From Department Head Thomas Mote

Welcome to the spring 2015 installment of the Geography Department newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading about the events and accolades in the department over the past year. We are particularly proud of all of the impressive honors earned by our undergraduate and graduate students!

This past year was particularly eventful as the department hosted the 69th meeting of the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers (SEDAAG), the first time this organization has met in Athens since 1996. In conjunction with the SEDAAG meeting, the department hosted a reception in honor of the late geographer, Dr. Louis De Vorsey in the Special Collections Library. More news about both events appears in this edition of our newsletter.

We have a new addition to our department starting last fall. Nathan Freeman (Ph.D., 2009, UGA Political Science) became the department’s undergraduate academic advisor. Nathan completed a M.A. in political science from UGA in 2003 and a B.A. in political science from the University of South Alabama in 2001. Nathan has been working closely with our Undergraduate Studies Committee in advising and mentoring our undergraduate majors.

In another transition, Tommy Jordan, associate director of the Center for Geospatial Research (CGR), retired in December 2014 after working in the department for more than 32 years. Tommy’s primary interests are applications of LiDAR, close range photogrammetry, data integration, development of digital orthophotos from digital image data, including scanned aerial photographs and various types of satellite images and automated production of DEMs using stereocorrelation techniques. He has been involved with numerous projects that integrate softcopy photogrammetry, remote sensing, image processing and geographic information system technologies for a wide variety of applications. Tommy has taught several courses in the department, including Remote Sensing of Environment, Advanced Remote Sensing with GIS Applications, Analysis in Geographic Information Science, and Advanced Image Analysis/LiDAR. Tommy will continue to play an important role in the center as he works with Marguerite Madden, CGR Director, on several funded research projects. Congratulations to Tommy, and we are pleased that he will continue to be an important part of our department!

New colleague Suzanne Pilaar Birch joined the department in fall 2014 as a tenure-track assistant professor, with a joint appointment in the Departments of Anthropology and Geography. Suzie came to UGA from a postdoctoral position at Brown University following her Ph.D. at Cambridge University. Her research and teaching are in the area of zooarchaeology, stable isotope analysis, and paleoenvironmental change.

Jerry Shannon, who has been a limited term assistant professor in geography since fall 2013, has just accepted a position as a tenure-track assistant professor beginning Fall 2016. While most of his time will be in Geography, a small portion of his appointment will continue to be in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Thank you for taking time to follow the happenings in the Geography Department. We want to be able to reach out to as many of you as possible, and we hope you enjoy learning about the success and achievements of our students, staff and faculty. Please know that we would enjoy having you visit the department if you are on campus. You are always welcome to contact me if you are planning a visit.

- Tom Mote