Page 1





Summer/Fall 2007 Newsletter (Volume 5, Issue 2)

A Last Word

No one grows up wanting to be a department head. Growing up in England, I wanted to learn to fly, play soccer, be an archaeologist, go to the States as it was called....Some of these I did; some I didn’t. But be a department head? No, because my university experience was in the British system where there were no such things as department heads. They are led, if that’s the right word, by a professor—a god-like figure of inestimable eminence who was far removed from the hum-drum reality of students.

Table of Contents: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

A Last Word From the Head Undergraduate Student News Graduate Student News Faculty and Staff News New Arrivals Alumni News Alumni News Alumni News It was Roger’s Idea MGIS Graduates William Easterling Named Dean Alumnus Profile: Benjamin Mutzabaugh Alumnus Profile: Benjamin Mutzabaugh Scholarships, Endowments, and Award Funds; Geography Luncheon Fall Calendar

Contact us: The Pennsylvania State University Department of Geography 302 Walker Building University Park, PA 16802 Telephone: (814) 865-3433 Fax: (814) 863-7943 E-mail: Web site:

So how did I get here? The answer is the tradition of the department. Will Miller founded the department, passing the leadership over to Allan Rodgers who passed it to Wilbur Zelinsky, then Ron Abler, then Greg Knight, then Rod Erickson. I can still remember Rod saying, “Well Roger, it’s your turn now.” A 13-year turn (and no, I did not write ‘term’ as in ‘sentence’) is a long time. Now we move to a new pattern with Karl Zimmerer arriving from Wisconsin. We can learn from other places, borrow their best people and ideas, and add them to our best. So what has it been like? Clichés are used to capture administration (herding cats, being a

spear carrier [that is, in your back]). Those clichés have some truth to them, but in no way do they capture life as a department head. Airline pilots speak of life as being 99% boredom and 1% sheer terror. I might suggest 85% muddling through, 10% frustration, and 5% exhilaration. You would not want to hear about the first two, but the third merits consideration. Perhaps exhilaration is a little over the top, but I want to reflect back on the positives: the wonderful staff with whom to work, a very supportive higher administration, the pleasure of watching the distance education program evolve into the best in American geography, the growth of the department into the center for geographic visualization, the increasing breadth of the department. On that last score, it’s worth noting that we have gone from a place with all human geographers except for one physical geographer and one cartographer to a place with genuine strength in four areas. As I write this, in no way do I want to seduce you into believing that “I” did all of these things. We did these things, working together. So what’s next for me? Well, one answer is doing fewer things for other people and more things for myself; perhaps that’s more appropriately put as getting back to a lot of research that has been put on the back burner. I will still serve on various committees in Washington, DC. Pretty soon, however, I’m expecting to hear: Didn’t you used to be Roger Downs? The answer will be yes, I did used to be Roger Downs, the department head. And now I will be plain old me, Roger Downs, back with my colleagues in what is—and with Karl’s deft guidance—will remain the best place to work in American geography.

FROM THE HEAD I am pleased to have begun as head of the department. It is a time of personal and professional excitement and change. Last month my family and I journeyed to State College from Madison, where we had lived for the past seventeen years. When July 1 arrived, even though we had not unpacked completely, I eagerly began my in-situ transition to Walker Building and to the University Park campus. Given the recentness of my official “start,” I am able to share a note based on general thoughts and experience gained through the visits and communication that began last year.

vital, therefore, for research and teaching paths within each core of the four-field approach as well as in the cross-cutting “borderlands.”

Borderlands are also expanding via the interdisciplinary networks that geography engages. Motivation for this interdisciplinarity is a consequence, in part, of the challenges and opportunities It is clearly an exciting time for Geography at Penn State. presented by our communities and Challenges and opportunities abound in the life of the the diverse worlds outside and connecting to academe. The department. I welcome the chance to lead the department department is already deeply versed in interdisciplinarity. Yet as a whole in my appointment to the headship. The students, in Geography at Penn State, like the other top-tier institutions, staff, and faculty are similarly central and enjoined in this the interdisciplinary areas continue to offer fresh prospects. journey. Our routes must open new horizons while they also reflect the department’s uncompromising commitment to Interdisciplinarity is akin to traveling from a home field, or excellence. Always in view is the intellectual identity of the discipline, in order to pursue activities in dynamic intellectual department. It is the vision of a landscape that blends both borderlands. Much innovative research and teaching in the the major areas and innovations within the department and department are engaged in such interdisciplinary borderlands. the discipline of geography and the capacities for sustained Just a few examples include human-environmental change interdisciplinary linkages and contributions. and management (e.g., climate, land use); giscience and geovisualization; women’s studies; and integrated regional I believe that a variety of paths are integral to the future assessment, planning, and policy. Geography thrives by directions of the department. The diversity of these paths offering enormous expertise and excellence to these is rooted in the four-field approach—physical, nature/ interdisciplinary areas. Here our paths must continue to carry society, gisciences, and human. Each field serves as a kind of us forward as we nurture and negotiate the interdisciplinary broadly defined home and all-important intellectual frame of initiatives in relation to the intellectual vision and identity of reference.The fields enable many of the fundamental advances the department. in research scholarship, while they also furnish foci for the design of rigorous, student-centered instructional curricula. I will, of course, not be “going it alone” during my transition. There is the eager anticipation of being joined shortly to a At the same time, the department is home to a high level department, college, and University of superb caliber faculty, of interest and activity that is located in the cross-over talented students, and super staff. I look forward also to “borderlands” in geography (“environmental borderlands” is becoming connected to an important and growing network of one example of some vibrant crossing-over among the fields; department supporters and friends. Let the journey begin! see Progress in Human Geography [2007, issue 2]). Support is

Note from the Newsletter Editor:

This issue largely commemorates the steadfast leadership and dedication of Roger Downs—department head from 1994-2007. To honor Roger, many of his closest colleagues and friends have weighed in not only on his personal accomplishments but also his contributions to the Department of Geography and the larger University community. Please enjoy the varied perspectives found throughout this issue (they are identified by the brightly-colored inset boxes). Due to space constraints, the full text of these perspectives is not published in the newsletter. Please consult for the full text. As always, please click on the geography Web site for current news and information. If you have any questions or comments, please contact


UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT NEWS Student Lands First Job Congratulations to the spring 2007 graduates!


Ruth A. Bacher Keith J. Botchie Shannon J. Chapin Mark A. Colussy Jahren C. Condomitti Timothy M. Dooris Derek P. Duskin Adam Edmondson Ron S. Feingold Jonathon C. Foster Benjamin D. Harshyne Gillian R. Hay Katheryn A. Holmes Allen S. Huber Kathleen A. Kelliher Christopher Koltalo Teresa Lawler Ashley N. Leasure Vanessa A. Massaro Robert E. McCaulley Adam T. Naito Edward J. Petronsky Serena D. Pirolli Brian J. Pompeii Jeffrey S. Roecker Sari D. Rothrock Elizabeth D. Shoup Monica J. Smith Philip G. Smith Matthew T. Spinelli Bradley J. Stanzione Romare A. Truely Vanessa Vicera Robert Wiley John P. Wolf Devin M. Yeatman Raymond D. Yost


Michael A. Balkenhol Justin Bukartek Leah M. Mattei Erin McMullen Daniel Winklebleck

Each fall and spring the senior class at Penn State clamors to fulfill degree requirements, tidy up final projects, and take just one more final exam as they prepare for the culmination of four (or more) years of hard work: graduation. With degrees in hands, students are free to take on the world. For many students, this means getting a job.

