2018 to 2019 Academic Year News

Piotr JankowskiAugust 31, 2018

Jankowski Named Outstanding Faculty Member

Dr. Piotr Jankowski was honored as one of six Outstanding Faculty Leave geography site at the All-University Convocation on Thursday, August 23, 2018.

As part of the presentation, a short video retrospective Leave geography site was shown to the entire assemblage.

Congratulations, Piotr!

Piotr JankowskiSeptember 5, 2018

Jankowski Receives Fulbright Scholar Award

Dr. Piotr Jankowski has received a Fulbright Scholar Award to study participatory GIS and urban planning at the University of Poznan in Poland. Piotr will begin his study in January 2019.

Congratulations, Piotr!

Steve CrookSeptember 10, 2018

Crook to Receive NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant

Stephen Crook, a student in the Joint Doctoral Program with UCSB and SDSU, recently received the NSF GSS Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Award (GSS-DDRI). Steve’s doctoral dissertation, titled “Assessing and mapping ecosystem service uses and values among National Forest stakeholders,” focuses on developing methods to equitably inform U.S. public land management based on improving the understanding of stakeholder’s values and uses of public lands. This research will provide data and demonstrate methods that can be used to fulfill statutory requirements for National Forest planning going forward, while allowing stakeholder groups to provide input into public lands management. Furthermore, results will be shared with the Forest Service and presented to stakeholder groups, improving understanding of priorities and highlighting values that are shared among groups. Steve’s project will address the knowledge gap through the development of participatory approaches for identifying, valuing, and mapping ecosystem services that will link the ecosystem services concept with the resource use, cultural values, and livelihoods of diverse stakeholder groups. The total award amount is $10,326.

Receiving this funding will allow Steve to travel to increase the number of interviews that will be conducted in his field area, the communities surrounding Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest. His research will facilitate improved stakeholder identification and outreach efforts and will strengthen representation of the diverse stakeholder groups in the area. Steve’s work will help provide guidance to the U.S Forest Services’ as they incorporate the value of ecosystem services into their National Forest planning and decision-making.

Dissertation committee member, Dr. David Lopez-Carr, says the following about his work:

“I am enthusiastic about Steve’s topic. It is classic human-environment geography, combining GIS and field interviews to further understanding of service uses and values among National Forest stakeholders in Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest. His mixed methods approach applied to a critical question surrounding use and appreciation of a national forest has great promise to advance our understanding of how humans value nature more generally. This fellowship is well deserved. Steve worked on multiple drafts over the last couple years before finding success. He has listened carefully to feedback and incorporated external reviews and feedback from his committee into his dissertation proposal. Steve has consistently shown thoughtfulness, motivation, self-discipline, and perseverance while I have worked with him. These characteristics will continue to serve him well.”

September 14, 2018

Joassart-Marcelli and Bosco Featured in Podcast Discussing Ethnic Markets and Food Access

fernando bosco pascale joassart-marcelli

Professors Pascale Joassart Marcelli and Fernando Bosco are featured in a new podcast of The Fifty One series by Dame Magazine Leave geography site. Both of them speak of their research on the role of ethnic markets in addressing food access in San Diego.

The podcast is based on research that Professors Joassart-Marcelli and Bosco conducted in City Heights and other San Diego neighborhoods Leave geography site with funding from the National Science Foundation and the SDSU University Grant Program. One of the project’s objectives was to explore the significance of small ethnic markets in providing access to fresh and healthy food in a neighborhood that lacks supermarkets and is typically described as a food desert. Joassart-Marcelli and Bosco conducted store audits and interviews of managers and customers in Mexican, Vietnamese, Ethiopian and other food stores that are operated by ethnic entrepreneurs and/or serving an ethnic clientele. In the process, they gathered rich data about the everyday experience of living in a so-called food desert and the food practices of City Heights residents, most of whom are people of color and immigrants who patronize local ethnic markets. The research highlights the positive role of these spaces in the community and points to the need for policy makers to consider them in designing solutions to address food insecurity.

September 20, 2018

An and Stow Receive Five Year NSF Grant to Study Parallel PES Programs

doug stowli an

Professors Li An and Doug Stow have received a 5-year grant from the National Science Foundation’s Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems Program for their research proposal “People, Place, and Payments in Complex Human-Environment Systems.”

