News / Events : Archive : Department News 2013
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December 5 - Wang Defends Dissertation
Ninghua (Nathan) Wang successfully defended his doctoral dissertation entitled “Statistics for Time-Series Spatial Data: Applying Survival Analysis to Study Land-Use Change.” Drs. Li An, Keith Clarke, Helen Couclelis, André Skupin unanimously passed his defense.
Ninghua’s dissertation focuses on extracting temporal information from time-series spatial data. He adopted an agent-based model of residential development in a virtual landscape that simulated the decisions of homebuyers in choosing residential locations based on the values of several spatial variables. Simulated land-change maps, generated by the agent-based model with different weights on these spatial variables, were exposed to statistical land-change analysis. His study evaluated how land-change analysis could reveal the spatial variables that were used in the agent-based model, and the impact of various temporal imprecision conditions. Empirical data from two case study sites in San Diego and Tijuana were also used for investigation and the results largely corroborated to those from the simulated land-change dataset.
December 2 - An Enters Editorial Board of the Annals of AAG
The AAG Council has recently approved the nomination of Dr. Li An to join the Editorial Board of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, flagship journal in geography. His position is to last from 2014 to 2017. During that time, Dr. An will be involved with handling manuscripts submitted to the section Methods, Models and GIS together with the editors, other board members, and reviewers.
Way to go Li!
November 21 - Stow Named ASPRS Fellow
We are all very proud of Dr. Douglas Stow who has been named the 2014 American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) Fellow Award winner. Quoting from the official ASPRS announcement on www.asprs.org: “The ASPRS designation of Fellow is conferred on active Society members who have performed exceptional service in advancing the science and use of the mapping sciences (photogrammetry, remote sensing, surveying, geographic information systems, and related disciplines).”
Way to go Doug!
November 19 - First Joint SDSU and UCSB Retreat
The first joint retreat of University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) and San Diego State University (SDSU) geography departments was held on November 16 at the Sedgwick Reserve – a research, conservation and education facility located north of Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynez Valley. The retreat, hosted by UCSB Geography Department and attended by 26 participants from both departments including faculty members, graduate coordinators, and doctoral student representatives; was organized in response to a recommendation from the 2012 review of the joint SDSU-UCSB doctoral program. Following the morning lightning talk session including the participant introductions, a variety of issues affecting the program were discussed. They included better coordination of the admission procedures, more effective advising starting with the diagnostic interview, facilitating access for UCSB doctoral students to SDSU faculty, involving SDSU doctoral students into research of UCSB faculty, and closer collaboration between two faculties and JDP students in developing grants proposals, research, and publishing. There was a sentiment voiced by many participants that the retreat was a successful event and that the next retreat could be organized in 2 years.
November 19 - Stow and Coulter Win Zahn Award
Repeat Station Imaging (RSI), a start-up commercial venture by Department Staff member Pete Coulter and Dr. Douglas Stow in the SDSU Zahn Center, took second place in the Second Annual Zahn Challenge in the category Commercial Enterprise with Prototype. Pete made a very effective four minute “pitch” as part of the competition and also included a brief proposal that was judged by SDSU Faculty and Staff. RSI is developing a tool for automated image registration of images captured with the repeat station imaging approach. The tool and approach will assist producers of updated orthoimages and users of image-based change detection technologies.
The Zahn Center is an on-campus business incubator that supports SDSU innovators as they bring their ideas to fruition. The competition was judged by local champions of entrepreneurship. The second place prize was $3000.00.
Congratulations Pete and Doug!
October 22 - Rogerson Gives Getis Lecture
On October 18, 2013, Dr. Peter A. Rogerson, Distinguished Professor of Geography and Biostatistics at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, gave an outstanding talk aas the latest guest in the Getis Lecture Series. The title of his talk was “The Statistical Detection and Monitoring of Spatial Patterns.”
