Geology/Geography 2009-2010 Annual Newsletter

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Message from the Chair
Message from the Dean
Dalias and Lillian Price Memorial Endowment
Tim Manning: 2009 Distinguished Alumni
Anthony Pleasant: 2008 Distinguished Alumni
Alumni Notes
Study Abroad Opportunities
Geology Hightlights
Geology in the Schools Outreach Program
Geography Highlights
Spotlight: GISci Laboratory
Retirements and Bereavements
Student Activities
New Acquisitions
Hiring, Tenure, and Promotions
Recent Graduates
Help Support the Department

Message from John Stimac, Chair

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome back old alumni and to welcome anew those who have only recently graduated.

During the fall of 2004, the University underwent accreditation review by the North Central Association (NCA). During the self-study process, it was noted that College of Sciences is committed to offering “high quality undergraduate education,” and to instill in its students the “knowledge, skills and values that enable them to become productive and responsible citizens with a capacity for reasoned judgment and effective communication.” The College’s mission also sets the standard for its departments. Thus, the overall goal of the Department of Geology / Geography is to “emphasize the application” of classroom principles learned in “real-work settings and laboratories” including field camps and internships and to “promote independent study and research.” Our alumni have certainly gained from the Department’s programs of providing independent and real-work settings for our students. Our internships have been instrumental for some participants. Keeping this in mind, it is my hope that we can further advance the department in the next year and prepare ourselves for continued excellence in Geography and Geology. Our recent external review (2008) resulted in the department preparing an excellent report for the Illinois Board of Higher Education program review last year. We expect to hear from the IBHE in this year or next. In an effort to advance the Department, I am currently preparing a NSF grant to begin a Professional Science Masters degree program based on our Interdisciplinary GISci Minor. If funded by the NSF, we hope to enroll the first cohort of students into the PSM program during the fall of 2010.

Considering the recent state cutbacks in funding higher education, the department has done an admirable job not only maintaining, but increasing the number of majors in both programs as well as expanding the equipment that we use for research and teaching. The number of majors has increased approximately fifty percent in the last few years and we now have close to 120 majors in geology and geography as well as students seeking their bachelor’s degrees leading to certification in science teaching and social science teaching.

We have been offering well-attended ESRI certification courses in GIS to our majors and interested local groups. Our field programs have been extensive, going throughout the United States (Black Hills, Wyoming, Yellowstone, Southwest, Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Missouri, Death Valley, southern California, Nevada, southern Appalachians, and Pennsylvania) as well as world-wide, with Study Abroad programs to Ecuador, Ireland and Scotland and Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, and Austria. Over the next few years we hope to offer interdisciplinary programs to Greece, Turkey, and Egypt.

Based on peer evaluation of our faculty, the Department continue to do a excellent job educating our students as well as preparing them for life after Eastern, whether that is graduate school or industry. With the help of you, our alumni, we can only get better. ■


Message from Dean Hanner

Greetings to Geology/Geography friends and alumni! As I am writing this, I am reminded that the technology for communicating to our friends and alumni have changed significantly in the last decade. We have Facebook accounts and read and write blogs that give us insights (maybe more than we want to know) about our colleagues and friends! When I began my career in higher education, pens, pencils, and carbon paper were our primary tools for preparing lectures. The faculty shared electric typewriters. We used the “thermofax” to make copies but only sparingly because the paper was pricey. Gradually we adopted and adapted new technology, and with each, new dimensions were added to classroom and labs. We used to have to wait until new information was published, printed, and distributed in journals or for the newest edition of a textbook before we could incorporate it into our lectures. Today faculty

bring up-to-date research and clinical applications to the classroom from the World Wide Web. Our students now have ready access to the most recent research theories, data, simulations, and research applications. The virtual environment allows us to bring the most advanced teaching materials into the classroom. And then there is communication. Cell phones, email, texting, blogging, Facebook, and Twitter significantly expanded the potential to be in touch and stay in touch with family, friends…and alumni! Staying in contact with you is important to us. Check us out on the Web, through Facebook, or strangely enough, we still enjoy receiving cards and letters from you, our friends and alumni! ■


