Department of Geography 2018 Newsletter

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WELCOME FROM THE CHAIR It has been a privilege to serve as Chair in Geography for 11 of past 15 years. Together, we have placed Geography in an excellent position for continued development towards our goal of being the best! The chair position has provided excellent preparation for the next stage of my own career, which will be to serve as Divisional Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences. There, I hope to continue Janet BoxSteffensmeier’s spirited leadership and team building. Our department has promoted excellence (in hiring, promotion, and advancement of faculty and students) and has nurtured faculty and departmental growth and diversity. We have also, through this newsletter and weekly updates communicated and celebrated a sense of community achievement by our staff, students, visitors and faculty. Our current record-setting pace for undergraduate majors is gratifying indeed. We are nearing the completion of the second step in development of the Gary and Connie Sharpe Innovation Commons. The room is equipped in ways that support the aspirations

and wishes of our undergraduates, and has facilities to practice video broadcast and allow for a clustering of effort around innovative ideas. We are truly appreciative of Gary and Connie’s generous support. The new phase will add space by incorporating further rooms. We have launched a grant program to support two student-run innovative projects, and we look forward to seeing these come to fruition. I could not be more proud of the extensive efforts made by all our staff members (Diane Carducci, Caitlin Naber, Nancy Coscia, Jocelyn Nevel, Rebekah Sims, Suzanne Mikos) to take the lead in producing this great newsletter. Inside, you will find details on many of our initiatives and news of awards and recognitions. I hope you find these items of great interest.

Morton O’Kelly Divisional Dean, Social and Behavioral Sciences Professor, Department of Geography

I am pleased to be serving the department in this new capacity and am looking forward to the upcoming school year. I see my role as working for and most importantly with all members of the department. This year will be an important one. In this academic year, we will be examining our hiring needs in light of some staffing changes, preparing for the university’s overhaul of the undergraduate General Education curriculum, and reviewing our graduate curriculum requirements. Here’s to a happy and productive school year! Darla Munroe Interim Chair Professor, Department of Geography





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Support the Department Cover image courtesy of Forrest Schoessow, a geography doctoral student. Schoessow is part of a research team that received a Sharpe Innovation Commons Seed Grant Award. Their project creates 3D-mapping of high-mountain tropical glacier retreat using unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and Lidar remote sensing.

OUR STUDENTS MEGAN JONES MS graduate Megan Jones, like so many others in her field, knew from childhood she wanted to be a meteorologist. She started her undergraduate career at Ohio University, where she was a research assistant for two years studying Antarctica. This led her to Ohio State, where she is part of both the Department of Geography and the Polar Meteorology Group at Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center. Jones focuses on Southern Hemisphere mid- and high-latitude temperature trends since 1957, specifically trying to put the Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica into a larger spatial and temporal perspective. Her primary source of data is surface air temperatures recorded at staffed weather stations, along with observed sea surface temperatures and reanalysis sea level pressure. In addition, she is using indices from the Southern Annular Mode and the El NiĂąo Southern

Oscillation, two climate modes known to have a strong influence on the variability of the Southern Hemisphere. What’s captivating about Antarctica is how different areas of the continent behave; while East Antarctica has been relatively stable over the past few decades, West Antarctica and the Peninsula have seen significant warming, leading to the breakup of ice sheets and significant melt events. The lack of long-term data past 60 years can be problematic in considering extensive climate trends, and the amount of ice in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet could have a significant impact on sea level rise if there is ever strong warming. Although she has already defended her thesis, Jones is staying in Columbus for the summer to work on two separate publications involving her research before beginning a full-time job.

DEONDRE SMILES Boozhoo (Hello)! My name is Deondre Smiles and I am a PhD student in the Department of Geography at Ohio State. I am an enrolled member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, a federally recognized tribe located in Minnesota. I earned my bachelor's degree in geography from St. Cloud State University (MN) and my master's degree in Global Indigenous Studies from the University of Minnesota Duluth. My research focuses on the ways in which relations between indigenous


peoples and the settler colonial state are formed through contestations over the proper treatment of deceased indigenous bodies and remains, with a particular focus on how this process has played out in Minnesota, both historically and in contemporary times. My future plans post-graduation are to seek employment as a faculty member and continue my research, in the hopes that it will provide both a resource for tribal nations and serve as an inspiration for indigenous students to enter and decolonize the discipline of geography.

REBECCA ROSE MARTIN When Rebecca Rose Martin first came to Ohio State, she knew she wanted to do research, but needed a little time to decide on a major. After trying biology and engineering, she eventually found her place in the Departments of Geography and International Studies. “Originally, I had no idea what I wanted to do,” Martin said. “Luckily, I was at Ohio State where there’s an enormous number of majors. I eventually found exactly what was right for me.” Martin cites the individualized instruction she received in her honors seminar class with switching on her critical thinking skills and igniting her interest in studying international development. After declaring an international studies major, she began shopping around for another major that fulfilled her academic and career goals. “I was searching for a really long time before I found geography,” Martin explained. “But as soon as I started reading the class names in the major, I was like, ‘This is for me.’”