At the lecture, Dr. Rogerson presented a unifying framework to test the null hypothesis of spatial randomness. He started with the simple global test, which tests the overall pattern randomness. The second topic was the local test, which examines the rate of incidence in the vicinity of a predefined location. He then demonstrated how to assess the size and significance of the most prominent spatial clusters in the study area. Finally, Dr. Rogerson shared his recent interest in monitoring changes in spatial patterns over time. The presentation concluded with questions and comments from faculty members and students.
The Getis Lecture is held during the Fall Semester each year and is sponsored by Emeritus Professor of Geography Arthur Getis.
October 10 - English Selected for 2013 USGIF Scholarship Award
The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) Academic Committee selected Doctoral Candidate Crystal English as one of 25 students for scholarship awards this past summer. The amounts of the scholarships totalled $107,000. High school recipients are awarded $2,000 per scholarship, while others are awarded $5,000 each.
The mission of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) is to promote the geospatial intelligence tradecraft and to develop a stronger community of interest between government, industry, academia, professional organizations and individuals who share a mission focused around the development and application of geospatial intelligence to address national security objectives. One of USGIF’s objectives is to award scholarships to students at accredited institutions of higher education to pursue geospatial intelligence disciplines, to include such areas as: geographic information systems, remote sensing, intelligence analysis, and other related topical areas. The Foundation is dedicated to helping students succeed within the field of geospatial sciences with its scholarship program, which in turn helps further the advancement of the geospatial intelligence tradecraft.
USGIF Academic Director, Dr. Max Baber, explains, “Supporting student education and research with USGIF scholarships helps expand the horizon of our geospatial capabilities. Scholarship recipients represent a broad assortment of geospatial interests, including humanitarian operations, natural disaster preparation and response, epidemiology, conflict along borders, and modeling of river water quality. All of these interests lie within the broader definition of national security, which gives an excellent opportunity for innovative students to be recognized and supported for their efforts.”
September 19 - Weeks Contributes to Union-Tribune Article UPDATED
Dr. Weeks also contributed to the September 24 article Report: Migration Numbers Set to Rise Again
September 19 - Jankowska Defends Dissertation
Marta Jankowska successfully defended her doctoral dissertation entitled “Integrating Space and Place into Children’s Perceptions of Environmental Health Hazards in Accra, Ghana”
Health in the developing world is becoming particularly complex due to disparate economic and environmental contexts residing in close spatial proximity, each paving the way for widely different environmental health hazards resulting in acute and chronic illness. In navigating this increasingly heterogeneous landscape, children in Accra, Ghana face multiple types of environmental health hazards as they travel from home, to school, to friends’ houses, and to visit family. A child-in-home, or even child-in-neighborhood model of third world urban health hazards cannot account for the complexity of hazards and health threats faced by children on a daily basis. Yet children in Accra, particularly as they move out of their especially vulnerable early years, manage to navigate and mitigate health hazards. Little is known about how children perceive environmental health hazards: their spatially situated knowledge of hazards within daily environments may lead to a better understanding of how space and place drive human-environment health interactions. Furthermore, numerous studies have demonstrated that children in both the developed and developing world are acting with increased agency regarding health.
This research proposes to advance the health geography, environmental health, and health education literature by working with children from three diverse contextual backgrounds in a developing third world city to examine verbal, visual, and spatial perceptions of health and environmental health hazards. The dissertation does this by establishing baseline differences of children and adult’s perceptions of children’s health, testing child-friendly visual methods of assessing health knowledge, and developing a novel method of assessing spatial patterns of health perceptions through GPS and photography. Results indicate that children in Accra have distinct, and often varying, perceptions of health when compared to adults and across socioeconomic groups. Photographic methods that contextualize health are good measures of health knowledge and perceptions. Furthermore, placing health perceptions in space as children move through the environment sheds light on spatial properties of health perceptions, such as health related landmarks, and regional categorization of spaces into healthy and unhealthy places.