Development Block Grant funding, updating various ordinances, and developing a comprehensive plan. However, given the disparate nature and structure of Pennsylvania municipalities, it can be rather difficult to coordinate A degree in Geography can open the doors to planning efforts across a wide array of career opportunities. Whether municipalities. To combat Mark Colussy it be landing that first job as a GIS technician or this disjointedness, Mark plans to work with nearby heading off to graduate school, seniors face an Hollidaysburg Borough to implement a streetscape important choice in deciding where they want to project and also plans to model the Blair Township work and what they want to do. For Mark Colussy comprehensive plan after the plan developed by the (B.S. 2007), the answers of where and what were Blair County Planning Commission. relatively easy. Mark recently took a job as director of Planning and Community Development for Blair Though Mark will have many responsibilities and Township, Pennsylvania. The township, home to tasks charged to him to as director, his vision for the 4,587 residents, is adjacent to Blair County seat community, backed by his strong values and goals, Hollidaysburg, the borough of Newry, and is only a will surely breed success not only for him but also for the citizens of Blair Township. à few miles from the City of Altoona. How does a student with a B.S. land a director position? Completing an internship helps. During the summer of 2006, Mark interned with Blair Township, working on building a GIS from the bottom up. Following his summer internship, Mark returned to Penn State to finish his senior year. Back at school, while Mark was searching for a post-graduation job, he saw the Director of Planning and Community Development position within Blair Township open up. Given Mark’s interest and formal training in urban and regional development—it was his option—he promptly The Penn State Department of Geography Class of 2007 applied for the job. Shortly thereafter, he received shortly after receiving their diplomas an interview, during which Mark and the township supervisor discovered they shared many visions and opinions for the community. Given the initial strong Recently graduated students Adam Naito (B.S. 2007) and Vanessa bond and their prior effective working relationship, Massaro (B.S 2007) were honored at this year’s Earth and Mark was hired and started his new role on June 4. Mineral Sciences Wilson Banquet and Awards Presentation

Students Receive Awards

As director, Mark is in charge of a variety of township projects including filing Emergency and Municipal Services taxes, planning for future roads and developments, handling the Community

on April 29, 2007 at the Penn Stater Conference Center. Adam received the Ellen Steidle Achievement Award, which recognizes one junior and one senior EMS student whose activities have contributed to the mission of the college (Adam won last year’s junior award). Vanessa received first place for the William Grundy Haven Student Paper Competition, which honors written excellence for any topic that relates to the disciplines of the college.

GRADUATE STUDENT NEWS Guo Chen accepted a tenure-track assistant professor position in Geography and Global Urban Studies at Michigan State University. She will join Michigan State in August. Mamata Akella and Liv Detrick received Association of American Geographers Cartography Specialty Graduate Masters Thesis Grants.

Darrell Fuhriman received an Association of American Geographers Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group (CAPE) Field Study Award.

Melissa Rock received a National Science Foundation East Asian Pacific Summer Institute Fellowship grant which allows her to continue her Ph.D. research in Beijing, China.

Mamata Akella

Wesley Stroh received an ESRI User Conference Assistantship Kari Jensen received the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences which paid for his attendance at the ESRI User Conference George H. K. Schenck Teaching Assistant Award at the 2007 in June in San Diego, CA. In addition to working the Wilson Banquet and Award Presentation. She also accepted conference, Wes attended sessions and actively participated a tenure-track job as assistant professor of Geography at in the GIS Retail Industry user group to further his own Hofstra University on Long Island, New York. research—geovisualizing the consolidation of corporate function (especially the retail sector) in the domestic Shaunna Barnhart received the Joseph M. Juran Center for economy. He also participated in training sessions on ESRI’s Leadership in Quality Juran Doctoral Award from the Business Analyst tools and others, many of which focus on University of Minnesota. She also received a Foreign market footprints and trading regions. à Language and Area Studies Award to study Nepali language at Cornell University.

Congratulations to the spring 2007 graduates! M.S. Jason D. Beery Liv A. Detrick Jairus J. Rossi Thomas J. Sigler


Students Receive E. Willard Miller Award Each year, the Department of Geography recognizes outstanding student work from undergraduates, M.S. students, and Ph.D. students with the E.Willard Miller Award in Geography. The following students received the 2007 award at the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Wilson Banquet and Awards Presentation on April 29: UNDERGRADUATES First: Vanessa Massaro (B.S. 2007) Tie-second: Adam Naito (B.S. 2007) Tie-second: Elizabeth Shoup (B.S. 2007)

M.S. Jairus Rossi

Ph.D. First: David Fyfe Second: Melissa Rock

Guo Chen Netra B. Chhetri Kari Jensen Matthew J. Kelley Junyan Luo Anu Sabhlok Kolson L. Schlosser

MGIS (see profiles on page 11) Joseph E. Daigneau Vanessa M. Glynn-Linaris Howard S. Hodder Jr. Sara J. Holm Patricia A. Laird Kurt D. Reed Mark C. Wagaman

2007 E. Willard Miller Award and George H. K. Schenck Teaching Assistant Award Winners: L-R Melissa Rock, Jairus Rossi, Kari Jensen (Schenck Award), Adam Naito, David Fyfe, Vanessa Massaro



Cindy Brewer, professor and associate head, received the Award of Distinction for Exceptional Professional Contributions to the Practice of Cartography from the Canadian Cartographic Association. Cindy also received two grants: “ESRI Project on Multi-scale Map Design and Data Modeling,” from ESRI Inc. and “Development of a Socioeconomic Indicator Monitoring Protocol for the Eastern Rivers and Mountains Network,” from the National Park Service Cooperative Agreement. Jim Detwiler, senior lecturer, received a College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Faculty Mentoring Award. William Easterling, professor of geography, director of Penn State’s Institutes of Energy and the Environment, and dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, was a lead author of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II’s report—a report he has labored mightily over for the past three years. He successfully defended his chapter in front of a group of 500 delegates in Brussels.

Amy Glasmeier, professor, presented to the House Subcommittee on Economic Development in Washington, DC and to the Appalachian Regional Commission Governors Quorum at the National Governors Conference during its 2007 winter meeting, where she presented on job creation opportunities in Appalachia’s renewable energy sectors. She also presented the talk, “Breaking the Habit: Oil Addiction and US Competitiveness in the Global Renewables,” at the 2007 J. Douglas Eyre Distinguished Lecture at the University of North Carolina on March 2.

Deryck Holdworth, professor and director of the Peter R. Gould Center for Geography Education and Outreach, received a Wilson Award for Excellence in Teaching at the 2007 College of Earth and Mineral Deryck Holdsworth Sciences Wilson Banquet and Awards Presentation. receives his award

Beth King, senior lecturer, had a baby boy, Max Fletcher King, on February 16, 2007.

Alexander Klippel, assistant professor, received a best paper award at the Spatial Cognition Conference at the Universität Bremen in Germany. The award was for the paper, “Algorithms for reliable navigation and wayfinding,” written by Alex and colleagues Lars Kulik and Shazai Haque.

