Graduate student research

Thomas Brown (MA student)

neutral person image Visualizing the Impacts of Extreme Weather Events using 3D Modeling to aid pre-event risk communication

(Advisor Dr Harris)

My research focuses on creating visual information products that ingest expert information and provide tangible visual representations through 3D modeling. The current case-study in question involves visualizing the impacts of hurricane categories on communities so that experts and the general public can communicate more efficiently about risks to life and property.

Jing Chen (PhD student)

JingChen Economic clusters

(Advisor Dr Jackson)

Kristen de Graauw (PhD student)

Kristen Tree Rings Pre-settlement Forest Dynamics of the Central Appalachian Hardwood Forest

(Advisor Dr Hessl)

Central Appalachian forests have changed over the last several centuries due to human activities and changing climate. Annually resolved tree-ring records of change prior to European settlement are limited because many old growth forests were logged in the 20th century; however, pioneer-era log structures still stand on the landscape and hold valuable tree-ring records of climate and ecology for this region. For my dissertation I am using these records to reconstruct forest composition and dynamics, tree growth, precipitation, and streamflow to compare modern forests with pre-settlement forests and determine how forests of the Central Appalachian region have responded to changing environmental conditions over the last four hundred years.

Christabel Devadoss (PhD student)

JingChen The Indian Tamil diaspora: a multi-method analysis of identity through sound and scale

(Advisor Dr Culcasi)

Broadly, my research interests include diasporas, identity politics, and soundscapes. More specifically, I am interested in the Indian diaspora in the US and the influence of sound and scale on identity

Jessica DeWitt (PhD student)

Jessica DeWitt Evaluating changes in mining landscapes using remote sensing and GIS
(Advisor Dr Warner)Resource extraction is one of the most substantial anthropogenic influences on the physical landscape. While changes in elevation and land cover are widely apparent and quantifiable in large-scale surface mining operations (such as West Virginia coal mining), such changes are more difficult to capture in small-scale artisanal mining regions (such as diamond mining in West Africa). Despite the apparent difference in scale, changes caused by artisanal mining have a substantial impact on the landscape that can be captured by remote sensing and GIS methods, and these changes plays a significant role in the economic and political situation of many West African developing

Alex Dye (PhD student)

neutral person image Stand-level drivers of woody primary productivity

(Advisor Dr Hessl)

Aaron Ferrari (MA student)

neutral person image Exploring the Geosensory in Geography: Examining Olfaction and Geo-virtual Immersion as Contributors to a Sense of Place and Embodiment

(Advisor Dr Harris)

I am looking at how smells can be incorporated into immersive environments to enhance one’s understanding of place through scent-memory linkages.

Sarah Field (MA student)

neutral person image Nature’s refrigerators: Exploration of Cold Air Trap Processes and Climate Change in the Eastern US.
(Advisor Dr Kite)Cold air traps or algific talus slopes and ice caves are areas on the landscape that are on average 7-10 degrees (F) cooler than ambient air temperature. With global temperatures on the rise these cold air traps can serve as a proxy record for the detection of warming. I am using historical documents and interviews with cavers to piece together if ice, that once lasted till August in the 1800’s, is now melting earlier in the summer

Yaqian He (PhD student)

Yaqian The roles of human-induced land use and land cover change on summer rainfall over China
(Advisor Dr Lee)My research interests include remote sensing, geostatistics, and climatology. Now, I am focusing on examining how human induced land cover land use change influence local and regional climate (e.g. monsoon in West Africa and East Asia)

Deborah Kirk (PhD student)

Kirk_Deborah_2015_300x300resize The Trail of Tears as Place: the experience of the Cherokee Nation and forced removal

(Advisor Dr Harris)

Through my research, I bring clarity and understanding to the place known as the Trail of Tears: a place filled with temporal significance, topographical difficulties and obstacles, and human emotion and attachments. A place that may be better understood by immersing oneself in a virtual historical setting created through the perspective of one whose ancestors walked the Trail of Tears in 1838 and 1839. Assisted by Cherokee living memory and oral history, scholarly research, the historical archive, and geospatial/geovirtual technologies, I am reconstructing, reinterpreting, and recreating portions of The Trail as experienced by the Cherokee during the forced removal from their homelands.

David Knieter (PhD student)

neutral person image Hunting for Conservation: Perceptions, Paradoxes, and Power in post Apartheid South Africa

(Advisor Dr McCusker)

Kevin Kuhn (MA student)

neutral person image Parcel Ownership

(Advisor Dr McCusker)

WV Parcel valuation, ownership and the relation to severed mineral rights.