September 19 - Levine, Rossiter Research Recognized
The news article references Arielle's and Jaime's research in conjunction with a fishery rules package, more specifically the fish replenishement areas, recently sent to the Hawaii governor's desk.
September 17 - An and Yang Named Prominent SDSU Faculty and Student
Professor Li An and PhD student Shuang Yang were invited to attend the Campanile Foundation Annual Board Dinner at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center on September 11, 2013 along with ten other prominent SDSU faculty and students. During the reception and after the dinner, Li and Shuang displayed a poster about their NSF CNH project “CNH: Impacts of Ecosystem Service Payments in Coupled Natural and Human Systems” (DEB-1212183). They discussed and interacted with President Elliot Hirshman, Vice President Stephen Welter, College of Arts and Letters Dean Paul Wong, and a number of SDSU faculty, staff, and alumni about their NSF funded research project. Visit http://goldenmonkey.sdsu.edu/News/News.htm for details.
Dr. Li An and SDSU President Eliott Hirshman
September 10 - Tsou Hosts GIS Workshop
Dr. Ming-Hsiang Tsou and his Graduate Assistant, Cynthia Paloma, collaborated with Professor Ken Yanow from Southwestern College (SWC) together to host the 5th annual Geospatial Technology Summer Workshop on July 22-24, 2013. The three day workshop sponsored by the National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence introduced ArcGIS online and iBook GIS textbook project. During the three day workshop, invited GIS educators (high school teachers and community college instructors) designed and produced geospatial curriculum that can be used within their own classroom settings. Participants posted their work on “Schoology”, in a virtual group called “GIS Education, Maps, and Spatial Reasoning”.
Please visit the Schoology site to see some of the work and freely download the resources.
August 12 - Simons Defends Dissertation
Nicole Simons successfully defended her doctoral dissertation entitled "Improving Decision Making during Wildland Fire Events".
Wildland fires continue to be a threat to persons and their property in many parts of the world, particularly in areas characterized as having Mediterranean climates, semi-arid climates, or boreal forests. The entities responsible for minimizing the impacts of these events are emergency management organizations (EMOs). However, EMOs efforts are hampered by issues that influence the effectiveness of their response during a fire event.
This research explored the informational needs, data availability, communication flows, and decision making workflows informing fire decision support within current EMOs in order to develop tools that can improve decision making during a wildland fire event. By utilizing a combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques, this research identified one of the most prevalent needs among EMO personnel, the need to know what impacts a firebreak has upon an active fire front, explored the relationship between firebreaks and wildland fire behavior, and developed and statistically validated a firebreak probability tool that has been integrated as a part of a wildland fire behavior program.
The results demonstrate that by taking into account the needs and limitations of decision makers during an event, valuable information can be obtained that in turn can be used to inform the creation of improved spatial decision support systems used to assist decision makers manage wildland fire events.
August 5 - Goerisch Defends Dissertation
Denise Goerisch successfully defended her doctoral dissertation entitled "Smart Cookies: The Gendered Spaces of Labor, Citizenship, and Nationalism in the Girl Scout Cookie Sale."
Each year thousands of Girl Scouts sell cookies to friends family, and neighbors to raise money for their troops and local councils. Lauded as the largest girl-led financial literacy program, the annual Girl Scout cookie sale not only teaches girls essential business and leadership skills but also prepares girls for their roles as American women in a neoliberal and capitalist society. Girls learn the importance of 'giving' through multiple spaces of the cookie sale. Scouts learn to give and care for others under the veil of market capitalism, neoliberalism, and American nationalism, which seeks to reproduce hegemonic gender roles regarding labor, education, and citizenship. Based on a two-year study on the Girl Scout cookie sale, using qualitative methods and rooted in feminist methodologies, this project seeks to understand how 'spaces of giving' emerge in the cookie sale and how these spaces shape social constructions of gender, citizenship, and national identity.
