Celebrating Our Community

2019 Awards Banquet

On October 26, the Center for Geospatial Analytics celebrated its first annual Awards Banquet, honoring recent achievements by the exceptional students, faculty and staff at the center. Check out the event program and photo gallery!

At the event, five new awards established in Fall 2019 were presented. The CGA Awards honor members of the Center for Geospatial Analytics community whose efforts exemplify center ideals of collaboration, inclusion and excellence in research, teaching and service. Center students and faculty/staff were nominated by other center members for the awards, and winners were selected by the center’s Steering Committee.

Creativity in Teaching Award

Given to one student and one faculty/staff member who creates an innovative learning environment (online and/or in a classroom) that engages diverse learners in the study of geospatial data science.

  • Student awardee: Elizabeth Robinson. Robinson is a distance education student graduating this December from the Master in Geospatial Information Science & Technology (MGIST) program. In her nomination, Assistant Teaching Professor Stacy Supak wrote: “For three semesters, she helped mold the GIS 280 course to be as helpful to students as possible. She always goes above and beyond to help a student arrive at a solution (without giving the answer), support a fellow TA who needs assistance, or even take over teaching a course as the instructor of record.”
  • Faculty awardee: Stacy Nelson. One of Professor Nelson’s students explained: “I have never had a professor like Dr. Nelson. For the first time in years, I was genuinely excited to learn and participate in class. The energy, passion, and enthusiasm Dr. Nelson brings to every single class is infectious, and allows him to engage with students both in the classroom and through the virtual lecture.”

Beacon Award

Given to one student and one faculty/staff member who shines a light on the Center for Geospatial Analytics in the wider scientific community through their research, partnerships, and/or involvement in professional organizations.

  • Student awardee: Devon Gaydos. Gaydos is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, and her nomination stated: “Devon has taken a major leadership role in the sudden oak death project. She recently organized a workshop with the Oregon Department of Forestry that was attended by 40 stakeholders. Devon has been asked to present her work to important visitors to the center and has always represented CGA wonderfully. This past spring, Devon was first author on a paper published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.”
  • Staff awardees: the dynamic duo Vashek Petras and Anna Petrasova. Geospatial research software engineers Petras and Petrasova were co-nominated for their commitment to open science principles as well as their work on Tangible Landscape. They travel to conferences regularly and have assisted in installing Tangible Landscape across the United States and internationally. Last year alone, they were involved in more than 30 demonstrations of Tangible Landscape.

Advocate Award

Given to one student and one faculty/staff member who demonstrates a commitment to equity and inclusion within the Center for Geospatial Analytics, on the NC State campus, and/or in their community.

  • Student awardee: Nick Kruskamp. Kruskamp is a student in the center’s Geospatial Analytics Ph.D. program; he founded and served as president of the Geospatial Graduate Student Organization in 2018. According to his nomination letter: “Nick oversaw the first student forum committee, and he organized the post-forum social event where students can connect with center researchers. He consistently made a point to engage [Graduate Certificate in GIS] and distance education students who are traditionally less involved in center events. Most importantly, when the Geospatial Analytics doctoral students came to him with a problem about a class, he advocated on their behalf.”
  • Staff awardee: Rachel Kasten. Kasten is a university program associate whose many duties include working with Geospatial Analytics Ph.D. students to help them navigate their program. According to her nomination, Kasten’s list of accomplishments includes “establishing the Mothers’ Room, planning birthday celebrations, winning grants to support a diverse student body, assembling a self-care box for everyone at the center and generally working tirelessly to see that CGA is as inclusive as possible.”

Collaboration & Innovation Award

Given to a research team who collaborates across disciplinary boundaries to address environmental and societal challenges.

  • Team awardee: Sudden Oak Death engagement team. The team includes Forestry and Environmental Resources Ph.D. student Devon Gaydos, geospatial research software engineers Anna Petrasova and Vashek Petras, research associate Chris Jones, temporary research associate Shannon Jones, Geospatial Analytics Ph.D. students Garrett Millar and Nick Kruskamp and center director Ross Meentemeyer. This team received multiple nominations applauding the diverse skill sets of the team. One of the nominations stated: “This outstanding team has established a new standard for collaborative research…By breaking barriers between students, post-doctoral fellows and professors, this team achieves greater synergy and innovation. The result is a combined effect greater than the sum of the separate parts.”

Gladys West Award

Gladys West was one of science’s “hidden figures,” her contributions to GPS technology going unrecognized for decades. The Gladys West Award is given to one student and one faculty/staff member who consistently serves as a role model, helps others and exceeds expectations and who does not often receive recognition and/or does not hold a leadership position at the Center for Geospatial Analytics.

  • Student awardee: Shannon Ricci. Ricci is a Geospatial Analytics Ph.D. student and received nominations from both fellow students and staff. One of her colleagues wrote: “Though she works in the [Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences] MEAS offices and has a lot of obligations outside of school, Shannon is consistently supportive, engaged and encouraging. She is incredibly organized, and was a source of positivity and reliable leadership throughout the group projects we encountered in our first year.”
  • Staff awardee: Makiko Shukunobe. Shukunobe is a research technologist who has had a hand in the success of many center projects. According to her nomination letter, “Over the years, Makiko has worked diligently to support many of CGA’s research and academic successes…In addition to her strong work ethic, Makiko is always the first to offer assistance when needed. The Gladys West Award is appropriate because, despite working to ensure many high-profile projects meet or exceed their objectives, her effort is always behind the scenes and rarely receives the deserved recognition.”

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