Dalias and Lillian Price Memorial Endowment

Dr. Dalias Price, Professor Emeritus of Geography, recently passed away on 3 October 2009, at the age of 96. While attending the University of Illinois in the early 1930s, Dalias found weather observation to be one of his passions, and meteorology and climatology were important parts of his teaching while serving at several universities, including Southwest Missouri State, SIU-Carbondale, and culminating at Eastern Illinois University. In 1960 he officially began observing the weather in Charleston for the National Weather Service, and continued to do so until January 2008, a period of 48 years of continuous recording of which 30 years of his observations set the “climate normal” (1971-2000) that is in use today – a unique and exceptional accomplishment. He was a recipient of the “Thomas Jefferson Award” from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for his outstanding work in gathering and maintaining weather data at the official Charleston weather station, located in his backyard.

In the fall of 2008 the Department of Geology/Geography, in cooperation with the National Weather Service, took over the daily observations that Dalias had begun nearly a half-century ago. Each day students from the Department of Geology/Geography record weather data for transmission and inclusion in the National Weather Service’s weather forecasts and the National Climate Data Center's archive at NOAA. Such forecasts/climate data continue the long tradition in the department of service to the community, and in a small way in this case, to the nation.

Students who participate in this program do so because of their passion for meteorology and climatology and because they have hopes of one day being involved in the field of Broadcast Meteorology. Those students within the department who minor in Broadcast Meteorology or major in Geography and have a GPA of 2.5 or greater are eligible to apply for this endowment. Proceeds from the endowment would be used solely to supplement the stipend of students making the daily readings, compiling the data, and transmitting it to the National Weather Service.

The Dalias and Lillian Price Memorial Endowment memorial endowment will be an everlasting celebration of a generous man who unselfishly gave his lifelong service to this department, university, community, and state. Dr. Dalias Price was a significant and memorable role model we want our students to fully exemplify in their personal lives and careers beyond the gates of our university. ■


Tim Manning: 2009 Distinguished Alumni

It was the chair’s distinct pleasure to nominate Mr. Tim Manning for the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award. Tim graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in geology in 1993. Currently, Tim is the Deputy Administrator for National Preparedness at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). During his time in the department, Tim took part in all of the courses that got him outdoors. He enjoyed, and did well, in all his classes, but seemed to excel in those that had a field component to them. His love for the outdoors, and in geology, has served him well. I believe that his accomplishments since graduation from Eastern Illinois University reflect very well on his alma mater.

After graduation he moved to New Mexico in 1994 and served in several outdoor-related positions – firefighter, EMT, mountain rescue responder, and hazardous material specialist. Not to neglect his degree, Tim was also a hydrogeologist. By 2001 Tim had joined the New Mexico Office of Emergency Management, becoming the chief of its Emergency Operations Bureau and later being named as Director in 2003.

It was during the terrorists attacks of 11 September 2001, and subsequent concern of other potential attacks, that Tim coordinated New Mexico’s response to terrorism and the anthrax letter mailings. In 2003, Tim was again faced with a national challenge in his own backyard by being tasked to recover pieces of the Space Shuttle Columbia, which had disintegrated over New Mexico and Texas.

Appointed in 2007 by Governor Bill Richardson as the Director of New Mexico’s Department of Homeland Security, Tim worked with other state agencies in coordination with the federal government. His rise in the state did not go unnoticed by the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C. After President Obama’s election, Tim Manning was nominated, and subsequently unanimously approved, in 2009 as the Deputy Administrator for National Preparedness at FEMA. His responsibilities include preparation for federal, state, and local response to emergencies that may range from terrorist attack to natural disasters.

During Tim’s appointment hearings, Senator Jeff Bingaman (D, New Mexico) said: “Since his arrival at the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security Tim has met and exceeded expectations. He is a true professional who has steeped himself in the needs of the state at all levels. Because Tim has worked his way up through the state emergency preparedness system he understands the needs of communities of all sizes. Because Tim knows the importance of being prepared he has the best team possible and all the necessary information in place before a disaster hits. Tim’s emphasis on planning and education will serve him and the nation well as he moves to take a national role at FEMA. While the state is sorry to see him leave we know that the nation will benefit from his work.”

