2016 to 2017 Academic Year News

potium microphoneAugust 14, 2016

CICS Hosted Second Annual Left of Boom Conference

CICS Leave geography site Co-Directors Pottathil and Skupin hosted the second annual Left of Boom Conference on the SDSU campus. Over the course of three days, conference participants and the thirty speakers at this invitation-only event engaged in a discussion of proactive threat mitigation strategies in domains ranging from global security to law enforcement, health, population, infrastructure protection, and cyber security. LoB II was especially honored to welcome a delegation of twenty members of the U.S. Marine Corps stationed at Camp Pendleton for the duration of the conference.

Keynotes were given by Dennis Cosgrove of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Captain John Love, Director of Medical Services at Naval Medical Center San Diego, and Michael Lowder, Director of the Office of Intelligence, Security, and Emergency Response in the U.S. Department of Transportation.

One of the distinguishing marks of the conference noted by participants was its extremely interdisciplinary scope and the great variety of institutions represented, from General Charles Jacoby Jr (former commander of NORTHCOM and NORAD, Ret.) discussing the complex relationship of borders and globalization to Summer Stephan (Chief Deputy District Attorney of San Diego County) addressing human trafficking and child prostitution. Other topics covered by speakers hailing from government, business, and academia included global population trends, school safety, biohazard protection, as well as cyber threats to SCADA systems. Among the many excellent presentations was one on population dynamics and global health by Geography’s own Dr. John Weeks (Distinguished Professor Emeritus). County Supervisor Dave Roberts spoke as well and presented Akshay Pottathil with a special award recognizing his contributions to the community.


CICS co-directors at AMCISAugust 14, 2016

CICS Healthcare Panel at AMCIS Conference

The role of CICS Leave geography site as a source of innovative healthcare solutions was underscored when the organizers of the workshop “Health Care Transformation through Digital Leadership: Inside and Outside the Hospital Walls in Support of Continuity of Care” extended an invitation to Co-Directors Pottathil and Skupin to convene a panel on “Big Data in Healthcare.” Moderated by Pottathil, the panel discussed a range of healthcare innovations, from Internet of Things (IoT) to medical intelligence and knowledge management solutions using semantic web and analytics techniques.

Workshop speakers included executive leaders and healthcare practitioners (e.g., St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Leave geography site, Crittenton Hospital), industry innovators, and thought leaders like the Global Health Initiative at Henry Ford Health System Leave geography site. The workshop was held August 11, in conjunction with AMCIS 2016, the 22nd Americas Conference on Information Systems.


August 16, 2016

Dr. Nara Co-Authors Health Affairs Article

Dr. Atsushi Nara co-authored an article in Health Affairs entitled, “Language Services In Hospitals Vary By Ownership And Location.” Leave geography site

This article was also referenced by Kaiser Health News Leave geography site.

Health Affairs is rated number one in cost-effectiveness among scholarly periodicals in Health Policy & Services as well as Health Care Sciences and Services.

  • Impact Factor for 2015: 5.23
  • Health Policy & Services: 1/87
  • Health Care Sciences and Services: 1/74


August 22, 2016

Dr. Aitken gives Keynote Speech at Conference in the Arctic

Earlier this summer Dr. Stuart Aitken gave a keynote address at a conference on Gendered (I’m)mobilities in the Context of Work held at the Arctic University in Tromso, Norway (the most northerly university in the world). His keynote was entitled “The Work of Fathering in the Context of Erasure and Neoliberal Politics”.


crystal englishAugust 22, 2016

English Receives Fellowship

Congratulations to Doctoral Candidate Crystal English who was awarded a FY2016 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Graduate Research Fellowship in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the amount of $50,000 to support her dissertation research project titled, “Development of Advanced Computational and Geographic Visualization Methods for Geospatial and Temporal Strategic Risk Assessment of Crime.”

This prestigious and highly competitive fellowship is awarded to only 20 students annually, with half supporting research topics of interest to NIJ’s Office of Science and Technology and half supporting research topics of interest to NIJ’s Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences.

The Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF) program has supported research from doctoral students across the country for more than 40 years. In 2014, NIJ split the program into two tracks – one to support social and behavioral science research and one to support STEM research.

The National Institute of Justice is the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice and is dedicated to improving knowledge and understanding of crime and justice issues through science. The goal of the GRF program is to increase the pool of scholars engaged in research that addresses the challenges of crime and justice in the United States, particularly at the state and local levels.


stuart aitkenAugust 23, 2016

Aitken to give Keynote Lecture at the Annual International Seminar
on Children’s Rights in Ghent, Belgium

This week, Dr. Aitken travels to Ghent, Belgium to give a keynote lecture at the International Seminar on Children’s Rights Governance. His lecture is entitled “Children’s Rights from a Geographic Perspective”. This will be followed by a workshop on children’s spatial rights for students attending the seminar. He is the first geographer to be invited to participate in this seminar.


philip prydeAugust 23, 2016

Pryde Discusses Climate Change in Union Tribune

Dr. Philip Pryde discusses climate change in the Union Tribune newspaper article by Fred Dickey “Environmental Expert Sees Change Ahead; Speed is Issue.”

The article is archived on the author’s website Leave geography site.


August 29, 2016

Dr. Ryan Goode, from our JDP, Talks About His Research in Rio de Janiero on KPBS

Dr. Ryan Goode, a recent graduate of the Joint Doctoral Program, talks about his research in Rio de Janiero on KPBS Leave geography site.


Pottathil on panahon tvSeptember 13, 2016

Pottathil gives TV Interview on Climate Change and Global Security

Panahon TV aired a multi-part interview with CICS Co-Director Akshay Pottathil. It addressed a range of challenges connected to climate change and global security. Panahon TV is produced by the Philippine People’s Television Network (PTV). Co-producing entities include the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), and others.

Originally broadcasted in three segments over the course of several months, the interview is now available on the CICS Youtube channel Leave geography site. Specific issues discussed include human migration and displacement, disaster relief and response.

Many of these issues are also touched upon in Pottathil’s current course on “Geospatial Intelligence” (GEOG 596), whose students herald from such diverse SDSU departments as Journalism, Public Administration, Political Science, and Geography.


ming-hsiang tsouSeptember 15, 2016

Dr. Tsou Presented a Paper at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Conference on Geospatial Approaches to Cancer Control

Dr. Ming-Hsiang Tsou presented a refereed paper (“An Interactive Web Mapping Tool for Visualizing Cancer Disparities with Socioeconomic Variables”) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Leave geography site on September 13, 2016. The Center for Leave geography site developed an interactive web mapping tool for visualizing San Diego County cancer rates with socioeconomic data at the sub-regional area (SRA) level. This tool will be extended to provide dynamic choropleth mapping and spatial analysis functions for areas beyond San Diego using California Cancer Registry data.


arielle levineSeptember 22, 2016

Dr. Arielle Levine Receives NSF Award to Study Climate Change Impacts on Coastal Fisheries

Dr. Levine was recently awarded an NSF Coastal SEES Leave geography site (Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability) grant to study climate impacts on key fisheries in the California Current ecosystem. This collaborative project (with co-PIs from Biology, Scripps Institute of Oceanography and UCSD) will examine how fishing behavior, income, jobs distribution, and livelihood viability will be altered by climate change. The focus is on three key commercially harvested species that are known to respond to environmental change: Pacific sardine, California market squid, and California spiny lobster. Each of these supports an economically important fishery and represents a different type of organism in terms of marine habitat, latitudinal range, and time scale of response. The approach will include global climate model projections, regional ocean modeling, fisheries modeling, economics modeling, plus studies of management scenarios and fisher behavior. The goal will be to help develop sustainable management strategies under future climate scenarios given predicted ecological, social, and economic outcomes for these three fisheries. Dr. Levine’s research will focus on fishermen’s vulnerability and ability to adapt to predicted climate impacts, looking in-depth at lobster and squid fisheries in the California Bight.


