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Faculty and Staff Directory

 
 
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Leadership

Brent McCusker

Professor of Geography; Department Chair

International Development and Economic Development Theory — I work in the areas of Applied International Development and Economic Development Theory within geography, serving the Geography BA , the Sustainability Studies BA, and the Geography graduate program.

Faculty

Sedimentology, Geochemistry, Astrobiology, Salt, Mars — I am interested in understanding the systems interactions among lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere of modern and ancient acid saline lakes on Earth and Mars. This research involves fieldwork, petrography, fluid inclusion studies, sediment geochemistry, and laser Raman spectroscopy, much of it focused on salt minerals.

The overarching theme is an interest in the statistics, algorithms and techniques for the analysis of spatial data. Jamison has worked in the past on methods for finding and analyzing disease clusters, but is venturing beyond that narrow focus. He has open-source projects that are available for those interested.

My research and teaching focus on a variety of topics within political geography, critical cartography, and geopolitics in Southwest Asia and North Africa (a region often called “Middle East,” but this is a problematic term so I use Southwest Asia and North Africa).

Applied Geophysics, Seismic Data Analysis, Geodynamics — Gao is interested in developing and applying 3D seismic interpretation technologies for more effective subsurface structure, facies, and reservoir characterization.

Dr. Gorman’s research examines the legal geographies of political asylum in the U.S. and advocacy to expand human rights protections outlined in UN Refugee Conventions and Protocols.

Michael Harman

Teaching Assistant Professor of Geography; Director of the Online Master’s Program in GIS and Spatial Analysis

Michael's area of interest includes analysis of spatial data, 3D visualization, modeling complex landforms and processes, teaching GIS and GISci, and mentoring geoscientists. In 2020, Michael mentored a team of students in the National Geothermal Design Challenge who won the contest with the poster, “Geothermal Locality Index: Where to Find ‘The Heat Beneath Our Feet'”.

Amy Hessl

Director of Undergraduate Research, Honors College, and Professor of Geography

Paleoclimate — Dr. Hessl uses the environmental information stored in the growth rings of trees to study Earth’s climate variability, solar storms, ecosystem processes, and human activities over the last 2000 years. She has worked in the American West, Mongolia and Southern Australia and has published more than 60 peer-reviewed papers. Her research has been covered by the international press including outlets such as The Economist, The New York Times, USA Today, and the LA Times. She is passionate about supporting the next generation of geoscientists.

Jacob Hileman

Teaching Assistant Professor of Sustainability

Jacob is an interdisciplinary environmental scientist working at the nexus of science, policy, and practice to address climate change and other pressing sustainability challenges.

Paleobiology, Paleontology, Arthropods, Macroevolution, Mass extinction, Macroecology, Paleoecology, Phylogenetics — My research focuses on macroevolution and paleoecology through the lens of paleontology and paleobiology, particularly in aquatic arthropods such as marine chelicerates (relatives of spiders, mites, scorpions etc.). I use phylogenetics to test the relationships of extinct organisms, and with these hypotheses of relationships I test for patterns of selectivity in macroevolutionary events such as mass extinctions. I am particularly interested in the ontogeny of arthropods and how new phenotypes arise through heterochrony.

Rick Landenberger

Service Associate Professor of Geography

Rick’s research combines forest ecology with land use management and restoration, using mapping and spatial analysis as tools to address basic questions of ecosystem structure and function.

Josh Lohnes

Research Assistant Professor of Geography

My work supports local, national and international coalitions that seek to advance the Right to Food through principles of Food Sovereignty and Food Justice. As a broadly trained human geographer I am committed to participatory action research that advances more just and equitable economic relationships through the food system, particularly for those vulnerable to food insecurity and hunger. My research centers on the moral, political and economic role of state nutrition assistance programs with a particular focus on the expansion of public and private humanitarian food networks.

Spatial Analysis, Remote Sensing, Machine/Deep Learning, Natural Hazards, Geomorphology —Dr Maxwell’s research interests are in spatial predictive modeling, geohazard mapping and modeling, applications of machine learning and deep learning in remote sensing and geospatial science, and thematic map accuracy assessment best practices.

Forest Ecosystem Ecology and Remote Sensing — I work with students and collaborators to examine the interaction of forests and human-caused global change.

Karst, Mine Drainage, Springs, Geochemistry, Hydrogeology — Dorothy is a low-temperature geochemist with a focus on karst hydrogeology, temporal changes in water quality (diel and storm), high-CO2 waters, metal geochemistry, thermal-mineral springs, coal-mine drainage, and how contaminants move in karst aquifers. Much of her recent research considers the relationship between inorganic carbon and sulfur in natural waters.

Instructor

Regional coal geology, geochemistry of coal mines, surface hydrology and hydrogeology of coal mines, geographic mapping and spatial analysis (GIS).

Petroleum Geology, Energy and the Environment

Staff

Abe Johnson

Business and Academic Operations Professional

Tara Robbins

Student Success Coordinator