Peirce Lewis, professor emeritus of geography, was awarded the AAG Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements as a disciplinary leader, scholar, author, and teacher. The award acknowledges his significant contributions to the international understanding of geography and to the cultural perspectives of landscapes. As a scholar, Peirce has shaped contemporary cultural geography in important and fundamental ways; as an author, his work has had long-lasting effects on the field, his peers, and students; and as a teacher, Peirce has touched the intellectual lives of countless undergraduate and graduate students through his diligent and creative efforts.

Professor Emeritus Anthony Williams Updates Us on Life After Geography It’s sometimes hard to believe it’s almost nine years since I retired. I manage to keep busy with reading, digital photography, fussing with five computers, and travel. I have lived for various periods of time in France and central coastal California plus yearly visits to the U.K. and Europe. This past year, I managed to do some research on real estate markets in East and South Asia—but not for academic purposes. Other than diabetes (bad genetic mix), my health remains good. My two children, Kathleen and Bryn, also remain healthy. Kathleen is married to a climate modeler at Scripps and works in a leading biotech firm in San Diego. Bryn is a chef at a State College restaurant and, based on the meals I have eaten there, does a pretty good job.

The paper will appear in a Springer Book in the series Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence.

Etien Koua, research associate, was recognized as the GeoVISTA Research Faculty of the Year for his substantial contributions to Center activities in 2006-2007. Particularly notable is his research on visual analytics strategies in the domains of crisis management and public health, his contributions to Center and project management, and his contributions to a successful proposal that supplements a current National Cancer Institute project.

Sarah Miller, research assistant, recently had two articles published. The first, “Adapting the floristic quality assessment index to indicate anthropogenic disturbance in central Pennsylvania wetlands,” was co-written with Denice Wardrop and published in Ecological Indicators. Another article, “A plant-based index of biological integrity (IBI) for head water wetlands in central Pennsylvania,” co-written with Denice Wardop, Robert Brooks, and Wendy Mae Mahaney, was also published by Ecological Indicators.

Karen Schuckman, instructor in the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute, accepted an appointment as a member of the FEMA Flood Maps: Accuracy Assessment and Cost-Effective Improvements Committee.

Marieta Staneva, senior lecturer in geography at Penn State Altoona, received Penn State University’s LaMarr Kopp International Achievement Award. The award recognizes excellence in one faculty and one Penn State President staff member who have contributed significantly to the advancement of the international mission of the Graham Spanier with Marieta Staneva University.

Denice Wardrop, senior research associate and associate director of the Cooperative Wetlands Center, received the Penn State Ecology Program’s Edward Bellis Award. This award was established to recognize current faculty members in the intercollege graduate degree program (IGDP) in Ecology for outstanding contribution and dedication to educating and training graduate students in the program. The award is in honor of Dr. Edward D. Bellis, professor emeritus of biology, who chaired the Ecology Program from 1980-89. Denice also received a College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Faculty Mentoring Award. à

Summer/Fall 2007


New Arrivals: Ipsita Chatterjee Ipsita will join the Penn State Department of Geography on August 1 as a fixedterm assistant professor teaching Geography of International Affairs (GEOG 128), Cultural Geography (GEOG 124), and Supervised Experience in College Teaching (GEOG 602). Ipsita completed her bachelor of science in Geography at Loreto College Calcutta, India in 1998, master of science in Geography in 2000, and a master of philosophy in geography in 2002 at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, India. She then joined Clark University as a graduate student in 2003, where her Ph.D. research attempted to understand social conflicts in the context of globalization. Ipsita argues that resurgence of ethnic violence in the contemporary world does not represent a nostalgic retaliation of the ‘local’ against the secularizing ‘global,’ but rather, the ‘global’ is very much implicated in the ‘local.’ She also argues that identity conflicts require a more nuanced understanding where ‘othering’ is a function of both economic and cultural dispossession.

Denise Kloehr Denise recently joined the Department of Geography as a research staff assistant. She assists with the preparation and submission of research proposals, maintains research databases and files, assists with the monitoring of research budgets, assists with promotion and tenure, provides back-up support in the absence of the bookkeeper, and assists with the collection of documents. Denise, along with her husband and two sons, recently moved to Lewistown, Pennsylvania from Baltimore, Maryland. For the past six years, Denise worked as a contracts specialist in the estimation department at GableSigns, Inc. She was also a production planner at Alcore, Inc. for fourteen years. Alcore manufactures aluminum honeycomb for the aerospace industry for aircrafts such as F-22 fighter jets, Boeing 747 commercial jets, and Bell helicopters.

Erica Smithwick Erica will join the Penn State Department of Geography in August as a tenuretrack assistant professor. Erica will teach Physical Geography (GEOG 10) in the fall and Landscape Ecology (GEOG 311) in the spring. She received a bachelor of science from Tufts University in Geological Science and Environmental Studies in 1995 and a master of science in Resource Conservation from the University of Montana in 1997. She received a Ph.D. from Oregon State University in 2002 where she researched the modeling of potential carbon storage in the Pacific Northwest, U.S.A. For the past five years, Erica has been a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the landscape and ecosystem ecology laboratory of Dr. Monica G. Turner. She is interested in understanding the variability of ecosystem responses to disturbance—from microbial to landscape scales. Her research has been focused both in Yellowstone National Park and interior Alaska where she has explored spatial and temporal patterns of post-fire nitrogen cycling through both field work and ecosystem models. Erica moves to State College this summer along with her husband Pearce and two children, Anna and Leighton. The Peter R. Gould Center for Geography Education and Outreach recently revised and published the Penn State Visitors’ Guide. The revision signifies the first update since 2004. The Visitor’s Guide is sold to various offices and departments across the University Park campus.

Gil Grosvenor Chairman, Board of Trustees, National Geographic Society; Chairman, National Geographic Society Education Foundation irst of all, I can’t possibly do Roger justice in a few words. It would be a stretch to do him justice in a book. Over the past two decades, Roger has been one of the most unwavering intellectual forces at keeping the essence of what geography is in the forefront.


When we wanted standards, we called on Roger. When we wanted geography to be a part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, we called Roger. When we made the case for a geography Advanced Placement course, once again, Roger was an irresistible voice for the importance of geography in a first-class education. At National Geographic he has been a steady, supportive, and helpful presence with all of our geographyrelated activities for more than nineteen years. This includes his annual treks to Washington every year to help with out National Geographic Bee. In 1995-1996 we talked him into temporarily relocating to D.C. to be our Geographer in Residence for the Geography Education Division. And, because of Roger, thirty-three Penn State geography students have participated in our Geography Intern Program—the most from any university in the country. Roger is a true and trusted colleague and confidante whom I am proud to also call a friend.


Joseph J. Boston (B.S. 1959) is currently coordinating habitat improvement projects on Spring Creek in Centre County in coordination with the Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. The chapter’s goal is to complete seven projects on Spring Creek over the next four years. The first project, at the Penn State sheep farm, is scheduled for August 2007. Spring Creek is a world-class wild brown trout fishery and is being challenged by growth in the watershed. Sedimentation—a by-product of stormwater, bank erosion, and construction events—is the very real enemy. The habitat projects are designed to fix both bank erosion and poor stream and riparian habitats.

Robert C. Ziegenfus (M.S. 1967), professor of geography at Kutztown University, recently received Kutztown’s highest academic award—the Wiesenberger Award for Excellence in Teaching.

