Celebrating Student Achievements 2019–2020

The belltower in spring with flowering trees in the foreground

Despite challenges, this past academic year still contained a lot to celebrate for the Center for Geospatial Analytics. Below is a sampling of the outstanding work accomplished by the Center’s talented and energetic students since last May. Congratulations to all!

Doctoral Students   

  • Published five peer-reviewed articles, including first-author papers in Ecosystems, Ecological Indicators and ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information.
  • Presented eight papers and posters at professional conferences. An additional eight were accepted but affected by COVID-19 cancellations.
  • Excelled at CNR’s Graduate Research Symposium:
    • Thirteen students presented posters or competed in the Three Minute Thesis competition.
    • Nick Kruskamp won 1st place in the Three Minute Thesis competition with his presentation entitled, “Trees and disease: Monitoring dynamic forest change from space.”
    • Rohith Matli won 1st place in the Land, Wildlife, & Forest System Management category with his poster, “Fusion based hypoxia estimates: linking geostatistical mechanistic models of dissolved oxygen variability.”
    • Vini Perin won 1st place in the Human Dimensions & Community Health category with his poster, “Large-scale-on-farm reservoir monitoring using remote sensing techniques.”
  • Received multiple honors and awards:
    • Kate Jones and Katie McQuillan each received a Global Change Graduate Fellowship from the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center for 2019-2020.
    • Umesh Gupta was the runner up in NC State’s Envisioning Research contest in the Graphics & Data Visualization category. He also received an Advanced Short-Term Research Opportunity (ASTRO) fellowship through the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for Fall 2019 and received a Student Travel Award to present at the ACM SIGSPATIAL 2019 Conference.
    • Megan Coffer received the EPA Mason Hewitt Award for GIS Technical Excellence. She also received a Student Travel Award to present at the CERF 2019 Conference.
    • Nick Kruskamp won an Outstanding Student Presentation Award at the AGU 2019 Fall Meeting for his presentation, “Web-based decision analytics for mapping host species distributions and forecasting the spread of forest pests and pathogens.”
    • Vishnu Mahesh won 1st place in the Raleigh GIS Day 2019 Poster Contest for his poster, “GIS-based estimation of seasonal solar energy potential for parking lots and roads.”
    • Nikki Inglis was named NC State’s 2020 Esri Development Center Student of the Year.
    • Laura Tomkins and Elyssa Collins each received a Graduate Student Workshop/Short Course Support Grant through the Graduate School.
    • Elyssa Collins and Kellyn Montgomery were accepted to the Near-term Ecological Forecasting workshop.
    • Mollie Gaines was selected for the William M. Lapenta NWS Student Internship Program for Summer 2020.
    • Shannon Ricci received the NC Sea Grant-NC Space Grant Graduate Research Fellowship for 2020-2021 ($20,000).
    • Devon Gaydos won the Center for Geospatial Analytics’ Beacon Award.
    • Nick Kruskamp won the Center’s Advocate Award.
    • Shannon Ricci won the Center’s Gladys West Award.
    • Devon Gaydos, Garrett Millar and Nick Kruskamp were on the research team that won CGA’s Collaboration & Innovation Award.
    • Ian McGregor received the NC Space Grant Graduate Research Fellowship for 2020-2021 ($10,000).
  • Served NC State community and beyond:
    • Nikki Inglis was a Mental Health Ambassador for the NC State Counseling Center, leading mental health programs for graduate students across campus. She also was a guest map-making instructor for the second grade class at Alston Ridge Elementary School.
    • Kate Jones served as a mentor for the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars, facilitating biweekly seminars for undergraduate students on environmental issues and cultural diversity. She also joined NC State’s Fire Chasers Team as a Research Assistant during Summer 2020.
    • Alex Yoshizumi was a Research Assistant for the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, where he produced documents to educate public audiences about the economics and availability of electric vehicles in NC. Research he performed before coming to NC State was also featured by Inside Climate News in November 2019.
    • Megan Coffer was an invited speaker at the Seagrasses & Neural Networks Workshop at NASA Ames in September 2019. She was also an invited speaker to the Chesapeake Bay Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Monitoring Program, assisting in the transition from aerial imagery to satellite data in December 2019.
    • Elyssa Collins delivered a workshop as a Peer Scholar on “Introduction to Data Mining in R” through the NC State University Libraries in December 2019.
    • Laura Tomkins helped prepare forecasts for pilots at Wallops Island Flight Facility during a NASA IMPACTS field campaign in January 2020.

Professional Master’s in Geospatial Information Science & Technology (MGIST) Students

  • Over the academic year, 41 students collaborated with more than 30 community or industry partners to develop geospatial solutions as part of their service-learning capstone experience.
  • A web mapping application revealing the history of Shenandoah National Park and produced by several generations of MGIST capstone students and their partners was featured by the Augusta Free Press and two articles (one in May 2019, another in June 2019) in National Parks Traveler.
  • Erika Groh, Dallas Hoffman and Chase Nicholas were guest map-making instructors for the second grade class at Alston Ridge Elementary School.
  • Travis Newton served as the GIS lead for an internship project in Roratonga, Cook Islands to develop a tourism field guide and also was accepted into the NASA DEVELOP program.
  • Elizabeth Robinson won the Center’s Creativity in Teaching Award.
  • In the Spring 2020 semester, graduating MGIST students competed in a poster competition to showcase their service-learning projects: Matthew Johnson won 1st place, Lucian Stewart 2nd place and Victor Dawson 3rd place.

Geospatial Graduate Student Organization (GGSO):

The GGSO is a university-recognized community that supports all graduate students affiliated with the Center, both on-campus and online (M.S., Ph.D., MGIST and Graduate Certificate in GIS). Led by students for students, the GGSO advances networking in the geospatial community, provides a platform for research and offers social events. This year, the GGSO:

  • Participated in multiple team building activities, including a High Ropes course at Schenck Forest led by NC State Outdoor Adventures.
  • Coordinated five Lunch & Learn workshops, with a combined participation of more than 50 students. Topics included: Compelling Conference Presentations; I Got My Degree!…Now What? A GIS Professional’s Journey Beyond the Classroom; and Basic Workflows for Managing Projects with Git.
  • Served as mentors at the Girl Scout TechnoQuest speed-mentoring event.
  • Raised $560 in gifts for a family in need as part of the Wake County Holiday Cheer program and held a gift wrapping party.
  • Hosted a virtual Earth Week Challenge to encourage the Center for Geospatial Analytics community to make their everyday habits more sustainable. Over one week, participants saved 388 kg of CO2, diverted 25 kg of waste and saved 1.4 thousand liters of water.
  • Hosted a weekly virtual game night through April and May to stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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