As a member of Riparia - formerly the Penn State Cooperative Wetlands Institute- I'm part of a research group that focuses on science to inform policy and practice. My education, background, and current research projects all center around hydrology, but frequently branch off into other related topics. This spring and summer I'll be finishing up or continuing work on the following projects within Riparia and with other interdisciplinary groups at Penn State:

- Assessing Wetland Vulnerability to Climate Change for the USEPA Global Change Impacts and Adaptation Program
- Evaluating Wetland Ecosystems in the Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment Update (2015) for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
- Incorporating Rapid Ecological Assessment Techniques into the Center for Nutrient Solutions for the USEPA National Center for Environmental Research
- Assisting with the Riparia Wetland Database Summer Site Assessment Fieldwork

I received my undergraduate degree at Penn State in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering where I focused on stormwater management and interned with the State College Borough Engineering Department to assess the storm sewer system and downtown flooding problems. I returned to the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department at Penn State for my master's degree where I teamed with the Department of Plant Pathology and the USDA to measure agricultural compost emissions both on campus and on farms in eastern Pennsylvania. After working with an environmental risk assessment consulting firm for a few years, I joined the Biological Systems Engineering Department at Virginia Tech where I received my Ph.D. working with the University of Alaska Southeast on a National Science Foundation sponsored project researching landscape controls on glacial meltwater chemistry in Southeast Alaska.

Course Spotlight

pile of maps

Cartography and Visualization (GEOG 486) covers design principles and techniques for creating maps with contemporary mapping tools. Students will be introduced to future-focused application topics such as augmented and virtual reality, mapping with multivariate glyphs, the visual depiction of uncertainty, interactive geovisualization, and (geo)visual analytics, and decision-making with maps and mapping products. Visit the course.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Fritz Kessler

Dr. Fritz Kessler has taught various online courses in the Master's of Geographic Information Systems at Penn State since 2007. He's also an avid cyclist and musician. Learn more about Dr. Kessler, see what he has to say about online education, and hear him play a tune on the mandolin.