Geography News and Events Archive

News and Events - Fall 2013

Faculty Spotlight: Dist. Prof. Mark Schwartz

Prof. Mark Schwartz gave a keynote speech at the 2nd International Symposium on Climate, Food and Water, which was held 3-9 November 2013 in Jeju, Republic of Korea. His talk was entitled “Seasons of Change: Plant Phenology as Indicator of Atmosphere-Biosphere Interactions.”

New Department Chair takes office

Prof. Changshan Wu took office as new Chair of the Department of Geography in August 2013.

Faculty Spotlight: Prof. Woonsup Choi

A co-authored article that examined deforestation in North Korea has been published.

Faculty Spotlight: Dist. Prof. Mark Schwartz

The 2nd edition of Phenology: An Integrative Environmental Science, edited by Professor Schwartz, has now been published.

Alumni spotlight: Greg Rybarczyk (Ph.D., 2010)

Dr. Rybarczyk played a leading role in establishing the Geographic Information Center at the University of Michigan-Flint. For details, visit UM-Flint GIS Center news.

Geography Department Research Featured

UWM geography student John Schneider is featured in the most recent Urban Ecology Center Newsletter!

The second study mentioned in this article, on page 10, is led by Kirsten Beyer, Medical College of Wisconsin faculty member and an adjunct in our department.)

Geography Department moves back to Bolton Hall

All Geography Department and the GIS Center offices return to the 4th floor of Bolton Hall in late May as the building renovation is completed.

News and Events - Spring 2013

The False Spring of 2012, Earliest in North American Record

Distinguished Professor Mark Schwartz co-authored an article showing the historically early spring 2012 through metrics of phenology.

UWM Geographers Recognized at Community Engagement and Student Leadership Awards

Service Learner of the Year Award

Congratulations to incoming geography master's student Peter Armstrong (BA, 2012) for receiving the Service Learner of the Year Award!

Community Partner of the Year Award

Current master's student Angie Jackson was also recognized for her contributions to service learning, along with Ann Brummitt of the Milwaukee River Greenway Coalition, who received Community Partner of the Year.

10 year awards

Congratulations to Geography faculty members Rina Ghose (pictured) and Changshan Wu, who both recently received 10-year service awards from UWM!


Alumni Spotlight:
Joel Dohm (B.S., 2012)


Joel began working last year for the Coastal Planning Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Philadelphia. Little did he know he'd be assessing the damage from the largest Atlantic hurricane on record. Joel has shared on the Geography Facebook page his story and some powerful photos from the Jersey and Delaware shore with us.

U.S. Geological Survey Research Grant

UW Water Resources Institute awarded funds for the proposal Professors Woonsup Choi and Changshan Wu submitted to the USGS 104(b) Research Grants Program for Federal FY 2013-14: Impacts of climatic and land use changes on streamflow and water quality in the Milwaukee River basin. The total proposed budget is $78,556, including 50% match from the College of Letters and Science.

Service Learning project at the Milwaukee River Greenway Coalition

The students from Geography 125 presented the findings of their Service Learning project at the Milwaukee River Greenway Coalition head offices. They used a GPS (Global Positioning System) to obtain reference points which they subsequently used to map a number of trails along the Milwaukee River. They combined a number of sources of information into a series of maps which they are holding in the image above.

Milwaukee River Greenway Coalition Winners

From left to right: Angie Jackson (Teaching Assistant and project manager, UWM), Ben Everson (UWM), Alyssa Biersack(UWM), Chris Cooksey(UWM), Ann Brummitt (Director, Milwaukee River Greenway Coalition), David Rossiter (UWM) and Mary-Martha Kipcak (UWM).


Geography Facebook page now open

The UWM Geography Department has opened a Facebook page. It will provide timely updates on the department. Everyone is welcome to visit.

Harold M. Rose Award for Anti-Racist Scholarship and Practice in Geography established

The Association of American Geographers created a new award named after Dr. Harold M. Rose, who was a long-time professor of Geography at UWM. Dr. Rose has been a consistent proponent of geographic research that addresses discrimination and segregation. More on page 3 of the AAG Newsletter Vol. 47, No. 5, May 2012.

