Elizabeth "Beth" King

Beth King PSUUCGIS is pleased to announce that Elizabeth “Beth” King, Associate Teaching Professor and Assistant Program Manager of the Online Geospatial Education Program at the Pennsylvania State University, has been selected for the 2021 Carolyn Merry Mentoring Award.  Beth has been affiliated with the Department of Geography and the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute at Penn State since 2000 in both teaching and management roles. Over the past 20 years, she has demonstrated exceptional mentoring abilities and practices for the almost 4000 students who have earned the GIS Certificate and Master of GIS degrees through Penn State’s World Campus.  Beth is a master at building rapport both in person and online, and her accolades are spoken both by students and her fellow colleagues.


“Beth has been an excellent mentor to me during my time at Penn State as a graduate student, a grading assistant, and a participant in the study abroad program in Global Data Analytics offered in the Netherlands. In each of these roles, she positively influenced me to grow as a GIS leader. … She took time to tell stories, offer thoughtful feedback on the goals of the students in class, and really helped develop a sense of community across the entire cohort- lessons I didn’t realize I was learning, but would later continue to serve me in future roles as a leader in my career and community engagement efforts.”

“The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the impact Beth King has had on my journey through the MGIS program is her infectious smile and positive attitude. She always made me feel comfortable and encouraged me to continue to work hard. I remember many conversations where I would be unsure or nervous about what I wanted to do in the program and every time I talked to Beth, I walked away feeling relaxed, confident, and excited to do the next course or assignment. Beth's personality is inspiring, and I am so happy that I was able to have her guidance and mentorship throughout my time at Penn State.”

“It was in this role working for Beth that I first became interested in lesson planning and teaching GIS skills; she made teaching GIS, which I’d never considered before, something I now consider a personal/professional development goal. As a result, I’ve gone on to mentor students in high school and college on GIS tools and analysis.”

“Her warm and charming manner allows her to be a great ambassador for the MGIS program. Every MGIS student knows Beth and she knows every student. Such an integral relationship provides each student a sense of comfort; they know Beth is a friendly face they can reach out to and get a response to their questions quickly and accurately.”

“Beth was one of my first GIS instructors, and was both supportive and (seemingly) easy-going. When I elected to enroll in the MGIS program, we scheduled a get-acquainted call in her role as my academic advisor, which I assumed would be brief and superficial. Suddenly the easy-going demeanor disappeared, and after 45 minutes the entirety of my masters program had been planned down to the course. Rather than the two or more years I envisioned, I graduated 18 months later--which never would have happened but for that initial call with Beth and her continued support.”

“On a personal note, Beth loves doing her job. She truly enjoys being engaged with each student and helping them to have the greatest online learning experience possible. She tirelessly attends to their needs and is quick to intervene when problems arise. She has made a difference in the thousands of students that she interacts with creating a positive experience.”

UCGIS will honor Beth King and other award recipients during its online Symposium in June 2021. 

The Carolyn Merry Mentoring Award was established by UCGIS in 2015 to recognize an individual who demonstrates exceptional mentoring abilities and practices. Professor Carolyn Merry embodied the spirit of a mentor by sharing her wisdom and experience with colleagues, particularly junior scholars, as a scientist, educator, and academic leader. Professor emerita of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering at The Ohio State University, Dr. Merry was known for her scholarship and leadership in remote sensing and geographic information science. The goal of the Carolyn Merry Mentoring Award is to recognize the commitment she demonstrated to mentoring and the investment of others who share this philosophy.