Project Summary: Payments for ecosystem services (PES) have been utilized as a tool to conserve ecosystems and their vital “life-support services of tremendous value” for nearly three decades, with reported positive effects from many parts of the world. Increasingly, multiple PES programs have been implemented in parallel (i.e., parallel-PES programs). Although parallel PES programs have also produced documented positive outcomes to coupled natural and human systems (CNH), there is still considerable uncertainty regarding the nature of the complex interactions among human and natural systems in the context of parallel PES programs co-development and co-evolution. This project builds on our recently completed CNH project at the Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve (FNNR) in China, which focused on one PES program and its interaction with local CNH system. Surprisingly, we found that the intended PES program and another concurrent one (thus they form two parallel-PES programs) exert significant detracting impacts on each other and on local ecological systems to a large extent. Yet little is known about the mechanism behind this observed detraction and its implications for the ecosystem. Targeting this challenge, we will answer the following questions: 1) Through what pathways or mediating variables do the parallel PES programs, through their influence on the human and nature subsystems, affect one another? 2) Where and to what extent do parallel PES programs lead to net changes in the environment? 3) How has and will the entire human-environment system evolve over space and time given these interventions?

September 20, 2018

Nara, Herman, and Tsou Receive Two Year NSF Grant to Improve Geographic Thinking in preK-14 Education

ming tsou thomas herman atsushi nara

Adjunct professor Thomas Herman and professors Atsushi Nara and Ming-Hsiang Tsou have received a 2-year grant from National Science Foundation’s Computer Science for All Program Leave geography site for their research proposal “Encoding Geography: Building Capacity for Inclusive GeoComputational Thinking with Geospatial Technologies.”

Project Summary: U.S. schools and colleges are slow to adapt to ongoing advances realized with geospatial technologies, which urge the need for computational thinking in geography education. This project aims to identify strategies to build capacity for computational thinking in preK-14 geography education and to broaden participation in the discipline and workforce. Working in collaboration with American Association of Geographers Leave geography site, UC Riverside, California Geographic Alliance Leave geography site, and Sweetwater Union High School District, the project team will conduct exploratory research on pathways that articulate a progression of geo-computational thinking in geography education from school to the early years of college.

September 24, 2018

De Sales and Biggs Receive Five Year NSF Grant to Examine Land-Climate-Water Feedbacks in Agricultural Systems

trent biggs fernando de sales

Professors Fernando De Sales and Trent Biggs have received a 5-year grant from the National Science Foundation’s Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems — Large Program for their research proposal “Land-Climate-Water Feedbacks and Farmer Decision-Making in an Agricultural System.”

Abstract: This project examines how clearing forests for agriculture impacts regional water cycles and how these changes, in turn, affect agricultural production. The research will expand the emerging field of socio-hydrology (the study of the feedbacks between human decisions and water systems) by focusing on how land-use choices made by farmers influence water availability and thus alter the productivity of agricultural land. Understanding the relationships between land-use change, water, and agriculture is crucial to balancing tradeoffs between the environmental costs associated with converting forests and other natural habitats to crop fields and pasture, and the need to increase food production to meet growing demands as global populations and incomes rise. This project will contribute to the health and welfare of the United States and elsewhere by informing choices about how to increase agricultural output while limiting impacts on water, atmosphere and biodiversity. It will enhance research and education infrastructure by expanding a scientifically relevant and publicly-available dataset linking a survey of farm households to data and models of land and water use. Lastly, it will develop capacity in interdisciplinary research through the training of students and postdoctoral researchers.

philip prydeOctober 9, 2018

Pryde Named California’s Cox Conserves Hero

Emeritus Professor Philip Pryde has been named California’s Cox Conserves Hero. Dr. Pryde was nominated for his work on the San Diego River Park as well as other work to protect natural water resources in the San Diego area.

View Dr. Pryde’s nomination video. Leave geography site

Being the California winner advances Dr. Pryde as a finalist into the National Cox Conserves Hero award. The National winner receives $50,000 for their specified conservation organization. Dr. Pryde has designated the San Diego River Park Foundation as the recipient of the award. With the award, the River Park will begin construction of a new open space park and state-of-the-art environmental education center in the heart of Mission Valley.

Vote for Dr. Pryde Leave geography site to win at the national finals.

kate swansonOctober 12, 2018

Swanson Quoted in Brazillian Newspaper, The Intercept

Professor Kate Swanson was recently quoted in the Brazillian newspaper, the Intercept Leave geography site. Kate was commenting on Rudi Giullani’s security work in the region.