Harold and Florence Mayer Lecture: Dr. Richard Walker (Feb. 1, 2013)

Harold and Florence Mayer Lecture: Dr. Richard Walker, Professor Emeritus, Department of Geography, University of California, Berkeley, "The Rise and Fall of the Golden State: Hard Lessons of Liberal Capitalism Learned in California" AGSL, 3rd floor Golda Meir Library

Center for the 21st Century Studies (Feb. 1, 2013)

Anna Mansson McGinty (Geography and Women’s Studies), Caroline Seymour-Jorn (Comparative Literature), and Kristin M Sziarto (Geography) shared their work on the Muslim Milwaukee Project, discussing the difficulties and benefits of community collaboration.

Debate on Globalization – Geography 304: Human Impact on the Environment


The students in Geography 304 ‘Human impact on the environment’ took part in a class activity entitled ‘structured intellectual conflict exercise’ otherwise known as a debate! The class was divided into teams of four consisting of two pairs. Each pair adopted a ‘for’ or ‘against’ position and developed three main argument points. The topic of the exercise was ‘Globalization should be our top priority’ and teams adopted the stance of America or India. As you can imagine there were many opinions expressed and contested which resulted in a very lively class.

News and Events - Fall 2012

Professor Schwartz to talk to the Greater Milwaukee AMS Chapter

On Tuesday, November 13, UWM Distinguished Professor Mark Schwartz spoke to the Greater Milwaukee AMS Chapter with the title of “Changing Seasons: Plant Phenology as Indicator of Atmosphere-Biosphere Interactions.” Details are available at

Professor Ghose invited to talk in the Netherlands

Professor Rina Ghose has been invited to give a talk entitled "Power and politics in the use of GIS in community decision making" at the University of Amsterdam, Department of Geography, Planning and international Development Studies. During the trip she will give another talk entitled "Addressing urban deprivation and inequalities through Public Participation GIS" at the conference on "Information Flows in Urban Governance Networks in India."

CIPR/SSI Research Lunch Series (Oct 19th)

Prof. Rina Ghose, Geography, UW-Milwaukee "Bridging the Geospatial Divide through Public Participation GIS" NWQ B, Student Lounge on the 1st Floor, 12:00-1:30pm. Contact Michael Zimmer in Center for Information Policy Research: for reservation.

Geography alumnus elected president of the national Council on Undergraduate Research


Professor Julio Rivera, who holds a PhD from the UWM Department of Geography and serves as Provost at Carthage College, has been chosen to lead the Council on Undergraduate Research for the 2013-2014 term.

Learn more about Professor Rivera's appointment and research:
Carthage News
Carthage Faculty

Harold and Florence Mayer Lecture by Dr. James McCarthy

Friday, Sept 28th, 2:30-3:30 PM
Dr. James McCarthy from the Graduate School of Geography, Clark University presented “Socializing urban environments? The case of Boston's Big Dig” for the Harold and Florence Mayer Lecture in the Golda Meir Library Conference Center

Phenology Conference

September 10-13, 2012
UWM co-sponsored Phenology 2012, the second international interdisciplinary conference on phenology. For details, please see the conference website.

Environmental geography course receives CUP Grant

The UWM Cultures and Communities Community-University Partnership Grant program has awarded a grant to support a service learning partnership between Geography 125 (Introduction to Environmental Geography) and the Milwaukee River Greenway Coalition. The partnership will also receive support from UWM's Cartography and Geographic Information Science Center.

Learn more about the grant: 2012 CUP Award Winners Milwaukee River Greenway.