August 1 - National Geographic Education Foundation Members Visit SDSU
Representatives from the National Geographic Education Foundation visited SDSU yesterday to mark the beginning of the Geography Department hosting the California Geographical Alliance. At a special luncheon, President Hirshman and Dean Johnson (Education) were treated to some of Dr. Ming Tsou's ideas about K-12 education and geo-spatial technology. An official letter from the President of National Geographic was received by President Hirshman. Later in the day, the delegation took a tour of Storm Hall. Dr. Kate Swanson will head up the initiative, and there will be plenty of opportunities for interested faculty and students to get involved
July 9 - Zvoleff Defends Dissertation
Alex Zvoleff successfully defended his doctoral dissertation entitled "Understanding the Dynamics of Changing Land-use and Land-cover, Population, and Climate in the Chitwan Valley, Nepal".
The Chitwan Valley, a rural agricultural district in south-central Nepal, has experienced rapid population growth since the beginning of settlement in the area in the 1960s. My dissertation addressed connections among climate variability and change, land use and land cover, and population in the region. My analysis of present climate trends in the region revealed the vulnerability of agricultural livelihoods in Chitwan to changing climate: increasing interannual precipitation variability, increasing minimum temperatures, and reduced dry season streamflows are all likely to have adverse effects on agricultural yields. To consider the potential effects of these changes on human migration, I developed a proxy of agricultural productivity from satellite data and included the indicator in a regression model predicting individual-level short-distance migrations in the valley. The model showed that individuals living in neighborhoods with declining yields tended to limit short-distance migrations, implying that short-distance migration is not likely to be a dominant adaptation strategy to climate change. To explore the effect of potential feedbacks between environmental and individual-level decisions, the research used an agent-based model. The agent-based model showed that changes in the local environment can affect individual decision making regarding marriage timing and fertility, and that, over time, these feedbacks can lead to small but significant changes in the rate of environmental change.
July 9 - Wandersee Defends Dissertation
Sarah Wandersee successfully defended her doctoral dissertation entitled "Land-Cover and Land-Use Change in Human-Environment Systems: Understanding Complex Interactions among Policy and Management, Livelihoods, and Conservation".
My dissertation research focused on relationships among land use and local livelihood changes associated with implementation of conservation policies, land change, and environmental perception. Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve (FNNR), the study area, is a high priority conservation area in Guizhou Province, China, and the only habitat for the Guizhou golden monkey. Using remote sensing, GIS, landscape metrics, a mixed methods household survey, interviews with key village and reserve personnel, and logistic and ordered multinomial modeling, I investigated how local people relate to golden monkey habitat in FNNR through land use decisions, as mediated by policy and management and informed by livelihood strategies and ecological knowledge. The results indicated that a major reforestation program, the Sloped Land Conversion Program (SLCP) might be indeed protecting the monkey habitat and appears to benefit from the support of local residents. However, results also raised questions about the efficacy of the program in terms of achieving the dual SLCP program goals of reforestation and poverty alleviation, the implications of differential reforestation type impacts, and connections between environmental awareness and negative experiences with regulations. The research provided policy recommendations including integrating the many disparate conservation policies FNNR implements, forging stronger communication between the reserve and local communities regarding the benefits of conservation, mitigating human-wildlife conflict, and championing more community education on human impacts on the local environment.
June 27 - NSF CNH Project Team Held Three-Day Workshop
The NSF CNH project team (PI: Dr. Li An) held a 3-day summer workshop at SDSU (June 12-14, 2013) that aimed to help local K-12 teachers develop new curricula. These new curricula will engage students in better understanding Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) and sustainability of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) at Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, China. Eight teachers from three different local schools in the San Diego area participated. Project researchers Aitken, An, Chen, Coulter, Lewison, Wang, and Yang all offered training sessions.
June 3 - ISYS Receives Grant from HDR Foundation
The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Youth and Space (ISYS) received a grant from the HDR Foundation for the "Building Healthier Communities and Pathways to Higher Education with Native American Youth," project which connects traditional Native American cultural practices with higher education opportunities in cultural preservation and environmental management. Congratulations to Dr. Tom Herman, who will run the project, and Dr. Giorgio Curti and Dr. Christopher Moreno, who served as employee sponsors and will assist with project development and implementation.