John Ingram (B.A. 1971) owns and manages Ingram Real Estate Group, which specializes in commercial real estate valuation and consulting services. The focus of his work involves eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York City, but also extends to other parts of this country and with other countries. He is currently vice president of the Northeast Pennsylvania Chapter of the Appraisal Institute, and will be president of the chapter next year. John also belongs to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and has been in a few independent films. Most importantly, his son and daughter, both 21 (twins), graduated from Penn State with degrees in finance and journalism, respectively, during spring commencement exercises.

Ray Oman (M.S. 1971) is lead author of the paper, “The Federal Government Civil Service and How to Strengthen It.” Oman presented the paper at the session “Current Developments in Public Management Reform” at the National Conference of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) on March 26, 2007. Dr. Oman also represented the University of the District of Columbia at the March meeting of the D.C. Government Board of the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Group.

Joel Burcat (B.S. 1976), partner and chair of Saul Ewing LLP’s Environmental Department, was chosen for the 2007 Environmental, Mineral and Natural Resources Law Section’s Distinguished Service Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA). This annual award is given to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the development, improvement or furtherance of the profession of environmental law or outstanding contribution to the PBA’s section on Environmental, Mineral and Natural Resources Law. In 1998, under Joel’s guidance and direction, a committee of the section implemented a pilot pro bono program to provide legal services to financially underprivileged individuals in Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) appeals. The pilot program has been a great success and is expanding to include cases beyond the EHB. This is the highest award bestowed by the PBA Environmental Law Section.

Kevin E. McHugh’s (B.S. 1976) book Multiple Dwelling and Tourism: Negotiating Place, Home and Identity was published last summer.

It was coedited with Norman McIntyre and Daniel Williams and published through CAB International in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom.

Gene Ziegler (Ph.D. 1977) was pulled out of retirement to become director of Business Information Technology for Arizona State’s WP Carey School of Business. Gene manages a cadre of instructional designers, graphic artists, video crews, and web designers who support the Carey School’s Online MBA program. Meanwhile, his wife, Lynn Hand, is in her third course of the Penn State Certificate Program in GIS offered by the World Campus.

Jon Eich (M.S. 1992) secured one of two Democratic nominations for County Commissioner in Centre County. Jon received the most votes from Democrats in a four way race.

Brendan J. Wesdock (B.S. 1995) was recently named a senior associate at Gannett Fleming, an international planning, design, and construction management firm. Brendan serves as the director of military solutions with GeoDecisions, a division of Gannett Fleming, specializing in information technology (IT) and geographic information systems (GIS).

Jennifer Adams (M.S. 1996) and Craig Williams (current M.S. student) welcomed their daughter, Beatrix Evelyn, into the world on February 20, 2007. They live in Redlands, California, where Craig works for ESRI.

Graeme Burt (M.S. 1997) is living in Toronto, Canada, with his wife, Catherine, and daughter, Lyla, born in 2006. Graeme works as an associate and urban planner at a consulting firm called planningAlliance [pA].

Gareth John (M.S. 1997), assistant professor

Mark Monmonier (Ph.D. 1969), distinguished professor of geography at Syracuse University, received the Charles L. Hosler Alumni Scholar Medal at the 2007 Wilson Banquet in recognition of his exceptional accomplishments in the field of geography. Mark’s research interests include geographic information and society, the history of cartography in the twentieth century, map design, and environmental cartography. Mark’s ability to communicate this geographic scholarship to a lay public through his writing and teaching, his exemplary service to his science, as well as his numerous writings and presentations have earned the respect of his colleagues and geographic community at large.

at St. Cloud State University, has a paper forthcoming in Journal of Cultural Geography (2007, vol. 24, issue 2) entitled, “Yellowstone as ‘Landscape Idea’: Thomas Moran and the Pictorial Practices of Gilded-Age Western Exploration.” He is also working on a manuscript for the University of Arizona Press’s Society, Environment, and Place series. Gareth serves as editor for Past Place—newsletter of the AAG’s Historical Geography Specialty Group.

Summer/Fall 2007


Jennifer Langer Receives Alumni Achievement Award Jennifer Langer (B.S. 1997) received the Graduates of Earth and Mineral Sciences (GEMS) Alumni Achievement Award at the inaugural Geography Recognition Luncheon on May 9 (see photos on page 15). This award is presented by the EMS Alumni Society to recognize outstanding achievements by alumni of the college. Jennifer works as director for the Community & Government Relations division of AMERIGROUP New Jersey, Inc.—a private, not-for-profit that ensures health care access for low-income Americans. After completing her undergraduate degree in Geography, Jennifer obtained an M.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning and then joined the Teach for America Program, working in New Jersey’s inner-city schools. Two years later, she secured a position as senior research associate with the New Jersey Senate Democratic Office in Trenton. As democratic aide to the Senate Education Committee, she developed and analyzed education policy initiatives. Believing that one of the most important limitations facing children in poor communities is the lack of quality educational opportunities, Jennifer took a new position as executive director of the New Jersey Charter Public Schools Association, where she acted for three years as an advocate for, and representative of, the charter public schools of New Jersey. This experience sparked her belief that the biggest gap in the development of low income children is health. In her current position, Jennifer is working to bring affordable health care to low-income children in New Jersey. à

Ron Santini (CPGIS 1999) is working parttime (retired the remainder of the time) as the internal environmental consultant for Crescent Resources, LLC—a major real estate developer on the East Coast, located in Charlotte, North Carolina. As the internal environmental consultant, he provides environmental oversight and due diligence services to commercial, retail, multi-family, and singlefamily residential divisions. Jimmy Adegoke (Ph.D. 2000) was recently granted tenure and promoted to the rank of associate professor of geosciences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The promotion and tenure take effect September 1, 2007. Samuel Billioni (B.S. 2000) graduated with a master of science in Computer Information Systems degree from the University of Phoenix in June 2005. He then moved to Houston, Texas to take a new job and a change in locale. Additionally, he was elected the vice president of the Penn State Alumni Association Greater Houston Chapter, which is in its twentieth year of existence. Robin Shudak (M.S. 2000) and soon-to-be-husband Damian Catanza founded CatzEye Media, a production house in Alexandria, Virginia. CatzEye specializes in high-end video shooting and editing and video-to-web applications, such as podcasts. Their fist major client was the World Bank, who used CatzEye to create and


distribute documentaries of global AIDS work. CatzEye also works with D.C.-area realtors, architects, and party promoters, who use them to create video invitations and presentations. Robin hopes to begin work on documentaries about environmental issues like global warming and the Chesapeake Bay.

Jennifer Kluber Wolfram (M.S. 2000) and husband Jim Wolfram welcomed baby Adrienne Elizabeth into the world on November 5, 2006. Jennifer and her family reside in Flemington, New Jersey.

Hilary Anne Frost-Kumpf (Ph.D. 2001) graduated from the University of Iowa’s master’s program in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in International Studies. Hilary also spoke at the International Programs International Studies Graduation Reception on May 11, 2007.

Colin Polsky (M.S. 1998, Ph.D. 2001) with co-principal investigator R. Pontius received fifty-four months of funding for “Suburbanization, Water-Use, Nitrogen Cycling & Eutrophication in the 21st Century: Interactions, Feedbacks & Uncertainties in a Massachusetts Coastal Zone,” from the Coupled Natural and Human Systems program at the National Science Foundation. The Clark University project will work with Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole) and the University of New Hampshire to fund both undergraduate and graduate students through the HERO program for the coming 4+ years.