Inspiration Strikes in Berlin After a study abroad trip aimed at firsttime travelers sparked her interest in Germany, Martin designed a research project with advisor Carmen TaleghaniNikazm, associate professor in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, to measure Berlin residents’ opinions on immigration. “My research journey really started when I was studying abroad,” Martin said. “Germany had just instituted an open-door asylum policy, which was very polarizing.” Martin remembers seeing welcome marches for migrants, followed by

fearmongering tactics within the public discourse in Berlin. Once she had her topic in mind, Martin moved forward with conducting preliminary research and applying for funding and institutional review board approval. She said she hoped to receive at least enough financial support to pay for the flight to Europe. Martin was shocked when she received enough funding from the Office of Undergraduate Research and the University Honors Program to support her expenses in Germany for four months while she did her research. During those four months, Martin surveyed Berliners to gauge their opinions on the recent swell of migrants to their city. Martin hypothesized that opinions on immigration would correspond closely with age, but ultimately found that “nothing is black and white.” While opinions on immigration did follow some demographic lines, the most noteworthy correlation showed that individuals with feelings of economic uncertainty about their own futures tended to have a more negative view of immigrants.

From Berlin to D.C.

to increase acceptance of immigrants. “In the U.S. specifically, I think it’s important to dispel the misconception that immigrants are somehow bad for the economy or going to make your specific situation worse,” Martin said. “Because all of the literature, at least in my field, is at a complete consensus that immigrants are good for the economy.” Martin had the opportunity to present her findings to congressional leaders at the 2018 Council on Undergraduate Research’s “Posters on the Hill” event in Washington, D.C. Martin, along with undergraduate researchers from around the country, lobbied representatives and educated them on her findings.

Going Forward Now graduated, Martin wants to take the skills she acquired at Ohio State and enter the workforce, focusing on public service or policy research. She does want to return to school eventually to obtain a graduate degree and continue conducting research. “I’ve always imagined myself becoming a specialist in my field,” she explained. “In order to achieve that, I think going to grad school and getting my master’s degree is the first step.”

Martin explained she wanted to conduct For undergraduates considering her surveys in Berlin specifically because embarking on a research project of their of the city’s strong cultural identity and own, Martin recommends honing in on just the prevailing negative idea of “the one question to answer so that the project outsider” that many Berliners hold. doesn’t become too overwhelming. Although her research was conducted abroad, Martin sees many parallels for “I think a lot of people get caught up in Americans, as the nation grapples with the idea that they need to have this huge a tense public discourse surrounding takeaway at the end that is going to immigration. change the world,” she said. “But you don’t need to discover electricity to have a good Martin’s biggest takeaway from research project. The idea is to add to the her research is that education and literature in whatever way you can.” community outreach are the best ways | 5

FACULTY NEWS Promotions PROMOTIONS Desheng Liu was promoted to Professor with research interests in remote sensing, spatial statistics, GIScience, and land cover change. He focuses on developing geospatial data analysis methodologies for monitoring and modeling environmental and ecological processes.

Alvaro Montenegro was promoted with tenure to Associate Professor with research interests in climate change, paleoclimatology, and climate modeling. His research encompasses various aspects of climate change and climate variability. His research focuses on the physical and biogeochemical processes occurring at the global and continental spatial scales.

Awards and Recognition AWARDS & RECOGNITION Morton O’Kelly is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement in Location Analysis Award from the INFORMS Section on Location Analysis. This is a triennial award for significant contributions, and cites pioneering efforts on hub network location.

Former colleague John Arnfield has been awarded the AAG Climate Specialty Group Lifetime Achievement Award.

Publications PUBLICATIONS Steven Quiring and Jordan Pino were featured in a NASA documentary on the Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite mission (SMAP). In the documentary, Steven talks about its use in power outage modeling.

APPOINTMENTS Harvey Miller has been invited to serve on the editorial boards of the Annals and also Applied Geography.

Darla Munroe has accepted the position of Interim Chair of the Department of Geography. She will serve a one-year term beginning on July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019. A search for a new chair will get underway in the fall of 2018. In addition, she has been asked to join the Scientific Steering Committee of the Global Land Programme (GLP) for a three-year term beginning in June. Morton O’Kelly has agreed to assume the role of SBS Divisional Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, beginning July 1, 2018. He will serve a five-year term.


Daniel Sui co-edited a book with Shih-Lung Shaw titled Human Dynamics Research in Smart and Connected Communities. The book addresses accelerating advances in information and communication technology that have fundamentally changed the way transportation systems work. Madhumita Dutta co-edited: Strikes in the Twenty-First Century: A Global Perspective. Published by Rowman & Littlefield International. The collection of essays spans countries across the global South and North, providing an account of strikes and the working class resistance in the 21st century.

Joel Wainwright recently published a book, Climate Leviathan: A Political Theory of our Planetary Future, coauthored with Geoff Mann. This book discusses the likely political and economic outcomes of missing the two degrees’ Celsius target set by the Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change. A new book co-edited by Ola Ahlqvist and Christoph Schlieder, entitled Geogames and Geoplay: Game-based Approaches to the Analysis of GeoInformation, has just been published by Springer. This book discusses the fundamentals of games and play, geographic information technologies, game design and culture while moving through current examples and forward looking analysis.

