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Campus news: Geoscientists publish research; GIS graduate promoted; groups attend international event at ballpark

Here is a list of recent news from the WKU campus:

Geography & Geology: WKU geoscientists publish research and viewpoints

Faculty and students in WKU’s Department of Geography and Geology have been busy during the Spring 2013 semester preparing, revising, and publishing manuscripts in national and international journals that report on several research initiatives. In addition, faculty continue to contribute to ongoing discussions about pedagogy and research strategies via opinion pieces and viewpoints.

  • Dr. Rezaul Mahmood, Professor of Geography (Climate Science) and Associate Director of the Kentucky Climate Center and Kentucky Mesonet, has had a groundbreaking paper accepted for publication in the prestigious and widely cited International Journal of Climatology titled “Land cover changes and their biogeophysical effects on climate.” The paper is co-authored with 18 other colleagues and is the product of a 2007 NSF-funded workshop in Boulder, Colo., that focused on key climate processes. Dr. Mahmood is the lead author. In addition, Dr. Mahmood and Dr. Stuart Foster, Professor of Geography and Director of the Kentucky Climate Center and Kentucky Mesonet, along with undergraduate alumnus Travis Keeling and another colleague, published “Did irrigation impact 20th century temperature in the High Plains aquifer region” in the international journal Applied Geography.
  • Dr. John All, Associate Professor of Geography, published “Following in the Footsteps of Legends while studying Climate Change on Mt. Everest” in the American Geographical Society’s Spring issue of FOCUS on Geography.  This article reports on his summiting of Everest in 2010 and on associated climate change issues in the Himalayas.
  • Dr. David Keeling, University Distinguished Professor of Geography and head of the Department of Geography and Geology, published a Viewpoint article on Latin America’s transportation challenges in the May issue of the Journal of Transport Geography, for which he serves as the Editor for the Americas. He also published “A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words: Changing Accessibility in Mendoza, Argentina” in the Spring issue of FOCUS on Geography, which examined a new light-rail network under development in the southern portion of the city.
  • Dr. Andrew Wulff, Associate Professor of Geology, and Dr. Michael May, Professor of Geology, published “Intentional Learning for Career Success” in the March/April edition of the online newsletter, The Professional Geologist, highlighting the innovative types of student learning that occur in the Geology program at WKU.  In addition, Dr. Wulff published “Portals for Undergraduate Research in Geology Curricula” in Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, the newsletter of the AGU.
  • Dr. Xingang Fan, Assistant Professor of Geography (Climate Science), has published two articles recently with colleagues in Europe and the U.S. The first, “Assimilating QuikSCAT ocean surface winds with the Weather Research and Forecasting model for surface wind-filed simulation over the Chukchi/Beaufort Seas,” appears in the March edition of the online journal Boundary-Layer Meteorology. Dr. Fan’s second article, “Potential soil moisture products from the aquarius radiometer and scatterometer using an observing system simulation experiment,” appeared in the February issue of the journal Geoscience Instrumentation Methods and Data Systems.
  • Dr. Jason Polk, Assistant Professor of Geography and Associate Director of the Hoffman Institute, published research with Chinese collaborators in the journal Environmental Earth Sciences titled “Evolution of Major Environmental Geological Problems in Karst Areas of Southwestern China.” In addition, Dr. Polk published “Tackling the Caribbean’s Climate-driven Water Resource Problems” in the Caribbean Climate blog, reporting on research initiatives with colleagues and students in Belize and Barbados.

The goal of faculty and students in the Department of Geography and Geology is to help shape both research strategies and pedagogical debates over learning techniques and approaches in the geosciences through publication efforts like these. The fepartment has a long history of engaging students successfully in basic and applied research, and faculty aim to include students as co-authors whenever possible.

Contact: David Keeling, (270) 745-4555.

Geoscience: GIS master’s graduate appointed to new position

Chris Blinn, who earned his M.S. Geoscience degree in GIS from WKU in May 2012, has been appointed Lead GIS Specialist at Advanced Network & Computer Services, Inc. (formerly Mark Rolley Consulting), in Evansville, Ind. ANCS is an IT consultancy firm that specializes in providing solutions in many areas such as GIS, Web Development, Network and Security, VAX, Mobile products, and Graphic Design.  ANCS also is the contracted IT firm overseeing the day-to-day IT operations of the City of Evansville and Vanderburgh County, Ind. Its customer base also includes local businesses in the area, and even some other local governments in other states.

Blinn’s role with ANCS began as a GIS Analyst in May 2011, as a part-time employee. By July 2011 he earned promotion to full-time status and was given the Lead GIS Specialist title. His new role is to oversee the direction of GIS with local government clients, and also to improve the web presence of the city/county GIS websites. By the summer of 2012, Blinn had overseen and managed an Enterprise GIS upgrade from ArcGIS 9.x to ArcGIS 10, created 11 new GIS web maps, completely automated a weekly GIS update process for the entire Enterprise, and completed many other smaller, but just as important, day-to-day tasks. Blinn’s position requires him to be a database manager, web specialist, GIS analyst and a spatial scientist every day. Many of the GIS maps made by Blinn can be found at  http://maps.evansvillegis.com

Contact: Kevin Cary, (270) 745-2981.

ISSS: WKU groups celebrate international reach at Hot Rods game

On April 13, WKU students, scholars and instructors added to the pregame pageantry of the Bowling Green Hot Rods by participating in a procession of international flags. International Student and Scholar Services and the Department of Modern Languages collaborated to recruit volunteers to carry the flags.

The flags of the United States and several international countries were carried in a procession April 13 during festivities at Bowling Green Ballpark.

The flags of the United States and several international countries were carried in a procession April 13 during festivities at Bowling Green Ballpark.

China led the way followed by Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Panama, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and United Arab Emirates. The United States flag was the grand finale and star of the parade, as it was held high and greeted with great applause from the audience.

WKU hosts a growing and vibrant community of more than 800 international students and visiting scholars from more than 70 countries. “It is WKU’s vision to be a leading American university with international reach,” said Tarek Elshayeb, Director of International Student and Scholar Services. “Many of the international students have never seen a baseball game. This was an excellent opportunity for them to show pride in their country and experience one of the United States’ favorite past-times.”

“This was a great opportunity to celebrate both WKU’s commitment to international reach and the Hot Rods’ seven-game winning streak,” added Dr. David DiMeo, Assistant Professor of Arabic in the Department of Modern Languages. “It was a great chance to celebrate the strong sense of community that binds everyone at WKU with Bowling Green.”

Contact: Diana Howard, International Outreach Coordinator with International Student and Scholar Services, (270) 745-2319.

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