June 3 - Skupin Elected to UCGIS Board of Directors
Dr. André Skupin has been elected to the Board of Directors of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS). He will serve a three-year term for this umbrella organization of 70+ research universities and affiliate institutions. Dr. Skupin previously served as UCGIS Membership Committee Chair.
May 20 - Weeks Keynote Speaker at Arts and Letters Commencement
Distinguished Professor John Weeks was the keynote speaker for the 2013 College of Arts and Letters Commencement Ceremony on May 19. Click to listen to Dr. Week's speech, which begins just after the 14 minute mark.
Congratulations Dr. Weeks!
May 16 - Coulter Receives PLF Award
Congratulations to Pete Coulter who just received the President's Leadership Fund Faculty and Staff Excellence Award. The award will assist Pete in his research, which includes innovative approaches for airborne image collection and processing that enable near real-time post-earthquake disaster assessment, search and rescue of missing persons, border and agricultural crop monitoring, animal surveys, and possibly detection of explosive device (IED) which may reduce risks to military personnel.
May 9 - Salim Receives California Geographical Society Awards
Doctoral student Zia Salim received two awards at this year's meeting of the California Geographical Society (CGS). His paper, entitled 'Islands on an island': Urban and social geographies of gated communities in Bahrain,received the first place award in the graduate papers category. He also received the CGS's 2013 David Lantis graduate scholarship.
May 6 - Kennedy Receives Fulbright Student Award
Doctoral student Elizabeth Kennedy received a U.S. Fulbright Student Award for 2013-2014 to work with repatriated unaccompanied child migrants in El Salvador and those who live in lower income neighborhoods of the country. She will be working with Universidad Centroamericana's IDHUCA team, led by Gilma Perez, Moises Gomez, and Amparo Marroquin, Catholic Relief Services, and the Salvadoran Foreign Ministry.
April 26 - Aitken Receives Fulbright
Dr. Stuart Aitken received a Fulbright award to Slovenia to study politics, activism, and civic responsibilities of the children of the Izbrisani (the "erased"), a group of ethnic Serbs and Croates who lost their residency status when Slovenia got statehood. The project builds on his work with child activists in Chile and SE San Diego, and his experimental mapping project in China.
April 15 - Garcia Receives Harvard Fellowship
Doctoral student Leticia Garcia has recently became a Harvard Research Fellow in the Study of Capitalism. The fellowship, which is funded by Harvard Law School's Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP), is awarded to graduate students pursuing interdisciplinary research on capitalism. As a fellow, Leticia will do research on intersections of economic development, food security and cultural empowerment in North Central Philadelphia by engaging with current debates in feminist economic geography.
April 15 - Van Ramshorst Receives Two Awards
Jared Van Ramshorst, a first year M.A. student, has received two awards: the Less Commonly Taught Languages Scholarship, funded by funded by the Instituto Welte Para Estudios Oaxaqueños (Welte Institute for Oaxacan Studies) and the Clarissa Kimber Field Study Award, funded by the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers (CLAG). These two awards will help support Jared's summer fieldwork in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he will do research on indigenous transnational networks as part of his M.A. thesis research.
March 29 - Goerisch Attends Spring Academy at Heidelberg University
Every year the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA) in Germany invites outstanding international Ph.D. students from diverse academic disciplines to Heidelberg to present their dissertation projects in the field of American Studies. This year, Denise Goerisch was one of these students (selected out of a pool of 150 applicants!). The HCA Spring Academy on American History, Culture & Politics is an annual, one-week interdisciplinary conference at Heidelberg University for Ph.D. candidates working in different fields of American studies. It has been very successful in establishing an international network of young and aspiring researchers. Students also have the opportunity to attend several field trips including a walking tour of Heidelberg and a guided tour of the John Deere factory in Mannheim. Find out more information about this prestigious conference.