Tim resides in Alexandria, VA with his wife Sarah and daughter. ■


Anthony Pleasant: 2008 Distinguished Alumni

It was the chair’s great pleasure to nominate Mr. Anthony Pleasant (B.S. Geography, 2006) for the 2008 Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. Since his graduation from Eastern in May 2006, Anthony has been recognized as a “Top 20 under 40” by the Journal Gazette Times-Courier newspaper and has been praised by all the groups and committees with whom he works. He is currently Vice President of Coles Together, an organization that was instrumental in drawing FutureGen to Mattoon. Prior to accepting a position with Coles Together, Mr. Pleasant was the GIS Specialist and Assistant Community Planner for the Coles County Regional Planning and Development Commission.

I first met Mr. Pleasant during an EIU Open House at which time he struck me as a very knowledgeable, and driven, young man. Rather than have parents ask most of the questions, as is the case for many of the high school students attending the Open House, Anthony was the one who asked the questions. He was direct in his questions and indicated he understood the nature of Geographic Information Science (GIS), the concentration he wished to emphasize in the Geography major.

While a student in the Department of Geology/Geography, Anthony received numerous departmental and professional awards for his work (e.g., Ruby M. Harris Geography Scholarship, Geography Alumni Award, Grace Markwell-Meier Geography Scholarship, and the Illinois GIS Association GIS Student of the Year (2005) Award). Instructors commented on Anthony’s ability to get the assignment done on time, correctly, and always with a smile on his face. As a student at Eastern in Geography, Anthony took part in two Internships which later laid the groundwork for his current position.

Anthony Pleasant immediately put his degree to work in the local community – he became the GSI Specialist and Assistant Community Planner for the Coles County Regional Planning and Development Commission. While there, Anthony honed his GIS skills, brought the county up-to-speed with the technology, and became very familiar with local agencies, groups, and people. Anthony was quickly offered the position of Vice President of Coles Together based on his professional skills and ability to work with others.

Without Anthony’s expertise with GIS, the proposal to bring FutureGen to Mattoon would have failed. David Wortman, The Director of Public Works for the City of Mattoon said: “The FutureGen project has required an immense amount of gathering and presenting information, much of that information has to be presented in graphic format as an ArcGIS map. Simple items, such as determining parcel identification and land ownership, have been greatly facilitated by County's GIS system. But the mapping system was more valuable for less thought of items, such as locating wetlands in relation to our proposed site or showing the exact location of all capped and active wells in the area. In both of these cases Tony Pleasant was able to take the county's GIS base map, import data from the Illinois State Geological Survey website, and put the data together in a professional looking map in a matter of minutes.”

Without Anthony’s work, the FutureGen proposal would have been much less rigorous and most likely would not have resulted in Mattoon being chosen as the FutureGen site.

Anthony hasn’t forgotten Eastern since his graduation. He has given special talks to classes in the Department of Geology/Geography (e.g., GEG 3775 – Urban Geography, GEG 3780 – Land Use Planning, and GEG 3810 – Introduction to GIS I). He is also on the Strategic Planning Committee of Eastern Illinois University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, run through the Business and Technology Institute of the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences.

Anthony resides in Charleston, IL with his wife Kate. ■


Alumni Notes

From time to time, we get messages or visits from our alumni telling us of their adventures, lives and careers. Keep these coming – we love to hear from you and to share your successes with your fellow alumni!

We heard from Melissa (Stefos) Beck ’03 this past summer. She is happily living in Oklahoma working as a petroleum geologist. She says she loves her job because, “it’s like gambling really – what are the statistical probabilities that this will pan out and we won’t lose a large sum of money? My main job as an exploration geologist was with Devon Oil Company, and the goal was to make the company money. That sounds harsh, but the actual geology that you do is AMAZING. The job is exciting, and you have something new to do everyday. I go to work, and I have fun, so it’s not really work.”

This from Jon White ’83, who is working as a senior engineering geologist for the CO Geological Survey: “I saw the writing on the wall when Saudi Arabia opened the spigot in 1986 and left the oil and gas industry to work in the Engineering Section of the CO Department of Transportation. I consider myself very fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to work at the CO Geological Survey and have worked hard in continuing education, training and using new technologies to get where I am today. I laugh when thinking about using the plane table and alidade now, and doing hand calculations and manual plotting. Desktop computers revolutionized the science for those who were around before 1984. We use arcGIS and ERDAS 3D imaging tools for photogrammetric analyses and geologic mapping now.”