October 5, 2016

SDSU Students Present at APCG Meetings

elliot pearsonjasmine arpagianlydia wood

On Thursday, Oct 6, SDSU graduate students Lydia Wood, Elliot Pearson and Jasmine Arpagian present research at the APCG meetings in Portland in a session entitled “Political Geographies of Youth and Precarity.”

Lydia is presenting work that focuses on ways indigenous youth reject ‘damage-centered’ narratives as part of her PhD on youth health in indigenous communities, Elliot is talking about his story-map and community identity work with ‘at-risk’ students from Crawford High School, which is part of his MA research, and Jasmine is presenting her work on the effects of forced and voluntary mobility among young families in Romania from her PhD field research this summer. The session is organized and convened by Stuart Aitken (SDSU) and Jessie Clark (University of Nevada, Reno).


CICS in philipinnesOctober 10, 2016

CICS Workshop in Philippines

CICS Co-Directors Akshay Pottathil and André Skupin just returned from the Philippines, where they offered a three-day workshop on Homeland Security Management. The event was held at the headquarters of Philippine National Police (PNP) in Quezon City. Attendees came from a range of backgrounds, including senior PNP officers, emergency response and disaster management professionals, intelligence analysts, and practitioners from the customs and trade sectors. Pottathil lectured on various topics in homeland security and global security, while Skupin focused on spatial intelligence and pattern recognition. CICS researcher and Philippines liaison, Samuel Bautista, coordinated much of the workshop, in addition to lecturing on issues related to customs management and global and regional trade.

The workshop was hosted by the Academy of Developmental Logistics and the Lyceum of the Philippines University Leave geography site (LPU). Significant logistic support, as well as catering, was provided by Donate.Philippines, an organization dedicated to the provision of a safe and reliable blood supply in the country. Messages of support for the workshop came from Dr. Peter Laurel (President, LPU - Batangas Leave geography site & Laguna Leave geography site), Mrs. Myrna Reyes (Chair and President, Donate.Philippines), and Chief Ronald dela Rosa (Director General, Philippine National Police).


manny storeyOctober 14, 2016

JDP Student Manny Storey Awarded USGIP Scholarship

Congratulations to JDP student Manny Storey who was awarded a scholarship by the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, an award for $5,000 and a 1-year membership.

Great job, Manny!


kate swansonOctober 24, 2016

Swanson Receives Casa Cornelia Law Center Award

Professor Kate Swanson won a Special Recognition Award through Casa Cornelia Law Center at the 2016 La Mancha Awards. Kate was given this award “in recognition of outstanding contribution to the organization’s mission to provide quality pro bono legal services to victims of human and civil rights violations.” During 2015, she spent many volunteer hours doing legal screening interviews with unaccompanied migrant children in US immigration detention.

Casa Cornelia Law Center Leave geography site is a public interest law firm providing quality pro bono legal services to victims of human and civil rights violations. The Center has a primary commitment to the indigent within the immigrant community in southern California. Casa Cornelia strives to educate others regarding the impact of immigration law and policy on society and the public good.

la mancha awards


kate swansonNovember 22, 2016

Swanson Quoted in Washington Post Article

Professor Kate Swanson’s work on zero tolerance policing in Latin America was featured in The Washington Post article Leave geography site “How Rudy Giuliani’s brand as a crime-fighting mayor made him millions in Latin America.”

Even in places where crime decreased, it is difficult to attribute the drops to Giuliani’s prescriptions. In a 2011 address to Juárez Competitiva, a two-week event designed to showcase the city to the world and transform its image as Mexico’s murder capital, Giuliani “spoke of similarities between New York and Juárez and praised the potential for broken windows theory in the crime-ridden metropolis,” said Kate Swanson, a professor at San Diego State University.

Studies of the Juárez turnaround, however, attribute it more to government restructuring, business contributions and revitalization of the judicial system.