Other academics also expressed doubts about Giuliani’s work on the continent.

“He’s like a political showpiece,” said Kate Swanson, an associate professor of geography at San Diego State University, who has written about Giuliani’s work in Latin America, arguing that his New York methods were not applicable to Latin American cities where police forces are corrupt and violent, and the divides between rich and poor are accentuated.

“When you don’t address the corruption in the police who are very badly paid for their work, and you have very high rates of racial inequality, it just exacerbates the problems,” Swanson said.

philip prydeOctober 24, 2018

Pryde Declared 2018 National Cox Conserves Hero

Emeritus Professor Phil Pryde has been named the 2018 National Cox Conserves Hero Leave geography site. Dr. Pryde was one of eight finalists from around the nation. Dr. Pryde was nominated for his work with the San Diego River Park Foundation Leave geography site and other work to protect natural water resources in the area.

Each finalist nominated a specific conservation organization to receive the monetary award from the program. As the named National Hero, Dr. Pryde’s designated organization, the San Diego River Park Foundation will receive $60,000.

View Dr. Pryde‘s nomination video Leave geography site.

From the Cox Conserves Heros website: “Cox Conserves Heroes is an awards program created by Cox Enterprises and The Trust for Public Land (TPL). The program serves to honor environmental volunteers who create, preserve or enhance shared outdoor spaces in their local communities.”

andré skupinOctober 29, 2018

Skupin as Invited Speaker at Inaugural Forward Summit

CICS Co-Director André Skupin followed an invitation of Passport Labs Leave geography site to give a cornerstone presentation at the Inaugural “Forward Summit” held in Charlotte, NC. The event brought together thought leaders from government, business and academia to discuss innovative solutions in urban mobility, smart cities, predictive analytics and deep mapping. Skupin discussed how “Spatial Intelligence” can inform novel and integrative solutions involving diverse data sources.

The other cornerstone speakers were Anthony Foxx Leave geography site, Chief Policy Officer at Lyft, who previously served as U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Keith Chen Leave geography site, Associate Professor of Economics at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, previously Head of Economic Research at Uber, and Stephen Goldsmith Leave geography site, Director of the Innovations in American Government Program at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, previously Deputy Mayor of New York, Mayor of Indianapolis, and Chief Domestic Policy Advisor to the 2000 presidential campaign of George W. Bush.

andré skupin speaking from the conference podium

December 10, 2018

Pottathil Gives Invited Master Talk at International Downtown Association Conference

Akshay Pottathil with John Hickenlooper and Larisa OrtizIllustrating the wide-flung recognition of CICS Leave geography site expertise in contemporary urban issues, CICS Co-Director Akshay Pottathil recently accepted an invitation to give a Master Talk at the 64th Annual International Downtown Association Leave geography site conference held in San Antonio, Texas. Pottathil, who also serves as BORDERPOL’s Leave geography site Vice President for Technology, was joined by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper Leave geography site and New York City Planning Commissioner Larisa Ortiz Leave geography site. His presentation touched on various aspects of city planning, curb space management, autonomous transportation, and cybersecurity.

john weeksJanuary 18, 2019

Weeks Talks about Declining Birth Rates

Distinguished Emeritus Professor John Weeks will speak about declining birth rates in the United States during the January 20, 2019 edition of “San Diego People” on KUSI TV, Channel 9. The program begins at 11:00am.

February 8, 2019

Debbané and Swanson Contribute to Report on Migrant and Refugee Detainees

anne-marie debbané kate swanson

What began as a casual gathering of friends has become a first-of-its-kind living archive of handwritten letters shared by hundreds of asylum seekers detained along the U.S.-Mexico border. Those letters, in the collective correspondence, provide a detailed description of each person’s path to pursuing asylum, and the conditions inside detention centers.

That letter-writing effort has also become a major research and archival project involving the SDSU Library, whose Digital Collections team is digitizing hundreds of pages of letters. All told, more than 500 letters have been exchanged to date.

On February. 1, 2019, the SDSU student and faculty researchers, including geographers Dr. Anne-Marie Debbané, Dr. Kate Swanson and graduate students Sam Orndoff and Jose Gutierrez, co-released a new report, titled “Testimony from Migrants and Refugees in the Otay Mesa Detention Center,” Leave geography site alongside the grassroots group, Detainee Allies Leave geography site. The report details accounts of insufficient food, unsafe working conditions, not having appropriate access to legal representation, access denied to phones and mail, among other conditions.