Grants and Research GRANTS & RESEARCH Alvaro Montenegro has received funds from the Steam Factory for a very interesting collaborative exercise: Bits in Digs aims to use computer models to acquaint history and archaeology researchers with state-ofthe-art, data-heavy climate and human migration computer models. This gives modelers a better understanding of the needs faced by historical and archaeological research and how these can become better incorporated in model development and analysis. Joel Wainwright has received funds from InFACT (Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation, a division of the discovery themes initiative) for his research on the drivers of food insecurity and agroecological change in the Maya milpas of southern Belize. The project is entitled: Making Maya milpa: maize farming, agroecological research, and food security in Belize and Ohio State. This research focuses on rural communities and improving food security with productive land and avoiding environmental degradation. He then intends to apply those methods and research to similar situations in farming communities in Ohio. Harvey Miller has received funds from TDAI (Translational Data Analytics) for a very interesting project: Measuring and Analyzing Active Transportation Using Low-Cost Wireless Sensor Networks. In the project accurate, persistent, fine-grain counting of movement is expected to provide a powerful building block for data analytics in active transportation.

Desheng Liu received a National Science Foundation award. This collaborative research on Hydrologic and Permafrost Changes Due to Tree Expansion into Tundra is from NSF’s Office of Polar Programs. In addition, he also received USDA NIFA-CBG funding − “Strengthening agricultural and geospatial education and research at Central State University”. This three-year project is in collaboration with Central State University and aims to enhance agricultural geospatial education at CSU through offering summer workshops on geospatial technologies, as well as advance geospatial characterization of agricultural runoff using hyperspectral remote sensing to monitor water quality and harmful algal bloom in Maumee River Watershed and Lake Erie. Elisabeth Root has received funding for her seed grant proposal: "Characterizing Communities Vulnerable to Opioid Addiction” from the IPR Leadership Committee. She has also received additional funding from the state of Ohio to expand her research in Infant Mortality Rates in the state of Ohio. Steven Quiring received funding from the National Aeronautics & Space Administration for his work on Developing national soil moistureconvective precipitation feedbacks with soil moisture-active passive. In addition, Steven Quiring received an award from University of Hong Kong for work on Typhoon power outage modeling. Ellen Mosley Thompson and her research team received funding from the National Science Foundation for their research on Climate and environmental variability over the last glacial cycle from ice cores in the Western Kunlun Mountains (Tibetan Plateau).

Zhengyu Liu received funding from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Earth Sciences for his research in Assessing and understanding extratropical control on tropical climate. | 7

IN THE DEPARTMENT RETIREMENT Professor Ed Malecki officially retired as of May 31, 2018, and has been named an emeritus professor in the Department of Geography. We are grateful to him for his loyal and valued service to the department since 2001 and to recognize his enormous contributions over the span of his distinguished career to his field of Economic Geography, Urban Geography, and the Impacts of Technology. His illustrious career spanned several institutions and impacted the careers of great faculty members, undergraduates, and graduate students alike. He began as an Assistant Professor of Geography at University of Oklahoma (19751981). He was promoted to Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma in 1981. In 1983, Professor Ed Malecki moved to the University of Florida. In 1987, Ed Malecki was promoted to Full Professor of Geography at the University of Florida (1987-2001) where he also served as Department chair from 1988 to 1995. In 2001, Professor Malecki transitioned to The Ohio State University, returning to the department where he had received his BA, MA, and PhD. During his time at Ohio State, he served as Affiliate Faculty in the John Glenn School of Public

Affairs. In addition, he had a Courtesy appointment in City and Regional Planning, School of Public Policy and Management, and was an Affiliated Faculty member at Battelle Center for Science and Technology Policy. He served as Director for the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis from 20012005. His service to the department spanned many roles. His most recent was the Personnel Committee Chair where he mentored and guided young faculty through the start of their careers and the Promotion and Tenure process. His insight and guidance will be missed. During his tenure at Ohio State, Ed Malecki supervised the successful programs of a combined 15 MA and PhD students. Their research topics ranged from Marriage Migration of Women and Making a Multicultural Society in South Korea (Minkyung Koh) to Music all over the map: Specialized cultural economies across the rural-urban continuum (Robert Klein). His students encompassed varied interests and research topics to span the spectrum of the discipline of geography. Professor Ed Malecki will be sorely missed but we hope he finds all the enjoyment and fulfillment in retirement that he deserves.

IN MEMORIAM Emilio Casetti January 12, 2018 Emilio was an exceptionally influential member of the department. Emilio studied Law at Sapienza University of Rome and the Government of Italy. He received his doctorate in Mathematical Modeling from Northwestern University. Emilio joined the Department of Geography in 1963, and retired as an Emeritus Professor in 1993. He was recognized with AAG Honors in 1984, and as a Distinguished Scholar at The Ohio State University in 1992. He was a valued editor of Geographical Analysis. He was a very serious, deep thinker with a sharp legal mind. During his distinguished career, he guided many graduate students and had a remarkable record of success through their subsequent careers.