Philip Fauble ’86 dropped us an email this summer as well. He is working as a mining coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Philip says, “One of the biggest kicks I have ever experienced was helping to date the age of the Baraboo Quartzite metamorphic event. Due to its extreme compositional maturity (almost entirely quartz), no one could get a good date for the metamorphism. One day a coworker brought in a nice quartz crystal he found in the Hills and attached to it was a nice book of muscovite – something I had never seen before! From this discovery, we collected more samples and obtained a K-Ar date of 1.45 bya.”

Julie Luzwick ’01 wrote us to say she’s enjoying her job as a field geologist because, “I get to work outside as well as in the office. I have a pretty well-rounded career, and I suggest to anyone to do the same. You want to be able to have backgrounds in both field and office work as it will make you a better commodity in the business world.”

Andy Baker, ‘03, is currently a Lecturer of Geography in the School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University on the campus of IUPUI in Indianapolis. “In many ways, this is my dream job. Teaching at the introductory level, I get the chance to showcase the discipline of geography to students early in their college career. While teaching 240 students a semester can be a daunting task, I'm also currently in the dissertation writing stage towards a PhD in Geography from the University of Tennessee. My research analyzes how cities and regions use mega- or large sporting events to showcase themselves to new residents, jobs, and tourists. Apart from conducting dissertation field research and teaching lectures, I've recently assumed a departmental position as Internship Coordinator. This provides me with a great opportunity to help connect our Geography majors with future employment opportunities.”

Marcus Nichols, ‘06, is currently the Natural Resource Instructor at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario Oregon. "I have just begun my second year of a tenure track position here at TVCC. It has been a wonderful experience thus far and my new wife (Lana Nichols) and I love all the great natural areas the Northwest has to offer! I am currently working on several projects with the intent to increase student involvement within the department, increase enrollment, and increase transfer degree completion to Oregon State University and the University of Idaho. I have also been working closely with local natural resource agencies to establish yearly internship placements for department graduates. My experiences at EIU laid the foundation for my professional career."

Laura Gibbo, '09, is currently attending Ball State University in Muncie, IN where she is working towards her M.S. in Geography with the emphasis in GIS. "I feel that EIU's GIS courses have prepared me greatly for BSU. I have noticed that all the other graduate students in my GIS class, have not had extensive background in the Arc software. With that said, a lot of them are suffering in the class. I am a teaching assistant, so I have to get up in front of 30 students each day and lecture about physical geography. In my history of geographic thought class, we write a paper a week. I feel that my other classes at EIU really helped me to write better geographic papers as well as get used to giving presentations."

Ryan Smith, ‘09, “My experience with EIU’s Geology/Geography department will never be matched. I made a lot of friends with professors and colleagues alike. My focus was geographic techniques and spatial analysis. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew it involved mapping. Dr. Vince Gutowski was always there to help me and I especially remember his field trips. Vince was the first professor to challenge me academically like I have never been challenged before. His classes prepared many of us for school after our B.S. degree.”

Kelly Mull, ‘07, “I am still working on my thesis to fulfill a my master's degree, all of my course work has been complete. I hope to graduate in May with an Environmental Studies degree at the University of Illinois at Springfield. I also work full time in Collinsville, IL for Tetra Tech. I am a GIS Analyst II and I been with the company since April 2009. They are an environmental engineering company based out of Pasadena, California. We are currently working on the project Space Utilization with the United States Air force. There are always opportunities to travel and to do field work for this project, but mainly I stay in the office and compile the field work. I remember when I decided to become a Geography major, from an elementary education major, and I'm very thankful that I made the switch.”

Jason Biller, ‘02, “I have been at Chicago State University for the past seven years serving as the GIS Laboratory Coordinator. I maintain an eighteen PC lab and Server equipped with all current GIS and Remote Sensing software. Along with maintaining the lab I participate in the Graduate GIS Certificate program at CSU teaching introductory courses in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing. I have collaborated on several publications including a recent insert in The Chicago Wilderness Magazine entitled Discover Calumet where I performed cartographic design for the set of maps. Many of the Cartographic principles and techniques learned while taking classes at EIU helped guide me through the map production process and many other mapping projects. The internship program also provided excellent learning opportunities and gave me hands-on experience using Geographic Information Systems as well as provided a stepping stone into my studies in Graduate School.”