Assessment is similarly difficult in Mexico City, where Giuliani has said his policies substantially reduced crime. Subsequent studies by academics have assessed that reductions were primarily in heavily policed upper-class neighborhoods and tourist areas, and that Giuliani’s recommendations were ill-suited for societies where as many as half of all workers participate in an informal economy and the greatest fear of many is of the police.

“Given vast inequalities [economically, socially and racially], high levels of police corruption and limited infrastructural resources, zero tolerance in Latin America is often implemented in a way that explicitly targets the poor,” Swanson wrote in a 2013 study.


akshay pottathilDecember 15, 2016

Pottathil Appointed Director of Digital Borders

Akshay Pottathil, CICS CO-Director, has been appointed as the Director of Digital Borders by the BORDERPOL executive committee during the 2016 annual meeting in Budapest, Hungary. The newly created position of Digital Borders will enable BORDERPOL to promote the digitization of borders, enhance global security, strengthen the fight against illicit trafficking, provide technology training, provide technology consultation, establish innovative partnerships, enhance strategic relationships, while developing sustainable global and regional certification programs in the Internet of Everything era.

borderpol executive committee


dara seidlJanuary 23, 2017

Seidl’s Location Privacy Work Featured in GIM International

Doctoral candidate Dara Seidl’s work on location privacy was highlighted in “Protecting Location Privacy Brings Opportunities to the Geosector” in GIM International Leave geography site.


February 13, 2017

Taniguchi and Quimby selected as Inamori Fellows

barbara quimbykris taniguchi

Congratulations to Doctoral students Kris Taniguchi and Barbara Quimby for being two of the ten SDSU graduate students to be awarded an Inamori Fellowship for 2016-2017. Each Inamori Fellow will receive $5,000 for a 12-month period. Kris and Barbara will be honored at the Kyoto Prize Symposium held from 2:00 to 3:30pm on Wednesday, March 15, in Montezuma Hall at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union.

The Inamori Foundation, founded by Dr. Kazuo Inamori in 1984, seeks to actively promote peace and prosperity among all people on earth through the promotion of mutual understanding. It does this through programs, such as the Kyoto Prize and the SDSU Inamori Fellowship program, to publicly recognize and supports creative activities to foster science, culture, and the enrichment of the human spirit


March 23, 2017

Geography courses participated in the Sage Project

Students in GEOG484 Fall (Nara), GEOG572 Fall (Richardson), GEOG484 Spring (English), and GEOG584 Spring (Nara) engaged in meaningful real-world projects and contribute to pressing social needs in the City of Lemon Grove through their course work. Students’ projects in GEOG484/584 (Nara) were highlighted in the Sage Project Spring 2017 Newsletter Leave geography site. Students participated in those projects will also present their works at the 2017 Sage Project Symposium Leave geography site on Monday, April 24, 2017, 5:00pm to 6:30pm in Montezuma Hall.


dara seidlApril 4, 2017

The American Geographical Society Awards a 2017 Council Fellowship to Dara Seidl

From AGS Press Release:

The American Geographical Society (AGS) announced today the recipients of the 2017 AGS Council Fellowships to support student research. Ms. Dara Seidl, a Ph.D. student at San Diego State University is one of the four people selected for 2017. The winners were selected by the Council Fellowship Committee, comprised of AGS Councilors, from a highly competitive field of applicants. The Fellowship winners will be recognized at the AGS’s Fall Symposium to be held at Columbia University in New York City on November 16 and 17, 2017. In addition, recipients have the opportunity to submit their completed research to the Geographical Review and Focus on Geography publications.

For Ms. Seidl, the Fellowship will fund her Ph.D dissertation, “Personal Geomasking Behavior of Internet Users.” In a recent interview with Ms. Seidl said her research examines personal location masking behavior through an online survey, focusing on both the precision and accuracy of location information Internet users opt to provide when asked. Ms. Seidl noted, “The study contributes to geo-privacy research by addressing geomasking from the perspectives of individual Internet users, as well as explores potential drivers for concealing location. In particular, the funds will support a pilot study targeting individual-level attempts to protect location privacy online.”