DEPARTMENT ADVISORS The department welcomes two new advisors. The first, Nancy Cosica, comes to the Department of Geography with an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership from Indiana Wesleyan University; an M.Ed. of Higher Education from the University of South Carolina and a BA in English from Mars Hill College in North Carolina. Nancy Coscia serves as the primary academic advisor in the department. She began working with the department in May 2017. Previously, she worked as an academic advisor at The Ohio State University Newark campus. Nancy’s professional career has been focused in higher education and academic advising is the latest area of work in her professional journey. Prior to serving as an academic advisor, she spent 20 years working in student activities, orientation, residence life, student leadership and student services. The department is excited to welcome Nancy and her various talents to geography. The department would also like to welcome Jocelyn Nevel. Jocelyn, who holds a BA in Photography from The Ohio State University and an MFA in Photography from Columbia College, joins our department advising students in our Air Transportation major. After earning degrees in Photography, Jocelyn taught photography at many schools including: The School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Cornell University, The University of New Mexico and The University of Colorado at Denver. Her personal art work frequently uses fiber based materials or 19th century photographic processes. Jocelyn has been an academic advisor for approximately four years, formerly in the Department of Economics and now in geography. We are excited and pleased to welcome Jocelyn Nevel to the department.

2017-2018 SPEAKER SERIES Each year, the Department of Geography invites individuals at the top of their field to give engaging and innovative lectures. This year, the focus centered on climate change and individuals from across varying disciplines gave insights as to how climate change affected their particular field. Steven Quiring – The Ohio State University – September 15, 2017 Drought and Land-Atmosphere Interactions in a Changing Climate Christopher Justice – University of Maryland – October 5, 2017 {The Arthur H. Robinson Colloquium Speaker} Global Agricultural Monitoring: Detecting the Impact of Extreme Climate Events Karen O’Brien – University of Oslo – November 16, 2017 {The Edward J. “Ned” Taaffe Colloquium Speaker} Is the 1.5°C Target Possible? Exploring the Dynamics of Deliberate Social Transformations Michael Mann – Pennsylvania State University – February 9, 2018 Influence of Anthropogenic Climate Change on Planetary Wave Resonance and Extreme Weather events The 2018-2019 will focus on “Global Africa” and discuss issues of global processes that are transforming Africa from climate change to political economy (among others), as well as engage in the question of Africa’s place in our global world. | 9

IN THE DEPARTMENT GRADUATE STUDENT AWARDS Graduate Student Awards E. Willard & Ruby S. Miller Fellowship Award The highest recognition the department can bestow on a graduate student. Given in recognition of potential to make a major contribution to geography particularly through scholarship and scholarly writing. Nora Sylvander, Ning Zhang Fenburr Travel Scholarship for Outstanding Graduate Award Offsets the costs of travel for professional development activities related to the conduct or dissemination of research, such as training workshops, conferences or fieldwork. Sohyun Park, Ariel Rawson, Jerry Zou T.R. Lakshmanan & Lata Chatterjee Award Recognizes a distinguished PhD student in geography who is either from the Global South (Asia, Africa or Latin America) or carrying out research on the Global South, focused on issues of benefit to humanity and has demonstrated professional promise. Emilio Mateo, Scarlett Jin, Guillermo Bervejillo Rayner Scholarship for Field Work Supports fieldwork by graduate students – data generation including expenses related to travel to a field site, supply or equipment costs, access fees or other research-related expenses. Deondre Smiles

UNDERGRADUATE Undergraduate Awards AWARDS Fenburr Scholarship for Women and Underrepresented Groups Emily Lill Madison Taylot Tevian Whitehurst Edward J. “Ned” Taaffe Scholarship - Outstanding Undergraduate in ASP Stephen Maldonado John Morgan Manos Sharpe Scholarship for Outstanding Undergraduates Provides need based scholarships with preference give to those students from the state of Ohio. Mason Estep Kelli Grice Eric Hegedus Bryan Troyer CC Huntington Memorial Fund Awards Scholarship provided to an outstanding student in geography. Megan Russell Andrea Stanic