News - 2011

Faculty News - Fall 2011

Mick Day

  • Participated between November 12 and 23, 2011 in the International Geographical Union Regional Conference in Santiago, Chile, chairing a session on karst and presenting “Challenges to sustainability in the Central America karst”
  • The abstract of Mick's paper at the October, 2011 Geological Society of America conference in Minneapolis, “The role of karst hydrology in the 18th Century Maroon Wars in the Cockpit Country, Jamaica.” is available in the GSA Abstracts with Programs

Woonsup Choi

Rina Ghose

  • Had an chapter entitled “Investigating Middle Class Migration and Rural Gentrification in Western Montana” published in the book Country Dreams and City Schemes: Utopian Visions of the Twentieth Century American West
  • Had an chapter entitled “Politics and power in the use of GIS for community decision making” published in the book Handbook of GIS and Society Research
  • Co-authored an essay entitled “PPGIS in Community Development Planning” published in the book Classics in Cartography: Reflections on Influential Articles from Cartographica
  • Co-authored an article entitled “Tracing the Historic Trajectory of GIS Development and its Impacts on Contemporary Practice” published in Journal of Urban Technology
  • Had an article entitled “E-Planning through the Wisconsin land information program: The context of power, politics, and scale” published in International Journal of E-Planning Research

Ryan Holifield

  • Had an article entitled “Environmental justice as a recognition and participation in risk assessment: Negotiating and translating health risk at a Superfund site in Indian county” accepted for publication in Annals of the Association of American Geographers
  • Gave a guest lecture entitled “Representing the elusive ‘environmental justice community’: The politics and science of disproportionate impact in the U.S. EPA” at the University of Tennessee

Mark Schwartz

  • Had a co-authored article entitled “Influences of the El Nino Southern Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation on the timing of the North American spring” accepted for publication in International Journal of Climatology

Changshan Wu

  • Had the following articles published:
    • Wu, C. and Sharma, R., “Housing market classification: The role of spatial contiguity,” forthcoming in Applied Geography
    • Mohapatra, R. and Wu, C., “Modeling urban growth at a micro level: A panel data analysis,” forthcoming in International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research

Faculty News - Spring 2011

Ryan Holifield

  • Has teamed up with Associate Professor Tim Ehlinger (Biological Sciences) and Associate Professor Manu Sobti (Architecture) to study cross-border issues in the governance of water, with support from the first Center for 21st Century Studies Transdisciplinary Challenge Grant.
    more >>

Woonsup Choi

  • Has been appointed the Awards Committee Chair of the Association of American Geographers Water Resources Specialty Group
  • Was awarded a Faculty/Academic Staff Travel Award to Implement Overseas Field Research Experiences for Undergraduates in the amount of $3,000 by the Center for International Education

Kristin Sziarto

  • Has been named a fellow at the Center for 21st Century Studies for the academic year 2011-2012

Linda McCarthy

  • Has been appointed to the Professional Geography editorial board

Student News – Spring 2011

Jonathan Hanes

  • Won the 1st place in the Association of American Geographers Climate Specialty Group 2011 student paper competition

Wei Huang

  • Was invited to participate in the Asian Trans-Karst Disciplinary Conference 201 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Isaac Park

  • Was tied for 3rd place in the Association of American Geographers Climate Specialty Group 2011 student paper competition

Carrie Philpott

  • Has been awarded one of the Roberto Hernández Center Faculty and Graduate Applied Latino Research Grants for 2011-2012

Brad Willems

  • Received a scholarship from the Wisconsin Association of Energy Engineers

News - 2010

Faculty News - Fall 2010

Woonsup Choi

  • Was awarded $2,816 Salary for Undergraduate Research Fellows from the Office of Undergraduate Research for the academic year 2010-2011.
  • Presented a poster at the Meeting of the Americas 2010 of American Geophysical Union held in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. The poster is entitled "Geographical and Temporal Variability of Temperature over Minnesota and Wisconsin Identified from North American Regional Reanalysis Data" and was co-authored by Anke Keuser at UWM.
  • Traveled to Korea from late May to early June using the fund from the Faculty/Academic Staff Travel Awards to Develop/Implement Overseas Field Research Experiences for Undergraduates from the Center for International Education.
  • Co-organized two consecutive paper sessions entitled "Climate Change and Water Resources: From Impact Assessment to Adaptation" at the 2010 AAG annual meeting with Dr. Heejun Chang at Portland State University
  • Presented a paper at the AAG meeting entitled "Temperature Trend in North and Central Illinois from Weather Stations and North American Regional Reanalysis" and co-authored by Anke Keuser.