“These scholars were selected from a competitive pool of 33 applicants from Masters and Doctoral programs at 25 different universities in the United States” said Dr. Marie Price, the Chair of the Selection Committee. “The field tradition in geography is honored by this award with young scholars producing new geographic knowledge and understanding in diverse settings such as India, Cuba, and Slovenia. In addition, this year’s award recipients are also pushing advances in geospatial technology. The American Geographical Society welcomes our student members and supports them through this fellowship.”

The Council Fellowship was created in 2013 to support AGS student members in their pursuit of graduate research and is worth $1,500.00. In addition, AGS will promote the work and results of Ms. Seidl and the other recipients of the Fellowship through its 2017 activities and publications.

Established in 1851, the American Geographical Society (AGS) is the oldest professional geographical/geospatial organization in the United States. It is recognized world-wide as a pioneer in geographical research and education in geography for over 166 years. AGS is a 21st century learning society dedicated to the advancement of geographic thinking, understanding, and knowledge across business, government, academe, the social sector, and education. The goal of AGS is to enhance the nation’s geographic literacy so as to engender sound public policy, national security, and human well-being worldwide. AGS is the only organization focused on bringing together academics, business people, those who influence public policy (including leaders in local, state and federal government, not-for-profit organizations and the media), and the general public for the express purpose of furthering the understanding of the role of geography in our lives. AGS provides leadership to frame the national discussion of the growing importance of geography and geo-spatial tools. The Society maintains its headquarters in Brooklyn Heights, New York.


project meetingApril 25, 2017

Big Data & Emergency Management Project Kick-Off in Norway

Sogndal & Bergen, Norway / 25-28 April 2017

Co-Director André Skupin represented CICS Leave geography site at the kick-off meeting of the transnational “Big Data & Emergency Management” (BDEM Leave geography site) project, which brings together partners from Norway, Japan, Hong Kong, and the United States. As one of three U.S. partners and a recognized leader in the domain, CICS will contribute its wide-ranging expertise in the development of practical computing and threat mitigation solutions. With support from the Norwegian Research Council, the project will develop innovative curricular content in response to public and private sector needs. The project includes opportunities for student and faculty exchanges between CICS and the Norwegian partner institutions, the Western Norway Research Institute and the University of Bergen.


CICS declarationMay 3, 2017

Congressional Proclamation Honoring CICS

San Diego, California, 3 May 2017

Coinciding with the kick-off of the Third Annual Conference on Proactive Threat Mitigation – Left of Boom – a congressional proclamation was issued on initiative of U.S. Representative Scott Peters (CA-52). The U.S. House of Representatives proclamation enumerates the many contributions made by CICS since its inception, only three years ago, with technological advances in big data, adaptive intelligence and visualization being crafted into innovative solutions, especially in the mitigation of emerging threats.

The role of Left of Boom in “bringing together key government, military, academic and civilian experts” is recognized as well. The proclamation concludes that “the Center for Information Convergence and Strategy at San Diego State University be recognized and honored on behalf of the constituents of California's 52nd Congressional District for their continued contribution to the broader international community.”


left of boom mosaicMay 5, 2017

Left of Boom III - Third Annual Conference on Proactive Threat Mitigation

San Diego, California, 3 to 5 May 2017

This year’s edition of Left of Boom – again organized and hosted by CICS – featured a jam-packed program, with 30 speakers from 11 countries on 4 continents. Corporate sponsors included entities from North America, Europe, the Middle East, and South East Asia. Among the topics discussed were global trade, border security, public safety, human trafficking, corporate leadership, and social media approaches to well-being, to name a few. Numerous innovative solutions were presented, ranging from e-government to transportation infrastructure, physical security, big data, and bio technology.