FACULTY AWARDS Faculty Awards Lawrence A. Brown Faculty Fellow: Madhumita Dutta

STAFF AWARDS Staff Awards S. Earl Brown Outstanding Staff: Jim DeGrand


OUR ALUMNI HYOWON BAN Ohio State Geography was, and still has been one of the best environments for research, teaching and service for me. In my memories, many departmental events in and around the Derby Hall such as colloquiums, individual talks with invited scholars, reports for the fields, GIS day games, departmental potlucks and gatherings with cohort graduate students are still alive. These days I have been doing research about: 1) visualization and Relative Motion (REMO) analysis of moving objects such as vessels, 2) visualization of the uncertainty in concepts of undersea features — e.g., seamounts — and ocean features — e.g., seas, 3) uncertainty in spatial data and its challenge and visualization, 4) conversion of geospatial information into music and design, 5) spatial thinking on the developmental disabilities and its visualization, and 6) instruction of ethics in GIS. Since my graduation in 2009, Ohio State Geography continuously has been one of my major sources for my career development. For instance, I have been organizing the "Paper Clinic" for students presenting at professional venues such as AAG in my current Department of Geography at California State University, Long Beach, since I joined to the department. People in my department have loved the clinic so much, and I feel grateful to Ohio State Geography for giving me such good experiences during my study. In addition, I often find people around me still get stunned by the Synchronous Objects project ( that I participated as a project team member in spring 2009 at Ohio State. The project was a multidisciplinary work to understand "dance" from many different perspectives in geography, statistics, mathematics, computer science, architecture, philosophy, design, music and dance. The project was awarded Communication Arts 2010 Interactive Annual Award (Information Design category: Synchronous Objects). These days I still find that there are several things uncovered from the project yet, and I plan to continue the exploration in the near future with up-to-date methodologies in GIScience.

ALUMNI NEWS Brian (BA, 1976, geography) and Sherri Lewis We are delighted to announce Brian and Sherri Lewis have endowed a fund for merit based undergraduate scholarships. This award will recognize students with high overall GPAs with emphasis on cartography and GIS. Brian has a special affiliation with our mapping and GIS program and has had a very successful career at Lockheed Martin. Zach Paganini (MA, 2017) His Master’s Thesis work on flooding in Canarsie was mentioned in the New York Times recently. The article “In New York, Drawing Flood Maps Is a ‘Game of Inches”, articulates many of the subtleties of flood risk and flood insurance facing the country today. Zach is pursuing a PHD degree at CUNY, Earth & Environmental Sciences program. Tenure & Promotion Nurcan Atalan-Helicke, (PhD, 2010) has received tenure and promotion at Skidmore College.

Hyun Kim (PhD, 2008) has received tenure and promotion at the University of Tennessee. Shih-Lung Shaw (PhD, 1986) has been appointed Interim Associate Provost & Director of the Center for International Education. Shih-Lung was featured in the alumni spotlight in the last GeoSpectrum. Enzhou Wang (MA, 2001) is the City of Bellevue, Washington’s, IT Manager in charge of IT Development, Design & eGov Alliance Delivery Teams. Ling Zhuan (MA, 2000) started her own company GISTAN LLC (dba GIS Technology & Analytics) Nick Crane (PhD, 2014) is now the Political Geography editor at Geography Compass as well as an Assistant Professor in Geography at the University of Wyoming. | 11

OUR ALUMNI MIKE BETTES The sky is painted an ominous, green tint. A furious wind gusts with sporadic pace. Flashes of lightning flicker through the dark clouds. In the distance, a colossal tornado tears unbridled across the rural landscape. It’s May 31, 2013, in central Oklahoma, and standing in front of a camera reporting live on the chaotic scene is field anchor for The Weather Channel and 1995 Ohio State alumnus Mike Bettes. “Look at that monster; this is a huge tornado,” Bettes says on air as the camera pans from him to the twister. “If you live in Union City south of El Reno, you have to take shelter now. There’s no more time to waste.” Sensing potential danger, Bettes cuts the broadcast short, telling the anchors back in The Weather Channel studio that he and his team are going to drive south to escape the tornado’s path. The group jumps back into the vehicle and races down Highway 81. Unknown to them, however, is that the tornado is increasing its speed and doubling in size. In seconds, the crew is at the cyclone’s mercy. It gets darker. The rain grows heavy. Visibility plummets. Bettes watches as the car in front of his gets swatted off the road by the tornado’s extraordinary winds. “Go. Go,” Bettes shouts. “Just keeping going if you can. Keep going if you can. Everybody duck down. Everybody duck down.” The car is lifted off the pavement. Bettes squeezes his eyes shut as time grinds to a halt and be feels himself become weightless.

••• Mike Bettes (BS, atmospheric sciences, 1995), who’s been with The Weather Channel for nearly 15 years and currently hosts “Weather Underground,” fell in love with weather as a kid, watching thunderstorms from the garage with his dad. A native of Akron during his childhood and Lexington in high school, Bettes knew he wanted to study meteorology. The only university that offered such a program was Ohio State. “I was a Buckeye since birth,” Bettes said. “Ohio State was only an hour down the road, so it was a pretty easy choice.” After graduating, Bettes landed a weekend gig at WKEF-TV in Dayton, where he stayed for a year before moving on to ABC6 in Columbus. Following a three-year stint at ABC6, he was named chief meteorologist at WLOS-TV in Ashville, North Carolina. Bettes was in Ashville for three years and reported on the region’s most powerful hurricanes, including the devastating Hurricane Isabel in September 2003. The evening after Isabel made landfall, Bettes was sitting on a North Carolina beach waiting to go on air when his phone rang. It was The Weather Channel. “I had gone for an interview at The Weather Channel in the summer of 2003,” Bettes said. “They called and offered me a job, and I couldn’t believe it. Next thing you know, I was off to Atlanta, and I’ve been with The Weather Channel ever since.” Bettes has filled several roles with The Weather Channel and has covered several of the biggest weather events in history, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Joplin, Missouri, tornado in 2011, and Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

On May 31, 2013, a 2.6 mile-wide tornado careened across the landscape near El Reno, Oklahoma.