“Detainee letters give us a very stark view into the lives of asylum-seeking refugees and migrants now held in American prisons,” said report co-author Professor Kate Swanson. “Letters from detainees who have been moved from San Diego to prisons in other states suggest that these conditions are not unique to the Otay Mesa Detention Center.”

Please visit the New York Times Immigrant Detainee article Leave geography site for more information on the migrant and refugee project.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has also published an article on the work PDF file.

atsushi naraMay 6, 2019

Nara Receives Research Excellence Award

Assistant Professor Atsushi Nara has received the College of Arts and Letters Tenure-Track Faculty Award for 2018-2019 Leave geography site.

Atsushi’s current research focuses on supporting spatial decisions under emergency evacuation; examining spatial disparities in public health and cancer epidemiology; understanding the impacts of air pollution in the California-Mexico region; and facilitating geo-computation education in preK-14 geography education.

The award includes $1500 to support their research program.

Congratulations, Atsushi!

May 6, 2019

Department Scholarship and Awards Presented

On Friday, May 3, the Department of Geography and the Urban Studies Program held their annual Awards Ceremony on the Storm Hall West Patio. Congratulations to all those recognized.

2018-2019 Outstanding Graduating Seniors

Urban Studies: Jacob William Clancy Mitchell, Most Influential Faculty Member: Molly Costello
Geography: Aliona Galkina, Most Influential Faculty Member: Kate Swanson

Awards and Scholarships

Alvena Storm Memorial Award: Liana Heberer, Blair Mirka
Lauren C. Post Memorial Award: Carmen Bailey, Kolbe Stets, Raquel Vasquez, Colton Whited
McFarland Geography Award: Carmen Bailey, Kyle Jones, Sam Orndorff, Kolbe Stets
Ned H. Greenwood Award for Physical Geography: Alexandra Yost
William and Vivian Finch Award for Remote Sensing: Andrew Loerch
Wright Award in Cartography: Kyle Jones
Parrott Scholarship: Thomas Smith (incoming Master’s student)
Cotton-Bridges Award for GIS Emphasizing Techniques: Chanwoo Jin, Nana Luo, Jaehee Park
Cotton-Bridges Award for Environmental GIS: Garrett McGurk
Montaha Deek Curti Scholarship for Work in Social and Environmental Justice: Empress Holiday, Sam Orndorff
Finch Latin America Travel Award: Garrett McGurk
Social/YESS Award: Leilani Konrad
Departmental Citizenship Award: Hsiao-Chien (Ace) Shih
Human Geography Award: Barbara Quimby
Lauren C. Post Award for Academic Excellence: MacKenna Kull, Corrie Monteverde
ESRI Development Center Award: Gavin Schag

stuart aitkenMay 22, 2019

Aitken to Present at International Children‘s Geographies Conference

Professor Stuart Aitken will be a keynote presenter at the Sixth International Conference on the Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Leave geography site, May 22 to 24, 2019, in Campinas, Brazil. The conference will see the launch of a Portuguese translation of his latest book, Young People, Rights and Place: Erasure, Neoliberal Politics and Postchild Ethics.

portuguese translated book cover

May 28, 2019

My California Student GIS Mapping Showcase and Competition Recognizes Exemplary Work by K-12 Students

The California Geographic Alliance Leave geography site is pleased to announce the winners of the 3rd annual “My California GIS Mapping Showcase and Competition”. This statewide opportunity encourages middle (4th-8th grade) and high school (9th-12th grade) students to harness the power of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and take on the most pressing challenges of today in an effort to create a better world for themselves and future generations. A panel of expert judges, led by SDSU Geography Professor Ming-Hsiang Tsou and Dr. Waverly Ray of San Diego Mesa College, selected five state finalists in each contest category. One outstanding project in each category will advance to a national competition, with the national winners announced on June 3rd.

Esri is the organizer of the national competition and has assured that every K-12 school in the U.S. has free access to powerful GIS software through its ArcGIS Online product.

All projects referenced below are accessible for viewing online.

Winners (advance to national competition):

Finalists, Grades 4 thru 8:

Finalists, Grades 9 thru 12:

screenshot of grade 9 thru 12 winning project