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2020 Innovation in GIScience Education Award

Last year, UCGIS introduced a new biennial award for Innovation in GIScience Education. This month, the 2020 recipient was finally announced. In recognition of efforts far and beyond expectations, during massive disruptions at our universities in the first few months of this year, the UCGIS awards the 2020 GIScience Education award to the entire global GIScience Education community. For every person who jumped into online teaching and learning, and did all they could to just make it work and support their students, the citation says it all: 

For meritorious service in developing innovative learning techniques to advance GIScience education and promote equity and inclusiveness under trying circumstances and extreme risk of mortal illness.

Mentoring Award for UIUC's Sara McLafferty

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Sara McLafferty, Professor in the Department of Geography and GIScience at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), has been selected for the 2020 Carolyn Merry Mentoring Award.  Dr. McLafferty has served as both the Department Head and Associate Head during her 20-year tenure at UIUC, as well as Professor and Department Chairperson at her prior institution, Hunter College.  A geographer by training, she applies GIScience approaches and concepts to the field of environmental and public health, along with other topics in the social sciences, through her use of GIS tools, spatial analysis, and computer models. In all of these areas, her students and peers reference her dedication to collaborative work and her promotion of their own scholarship. The positive reactions to her mentoring style and practices span her career as well as those of her peers and students, at all levels. She has been commended for her patience, her compassion, and her dedication to students from diverse backgrounds and minorities.

“She made me feel completely comfortable when communicating her critique to me as she is so modest, personable and respectful. Based on my observations, she is always passionate about mentoring and firmly committed to empowering others to pursue their research and education goals.”

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Helena Mitasova Selected for 2020 Research Award

UCGIS is pleased to announce that Dr. Helena Mitasova, Professor in the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and Associate Director for Geovisualization at the Center for Geospatial Analytics, at North Carolina State University (NCSU), has been selected to receive its 2020 Research Award.  Dr. Mitasova’s groundbreaking work in the methodological and theoretical developments of open source geospatial software are key to ongoing GIScience activity. With her specific expertise in both geomorphology and open source GIS, she has made fundamental and innovative contributions to 3-dimensional and spatio-temporal dynamics, such as development of open source software modules for spatial interpolation, topographic analysis, water flow simulations, and erosion modeling. For these, the International Environmental Modeling and Software Society awarded her their prestigious Biennial Medal for outstanding contributions to environmental modeling and software (2006). Her co-authored book, Open Source GIS: A GRASS GIS Approach (3rd ed., 2008), is one of the most widely cited monographs in the GIScience discipline. Other co-authored books include Tangible Modeling with Open Source GIS (2nd ed., 2018), and GIS-based Analysis of Coastal Lidar Time-Series (2014).  

Dr. Mitasova played a critical role in establishing the first Open Source Geospatial Research and Education Lab in the United States (NCSU OSGeoREL, now the NCSU GeoForAll Lab), which subsequently became a primary node the OSGeo global network of GeoForAll labs. Her long-term contributions to open source geospatial software development and applications have also been recognized by an Excellence in Development award from the Open Geographic Information Systems Foundation (1994), the Sol Katz Award for Geospatial Free and Open Source Software from OSGeo (2010), and the Waldo Tobler GIScience Prize for outstanding and sustained contributions to the discipline, Austrian Academy of Sciences (2018).

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Research Award for 2019 Goes to Keith Clarke

UCGIS is pleased to announce that Dr. Keith Clarke, Distinguished Professor of Geography at the University of California Santa Barbara, has been selected for the 2019 UCGIS Research Award. Trained as a geographer, Professor Clarke has made remarkable contributions to the fields of Cartography and Geographic Information Science throughout his lengthy and outstanding research and teaching career.

This award recognizes Professor Clarke’s significant contribution to GIS through the Land Use/Land Cover change model, SLEUTH.  SLEUTH, a cellular automaton model coded in the C programming language, was first written by Dr. Clarke in the 1990s while an ASCE summer fellow at the NASA-Ames Research Center.  Since then he has received funded support to expand, refine, and improve the model’s computational capacity and stability. The impact of SLEUTH can best be understood through examining the many applications and publications supported by the model. Published research on and with SLEUTH has been robust and prodigious, nationally and internationally, reflected in the many hundreds of citations and applications in which it is referenced. Furthermore, Professor Clarke has been providing unreserved support to make SLEUTH available to as many scholars as possible. In addition to making the source code of SLEUTH openly available, he has maintained a model discussion forum for many years and has provided help to many new applications of SLEUTH through supporting graduate students’ thesis and dissertation research. Professor Clarke’s influence and contribution to GIS research has been highly significant through the creation, upgrading, and dissemination of the SLEUTH model.

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2019 Education Award to John Wilson

UCGIS is pleased to announce that Dr. John P. Wilson, of the University of Southern California (USC), has been selected for its 2019 Education Award.  Dr. Wilson is Professor of Sociology and Spatial Sciences in USC’s Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, where he directs the Spatial Sciences Institute as well as the Wilson Map Lab. He also holds courtesy appointments as Professor in the School of Architecture, in the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Department of Preventive Medicine, and in the Viterbi School of Engineering’s Departments of Computer Science and Civil & Environmental Engineering.

The diversity of Dr. Wilson’s affiliations reflects the vital educational roles he has played at USC over the last several decades, where just since 2012 he has designed and established 15 new joint programs, degrees, and certificates through partnerships across campus. His promotion of the spatial sciences as an enabling educational platform is his own prime directive, and he is strongly dedicated to the nurturing and success of the programs with which he has been involved. Internationally, this includes the UNIGIS International Network, a worldwide consortium of universities focused on online geographic information science academic programs.

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Guido Cervone Selected for 2019 Mentoring Award

UCGIS is pleased to announce that Dr. Guido Cervone, of the Department of Geography, Meteorology, and Atmospheric Science at the Pennsylvania State University, has been selected for the 2019 Carolyn Merry Mentoring Award.  Dr. Cervone, a computer scientist by training, applies his expertise to the fields of remote sensing and hazards while also serving as Associate Director for the Institute for CyberScience and Director of the Geoinformatics and Earth Observation Lab. His guidance is highly valued and appreciated by his former and current graduate students, undergraduate students, and post-docs alike, many of who are women or other under-represented minorities within the geospatial sciences. They cite his steady support throughout their academic and professional careers as they build confidence and gain credibility, guiding them through the complexity of seeking and managing external research funding, and inspiring them to pursue excellence in research while not compromising on goals in all aspects of their lives.

“Dr. Cervone believes his students can do it and then they do. His students grow at a rapid pace because of his encouragement, belief in them, and his role as their leader and teammate.”

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Calls for Nominations: 2018 Awards

UCGIS invites its membership community to nominate individuals for our Research Award, our Education Award, and our Carolyn Merry Mentoring Award. In each case, the respective review committees will be singling out from among the nominees those individuals who have demonstrated excellence in these different areas. While nominations themselves can only be made by someone affiliated with a UCGIS member institution, the awardees themselves can be from anywhere within the worldwide geospatial community.

The deadline to submit nominations for all three competitions is Thursday February 1, 2018, and awardees will be recognized at our May 2018 Symposium in Madison, Wisconsin. We will be meeting jointly with CaGIS’s 2018 AutoCarto at that time.

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