International diplomacy, commerce, and humanitarian action were well represented, including through presentations by Amb. Venkatesan Ashok (Consul General of India), Amb. Paul Bekkers (Director of the Office of the Secretary General, Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe – OSCE) and Richard Lake (Director of Global Security, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). The emotionally charged topic of sex trafficking was addressed from a prosecutorial perspective by Summer Stephan, Chief Deputy District Attorney, while Susan Johnson of the Alabaster Jar Project discussed practical solutions in providing safe housing for victims of sexual violence and exploitation. Colleagues from SDSU’s College of Arts & Letters, College of Business Administration and School of Public Affairs presented perspectives on big data, network analysis, crime, and global investments.

As in previous years, Left of Boom received several letters of support, including from U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Representatives Susan Davis and Scott Peters, County Supervisor Bill Horn, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, INTERPOL, BORDERPOL, the World Customs Organization (WCO), and other organizations.


May 22, 2017

Doctoral Students Dai and Storey Receive NASA Fellowships

jie daimanny storey

Congratulations are in order to Geography Ph.D. students, Jie Dai (Advisor: Dr. Li An) and Emanuel (Manny) Storey (Advisor: Dr. Doug Stow) for being awarded the 2017 NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF)!

NASA received a total of 764 applications in 2017 to the NASA Earth and Space Science (NESSF) Fellowship Program announced in November 2016 among Earth Science Research, Heliophysics Research, Planetary Science Research, and Astrophysics Research – the four research programs of the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) at NASA Headquarters.

Jie’s proposal was titled, “Mapping and Modeling the Invasion of Mikania Micrantha in Chitwan Community Forests, Nepal: A Coupled Human and Natural Systems Approach”. Manny’s proposal was titled, “Uncoupling Fire and Drought Impacts on Chaparral.”

Congratulations Jie and Manny!


kate swansonMay 25, 2017

Swanson Interviewed by LASSO

Professor Kate Swanson was featured in a faculty research spotlight for the SDSU Latin American Studies Student Organization Leave geography site (LASSO). In the interview, Kate discusses her work in Ecuador and provides photos collected for her research.

Faculty Research Spotlight: Dr. Kate Swanson Leave geography site


CICS customs mosaicJuly 7, 2017

CICS at Customs Management Conference

Qusar, Azerbaijan, 3 to 7 July 2017

A CICS delegation led by Co-Director Pottathil participated at the 2nd International Student Conference “Contemporary Issues and Challenges in Customs Management” in Azerbaijan. CICS Researchers Colby Tunick and Aishwaryaa Dev presented on “Emerging and Evolving Customs Challenges,” while Pottathil’s talk was titled “Network of Everything: Future Challenges of Customs Management.”

Conference participants included multiple Nobel Laureates, directors general of customs organizations from across the globe, as well as representatives of business, academia, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.


borderpol groupJuly 20, 2017

CICS/BORDERPOL Visit to Czech Ministry of Interior

Prague, Czech Republic, 20 July 2017

Akshay Pottathil, CICS Leave geography site Co-Director and BORDERPOL Leave geography site Director of Digital Borders, visited the Czech Ministry of Interior to discuss the upcoming BORDERPOL Prague Conference and CICS’ role with Mr. Jiří Nováček (First Deputy Minister), Mr. Ondřej Koutek (Head of EU Unit), and Mr. Jiří Čelikovský (Department of Asylum and Migration). Pottathil was accompanied by Dr. Miloš Ulman (CICS Czech Liaison / Faculty of Czech University of Life Sciences), Mr. Tim Porter and Mr. David Thompson (Clarion Defence & Security).


CICS czech mosaicJuly 22, 2017

CICS and Czech University of Life Sciences offer week-long workshop

Prague, Czech Republic, 17-22 July 2017

CICS, in collaboration with the Czech University of Life Sciences (CULS) conducted the inaugural workshop “Continuity of Operations: Threats, Technology, and Trade.” The workshop was developed by CICS Co-Director Pottathil, Dr. Vlastimil Černý and Dr. Miloš Ulman.

Workshop content and activities included a macroeconomic overview, tax fraud issues, usability engineering, cyber security, e-governance and visits to a usability lab, a major industrial facility (Foxconn), and the Czech Parliament.