Scott Bradbury, '04, joined the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, in Peoria, in January 2008, as a GIS Specialist which also developed into a GPS specialist and data administrator. In addition, he also works as an adjunct faculty member at Illinois Central College, teaching courses on GPS and Geodatabases as part of the school’s Geospatial Technologies Certificate Program. During this same time he also had some exciting happenings outside of work. In May of 2008 he and his fiancé purchased their first home in Groveland, Illinois and three months later we married on a beach in Jamaica. They have a daughter named Allison.

Keith Darby, ’09, is enrolled in the Geography Master’s program at Northern Illinois University. He is exploring several topics for his thesis which will deal with urban change in Illinois. He feels the Geology/Geography Department at EIU “prepared me for my (graduate) courses and assignments that I am currently working on.” He believes that GIS training, such as the training he received at EIU, is essential for students preparing for a career or graduate school. He states, “most of the courses at NIU have a GIS component and I highly encourage students to take at least one GIS course so they have a basic background.” Overall, Keith believes the department did “an excellent job preparing me for my future.” ■


Study Abroad Opportunities

For the last 8 years, study abroad experiences have become an integral part of the education of many of our alumni. Trips to Latin America and Europe have been very popular with students in our department and from those across campus. Each trip has given participants unique perspectives on their education and how their understanding of the geology, geography, and culture of diverse locations is grounded well in the education they receive at Eastern.

The department has offered two distinct trips to Europe during this time period. Drs. Stimac and Cornebise have led five trips to Ireland and Scotland visiting sites such as Dublin, Blarney Castle (always helpful for lecturing), the Arran Islands, Cliffs of Moher, and Giants Causeway in Ireland, and Loch Ness in Scotland.

Drs. Stimac and Davis also conducted two trips to Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, and Austria. Highlights of these trips include World War II and Cold War history sites such as the Auschwitz Concentration Camps and remnants of the Berlin Wall. The trip also included stops at many cultural and historical sites such as the birthplace of Mozart in Salzburg, Austria, numerous cathedrals, and a trip to Wittenberg, Germany, the birthplace of the protestant reformation. Geological sites included a trip to a mining museum in the Harz Mountains of Northern Germany and the Wieliczka Salt Mines (a world heritage site) in Southern Poland.

Dr. Smith has led multiple trips to Ecuador. Highlights of this trip include a visit to the Galapagos Island, the tropical rainforest of the Amazon, and of course the equator. Future trips are planned for these destinations, as well as an interdisciplinary trip to Greece and Turkey led by Dr. Stimac. ■


Geology Highlights

Under the direction of Dr. Chesner, the Microscopy Laboratory has a new X-Ray Diffractometer (XRD) used for teaching and in research. The XRD is being cooperatively used with the Physics Department in the Radiation Physics option for their major. Dr. Chesner has also been instrumental in upgrading the microscopes used in the laboratory. The

Geomorphology/Sedimentology Laboratory has acquired a fairly new Ro-Tap Sieve Shaker, complete with a sound-dampening box and sieve set courtesy of the United States Government surplus. This equipment has already been pressed into service in the Sedimentology course to help students identify unknown samples through quantitative analysis. The Geology Field Camp continues to be a wonderful capstone experience for both EIU students as well as people from other schools. The Outreach program, under Dr. Bower’s leadership, is very active in presenting demonstrations to area schools to help excite future students about Earth Science. Because our majors are the ones doing the demonstrations, these students gain valuable experience in teaching that they can then take with them into graduate school or their own classroom.

Besides their teaching responsibilities, Geology faculty are quite active in research and service to their professions and the university as well. They have independently or collaboratively brought in over $50,000 in external contracts and grants. Funding agencies include the American Honda Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency. Over $32,000 of smaller internal grants was awarded to Geology faculty to fund their research and scholarly activities as well. Geology faculty have had 10 research papers published since 2002 in journals such as the Geological Society of America, Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, Ground Water, SEPM Special Publications and the Journal of Geoscience Education. They have given 26 presentations at professional meetings, many of which were co-authored with student researchers. The research of one geology faculty member was featured on the PBS program, NOVA – “Mystery of the Megavolcano”.

