Geography faculty awarded grants

Geography faculty awarded grants

Several faculty in the Department of Geography have been awarded grants that will further research in their field. The impacts of these grants will range from spreading education to funding undergraduate research assistant lines. According to Dr. Jennifer Waldron, Dean of the Graduate College, these grants “provide the resources to leverage the expertise of our faculty, nationally and internationally. These funds allow faculty to engage in scholarship and service that provide rich experiences for our graduate and undergraduate students. I appreciate the work of these faculty in securing grants and contracts. Congratulations!”

John DeGroote
GeoTREE Director and Instructor of Geography

The Geoinformatics Training, Research, Education, and Extension Center (GeoTREE) promotes student experience using geospatial technologies and works to train people in the public and private sectors. UNI GeoTREE Center students are carrying out environmental education programs  focusing on GIS, GPS, and other technologies using a one thousand eight hundred dollar grant from the Iowa Geographic Information Council entitled “Collaboration with AmeriCorps 4-H Environmental Education Program to develop STEM Geography and outdoor experiential lessons based around capture & publishing of 360 imagery in outdoor nature settings.”

The GeoTREE Center, in collaboration with the UNI Tallgrass Prairie Center,  also was awarded funding from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to develop multimedia virtual products based around 360 imagery and video for the Prairie on Farms and Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management Programs. Mr. DeGroote and Dr. Bingqing Liang were awarded a curriculum development grant from the Iowa Space Grant Consortium (NASA) to integrate Google Earth Engine in their GIS and Remote Sensing courses. The GeoTREE Center continues collaborative funded projects with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Linn County GIS Department.  

Dr. James Dietrich
Assistant Professor of Geography

Dr. James Dietrich was granted National Science Foundation funding for ‘Next-Generation Riverscape Mapping and Monitoring.’  He is the Co-Principal Investigator on the grant which totals approximately three hundred thousand dollars. Approximately sixty-three thousand dollars will be coming to UNI as a sub award.

His grant leverages the drone boat proof-of-concept with citizen science to support research and management/restoration of riparian systems. According to the project abstract, this grant allows the “acquisition of a portable Hyperspectral Imaging instruments for laboratory and field use” and will allow for the “training of students” and promote “interdisciplinary research”. Dr. Dietrich’s grant includes undergraduate research and he will be funding two undergraduate research assistants.   

Dr. Alex Oberle
Interim Department Head and Associate Professor of Geography

Dr. Alex Oberle received an Exploration Grant approximating in twenty-four thousand dollars from the National Geographic Society. He will be using this grant to “extend an inquiry-based geography/environmental science process to schools in Chile” in collaboration with colleagues from the University of La Serena, the Chilean Ministry of Education, and the community of NGS-funded Latin American conservationists and scientists. This grant will allow two ten-day trips to Chile for research collaboration and teacher training as well as funding educational materials and equipment, student field trips, and Chilean colleague’s in country travel to share the project with other universities and schools.  

Dr. Andrey Petrov
Director of ARCTICenter, Academic Director of GeoTREE Center, and Associate Professor of Geography

Under the direction of Director Andrey Petrov, the UNI ARCTICenter has been nominated to become a member of the University of Arctic and is expected to have that nomination accepted in September. The UNI Arctic, Remote, and Cold Territories Interdisciplinary Center (ARCTICenter) engages in research related to the Arctic and remote, cold regions with a focus on sustainable Arctic development. This membership will allow Dr. Petrov to continue leading in international collaborations in higher education and Arctic research.

Dr. Petrov was also elected to serve as Chair of the Social and Human Sciences Working Group of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC). According to the IASC website, the Social and Human Working Group’s shall look to expand “an understanding of Arctic social and human processes.