Guide to Grasses of the Mid-Atlantic, has been published by Penn State University Press.


IST doctoral student [and geography alumnus] receives NASA Space Grant Graduate Fellowship

Scott Pezanowski, a doctoral candidate in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, has received the NASA Space Grant Graduate Fellowship given by the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium for 2018-2019.

The mission of the program is to expand opportunities for Pennsylvanians to learn about and participate in NASA’s aeronautics and space programs by supporting and enhancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, research and outreach programs. The one-year fellowship consists of a $5,000 monetary award, presented to outstanding graduate students pursuing degrees in STEM fields related to NASA research and development.

Meet the latest tourist attractions: Abandoned factories

Trip-planning multiple choice: a) Mountains b) Sand c) Surf d) Factories. If you picked the last vacation option, you’ve got company. “We’re finding a hunger,” says Michael Boettcher, an urban planner and industrial-history buff. “Everyone has been to Disney World, and it’s like, what else you got?”


Africa’s first democrats: Somalia’s Aden A. Osman and Abdirazak H. Hussen, Abdi Samatar. Indiana University Press, Bloomington (2016)

Sarah A. Radcliffe, Patricia Daley, Joshua Inwood, James Sidaway, Abdi I. Samatar
Political Geography
The Review Forum on Abdi Samatar’s book Africa’s First Democrats ( Samatar, 2016) arose from initial conversations at the Royal Geographical Society with IBG Annual conference in 2017. Under the umbrella theme of Decolonising Geographical Knowledges, Abdi Samatar and Joshua Inwood discussed the book and its wider relevance for the field of political geography. This review forum continues the conversations begun there, with an additional two commentators and Samatar’s response. As a conversation between black and white geographers, between political geographers of diverse theoretical and substantive interests, and as a conversation about the methods, frames and frameworks through which we come to understand power and geography, this Review Forum seeks to be a space for practices of decolonising geography. Decolonisation carries multiple meanings yet crucially points to efforts to both identify and challenge the dispositions of power whose origins and hegemony lie rooted in colonialism. Decolonisation becomes an issue of concern for geography as power relations in the colonial present permeate knowledge and ways of producing knowledge; “knowledge production and everyday relations are informed by European colonial modalities of power and propped up by imperial geopolitics and economic arrangements” (Collard, Dempsey, & Sundberg, 2015, p. 323; Radcliffe, 2017). Going beyond postcolonial analysis, decolonisation encourages re-thinking the world from Africa, from Latin America, from Indigenous places, and from marginalized academia ( Grosfoguel, 2012).

Connecting the Dots: Cultivating a Sustainable Interdisciplinary Discourse Around Migration, Urbanisation, and Health in Southern Africa. In: Winchester M., Knapp C., BeLue R. (eds) Global Health Collaboration

Hunter-Adams J., Makandwa T., Matthews S.A., Nyamnjoh H., Oni T., Vearey J. (2018) SpringerBriefs in Public Health. Springer, Cham
This chapter describes our experiences in connecting a group of emerging Southern African scholars around the inherently interdisciplinary field of migration, urbanisation and health. South Africa, as with other countries in the region, is witnessing multiple simultaneous and interconnected transitions – health, demographic, social, economic and political. Defining, measuring and better understanding the dynamics and complexities of these transitions is a fundamental step in the professionalizing of next-generation scholars in the area of migration, urbanisation and health. In this chapter we discuss themes, definitions and the process of forming group discourse at the nexus of migration, urbanisation and health. Driven by substantive questions derived from studies of the lived experiences of urban migrants in South Africa, specifically the intertwining of migration trajectories and health histories, a central goal of our collaborative endeavour was ‘to connect the dots’ – key concepts, data, measures and methods – in order to identify common themes and research priorities that will facilitate the participation of next-generation scholars in developing innovative and new research agendas. We report on the themes that emerged from a 2015 workshop held at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg that brought together senior and early-career scholars to discuss ways of engaging with migration, urbanisation and health in the Southern African context. We close with a discussion of the opportunities and challenges for early-career scholars in this field, identifying next steps to develop and sustain in-country capacity to influence both research and public policy.

Calibration of Safecast dose rate measurements

Guido Cervone, Carolynne Hultquist
Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
A methodology is presented to calibrate contributed Safecast dose rate measurements acquired between 2011 and 2016 in the Fukushima prefecture of Japan. The Safecast data are calibrated using observations acquired by the U.S. Department of Energy at the time of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi power plant nuclear accident.

The methodology performs a series of interpolations between the U.S. government and contributed datasets at specific temporal windows and at corresponding spatial locations. The coefficients found for all the different temporal windows are aggregated and interpolated using quadratic regressions to generate a time dependent calibration function. Normal background radiation, decay rates, and missing values are taken into account during the analysis.

Results show that the standard Safecast static transformation function overestimates the official measurements because it fails to capture the presence of two different Cesium isotopes and their changing magnitudes with time. A model is created to predict the ratio of the isotopes from the time of the accident through 2020. The proposed time dependent calibration takes into account this Cesium isotopes ratio, and it is shown to reduce the error between U.S. government and contributed data. The proposed calibration is needed through 2020, after which date the errors introduced by ignoring the presence of different isotopes will become negligible.

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