Michael J. Day

Was on sabbatical leave during Spring 2010, carrying out research on protected karst areas in the Caribbean and Central America.

Published following papers:

  1. Day, M.J. Human interaction with Caribbean karst landscapes: past, present and future. Acta Carsologica 39(1): 137- 146.
  2. Day, M.J. Challenges to sustainability of the Caribbean karst. Geologia Croatica 63(2): 63-68.
  3. Day, M.J. A speleological origin for the Leland Natural Bridge, Wisconsin? The Wisconsin Geographer 23: 50-66.
  4. Day, M.J. and Huang, W. Reflections on fengcong and fenglin. Cave and Karst Science 36(2): 49-51.
  5. Day, M.J. and Waltham, A.W. The pinnacle karren fields of Mulu. In: Karst Rock Features: Karren Sculpturing, ed. A. Gines, M. Knez, T. Slabe and W. Dreybrodt. ZRC Publishing, Ljubljana, Slovenia: 423-432.
  6. Mauel, S. and Day, M.J. Real-time delimitation of southwestern Wisconsin's karst boundaries using soils data, GIS and GPS. The Wisconsin Geographer 23: 67-86.

Christopher De Sousa

Published papers in the Carolina Planning journal and in Urban Studies

Changshan Wu

Published or had accepted for publication following papers

  1. Jose L. Silvan-Cardenas, Le Wang, Peter Rogerson, Changshan Wu, Tiantian Feng, and Benjamin D. Kamphaus, Assessing fine spatial resolution remote sensing for small area population estimation, International Journal of Remote Sensing.
  2. Rama P. Mohapatra and Changshan Wu, High Resolution Impervious Surface Estimation: an Integration of IKONOS and Landsat-7 ETM+ Imagery, Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing.
  3. Chengbing Deng, Changshan Wu, and Le Wang, Improving Housing Unit Method for Small Area Population Estimation Using Remote Sensing and GIS Information, International Journal of Remote Sensing.

Student News - Fall 2010

Jonathan Burkham

Returned to Milwaukee after six months of fieldwork in a small village in west central Mexico

Chengbin Deng

Received a studentship award for the 30th Annual ESRI International User Conference, an informative conference in the GIS industry attended by above 13,000 users in San Diego, California in mid-July.

Jeff Sponcia

Had a busy summer interning at Lutheran Social Services in Milwaukee in their Refugee Resettlement department.

Nicholas L. Padilla

Spent June and July living with a Quichua community in eastern Ecuador, attempting to speak Quichua, focusing on indigenous plant knowledge, and learning a different worldview.

Rama Mohapatra

Have accepted a pre-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Geography, Minnesota State University at Mankato.

I-Hui Lin

Made a trip to Minneapolis, MN during the summer for dissertation research about neighborhood parks

Faculty News - Spring 2010

Rina Ghose

Published the following papers:
Lin, W. & R. Ghose. (2010) Social Construction of GIS in China's Changing Urban Governance: The Case of Shenzhen, Cartographica 45(2), forthcoming.

Mukherjee, F. & R. Ghose. (2009) Complexities in GIS Spatial Knowledge Production in Dane County, Wisconsin. Cartography and Geographic Information Science 36(4): 299-314.

Mark Schwartz

Published the following papers:
Schwartz, M.D., & J.M. Hanes. (2010) Continental-scale phenology: warming and chilling. International Journal of Climatology (in press, published online DOI: 10.1002/joc.2014).

Schwartz, M. D., & J. M. Hanes. (2010) Intercomparing Multiple Measures of the Onset of Spring in Eastern North America. International Journal of Climatology (in press, published online DOI: 10.1002/joc.2008).

Student News - Spring 2010

Nick Padilla

Nick was awarded a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship through the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at UWM. He will spend two months this summer in Ecuador studying beginning and intermediate Quichua language and culture through the Arizona State University Andes and Amazon Field School.