Starting in 2009, Bettes reported on tornadoes for The Weather Channel alongside the government-funded VORTEX2 field project, which was aimed at the scientific study of tornadoes. In 2013, Bettes led The Weather Channel Tornado Hunt Team, which traveled up and down Tornado Alley chasing and broadcasting severe storms.

Bettes and his team, miraculously, received minor injuries. Other storm chasers, however, were not as fortunate. Professional tornado documenters Tim Samaras, his son Paul Samaras and their colleague Carl Young were killed when their vehicle was thrown nearly a half-mile by the tornado. In all, the tornado killed eight people.

That’s when he found himself inside the largest tornado ever recorded.

“It was a moment that had more impact on me than I thought it would,” Bettes said. “It gave me real empathy for what victims of tornadoes go through physically and emotionally, and how jarring it can be and how life-altering it can be.”

••• His eyes are shut. Time is still. He is weightless. And Bettes knows he’s in the tornado. I thought, ‘Am I dead already?’” he said. “And then I saw kind of an angelic vision of my wife. I’d only been married for a few months at the time. So, I was having both these streams of thought at the same time, and then a very harsh reality happened where the vehicle hit the ground.” The car tumbled over and over and over again before coming to rest in a field. The windows were smashed out, and the winds were still howling. “I remember yelling out to our producer and photographer, ‘Are you guys OK?’” Bettes said. “And everyone was alive and conscious and they all yelled back to me that they were OK. Then we all got out, and I saw the tornado in the field moving away from us, and I was just like, ‘Wow. I can’t believe that just happened.’” The tornado that lifted Bettes’ vehicle 30 feet into the air and tossed it 200 yards away went down as the widest tornado ever: 2.6 miles wide. The twister received an initial EF3 rating based on damage, but that rating was subsequently upgraded to EF5 — the highest on the scale — based on radar analysis that measured winds up to 301 mph.

••• Today, Bettes hosts “Weather Underground,” which consists of interviews with experts, in-studio experiments and demonstrations, and viewer interaction. Most years, Bettes returns to Ohio State to speak at the annual Severe Weather Symposium hosted by the Meteorology Club. He enjoys coming back to his roots to see how the club and the atmospheric sciences program have both grown, and he continues to appreciate how the program and the university in general shaped his career. “Ohio State really set me on a path to good things,” he said. “I think that’s where all the students who are in the atmospheric sciences program are today; they’re ready to take on the world.” As for advice Bettes has for students who want to carve their own meteorology path, Bettes says to be steadfast in their quest to attain their goals. Be patient, but be persistent,” he said. “And it’ll pay off. I look at where I am today, and I never could’ve imagined the good fortune I have now if it were not for the great education at I got at Ohio State.” | 13


CHRISTOPHER CARVER The idea of community has always been a guiding principle for Christopher Carver (BA, geography, 1999). As a child, he would mark a path through the streets of downtown Columbus, exploring the communities of his hometown. After high school, searching for new experiences in a warmer climate, Carver moved to Florida to attend college. Less than two years later, he was ready to return to Columbus to pursue the connection he’d felt to Ohio State since childhood. After enrolling at Ohio State, Carver turned his attention to what he calls the “eternal undergraduate challenge” — choosing a major. As part of his process, Carver signed up for one class in each area that interested him. After classes in writing, philosophy and aviation, Carver finally found his calling in a course on political geography. “Taking that class literally changed my life,” he said. “It connected the idea of place and maps — which I’d always been interested in — with the idea of community and people. It opened up a passion in me that I still interweave in my professional life.” According to Carver, it was the diversity of exceptional academic programs at Ohio State that allowed him to find his path in life. But it was the community at Ohio State that he says changed him for the better. “Being able to interact with so many different people from so many different backgrounds creates an unbelievably fertile


ground where, if you leverage it for what it can be, you’ll never be the same again,” Carver said.

From campus to New York City After graduating from Ohio State, Carver was eager to move to New York City. He took the New York City fire alarm dispatcher’s exam and, after placing well, was offered a job. By the time Carver took early retirement in 2015, he had worked his way up to director of fire dispatch, which meant he was responsible for ensuring effective fire service communication for the entire city. Carver is now the director of 9-1-1 and PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) Operations at the National Emergency Number Association — the national nonprofit organization that guides how 911 operates around the country. Carver explained that his degree in geography has had countless applications to his career in public safety. “My academic program at Ohio State made my experience at the New York City Fire Department so much richer,” Carver said. “I was able to connect the idea of public safety and the public safety needs of a community back to the things I learned at Ohio State.” Carver said one event that brought these applications into focus was Superstorm Sandy in 2012. During the storm, Carver and his team were unable to track what neighborhoods were flooded in real time.