Heejun Chang (Ph.D. 2001) was promoted to associate professor with indefinite tenure at Portland State University. He also received the outstanding scientific research award from the Columbia-Willamette Chapter of Sigma Xi—The Scientific Research Society.

Martin J. Minter (CPGIS 2002) published an article in the ESRI User Magazine (http:// nile1of2.html). The information has been used for planning mosquito abatement measures in numerous health departments, including Maricopa County and the Arizona Department of Health Services. Husband and wife Doug (B.S. 2004) and Molly Rodriguez (B.S. 2004) stand at the geographical center of North America with the summer/

1938 in a digital environment. This will be useful for planning, environmental assessment/impact studies, etc. Cabarrus County is a fast-growing county in the Charlotte Metropolitan Area and is changing very quickly.

John Dooris (B.S. 2005) works as a geographer in the Centralized MAF/TIGER Update Operations Branch (CMTUOB) within the Geography Division of the U.S. Census Bureau. He works to update the Census Bureau Geography, working with local government entities to update road features, addresses, geographic entity boundaries, etc.

Stefan Gaston (B.S. 2005) graduated from the Editor’s correction: In the winter/spring 2007 newsletter, a photo mistakenly identified Sheryl Rhodes (B.S. 1985). Here is the correct image of Sheryl with her daughter on a trip to New Zealand.

University of California, Santa Barbara with an M.S. in Geography. To celebrate, Stefan will travel around the world, making stops in Europe, South Africa, Namibia, Mauritius, India, China, and Australia!

Helen Mills Poulos (M.S. 2002) had a baby girl,

Elizabeth Spencer (CPGIS 2005) married Scott

Molly Elizabeth, in March 2007. She also received her Ph.D. in forestry from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in May 2007 and will postdoc at Yale for the next year.

Rick Murphy (B.S. 2004) transferred from the GIS Department to the Transportation Operations Management Department for the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission in Philadelphia. He now works as a transportation data analyst.

Ted Cisine (CPGIS 2005) is leading a new project for Cabarrus County, North Carolina, where he and his team inventoried all aerial photography for the county. They found fourteen vintages ranging from 1938-1990 that only existed as a hard-copy (excluding three vintages of digital orthos). They recently hired a firm to take these aerial photos and scan/georeference them using their 2005 orthos and LIDAR data to make “quasi-orthophotos” out of them. When the project is completed, users will be able to look at the county all the way back to

If you have personal updates or address changes, please send them to alumni@geog. or contact Alumni Relations Coordinator Jodi Vender at 814-863-5730. Please note: to ensure that your information is up-to-date with the Penn State Alumni Association, please visit Not on the ALUMNI-GEOG-JOBS@LISTS.PSU. EDU or ALUMNI-GEOG@LISTS.PSU.EDU listservs? Send an e-mail to keep in touch.

Pierce in 2006 and recently moved back to Rome from New York, where she had been on secondment to the United Nations Development Programme. Also, she recently built a project for the World Food Programme to improve IT response in humanitarian emergencies.

Raya Guruswamy (B.S. 2005) graduated from Johns Hopkins University with an M.S. in Environmental Management and Policy. à Dave Fyfe (M.S. 2004), current Ph.D. student

Tim Frazier (M.S. 2005), current Ph.D. student

Roger has always been very supportive of the graduate student community. For the last several years, the graduate representatives have met with him to discuss graduate needs and concerns. Taking lessons learned from GEOG 500, the graduate representatives were usually well prepared to convince Roger of our case. However, after telling him what we were asking for, there was often no need for further discussion—most of the issues were addressed during our half-hour long meeting, and we had an answer to the others within days. Roger has always been a true friend of the graduate student community, demonstrating throughout his tenure a sincere concern for the welfare of graduate students. We would like to take this opportunity to formally thank you, Roger, for being such a friend.

Summer/Fall 2007 200


David Hodge Ph.D. 1975 President, Miami University (Ohio)


am delighted to have the opportunity to thank Roger for his incredible support over the years. Although as a first-year graduate student I barely knew Roger, he went out of his way to find me and convince me to stay in graduate school when I was thinking seriously of leaving. With that began a relationship that has provided both intellectual and personal support over all these years. For me, it meant that he was able to continue to serve as my dissertation advisor even though my area of interest had shifted from behavioral geography to political and urban geography. He provided critical feedback at every stage of my research and taught me a great deal about how to assess issues that range far beyond my expertise. In addition, Roger has always cared deeply about the personal growth and well-being of his students, friends, and colleagues. He has shared thoughtful and provocative feedback with me at major decision points in my life, as he has for many others, and modeled the role of a confident and supportive leader. In my experience, it takes great vision to move a highly successful unit forward by embracing new and necessary directions that might challenge, yet reinvigorate, that success. Thus, Roger leaves an enormous legacy for the department, for the field of geography, and, especially, for those of us fortunate enough to call him our mentor.

Summer/Fall 2007


It Was Roger’s Idea

By David DiBiase

David DiBiase, director of the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute, reflects on the success of the Master of GIS degree and the Certificate Program in GIS.

in spring 1997, Roger invited me to design and manage a new distance en years ago, the Department of Geography wasn’t education program in even thinking about distance education. None of us GIS. I could hardly paid much attention when, in his 1996 State of the imagine the impact that University address, President Spanier shared his vision of a opportunity would have new “World Campus” that would “change the shape of the land- on my career, and on the grant university in the 21st century.” Even I hardly noticed, department. despite the fact that the Deasy GeoGraphics Laboratory had carved out a marginal niche in animated and interactive At the time I was pretty multimedia applications for earth science education. As lab naïve about the process of planning and implementing an director and as an instructor, I remained preoccupied with academic program. All the program design decisions we made face-to-face undergraduate education. Fast-forward to 2007: in 1997-98 followed from one simple question: “What can we the number of adult students participating in our distance do to help adult learners advance their careers in one year of education programs, including the Master of GIS (MGIS) part-time online study, while they continue to work full-time?” degree and Certificate Program in GIS, now outnumbers by a The answer turned out to be a sequence of four instructor-led wide margin those who seek Geography degrees on campus. courses, each offered four times a year in compressed, tenweek terms. How did we get here?


“Roger kept the faith during the early years...

Whether by design or by good luck, Roger’s idea paid off. Since the program’s launch in 1999, annual enrollments have increased nearly ten-fold from 143 to over 1,300 in 2006-07. An outstanding team of course authors It was Roger’s idea. Roger, and his friend and Penn State and instructors, the World Campus’ marketing efforts, and Department of Geography alumnus James Meyer (M.S. 1977, buzz generated by more than 800 enthusiastic graduates Ph.D. 1985). Jim was then one of the people at Penn State all have strengthened the department’s financial position. Outreach who was responsible for identifying the best prospects Equally important, however, the World Campus programs for new online certificate and degree programs to be offered have strengthened the department’s reputation. The Special through the newWorld Campus. Jim was aware that the demand Achievement in GIS award conferred by ESRI in 2004 reflects for skillful and knowledgeable GIS practitioners was strong, the respect our distance education initiative has earned among and that the Department of Geography was well-regarded in GIS professionals. the field. The University had recently attracted a $1.3 million Roger deserves much of the credit for this achievement. grant from the He seized the opportunity decisively, while minimizing the Alfred P. Sloan department’s exposure to financial risk. He kept the faith Foundation to during the early years when the Certificate program, and help start up the the people associated with it, was vulnerable. He supported World Campus. efforts to welcome as colleagues the practitioner faculty upon Jim met with whom our World Campus programs depend. He challenged Roger, who us to build on our successes, inviting proposals to expand the seized upon the Certificate program to a full-fledged professional masters opportunity degree in 2004, and for a new Postbaccalaureate Certificate to attract Program in Geospatial Intelligence in 2006. As President investment in Spanier predicted, the World Campus has indeed changed the the department shape of the Department of Geography at the outset of the and the Deasy An early concept advertising the World Cam21st century. It’s no coincidence that it happened on Roger’s pus GIS programs Lab. Sometime watch. à

He challenged us to build on our successes.”