March 5 - Aitken, Yang, and Allison Conducting Fieldwork in China
Professor Stuart Aitken, and graduate students Shuang Yang and Steven Allison are conducting participatory mapping survey in Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, China from late February to mid March. This fieldwork session is an essential part of an ongoing NSF project that studies the impacts of payments for ecosystem services. Read more about the project.
February 20 - Aitken Recognized at Basketball Game
Congratulations to Professor Stuart Aitken whose research was highlighted during last night's basketball game against Wyoming. Stuart is an internationally recognized critical human geographer. His research interests include exploring humanity's impact on the world and the geographic contexts of social inequality.
February 14 - Goerisch Wins Award
Many congratulations to Denise Goerisch for winning the AAG Geographic Perspectives on Women (GPOW) Glenda Laws Student Paper Award! Her paper is titled, "Be Prepared: Girls Imagining Their Future Selves Through Scouting" and is forthcoming in a book on geographies of informal education edited by Sarah Mills and Peter Kraftl.
Way to go, Denise!
February 13 - Vejraska Awarded a Marshall Plan Fellowship
Milo Vejraska, a graduate student in the Master's program, was recently awarded a Marshall Plan Fellowship from the Austrian government to spend the summer 2013 at the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences working on a research project "Developing a Multiple Criteria Spatial Decision Support System for Resource Management in Torrent and Avalanche Prone Areas of Southern Austria." Milo is one of five students from our department who have been awarded the Marshall Plan Fellowship in the last five years.
February 12 - Kennedy Published in JAMA Pediatrics and Interviewed by the Office of Public Affairs at UCSB
Congratulations to doctoral student Elizabeth Kennedy, who just published an article in JAMA Pediatrics, which focuses on the unmet mental health needs of unaccompanied alien children.
In response to her recent publication, Elizabeth was interviewed by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Santa Barbara about her work with unaccompanied migrant children.
February 1 - Weeks quoted in the San Diego Union Tribune
Professor John Weeks was featured in a front-page story in today's San Diego Union-Tribune on the changing demographics of the state of California, which will soon have will have an equal number of Hispanic and white residents.
January 30 - Pryde Featured in Mission Times Courier
Emeritus Professor Phil Pryde was featured in the Mission Times Courier for his work documenting the nature and geography of San Diego. His book, San Diego: An Introduction to the Region is now in its fourth edition and will soon launch its fifth edition.
January 29 - SDSU Geography Welcomes Chinese Delegation
SDSU Geography this week is hosting a delegation from the Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve in Guizhou, China. The delegation will be on campus January 29 and 30th, and will be discussing plans for a collaborative project led by Dr. Li An investigating the use of payments for ecosystem services projects to promote habitat conservation for the Guizhou Golden Monkey.
January 28 - Stow Named 2013 SAIC Estes Memorial Teaching Award Winner
Professor Doug Stow is this year's recipient of the SAIC Estes Memorial Teaching Award. The purpose of the Award is to recognize individual achievement in the promotion of remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) technology and applications through educational efforts.
The award will be presented to Doug at this year's ASPRS conference in Baltimore,during the Awards Luncheon on March 26
January 10 - Weeks quoted in the San Diego Union Tribune and Interviewed on KPBS
This led to a related radio interview on Wednesday on KPBS during their Midday Edition followed by a TV interview that aired on their evening news. Both can be found here.
January 3 - Swanson Named Outstanding International Scholar
Dr. Kate Swanson was selected as the 2012-2013 Outstanding International Scholar by the honor society Scholars Without Borders. This award is given once a year to a distinguished SDSU faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding contributions in the international arena.
Congratulations to Kate for her superb international teaching, scholarship and research. She will be giving a 30 minute talk during the award ceremony on Wednesday, April 24 in the International Student Center Lounge. Her talk, entitled "Youth, Migration and Poverty in the Americas," begins at 3:30 p.m.