“That wasn’t just an annoying public safety problem,” he explained. “That was a GIS problem, which completely related to what I learned at Ohio State.”

“No matter where you are in your journey, it’s important you look for opportunities to help others,” he said. “This was a key component of my time in New York that was a reflection of what I learned at Ohio State.”

Carver also noticed later that the neighborhoods most affected by the storm were the most socioeconomically depressed areas of the city. “In this case, you have a disaster of human proportion that is also related to factors of political and economic geography which were barely known to the people that lived there, but were incredibly relevant to the reality of managing a public safety disaster,” Carver said. This “big-picture” approach to solving problems is something Carver says he learned in the Department of Geography. “Geography allows you to grasp the building blocks of how our society is organized today, as well as envision potential solutions,” Carver said. “I am proud to say that not a single day goes by in my professional career that I don’t use what I learned not just once, but 10 times.”

“I’ve Seen Miracles” Carver also credits Ohio State with instilling in him the importance of giving back.

One way Carver gives back is by speaking about his experience during 9/11. As he recounts his story from that day to communities around central Ohio, Carver always tries to keep his message about unity and the triumphs he witnessed as people came together to save lives. “9/11 should never be a divisive issue us-versus-them issue,” Carver said. “The people who went to work that day, without even being asked, not one of them said ‘Who are we helping? What color is their skin?’ That doesn’t matter in a public safety environment. And, it didn’t matter to the firefighters who went to that scene and rescued 20,000 people.” Carver says he keeps the unofficial title to his talk — ‘I’ve Seen Miracles’ — in mind as he shares his story. “What those terrorists tried to do that day is tear down the fabric of our humanity, and a whole bunch of people instantaneously built it back up,” Carver said. “That story demands to be told.”

OUR CENTERS BYRD POLAR AND CLIMATE RESEARCH CENTER (BPCRC) The Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center (BPCRC) at The Ohio State University is recognized internationally as a leader in polar, alpine and climate research. There are ten research groups at BPCRC, along with a library, archival program, the Polar Rock Repository, and a team of support staff. Research of the center is conducted throughout the world and focuses on the role of cold regions in the Earth’s overall climate system, and encompasses geological sciences, geochemistry, glaciology, paleoclimatology, meteorology, remote sensing, ocean dynamics and the history of polar exploration. The center has a number of collections of climate proxies, including a rock repository containing 42,000 samples from the polar regions, a sediment core storage facility containing Arctic Ocean cores and lake sediment cores from the mountains of Peru and China, and more than 7 kilometers of ice cores gathered during more than 60 campaigns to six continents. In addition, BPCRC maintains the Byrd Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, provides research opportunities and support for a number of graduate and undergraduate students, offers seminars

and lectures on a frequent basis, maintains a public education and outreach program, and contributes to the mission of the State Climate Office of Ohio. The center is named in honor of Admiral Richard E. Byrd, America’s most famous polar explorer. Information about events, tours and publications can be found at | 15


Department of Geography’s Sharpe Innovation Commons opens in Derby Hall, Sept. 2018 Where does innovation occur? Gary Sharpe (BA, geography, 1970) will tell you just about anywhere. After all, his multimillion-dollar enterprise Health Care Logistics got its start in a spare bedroom in 1978.

A quote from Gary Sharpe hangs in big, bold letters on one wall: “Every day, do something to make the world a better place.”

But Gary and his wife, Connie Sharpe (BS, nursing, 1969), wanted to foster a space at Ohio State where new ideas could not only blossom, but thrive — where students could engage with new technology and cross-disciplinary partnerships could form.

“This space provides a center for students and faculty to engage in research,” said Morton O’Kelly, divisional dean of social and behavioral sciences and former chair of the Department of Geography, at an opening ceremony for the commons. “There’s a tremendous amount of useful technology in this room that is going to pay off in years to come.”

So in 2016, the Sharpes made a generous gift to the Department of Geography, marking the beginning of the department’s journey to bring hands-on learning and critical thinking to students through the Gary and Connie Sharpe Geography Innovation Commons, which opened Sept. 20 in Derby Hall.

The ceremony also included a welcome from Darla Munroe, professor and chair of the Department of Geography, and presentations from geography doctoral student Forrest Schoessow and undergraduate student James White, who both received seed grants from the Sharpes for their research.

The multipurpose room includes state-of-the-art technology for broadcast recording, two 3D printers, breakout space for collaboration and integrated equipment to engage with colleagues across universities.