MGIS Graduates A record number of students—seven—completed the requirements for the Master of Geographic Information Systems (MGIS) degree during the spring semester. The 35-credit program includes courses in Geospatial System Analysis and Design, GIS Database Development, and more. The MGIS program is one of nine graduate degrees offered through Penn State’s World Campus. Congratulations to all!

Joseph Daigneau, Virginia Beach, Virginia Joseph is a geospatial director for Applied Services and Information Systems, LLC (ASIS). The GIS coursework throughout the program gave Joseph a solid foundation of how all aspects of GIS come together. Even though he had prior experience in particular GIS methods, the MGIS program educated him on alternative methods that were many times more efficient. He also learned about the nuts and bolts of web mapping. Vanessa Glynn-Linaris, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Vanessa is a geographic specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau. She enrolled in the CPGIS in 2003 after speaking with a park ranger conducting GIS research at Dinosaur National Monument. Vanessa was instantly intrigued with GIS and thought it might allow her to make a difference through her work and apply GIS to emergency management or environmental applications. Howard Hodder, Lancaster, Pennsylvania Howard is a GIS manager for Herbert, Rowland and Grubic, Inc.—an engineering and consulting firm. Howard recognized the great opportunities the MGIS program offers and immediately enrolled. The MGIS classes related to what he does on an everyday basis. He works with all aspects of GIS from marketing and sales, project management, project development, spatial analysis and field collection to implementation and client training. Sara Holm, Vermejo Park Ranch, New Mexico Sara works as a consulting GIS specialist. She develops wildland fire mapping programs to automatically plot locations and retrieve raster data values for wildland fires called in from state forestry spotter planes. This summer she will begin work as a volunteer for the New Mexico Forest and Watershed Health GIS task team to participate in a statewide effort to make watershed and forest health project data more accessible via the WWW. Kurt Reed, Marshfield, Wisconsin Kurt is an infectious disease pathologist and division director of Laboratory Medicine for Marshfield Clinic. He used his GIS knowledge right away in his job: he mapped the distribution of blastomycosis—a potentially fatal fungus infection acquired from the environment—throughout Wisconsin. He was recently appointed to the advisory board for the MGIS program. Mark Wagaman, Denver, Colorado Mark is an area geophysicist for CGGVeritas—an oilfield services company specializing in geophysical seismic services. The MGIS program provided much exposure to ESRI software and opportunity to grow in the GIS field. He had the opportunity to work extensively with LiDAR data, integrating it into geophysical operations for a variety of process improvements and operational pre-planning purposes. Not pictured: Patricia Laird, Houston Texas Summer/Fall 2007 11

Credit: Penn State Department of Public Information.

Graham Spanier President The Pennsylvania State University

oger Downs, is in my opinion, one of the great department heads in Penn State’s history. His unusually long tenure is topped by few University leaders. More important is what has been accomplished under his watch.


He has overseen the department’s elevation to the top-ranked position in the United States. The department is recognized one of the leading enterprises of its kind internationally. Roger has led the charge by hiring outstanding faculty, empowering colleagues, nurturing promising undergraduate and graduate students, and carefully allocating scarce resources. Equally important, Roger has been a mentor to other heads and a leader among leaders in the University. He has served on numerous University committees and panels, he has been a key participant in the development of the Schreyer Honors College, and he has a knack for fostering interdisciplinary possibilities. These attributes have been noticed worldwide and are reflected in his leadership with National Geographic, national funding panels, and positions of prominence within the discipline. Roger has been a good friend to me and so many others. I join with all of you in thanking him for his exemplary service.

Summer/Fall 2007


Sarah Bednarz

William Easterling Named Dean of EMS

Associate Professor of Geography Texas A&M University

Credit: Penn State Department of Public Information.

William Easterling, director of Penn State’s Institutes of Energy and the Environment and professor of geography and earth system science, has been appointed dean of the University’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, effective July 1.

ore than any other geographer, Roger Downs has shaped the field of contemporary geography education. I have worked with Roger on countless research and development projects since the late 1980s, including the development of the National Geography Standards for the U.S. Department of Education (1992-1994) and the Learning to Think Spatially volume for the National Research Council (20032006). In each instance I have admired his organizational and personal skills. Roger’s facility in managing large, politicallycharged projects is legendary. He carefully appraises the key stakeholders, devises a detailed work plan to meet multiple objectives and then, through example, not exhortation, coaxes the best possible output from all involved.


Dr. Easterling is taking over for Interim Dean Rob Crane who has held the position for the past year. When Dr. Easterling started his new role on July 1, Dr. Crane assumed the role of managing director for Alliance for Earth Sciences, Engineering and Development in Africa (AESEDA)—a research institute in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.

Through years of collaboration with Roger, I have grown and transitioned from a secondcareer Ph.D. student to a visiting assistant professor, assistant professor, associate professor, and now, professor. At each step I have benefited immensely from Roger’s willingness to share responsibilities, to coauthor articles, to invite me into projects—to generally mentor me in the very best sense of the word. He has made my career and life richer and provided me with invaluable advice, guidance, and the courage to persist. I am glad that Roger is only stepping down as department head, and not retiring! Geography education needs him and I look forward to future collaborations.

Since 2001, Dr. Easterling has served as director of the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment—an affiliation of eight Penn State academic colleges and several university research institutes and centers. In addition to his directorship and geography appointment, he also holds an affiliate faculty appointment in agronomy in the College of Agricultural Sciences. Donovan Powers

Thomas Boyer Isabaeau SilverRain

Howard Yamaguchi Sarah Merz

Eric Martin

Lois Mishler

Brock Fausett Sean Haile

Nathan Sylvester

Mark Elson Natalie Park Christina McLean

In his new role, Dr. Easterling hopes to strengthen the college’s “position as a world leader in the earth, material, and energy sciences and engineering. The college has unique strengths to train students and create the new knowledge needed to solve some the greatest challenges of our time, whether in the development of materials with unprecedented properties, desirable energy alternatives or the science for a secure, economical and sustainable planet. It is particularly important that the college be a leader in Penn State’s new emphasis on energy science and engineering.” à

Michael McAuley Saskia Cohick Lisa Kern Joanna Schneider Paul Levitsky James Lenner Lisa Angstadt Gerald Hovis Susan Pool Bruce Holt Scott Bird Thomas Zaebst

Christopher Goranson

William Schindler Paul Thompson Martha Tyzenhouse Matthew Zirkle Thomas Fox Kathryn Chaney

Belinda Damewood Jon Jones

Charles Boothe

Paul Schneider Mitchell Koyle

Holly Toland Nevin Gaudet Kelly Woodmansee Debra Batory

Dr. Easterling is an internationally recognized expert on how global warming may affect Earth’s food supply. He was a lead author of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on the effects of climate change that was recently released in Brussels.

