Dept. of Geography News & Events this Week - 4/22/14

April 22, 2014                                                         

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PHOTO OF THE WEEKSend your photos from fieldwork, outreach, and travels to

It's Earth Day!
Each day, Earth changes. Some changes, like clouds, are noticeable. Some changes are very subtle, like the color of the ocean or greenness of the grass. But each day the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sensor on the Suomi NPP satellite is able to document these changes around the world in stunning detail.
GOOD NEWSSend your good news to be shared to

Jennifer Mason successfully defended her dissertation proposal.

Raechel A. Bianchetti accepted an assistant professor of geography position at Michigan State University.

Cindy Brewer has accepted Dean Easterling’s offer to become the next department head of geography.

Andrew Homka accepted a summer GIS internship offer with Noble Energy in Denver Colorado.

Martha Bell received the J. Warren Nystrom Award (AAG, an annual prize for a paper based upon a recent dissertation in geography).

Ramya Muthukrishnan, 8th grade, E.N. Pierce Middle School, West Chester was the winner of the Pennsylvania State Geographic Bee on April 4, 2014 at the State Museum in Harrisburg. She did not miss a single question the entire day.

Russ Hedberg passed his doctoral candidacy exam..

Greg Milbourne accepted a summer internship in technical marketing with Esri in Redlands, California.

Antoinette Mastropieri  received an honorable mention in Information Literacy from University Libraries at the 2014 Undergraduate Exhibition.


Coffee Hour April 25


 Iliana B. Baums "The health of corals in our modern oceans" 


• Refreshments offered at 3:30 p.m. in 319 Walker Building


• The lecture begins at 4:00 p.m. in 112 Walker Building


Watch live or later online via Coffee Hour To Go


Coral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth and provide essential services such as food, protection of coastlines from storms, medicinal compounds, recreational opportunities and building materials. People throughout the tropics depend on reefs for their subsistence. Yet, reefs are severely threatened by climate change.


Spring Coffee Hour Schedule:

Faculty member contributes to intergovernmental report on climate change

Associate professor Tschakert notes that society's marginalized are most susceptible

A Penn State faculty member is one of the coordinating lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which was approved in Yokohama, Japan, March 31 and concludes that while climate change is already having substantial impacts, steps can be taken to manage and reduce associated risks.

Related news stories

From the New York Times Room for Debate column: Focus on Projects That Foster Adaptation

To reduce the undesirable effects of climate change, we must address the underlying, systemic vulnerabilities that exist in every society and support people and institutions by enhancing their capacity to adapt.


From the Centre Daily Times: Penn State faculty, acting as “scientific diplomats,” part of international report on climate change   

The climate is changing, people are playing a major role in the changes, and individuals and communities in all parts of the world are experiencing the effects. Those are some of the key conclusions in the latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Penn State faculty who were contributors to these comprehensive scientific assessments said they expect that the findings — based on more finely tuned climate models and an expanded look at the effects of climate change — will resonate with the public.


Why is it smoky around here today?  

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has scheduled another five controlled burns for State Game Lands 176 — the Scotia Barrens — located in Patton, Ferguson and Halfmoon townships. The burns are designed to preserve and enhance the unique pitch pine-scrub oak barrens environment that is found there. Benefits of the prescribed burns were touted by the PGC, as well as personnel from The Nature Conservancy and Penn State researcher Alan Taylor. In addition to pitch pine/scrub oak habitat rejuvenation, the fires kill or reduce invasive species, such as Tartarian honeysuckle, privet, barberry and multiflora rose.


Recently published

Jennifer Balch is the co-lead author on “Abrupt increases in Amazonian tree mortality due to drought–fire interactions” published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

Related news story

Drought and fire in the Amazon lead to sharp increases in forest tree mortality

Ongoing deforestation and fragmentation of forests in the Amazon help create tinderbox conditions for wildfires in remnant forests, contributing to rapid and widespread forest loss during drought years, according to a team of researchers.


Guido Cervone is a co-author on “Combined approach of a coupled fire model with atmospheric releases: the case of the 2003 Glacier wildfires” published recently in the European Journal of Remote Sensing.


Lakshman Yapa’s "book review of Pushing back the gates: Neighborhood perspectives on university-driven revitalization in West Philadelphia. Philadelphia, PA" was published recently in the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement.



Call for contributions: The Jennifer Fluri and Amy Trauger Student Essay Competition
Submissions are due May 1, 2014.
Questions: Arielle Hesse


AAG Newsletter

The Allegheny Front Radio program on environmental issues in Western Pennsylvania
Living on Earth
PRI's environmental news magazine

The Equation Union of Concerned Scientists blog


(New additions to this list are highlighted. Send events to
See more events and deadlines on the Student Calendar.  

April 23 EMS Student Council blood drive at the HUB Alumni Hall 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

April 23 Meteorology Colloquium: Jeff Trapp “On the possible effects of anthropogenically

            enhanced global radiative forcing on severe thunderstorm frequency and intensity”

            at 3:30 p.m. in 112 Walker Building

April 24 Screening of Green Fire!  7:00 p.m. at the Palmer Museum of Art, Lipcon Auditorium

April 25 Supporting Young Women in Geography (SYWIG) Day

April 25 Ruth Shirey, vice president of the Society of Woman Geographers, will be visiting

            the department. If you'd like to meet with Shirey, contact Dana Cuomo

April 25  Department of Geography Coffee Hour: Iliana Baums

April 25  PSIEE Annual Picnic

April 26  EMS end of the year picnic at Sunset Park, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

May 2     Department of Geography Annual Recognition Reception

May 5    Monica Gentili of the Georgia Institute of Technology speaks on

           “Applications of Spatial, Mathematical and Simulation Models to Construct Efficient

           and Equitable Allocation System for Liver Transplantation” noon to 1:00 p.m.

           in 319 Walker Building


(New additions to this list are highlighted.)

May 2           Pennsylvania Spatial Cognition Symposium

May 5–7       Pennsylvania GIS Conference takes place at the Penn Stater Conference Hotel

May 7           Pennsylvania Groundwater Symposium

May 15–18  Feminist Geography: Who we are, what we do, why we do it,

                  at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

May 18–21  ISCRAM at Penn State.

May 19–21  UCGIS Symposium: Setting the Agenda: Research and Education for

                  Today & Tomorrow in Pasadena, California.

June 6–7      Education and Civil Rights interdisciplinary conference hosted by the

                   College of Education

June 15–21 Fifth Jubilee International Conference on Cartography & GIS, Riviera, Bulgaria.
June 18–20  Moving Mountains: Studies in Place, Society and Cultural Representation,

                   Edinburgh, United Kingdom

August 13–15 First International Workshop on Information Integration in Cyber Physical

                    Systems (IICPS 2014) in San Francisco, California, USA

August 19–21  Jointly held 10th International Conference on Natural Computation (ICNC 2014)

                    and 11th International Conference on Fuzzy Systems and Knowledge Discovery

                   (FSKD 2014) in Xiamen, China.


April 21–25  AAG Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois

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Angela Rogers, Marketing Communications Specialist
Department of Geography, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Penn State
316 Walker Building, University Park PA 16802
Office: 814-863-4562 Cell: 814-571-2942  •  •
Member of the Penn State Commission for Women. Ask me how you can get involved