Dept. of Geography News & Events this Week - 10/6/15

October 6, 2015


Kampong Phluk Cambodia.webcrop

The “floating village” of Kampong Phluk in Cambodia, sent by Donald Rallis (Ph.D. ’92) from a recent trip. Rallis is a professor of geography at the American University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Send your photos from fieldwork and travels to


Nittany Lion Coffee Hour

The Nittany Lion borrows Robert Cardillo’s Coffee Hour mug after an engaging talk and Q&A on October 2. Also pictured, Todd Bacastow. Photo: Alex Vavreck. The video of the talk can be viewed here.Unfortunately, there were some technical issues with the audio, which starts at 15:23.



  • Rachel Headley (Ph.D. ’03) received a $100K grant from the USDA Local Food program to connect local food producers to cafeterias in nursing homes and hospitals in her community.
  • Sarah Chamberlain has been named Curator of the PAC Herbarium at Penn State.  The Herbarium is located in Whitmore Laboratory.  Also, she and Rob Brooks just published a paper in Ecological Indicators titled, “Testing a rapid Floristic Quality Index on headwater wetlands in central Pennsylvania, USA.”
  • Alexander Klippel, together with Danielle Oprean from the Stuckeman School, Klaus Keller from GeoSciences, and Erica Smithwick, have received funding from the Ecology Institute for a luncheon /workshop on Virtual Ecology. The Luncheon will take place on November 12 and is open to everyone interested in 3D modeling and virtual reality technology. Registration can be accessed via the department website.
  • Send your good news to share to


October 9 Coffee Hour with Candace Brakewood
“Don’t Miss the Bus: Quantifying the Impacts of Real-Time Information on Transit Ridership”
Urban spaces are at their best when people can easily reach the amenities, services, and facilities that improve quality of life. Public transportation plays an important role in urban transportation systems by helping to combat roadway congestion, providing a more environmentally friendly mode of travel than personal automobiles, and offering mobility options for those who cannot or choose not to drive. However, service reliability issues have troubled public transit agencies for decades. When a bus or train does not arrive on time, passengers become frustrated and may be less likely to choose transit for future trips.

Faculty engagement in MOOCs benefits students in resident courses
Teaching massive open online courses (MOOCs) has helped some Penn State University Park faculty members take their teaching to a new level of engagement, which has directly benefited students in their resident courses.


Interactive videos used to explore complexities of conservation in online course
A general education course at Penn State has been revamped to include interactive videos designed to teach students about conservation and sustainability. The course, Global Parks and Sustainability (GEOG 001), will be taught online in spring 2016 by Erica Smithwick, associate professor of geography in Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.


Latino immigrants changing the face of rural populations
Over the last two decades Latino immigrant populations in the United States have experienced significant growth in areas that had little previous experience with them. 


AAG Organizes Committee to Develop AP GIS&T Course Proposal
The AAG recently hosted a meeting at its Washington, D.C. offices to prepare a proposal for an Advanced Placement course in the field of Geographic Information Science and Technology.


Conceptualizing landscapes: A comparative study of landscape categories with Navajo and English-speaking participants
By Klippel, A., Mark, D. M., Wallgrün, J. O., & Stea, D. in Proceedings, Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT 2015) doi:10.1007/978-3-319-23374-1_13



Last week’s dogs were Mei Mei (left, black and gray) and Wang Wang (orange), companions to Jia-Ching Chen. Who is this dog? Who is her human? Send your answer and/or a photo of your animal companion to