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Congratulation to 2016 Graduating Students

The Geography and Earth Science Department wants to congratulate the following students who graduated this year.

May 2016 - Jill Castro, Darla Boley, Matthew Donohue, Taylor Handrow, Samantha Haugen, Emily Johansen, Augustus Johnson, Kyle Johnson, Andrew Knickerbocker, Bernard Lincks, Donald Patnode, Lucas Pierce, Kyle Swales, Nicolas Treankler, Jared Vander Loop, Tammy Westberry, Tyler Woodke and Thomas Young

December 2015 - Taylor Blumenstein, Justin,Bobllitz, Andrew Donaldson, Dylan Hamel, Andrew Henn, Benjamin Lamb, Jodie Manderfield, Braley Quall, Tiffany Weiss and Kristy Ely 

We wish you all the best on the next set of adventures in your life.

Geography Department Hosts Mexican Visiting Scholar

During April and May, Jahzeel Aguilera Lara is a visiting scholar at the Department of Geography and Earth Science. Ms. Aguilera is completing her master's degree at the Environmental Geography Research Center (CIGA) in Morelia, Mexico, a part of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). During her stay in La Crosse, Jahzeel has presented a lecture on her thesis work, "Making Sacred landscapes through Ritural Practices: A Case Study of Indigenous Nahuas in Mexico." She has worked with UWL Geography Assistant Professor John Kelly on developing maps for her thesis; has assisted Dr. Kelly in his participatory mapping and GIS work for indigenous communities in Honduras; and has enjoyed fruitful interactions with UWL students and professors (including George Cravins, pictured), and with others in the La Crosse community. Jahzeel's presence at UWL is part of the growth in international exchanges of many sorts, and of the Geography Department's involvement in Latin America and beyond.

Jahzeel Aguilera Lara collage

Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU) Initiation 2016

Six students were initiated into the GTU on April 27, 2016: Josh Rostek, Sofia Kozidis, Justine Bula, Tammy Westberry, Jenna DeShaney and Karl Radke. GTU is an international honor society in Geography dedicated to prompting Geography as a field of study/research and applying geographic knowledge and skills in services to humankind.

2016 GTU Inititiation

 2016 GTU Cake

Geographic Information Science (GIS)  Poster Competition

 GIS Poster Competition 2015

New Faculty for Fall 2015

The Geography and Earth Science Department is please to introduce our new faculties members joining us this fall.  Dr. Niti Mishra specializing in cartography and Dr. John Kelly specializing in human geography. 

John Kelly is a human geographer focusing on Latin America, territoriality and land ownership, and indigenous peoples. A lifelong map lover, he was introduced to the geographic discipline by the late Peter Gould. Dr. Kelly studied geography at the University of Chicago, and landscape architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. After seven years with conservation and rural development groups in Mexico, he earned his geography doctorate at the University of Kansas, working with multinational research teams led by Peter Herlihy to better understand the cultural-political ecologies and dynamic territorial challenges and opportunities among indigenous peoples in Mexico and Central America. His current research uses participatory mapping and web-based GIS to analyze the role of local reserves in Latin America.

Niti Mishra received a B.A. (Honors) in Geography from University of Delhi, India and M.S. in GIS from Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, Thailand. He completed his Ph.D. in Geography from University of Texas at Austin where he also did post-doctoral research. His research interests lie in cartography, geovisualization and GIS applications for mapping, monitoring and management of natural resources. Dr. Mishra has conducted research in diverse landscapes such as glaciers in the Indian Himalayas, agricultural systems in Thailand and more recently in savanna systems in southern Africa and Texas. At University of Texas at Austin, his dissertation research focused on understanding complex linkages between ecological patterns and processes in savanna ecosystem in southern Africa by combining field data with satellite image analysis. In his off time, he enjoys watching movies, hiking, cooking and experimenting with his DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera.

Congratulation to 2015 Graduating Students

The Geography and Earth Science Department wants to congratulate the following students who graduated on May 11, 2015:
Paul Bernard, Taylor Boardman, Mathew Drummond, Gregory Dunn, Alexander Fernan, Katherine Godding, Jordan Keller, Danielle Kiewsow, Sean Millam, Devin Novakavic, Jonas Rugtvedt, Ryan Sands, Susan Smith, Sara Torgerson, Austin Wersal, Timothy Wilda and Kyle Willms 
We wish you all the best on the next set of adventures in your life.

Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU) Initiation 2015


Four students were initiated into the GTU on May 5, 2015: Kristy Ely, Danielle Kiesow, Jonas Rugtvedt and Nicholas Treankler. GTU is an international honor society in Geography dedicated to prompting Geography as a field of study/research and applying geographic knowledge and skills in services to humankind.

 GTU initiation 2015

UWL Geography and Earth Science at National Conference


  UWL was well represented at The Association of American Geographers(AAG) 2015 annual meeting held April 21- 25 in Chicago, Illinois.  Two students and 4 faculty members presented results from their research.  Student Jonas Rugtvedt presented in the Human Geography session on “Road Network Analysis of Oslo, Norway”, and Dylan Hamel presented “Bike Accessibility in La Crosse, WI” in the Bikeways and Bikesharing session.  Dr. Colin Belby, Dr. Cynthia Berlin, Dr. Gargi Chaudhuri and Dr. Daniel Sambu also presented their research in sessions ranging from Human Impacts on Watershed Processes to Rural Geography Research in Africa.

List of Presenters - Titles, Sessions for UWL Geography and Earth Science Department

Dr. Colin Belby, - Measuring Ecosystem Response to Disturbance in the Upper Mississippi River Using Floodplain Lake Sediment, Human Impacts on Watershed Processes II Session

Dr. Cynthia Berlin - Wetland Vegetation Identification for the Upper Mississippi River, Physical Geography Poster Session

Dr. Gargi Chaudhuri – Spatio-temporal dynamics between and land cover change and land surface temperature: A comparative study between India and Bangladesh, South Asia: A land of challenges, pathfinders and solutions - II Session

Jonas Rugtvedt, Dr. Gargi Chaudhuri - Road Network Analysis of Oslo, Norway, Human Geography Poster Session

Dylan Ari Sandager Hamel, Dr. Gargi Chaudhuri - Bike Accessibility in La Crosse, WI, Bikeways and Bikesharing Session

Dr. Daniel Sambu - Wildlife conservation and community water access conflicts in northern Kenya, Rural Geography Research in Africa Session



UWL Student presents at Mississippi MRRC.


Taylor Blumenstein, a Geography and Earth Science student, presented on “Analyzing Land Use and Land Cover Change Surrounding Lakes in the Upper Midwest” at the Mississippi River Research Consortium annual meeting. 



 Geography Students Present Their Research.

Poster Keller

The Geography and Earth Sciences Department was well represented at The Celebration of Student Research and Creativity held on Friday April 3, 2015.  Our students presented posters of their research, on subjects ranging from analyzing sediment cores to studying transportation networks in La Crosse and Oslo Norway. They found the event both challenging and satisfying.  It was difficult to distill all the field-specific research into an easily understood poster, but the encouraging feedback from the larger UWL community made the effort worthwhile. Thanks to their Faculty supervisors for the invaluable aid they provided.

Poster Hamel Poster Rugtvedt

Poster SneathPoster Wilda




Geography Faculty Featured in Campus News


Landfill Paul Reyerson

Assistant Professor Paul Reyerson was featured in a news item about the La Crosse County Landfill.



Congratulations Fall 2014 Graduates!


The Geography and Earth Science Department would like to congratulate all of its graduates and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.


Congratulations to Dr. Rafique Ahmed on his retirement!

Rumi and Rafique


Past and current faculty and staff met on Saturday, December 6 th  to celebrate the retirement of Dr. Ahmed effective the end of the year. Dr. Ahmed has been a valued faculty member since 1984. We wish him all the best in his retirement.

Congratulations on your retirement Rafique


2014 Ryan M. Poehling Memorial Scholarship Recipient - Jonas Rugvedt


The Geography and Earth Science Department would like to congratulate Jonas on this outstanding achievement!

Poehling award


GIS Student Poster Competition


The Department hosted its second Poster Competition on Friday December 5 th  in Cartwright Center. Over 40 students from Dr. Gargi Chaudhuri's Introduction to GIS and Fundamentals of Cartography courses, Dr. Colin Belby's Field Methods course and Dr. Joan Bunbury's Spatial Data Analysis course participated in the competition. There was a tie for first place in the Beginner Category between a poster prepared by Caitlin CullimoreJordan KellerKevin Krause and Susan Smith, and a poster prepared by Brittany MauleJordan Keller received an honorable mention for a poster that he prepared on his own. First place in the Advanced Category went to Arthur Brueske, and second place went to Corinne RabayAlicia Weeks received an honorable mention.