Frank LaFone (PhD student)

Immersion and Place

(Advisor Dr Harris)

Space, Place and Immersion

Joshua Lohnes (PhD student)

Lohnes Headshot Governing Hunger: The Political Economy of Emergency Food Provisioning in WV

(Advisor Dr Wilson)

My work lies at the intersection of bio-politics, humanitarianism, political economy, and alternative futures. I explore the multi-scalar institutions governing emergency food distributions, how they articulate with structural changes within the wider food system and diverse community responses to these changes. My research is informed by ethnographic and participatory action research with food assistance networks and alternative food initiatives in West Virginia.

Barbara MacLennan (PhD student)

maclennan_v2 Putting Policy in Its Place: Policy Enactment and Engagement through a Multiscalar Policyshed Framework

(Advisor Dr Harris)

The goal of my work is to examine the spatial nature of public policy and to explore ways in which complex spaces surrounding public policy implementation and evaluation can be identified and understood through the use of spatial concepts and multiscalar methodological applications embedded within GIS and geovisualization representations. My case study is solid waste because waste interlocks with almost every facet of policy and everyday life, yet its spatial, complex, multi-scalar, and transboundary nature are often overlooked.

Amanda Marple (MA student)

marple Democratizing University Foodscapes?  Student Food Cooperatives and the Neoliberal University

(Advisor Dr Wilson)

My work examines the development, motivation, and resistance of student food cooperatives within the context of the “Corporate University”. I’m particularly interested in uncovering development challenges student co-ops face directly related to neoliberal polices implemented by university administration, and how the allotment of university sanctioned spaces dictates cooperative participation, engagement, and services.

Park Muhonda (PhD student)

Photo on 10-19-14 at 2.44 PM Adaptation to climate change

(Advisor Dr McCusker)

Livelihood adaptation to climate change and variability, Malawi.

Matt Purtill (PhD student)

neutral person image Geoarchaeology, Pedology, Geomorphology

(Advisor Dr Kite)

I’m interested in applying Earth science approaches to archaeological problems at multiple scales.

Christopher Ramezan (PhD student)

neutral person image Object-oriented image classification

(Advisor Dr Warner)

I examine how object-oriented image analysis or GEOBIA methods can be used to analyze remotely sensed data. My research area is focused on how image segmentation algorithms and rule-based classification systems can be generalized to classify remotely sensed data across a variety of locations and environments.

Mary Ryan (MA student)

neutral person image Food insecurity, food sovereignty, and gardening in WV

(Advisor Dr Wilson)

Jim Schindling (PhD student)

JimSchindling Challenging Historical GIS through Unstructured Primary Source Materials

(Advisor Dr Harris)

My research investigates the application of sixteenth-century primary source texts along with nineteenth-century maps to construct an Historical GIS for St. Vincent, Italy. The goal is to assess the ability of Historical GIS to handle highly unstructured source materials

Johtiganesh Shanmugasundaram (PhD student)

Jothi Understanding the intra-seasonal variability of North-East Indian monsoon rainfall and its driving land, ocean, and atmospheric conditions

(Advisor Dr Lee)

My research focuses on examining the land, ocean and atmospheric conditions that drives the the intra-seasonal rainfall variability during the North East Indian monsoon season over Southern India.

Pragya Srivastava (PhD student)

Pragya 3D Modeling and Immersive Visualization of Subsurface Geology and Infrastructure

(Advisor Dr Harris)

 Ruth Stetler (MA student)

neutral person image Fire History in Eastern Hardwood Forests

(Advisor Dr Hessl)

Mark Swift (MA student)

Version 2 Fluvial knickpoints in Tributaries of the Monongahela River

(Advisor Dr Kite)

It is hypothesized that terraces on the Monongahela River migrate into its tributaries and appear as knickpoints and knickzones. This research will attempt to correlate terraces with zones in order to create a chronology for erosion/incision in the region.

Josh Wixom (PhD student)

neutral person image Science Communication

(Advisor Dr McCusker)

Science Communication, Science Literacy, and Citizen Science
My research has three broad themes focused on understanding how scientific information is produced, disseminated, and understood. In particular, I am interested in climate science. I examine the production of knowledge and the role citizen science program play in both generated information and educating the public. I seek to better understand how media narrative portray topics such as climate change and how these narrative inform people’s opinions. I also study how the capitalist mode of production shapes knowledge production, narratives on complex issues, and the continued development of science in general. Finally, I seek to uncover how all of these elements interact to influence scientific literacy within the U.S.

Jennie Zhu (MA student)

neutral person image 2600 Years of Explosive Volcanic Eruptions and Climate of Inner Asia Using Tree-Ring Data

(Advisor Dr Hessl)

Tree rings, volcanic eruptions, and climate of Inner Asia for the past 2600 years.