Benjamin Shelton

Scott Oatley Becky Touchett David Johnson Charles Gerdes Bradley Kiep Jonathan Bodamer

Sterling Quinn Kristian Barrett

Compiled from Penn State Live

Sharin Garvey

Congratulations to the 53 students who completed the requirements for the Certificate in Geographic Information Systems during the first quarter of 2007. Not mapped: Matthew Boyter of Taiwan and Robert Krigelman of the Armed Forces.


ALUMNUS PROFILE: Benjamin Mutzabaugh


hen students return to campus on August 27 for the first day of classes, the Department of Geography will play host to a record number of first-year students entering the program. This is significant, considering that many of our students navigate a more circuitous academic route before ultimately deciding on geography as their major of choice. Some students start out in meteorology. Some start in engineering. For Benjamin Mutzabaugh (B.S. 1997), it was journalism. But after receiving a less-than-stellar grade in an introduction to journalism course, Benjamin promptly switched majors to geography—long a passion of his. After finding his way into geography, Benjamin graduated in 1997 and set off for the work-world. He had brief stints in three athletic department press offices: New York University, Emory University, and University of Illinois-Chicago. In 2000, Benjamin decided he wanted to get back into journalism: his sustained interest in journalism could not keep him away from writing and reporting. Luckily for him, a college sports editor position was available with He applied for the position and started working for the company shortly thereafter. The position required a move to Washington DC, his current town of residence, where he worked the college sports editor position until 2002. That year saw the opening of the ‘Today in the Sky’ position—his current role—due to a reorganization. ‘Today in the Sky’ (http:// is a daily blog which features news and analysis about the airline industry, airports, and air travel. Ben comments on frequent-flier miles, the transformation of airport spaces, airline management issues, the economic

vitality of the airline business, among many other, varied topics. I was able to ask Ben a few questions about writing in a blog-infused world, the presence of blogs, and how he applies his geography background to his work. Editor: Given that your method of reporting the news is through a blog, have your tactics in reporting changed from traditional print sources? Benjamin Mutzabaugh: Writing a blog is both drastically different and very similar to traditional newspaper reporting. Of course, since I write for a big mainstream media outlet, we are held to many of the same standards that we would be if I was writing something explicitly for the newspaper. So in that regard I have to make sure that I am accurate, that I attribute sources appropriately, and make sure that hearsay or rumors are not reported or insinuated as fact. But, my methods have definitely changed. In writing a story for a newspaper, I’m seeking out sources on my own. For the blog, of course, much of the story has already been written by other journalists. And that’s where I think the most interesting aspect of my job comes in. I get to take news—often from a variety of sources—and put it in perspective for my readers and help explain to them why it matters. Or, sometimes you get the same story reported differently by competing news outlets. It can be enjoyable to bring those stories to my readers and explain how or why two different takes on the same story came to be. In short, I think that helps us act as a “filter” for our readers who are looking to make sense of the news. I feel the best blog topics are ones where I can lay the foundation of a story by relying on “front-line” reports before augmenting (continued on next page)

he Department of Geography has achieved unprecedented growth during Roger’s watch, having expanded in a number of key strategic directions, with a substantial number of new faculty, with more students majoring in Geography and sampling our courses, and with a number of important forms of outreach to communities and the profession. Geography faculty continue to be among the most productive teacher-scholars in the University, and the department remains at the top in terms of quality nationally in its programs and people. Roger has helped to build bridges to other academic units, which has resulted in additional opportunities for Penn State geographers to interact in a wider intellectual milieu and a strengthening of our faculty’s abilities to attract extramural research support.


When my colleagues and I are looking for the most talented senior department heads to share information and wisdom with other academic administrators, Roger’s name is always one of the first to emerge. He has combined strong strategic leadership with effective day-to-day management skills that have greatly benefited the department. He has done so without seeking glory for himself, but rather for the faculty, staff, and students of the department. He was one of my most supportive faculty colleagues when I arrived 30 Executive Vice President and Provost years ago, and I continue to value his insights and advice today. Professor of Geography and Business Administration Roger, I hope you look back on the past thirteen years with a great sense of accomplishment, as you should. The Pennsylvania State University You have earned our respect and admiration for a job well done.

Rodney Erickson

Credit: Penn State Department of Public Information.

Summer/Fall 2007


those stories by talking to industry experts– or even the newsmakers themselves.

seeing the value of blogs as a way to deliver quick news to readers while allowing readers to understand and participate in the process. ED: Compared to a print newspaper where As with most change, I think it can a little letters to the editor are reviewed and unnerving to adjust to, but I think it’s good scrutinized before publication, how have for journalism. blogs changed the way readers interact with the news? Is the immediacy readers possess ED: How has your formal education in beneficial or detrimental to how you report geography helped your current career in the news? journalism?

Mary Lee Elden Director, Geography Competitions National Geographic Society oger Downs has been an integral part of the National Geographic Bee almost since the start-up of the academic competition for schools in 1989. He has served as a reviewer of the questions for every level of the Bee—school, state, and national. Roger meticulously reads each question and provides valuable feedback on the content, the clues, the appropriateness, and the level of difficulty. His expertise has helped to refine the questions over the years to make them more accurate, grade-appropriate, and geographically relevant.


Over the years, I have been fortunate to be in meetings on geography education with Roger and he is a wonderful role model for all. His total dedication to inspiring people to know more about our world and his collaborative manner in attempting to bring all into the process has furthered the cause of geography education tremendously. Finally, I want to say what an invaluable resource Roger has been and I hope, will continue to be for us. He is a delightful professional to work with and a treasured friend.


BM: I’ve found that my readers are some of my best allies in being accurate and thorough in my writing.They seem to be very educated on the topics they post comments to, often adding insight, ideas, or links to other sources that can flesh out a news story better than any single reporter could. The immediacy also allows readers to help advance a story with their own accounts or personal experience on a particular subject. I find that talking back with readers through comments gives a transparency that helps readers learn and trust our system from bringing them the news. The readers can be our best source of leads—either in alerting us to unreported stories or to stories reported elsewhere that would behoove us to follow up on.

BM: By understanding issues related to my degree—such as planning, urban economics, etc.—it’s easy for me to understand just how critical transportation issues are for towns, cities and regions. Covering the airline industry, it’s a great asset to be able to understand how air service fits in with the overall health and vibrancy of a city or region. For example, when I see certain issues—such as the long-term sustainability of air service to a small market—I think it gives me a leg up by not only understanding the airline’s issues, but also the concerns of the city or region seeking the service.

ED: Do you think blogs will become omnipresent in journalism? Have they already?

BM: Road-tripping to away football games and home basketball games back when Rec Hall was still being used. In geography, I really loved the opportunity to study a subject that I loved. Dr. Glasmeier’s classes were always among my favorites. à

BM: For better or for worse, I think most media—mainstream and otherwise—are

ED: What is a fond memory of being at Penn State?

