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Week of April 16th, 2018 - Earth Week!

Please send any news, announcements, and citations to by noon on Monday for publication in the same week’s issue.


Thursday, April 19th, 2:00 p.m.
Room 2049 NHB
Jue Wang, Geography & GIS PhD student
Spatiotemporally profiling environmental context and assessing exposures in environmental health studies
Inconsistent findings of the effects of environmental exposures on health behaviors/outcomes suggest that the reliability of existing studies may be affected by the uncertain geographic context problem (UGCoP). This study tries to spatiotemporally profile the environmental context and assess exposures in environmental health research while mitigating the UGCoP.

Thursday, April 19th, 4:00 p.m.
Rowe Auditorium, Law Building
Harvey Weiss, Yale University
Collapse! What Collapse? Societal Adaptations to Climate Change Before Global Warming
The fundamental investigation into and exploration of societies’ responses to global warming resides within paleoclimatology and archaeology. How was sustainable resilience accomplished in the past? Pre-industrial climates and climate changes were not anthropogenic, but exclusively natural. Their abruptness, magnitude, and duration, however, varied considerably and regionally, and often exceeded the extremes projected for present climate change. Hence the history of societal adaptations to pre-industrial climate change is the necessary guide to adaptive creativity, receptivity, and effectiveness. That history can be qualified and quantified: how have societies adapted in the past and with what “success”?

Friday, April 20th, 3:00 p.m.
Room 2049 NHB
Stephan Hochleithner, University of Zurich
A Question of Access: Nature Conservation, Displacement, and Social Transformation at the Virunga National Park, DRC
The Virunga National Park (VNP), located in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is advertised as key to bringing peace to the region, which has been afflicted by armed conflicts for at least the past 30 years. The park’s management and donors argue that the VNP brings about economic development and stability, and helps to counter climate change, tying in with the global narrative of nature conservation. An increasing number of studies, however, also point at the VNP’s downsides, such as dispossessive enclosures, disempowerment of peasants, and contributions to causes of ongoing armed conflicts. Drawing on qualitative fieldwork in the region, this talk examines the role of the VNP in local migration patterns with special regard to the many internally displaced persons. It argues that the VNP contributes to increased social and environmental differentiation and contributes to local conflict dynamics by restricting local communities' access to resources.


Professor Emeritus Tom Bassett has received the AAG Cultural and Political Ecology specialty group's 2018 Robert McC. Netting Award, which recognizes distinguished research and professional activities that bridge geography and anthropology. Bassett will present the Mc.C Netting Plenary Lecture at next year's AAG Annual Meeting. Professor Trevor Birkenholtz received the 2017 McC. Netting Award, and accepted the 2018 award on Tom's behalf after presenting "The (Re)Feminization of Agrarian Labor: Women, Water and Efficiency in North India."

Professor Jim Best was presented with the Jean Baptiste Lamarck Medal by the European Geosciences Union, at the EGU annual meeting last week in Vienna. The Lamarck Medal is awarded to scientists for their exceptional contributions to stratigraphy, sedimentology or palaeontology. Specifically, Jim was recognized for "major contributions to our understanding of physical sedimentary processes and their products in the geological record."

Graduate Students
Yoo Min Park, Dr. Mei-Po Kwan, and Jue Wang at AAG 2018 

PhD student Yoo Min Park (advisor: Mei-Po Kwan) was invited to the University of Leeds (UK) next week, where she will present “Moving Beyond Residential Neighborhoods: A Fine-Scale Spatiotemporal Approach to Examining Racial Disparities in Exposure to Air Pollution.”

PhD candidate Pronoy Rai (advisor: Trevor Birkenholtz) has received the Spring 2018 University of Illinois President’s Research in Diversity Travel Award.

Phd student Jue Wang (advisor: Mei-Po Kwan) took second prize in the AAG 2018 Geographic Information Science and Systems Student Paper Competition, with his paper "An innovative context-based crystal-growth activity space method for environmental exposure assessment based on GPS tracking and GIS." Jue has also been awarded the 2018 AAG Applied Geography Specialty Group Student Research Fellowship, and a 2018 Graduate College Conference Travel Award.

PhD student Dandong Yin (advisor: Shaowen Wang) won first prize for his paper "A novel network partition algorithm for scalable agent-based modeling of mass evacuation,” in the AAG 2018 Robert Raskin Student Competition, presented by the AAG CyberInfrsatructure Specialty Group (CISG).

Professional Science Master's (PSM) in GIS students Nattapon Jaroenchai and Nurlan Khamzin earned honorable mentions for both the Arthur Robinson Award for Best Printed Map, and the David Woodward Award for Best Digital Map, in the Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS) Map Design Competition. Nattapon and Nurlan completed these maps for Dr. Shakil Kashem's GEOG 473 - Digital Cartography and Map Design course last semester.

 Andrew Stencel and Keith Searles

GGIS major and Leadership Studies minor Andrew Stencel has received the inaugural Yvette B. Hernandez Scholarship. This annual scholarhip was established by Keith Searles (BS, CEE, '96), founder and CEO of UrbanGIS in Chicago, to recognize students from the School of Earth, Society, and Environment who demonstrates extensive GIS skills and excellent leadership qualities.

Visiting Scholar

Chong Li is a visiting scholar with the CyberGIS Center, researching cloud computing, collaboration computing, software architecture, big data, and CyberGIS. He will be visiting through September 2018, with a desk in Room 2027 NHB.


Wang, J.; Kwan, M.-P.; Chai, Y. 2018. An Innovative Context-Based Crystal-Growth Activity Space Method for Environmental Exposure Assessment: A Study Using GIS and GPS Trajectory Data Collected in ChicagoInt. J. Environ. Res. Public Health15, 703.

Wang, J.; Lee, K.; Kwan, M.-P. 2018. Environmental Influences on Leisure-Time Physical Inactivity in the U.S.: An Exploration of Spatial Non-StationarityISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf.7, 143.

April 2018 is Illinois Earth Month