Biography

I graduated from Duke University with a B.S. in Biology in 2012. Afterwards I worked as a field technician on multiple research projects in Northern Minnesota, Equatorial Guinea, Florida, and the Pacific Northwest. Being immersed in these landscapes fostered my current interests in landscape ecology, fire ecology, and disturbance ecology. In particular, I became aware of how certain areas of a forest would rebound from fire, while recovery in other areas seemed compromised. I began to wonder during long days in the field: What drives spatial patterns of forest regeneration? How do we know if these forests will ever fully recover? It was these questions (which are very geographical!) that encouraged me to enroll as a graduate student in the Geography Department. I recently completed my master's research that explored how fire enhances non-native grass invasion in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. As a PhD student I am studying:

- How do forest respond to multiple disturbances (fire, bark beetle, invasive species, and drought)?
- Can the way a forest is arranged in space tell us about its resilience to disturbance?

I have also worked as a teaching assistant on several courses at Penn State: GEOG 10 (Introduction to Physical Geography), GEOG 431 Web (Geography of Water Resources), and GEOG 1 (Global Parks and Sustainability). I am looking forward to interacting with you all and exploring the world of water resources through GEOG 431.

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.