Vanessa anessa Massaro, B.S. B.S 2007: “Dr. Downs was my undergraduate advisor for the past ast three years. Eve Even though he was also the department head, I always felt welcome elcome come and equally equal as important as anything else he might be working on. Anytime I ever asked him for anything as a student—recommendation letters, advice on graduate schools, or to read over a draft—he was happy to do it.”

Valerie Sebestyen, B.S. 1996 and current Ph.D. student: “Somehow, despite the time required to manage a prestigious academic department, Roger still found the time and energy to chair national committees to promote geographic education in schools across the United States, to act as a moderator and a judge at the state and national levels of the Geography Bee, and to cultivate tivate sound resear resea research habits in department graduate students, many of whom are bound to be tthe next generation of geography educators and researchers.” .”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Balmat Family Scholarship in Geography C. Gregory Knight Endowment in Geography ‘Coffee Hour to Go’ Endowment Department of Geography Enrichment Fund Erickson Fund in Geography E. Willard Miller Award in Geography G.D. Richardson Scholarship in Geography Geography Alumni Scholars Award Geography Student Scholarship Fund Glenda Laws Memorial Fund Jeff Gockley Memorial Award Peter R. Gould Memorial Fund Philadelphia Field Project Fund Robert P. and Rebecca P. Brooks Endowment for the Cooperative Wetlands Center Ronald F. Abler Award in Geography Ruby S. Miller Endowment for Geographic Excellence Supporting Women in Geography (S.W.I.G.) Fund We extend our deepest gratitude to all alumni and friends who have given financial support to the Department during the past six decades. Without these generous contributions, many scholarships, research experiences, and awards would not be available to our students and faculty. We especially wish to recognize those who contributed to the Department between January 1 and June 30, 2007:

Scholarships, Endowments, and Award Funds • Anonymous • Mrs. Tracy Aichele and Mr. Stephen Aichele • Dr. Cindy Brewer • Dr. Robert Brooks • Mr. C. Mark Cowell • Dr. Samuel Dennis • Mr. David DiBiase • Mr. Michael Di Eugenio • Dr. Roger Downs • Ms. Emily Dux • Dr. Rodney Erickson • Mrs. Kimberly Claypoole Farrell • Mrs. Susan Fulton Glass and Dr. Joseph Glass • Mr. Daniel Haug • Mr. Maury Hendler, Jr. • Mr. Terry Hess • Dr. David Hodge • Dr. David Kirtland • Mr. Jonathan Korus

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

LCD Robert Kraft Dr. Grady Meehan Mr. Scott McChesney Michael Baker Corp Mr. Brian Moran Ms. Carrie Muenks Mr. Benjamin Mutzabaugh Ms. So Hyun Park Mr. David Poltilove Mr. Scott Pezanowski Mr. Robert Pontzer Ms. Sheryl Rhodes and Mr. Rodney Rhodes Mr. Bret Rodgers Dr. Joel Sobel Mrs. Debra Sipe Mr. Erik Steiner Mr. Raymond Stolinas Mr. Daniel Urich Mr. Thomas Will Dr. Brent Yarnal

For information on the Department’s scholarships, endowments, and award funds, please consult http://, or contact Jodi Vender at (814) 863-5730 or If you would like to make a gift, please send checks, payable to Penn State, to: EMS Development Office, 116 Deike Building, University Park, PA 16802, and identify the fund to which you wish to contribute.

Inaugural Geography Recognition Lunch On May 5, the Department of Geography held its first Geography Recognition Lunch at the Nittany Lion Inn. Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends gathered for lunch and fellowship and to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of our geographic community. In addition to honoring achievements, all those in attendance honored Roger Downs’s hard work, dedication, and leadership as head of the department over the last thirteen years. A lithograph of central park by Harold Altman was presented to Roger at the conclusion of the lunch. The department plans to hold a similar recognition event at the end of the spring semester next year.à Clockwise, left to right: Andrew Carleton and Petra Tschakert enjoy their lunch; Balmat Family Scholarship in Geography donor Bruce Balmat with undergraduate recipients Sandra Yeboa and Joseph Sosik; Alex Klippel, Frank Hardisty, Alan MacEachren, Doug Miller, Alan Taylor, and Rob Brooks socialize over lunch; graduate students Dave Fyfe, Tim Frazier, Wesley Stroh, and Darrell Fuhriman pay homage to Roger Downs with cheeky t-shirts.

Jeremy Crampton M.S. 1987, Ph.D. 1994 Associate Professor of Geography Georgia State University was always very proud of the fact that I was Roger’s student from the get-go. Roger had this reputation of being able to supervise students who either didn’t fit or who didn’t get along with their advisor—a kind of advisor-of-last-resort for confused graduate students. But I had applied to Penn State because he was there, and I wanted to study cognitive mapping. Thus, I was pre-confused before even arriving at Penn State! Actually, he wrote me a nice letter during my application taking my graduate school plans seriously, and it was this sense of the person behind the name that helped me decide on Penn State despite offers from other departments.


I, along with the entering class of 1984, really felt we were at the center of an intellectual network. Roger was a big part of that. His exquisite attention to writing was very gratifying, even if things did come back with a lot of red on them (I use his “uh?” when grading my own students’ work to this day). One semester I got to TA for human geography, taking notes the whole semester through. I still have those notes, and a decade and a half ago when I was beginning my own career, I plundered them mercilessly. Thanks, Roger!

Fall 2007 Calendar

Jennifer Langer B.S. 1997 ecause it imposed order and mystery simultaneously, Geography 20H with Dr. Downs was earth-shaking. We would consider the world as geographers do: climate interfacing with culture, physical terrain with political turf, policy with people. That approach provided an order to things that settled my soul—and then unsettled it with the larger questions at hand. Dr. Downs wanted us to try to make sense of those questions (for which there were generally no answers at Pattee, only clues—you can trust me, I checked) and furthermore, it wasn’t just what you said but how you expressed it.


To each assignment we submitted, we were offered a reflective and substantial response—typed painstakingly, I would later learn, with two fingers. I will never forget those letters. Where I had taken a risk, Dr. Downs applauded the effort; where I had cut a corner, he lamented the missed opportunity. What more important lesson could I have carried from that classroom? Possibly this one: As autumn arrived in State College, Dr. Downs asked us to dream up our final projects, some interest of our own considered from the geographer’s point of view. With that wicked smile, he offered his single instruction for the projects and, I would gather, for our lives—that they must be “neither linear nor boring.” My life, personally and professionally, would require the lessons of that classroom— a critical eye, thoughtful reflection, intellectual courage, a sense of connectedness, and candid friends. What luck to count Roger among them.

TOTEMS (Total Orientation to Earth and Mineral Sciences).................................. ...................August 21-24 Graduate Student Orientation.................. ...................August 21-24 Undergraduate Program Meeting............. ........................August 26 Fall Classes Begin.................................. ........................August 27 GEMS Tailgate (vs. Buffalo)..................... ...................September 15 Fall Career Days.................................... .............September 17-21 Parents and Families Weekend................ .............September 28-30 Middle States AAG Meeting (Reading, PA)....................................... ..............November 16-17 Homecoming (vs. Wisconsin)................... .......................October 13 PA Geographical Society Annual Meeting (Johnstown, PA).................................... ..................November 2-3 Classes End........................................... ....................December 14 Commencement.................................... ....................December 16

This publication is available in alternative media on request. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce. U.Ed.: EMS 08-03


Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you