The geology faculty are active members of numerous national and international geological and engineering professional organizations as well as honor societies. They have served these organizations as officers, session chairs, and judges. Geology faculty have served as reviewers of NSF proposals, manuscripts submitted to geology journals, and geology textbooks. Two faculty members hold professional licenses in the state of Illinois. Service has been provided to several state and local organizations and committees as well. Furthermore, the Geology faculty provide extensive service to Eastern Illinois University and their home department. Indeed, the Geology faculty have been recognized for their teaching, research, and service contributions by receiving numerous University and other awards. ■


Geology in the Schools Outreach Program

Those of our alumni who are recent graduates know that there is an outreach program maintained by the Department of Geology/ Geography. This program trains and sends our students out to the area K-12 schools to give hands-on demonstrations in earth science principles. Since 1999 twenty-eight of our department students have given demonstrations in groundwater, erosion, minerals, and fossils to over 9000 K-12 students. Both

the K-12 and the department students benefit greatly from this program. Our students understand geology better and become poised public speakers. Originally the program was funded by the American Honda Foundation. Recently, that grant was depleted. The department has decided to fund future outreach efforts through development of an EIU foundation. The goal is to raise $40,000 and permanently fund the outreach program. We started soliciting contributions this past summer and have already received pledges totaling $10,000. Contributions include those from the Charleston Stone Quarry and the Quality Line Company (both local rock quarries), and Dr. Gary Wallace (professor emeritus of the Department of Geology/Geography). Further contributions are always welcome. Some employers may have matching funds. To make a contribution, contact Dr. Kathy Bower, 217-581-6245, ■


Geography Highlights

Geography faculty are successful in pursuit of grants and in disseminating knowledge once the grant work is completed. Over the past 6 years there have been 70 successful research, program enhancement, faculty development awards and contracts, totaling over $475,000. Research output included over 20 publications and 80 presentations in the same period. Service to our professional societies, the university, college and department, as well as international, regional and local organizations is also deemed important to our faculty. We have maintained membership in 41 different professional organizations over the past 5 years and participated in over 80 different types of service activities.

Geography majors are increasing in number and in their solidarity as a group. Along with the rise in number of Geography majors (71) over the past 6 years, there has been a similar rise in enrollments in upper-division, on-campus, geography courses. In 2002 we had approximately 225 students enroll in upper-division courses; this increased to approximately 625 students in 2007-2008. Thirty-six Geography majors have enrolled in individual, mentored undergraduate research courses, 26 undergraduate Geography students have

received over $14,200 in competitive research grants from the Honors College, College of Sciences, and the Markwell Fund and 22 have presented at professional conferences. The internship program has experienced growth over the past 6 years, allowing 83 internship experiences for Geography majors; the average intern earns approximately $2,100 per semester as well as gaining a wealth of on-the-job experience.

The strength of the Geography program lies in the dedication of the faculty to fulfill their primary duties with vigor, while maintaining a close relationship with our majors. Being responsive to changing trends in the discipline, academia, technology and job requirements has allowed us to implement dynamic curricular adjustments that enhance our program including 12 new courses, a new International Studies Concentration, revision of the Geographic Techniques/Spatial Analysis Concentration, 17 different Seminars/ Special Topics courses, 5 domestic summer Field Courses, 10 International Summer Field Courses and 14 ESRI certified workshops. We have strived to maintain our teaching and lab facilities and provide the hardware and software our students need to learn current procedures they will encounter on the job or in graduate school.

Development of EIU WeatherCenter to provide students of geography and broadcast meteorology a place to develop their skills before moving on into an actual studio. Currently, nine students (majors and non-majors) volunteer their time in the daily functions of the center. The facility also provides the general public, researchers, and students meteorological/ climatological data from its network of four digital weather stations across the city and in Terre Haute, Indiana. Three of the sta

tions were provided by GEG, FPM, and the Redden Fund. In October of 2008, National Weather Service requested the department to once again take official weather observations for the Cooperative Weather Observation program. The station was originally located on the east side of the Physical Science building until Dalias Price moved it to his home. Today, it is back on campus with a Stevenson shelter, rain gauge, and the newly installed frost gauge providing students an opportunity to get a hands-on experience in data collection.