Congratulations to all of the winners and to all of those that participated in what is now an annual event!


Recent Conferences and Presentations


Dr. Joan Bunbury gave a talk at the Geological Society of American Annual Meeting in Vancouver, B.C. in October. Her talk was titled  Observed changes in aquatic ecosystems over the past 20 years in the Upper Midwest .

Arthur Brueske presented a poster entitled  Land Cover Mapping and Change Analysis: Dhaka, Bangladesh  at the Undergraduate Research and Creativity Day in August, 2014. This was the undergraduate research he conducted during the summer of 2014 with Dr. Gargi Chaudhuri.

Arthur Brueske

Guest lecture sponsored by the Department of Geography and Earth Science 

Monday, October 27, 2014
2:15-3:15 p.m. 
1309 Centennial Hall
Health Impacts of Unconventional Fossil Fuel Extraction
Michelle Bamberger, MS, DVM

Michelle Bamberger

Health impacts from unconventional oil and gas extraction continue to be a concern in intensively drilled areas of the US. The lifecycle of a tight oil or shale gas well includes silica mining, trucking, road and well pad construction, vertical and horizontal drilling, high volume hydraulic fracturing, wastewater holding and injection, waste sand disposal, condensate production and storage, flaring, compressor stations, processing plants, pipelines, and gas storage. Exposures to people and animals may occur during any of these phases and may result in health impacts. As animals and children have high exposure rates, they can be viewed as sentinels for health problems. Initial study of cases of food and companion animals showed that reproductive problems were linked to drilling operations, and that in people, acute respiratory, neurological, gastrointestinal and dermatological symptoms were associated with drilling operations. On long-term follow-up, the distribution of symptoms was unchanged for humans and companion animals, but in food animals, reproductive problems decreased and both respiratory and growth problems increased. Definitive evidence linking health impacts to drilling operations cannot be obtained due to incomplete testing before and after drilling, incomplete disclosure of chemicals and nondisclosure agreements. Without such knowledge, it is impossible to know if this process can be done safely or not.
Dr. Michelle Bamberger is a veterinarian in private practice in Ithaca, NY and serves on the advisory board of Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy. Dr. Bamberger received her DVM from Cornell University in 1985. Before attending Cornell, she earned her masters degree in pharmacology from Hahnemann University Medical College and then worked in equine research for two years at New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School. After graduating from Cornell, Dr. Bamberger studied at Oxford University and practiced small animal and exotic medicine and surgery in both Massachusetts and New York. Before opening Vet Behavior Consults in 2002, Dr. Bamberger returned to Cornell for training in the field of behavior medicine as a Visiting Fellow. She has a special interest in educating the public on veterinary topics and has taught adult education courses and written two books on the topic of first aid. She devotes much of her time to documenting and studying the impacts that hydraulic fracturing for extraction of hydrocarbons has on both human and animal health, and has coauthored articles and a book on this subject.

Welcome, Dr. Paul Reyerson!


The Geography and Earth Science Department would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest faculty member. Paul received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Department of Geography at St. Cloud State University where his research focused on focused on paleoenvironments of the interior Pacific Northwest.  During his time as a Ph.D. student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Geography, Paul conducted research involving soils, geomorphology, and biogeochemistry. His study areas spanned from Nebraska to Illinois, with a special focus on the Driftless Area of the Upper Midwest. As a University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Botany post-doctoral associate, he studied forest-grassland dynamics in the interior of Hawaii's Big Island. As a research associate with the University of California, Irvine, Keck-CCAMS Group Earth System Science Department, Paul researched the presence of carbon in microscopic grains of silica produced by plants, called phytoliths.

Paul's research is multidisciplinary, connecting the fields of soil science, geomorphology, ecology, and archaeology, and aims to better understand how terrestrial environments have changed through time. He also is keenly interested in linkages between biotic and abiotic systems - particularly plants and soils - and how they can influence each other. Paul will continue his work in both of these research areas, and looks forward to working with students and faculty at UWL to explore new research frontiers in the Upper Midwest.

In his off-time, Paul enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, biking, and reading.