When asked what long-term impacts he’d like the new Innovation Commons to have, Gary Sharpe said: “Progress. Collaboration. It’s never an inventor or a scholar sitting on a


STATE CLIMATE OFFICE OF OHIO (SCOO) Providing information to improve the lives of all Ohioans. How will Ohio adapt and build resilience to actual and future climate disruptions that are likely to occur more frequently in a warmer world? What will be the imprint of climate variability on our economy, food security, natural resources, energy infrastructure, health and well-being? What are the chances and potential manifestations of extreme floods and droughts? Accurate climate information, education, and interpretation are vital not only for informing policy makers and all sectors of Ohio’s economy, but also enhance the quality of life, health, food and water security, and economic prosperity of all Ohioans. The State Climate Office of Ohio (SCOO) connects Ohioans with transformative climate information and functions as a partnership between the Department of Geography, the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center (BPCRC), and Extension at Ohio State. Information about SCOO can be found at Major Activities • Publish and archive weekly video hydrologic and climatological outlook, including online maps and analyses of drought/flood conditions. • Provide access to timely climate information and data via a website and server/data portal. • Develop precipitation forecasting website (FARM App) for use by the agricultural community to better plan field-specific fertilizer applications and limit nutrient runoff from fields into watersheds across the state. mountaintop coming up with an idea. When you bring in various people with various skills — that’s when exciting things happen.” “Forget about the box — get out of the box; smash it. Think different. Keep going,” he added. In 2010, the Gary L. Sharpe Scholarship for Outstanding Undergraduates was established with funds from the Gary L. Sharpe Scholarship Fund in Geography. The scholarship program provides support to undergraduate geography students who excel academically and/or professionally, with preference given to students from Ohio who demonstrate financial need. “What a great legacy,” Munroe said of the Sharpes’ collective impact. “I can’t imagine anything better that [Gary and Connie] could have done for our students and for us.” Learn more about the Sharpe Innovation Commons online:

• Collaborate with OSU Extension to provide in-service training for county and state level personnel and participate in the annual Farm Science Review. • Provide professional development programs to specific stakeholder groups (including farmers, planners, utility managers, public health professionals) in use of online tools and data analysis/ application. • Upgrade OARDC weather system network to improve weather/soil observations across Ohio. • Travel throughout Ohio to build external partnerships and share information with stakeholders. • Assist in recruiting and managing volunteer citizen precipitation observers as part of nation- wide community collaborative network ( • Perform regionally-downscaled climate model simulations to advise the National Climate Assessment and assess Ohio’s risks to future extreme weather and climate change. | 17

OUR CENTERS CENTER FOR URBAN AND REGIONAL ANALYSIS (CURA) CURA is an interdisciplinary research innovation hub specializing in the application of GIS, spatial analysis and geographic visualization to urban issues. Founded in 2001, CURA has spent more than 15 years working with partners to solve complex geographic problems. Supported by the College of Arts and Sciences, the center boasts a strong interdisciplinary nature and works with multiple departments, schools and colleges across campus. From analyzing and mapping real-time urban data, to building web-based geospatial information services and performing customized spatial analysis, CURA engages in a breadth of research and applied Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Programs CURA organizes multiple events each semester designed to appeal to a wide array of urban-related interests. From urban data science to stormwater control measures, the CURA event series offers engaging and enlightening content for a variety of fields. Events are open to the entire community, on campus and off. As the university’s hub for GIS and urban data science, CURA seeks to bridge the campus community with professionals, community leaders and the public in Ohio and beyond. Our programming is designed to engage a diverse audience interested in urban issues and the future of our neighborhoods and communities.

CURA visiting speaker, Christopher Impellitteri, Associate National Program Director of the USEPA Office of Research and Development

CURA serves as an innovation hub which brings together researchers from across campus to integrate spatial modeling and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) into economic, social, and public health research. We provide data management and design expertise, and we also offer web mapping and data hosting. We possess strong technical expertise in transportation, housing, and geo-demographics. Our services are provided primarily to on-campus partners, but we may also work with community groups. For the Ohio State community, CURA typically charges an hourly rate and provides an estimate for the work needed to complete the client’s project. For larger research endeavors such as government-sponsored grants, CURA faculty may be considered a co-investigator for the geo-visualization portion of the research. While many of our projects are long-term, spanning one year or more, we also participate in shorter term projects and produce focused, task specific products and services.

3D Campus Model


The 2017-2018 academic year brought intriguing new research pathways and allowed us to build upon existing endeavors. Continuing projects include building a 3D model of Ohio State’s campus, assessing city transit operation with real-time data feeds, and the state-funded Infant Mortality Reduction Project (IMRP), led by CURA affiliate and associate professor Elisabeth Root. CURA has developed a webmapping interface to display integrated datasets relevant to infant mortality rates to empower researchers to target initiatives based on spatial data.


Dear Alumni and Friends, Please consider making a gift or donation to the Department of Geography. Each and every gift makes a tangible difference in the lives of our students and faculty. All gifts are tax deductible as permitted by law.

Diane Carducci Department of Geography The Ohio State University 1036 Derby Hall 154 North Oval Mall Columbus, OH 43210-1208



DONOR FUNDS: Geography Discretionary Fund - 303607: Provides support for undergraduate and faculty recruiting and to supplement endowments in the department The Edward J. Taaffe Memorial Fund in Geography - 607104: To support the Edward J. Taaffe Colloquium Series

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FACULTY FUNDS: The Lawrence A. Brown Faculty Fellow Fund 642475: To provide an assistant or associate professor with a one-year designation as a Lawrence A. Brown Faculty Fellow The Bob and Mary ReuschĂŠ Chair in Geography 666036: To support a chair position in the Department of Geography


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