Students currently enrolled in the Broadcast Meteorology Minor program have participated in the development of several documentary productions that have aired on WEIU-PBS and other PBS stations throughout the Midwest: “Expedition Nature’s Realm” (2007, an eight-part film currently in production), “An Illinois Winter” (2006), and “Stinging Dust & Forgotten Lives: The Dust Bowl” (2008). Students research and deliver topics that concern weather, climate, and issues of the natural environment. These productions also provide another form of outreach for the department.

Over the past 5 years the Geography faculty have been quite successful in receiving awards for performing their assigned duties at a high level of achievement. They have received 20 separate awards from the University, College of Sciences, Honors College, College of Continuing Education, ESRI and the AAG. Some faculty have received awards from the same entity several times, and, at times, several faculty have received awards in the same year. ■


Spotlight: GISci Laboratory

Several years ago we remodeled the Cartography Lab, and provided students with the advantages of a modern computer laboratory, with 23 student stations, full video capabilities at the podium, a ceiling – mounted, high-resolution projector to deliver lectures, a large format color laser printer, comfortable seating and new desks (for the most part). Enrollments in the Cartography and GIS 1 have more than doubled in the past 3-4 years. With the addition of courses in GIS 2

and Remote Sensing 1 & 2, we have three new courses to add to the curriculum in the Geospatial Analysis concentration. Recent hires Steve Di Naso (GIS) and David Viertel (Remote Sensing) have made great contributions in a short period of time. Steve is an authorized ESRI trainer and has led our outreach efforts by providing ESRI certification courses to approximately 200 participants over the past four years. The room adjacent to the GISci Lab is now a Special Projects facility with three new dual screen computer stations, a 60 inch plotter, 4 survey-grade Leica GPS units, 2 survey-grade total stations, 24 hand held GPS units and plenty of table and storage space. It is used by interns and faculty during long-term contract work and for students and faculty engaged in funded research activities. Activities by the faculty and students include collaborative mapping projects with over 25 with local municipalities, counties and government agencies, allowing students to gain valuable experience by interacting with working professionals. In the past 5 years our students have participated in 130 internship experiences and earned approximately $300,000. In the same 5-year period, Geography faculty have collaborated with over 30 undergraduate students engaged in research projects incorporating Geospatial Analysis. The students have taken advantage of the software and hardware available in the lab to create presentation materials they use to when presenting at various professional meetings. ■


Retirements and Bereavements

The profile of our department has changed greatly since our last newsletter. With sadness, we saw the retirement of Dr. Raymond (Ray) Pheifer, Dr. Alan Baharlou, Mr. Les Stoner, and Dr. Robert (Bob) Jorstad. This year is no different – we will be losing Dr. Jim Stratton and Dr. Vince Gutowski.

Dr. Dalias Price, Professor Emeritus of Geography, recently passed away on October 3rd, 2009, at the age of 96. While attending the University of Illinois in the early 1930’s, Dalias found weather observation to be one of his passions, and Meteorology and Climatology were important parts of his teaching while serving at several universities, including Southwest Missouri State, SIU-Carbondale, and EIU. In 1960 he began officially observing weather in Charleston for the National Weather Service, and continued to do so until 2008, a period of 48 years of continuous recording. He was a recipient of a Thomas Jefferson Award from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for his outstanding work in gathering and maintaining weather data at the official Charleston weather station located in his backyard.

Dalias began a career in the Geography Department at EIU in 1958 and retired as Chair in 1980. As a professor, he taught mainly Physical Geography, but he also delved into Human Geography, spending years researching and writing about the land-use techniques that made Amish farming both productive and sustainable. Throughout his university years he stressed the importance of field investigations in both the teaching and research aspects of the job he held dear…..Professor of Geography

Dalias once said that “everyone should do something for their community.” His work on compiling Charleston weather records for nearly a half century was a wonderful contribution.

We are very sad to report that Dr. Dewey Amos passed away at the age of 81 in May 2006. Dewey was a Professor of Geology at Southern Illinois University from 19551965 and at Eastern Illinois University from 1965 until his retirement in 1990. Dewey influenced many students and had a profound impact on the direction the Department has taken, having founded the Geology Program. Thanks to his generosity we have been able to offer scholarships to deserving students to help with their educational expenses. Unfortunately, this year also brought with it the passing of Dalias Price. See article on page 5 for more information on this interesting and influential man’s life. ■


Student Activities

Our current students are a large, vibrant group of talented and intelligent people. Individually, they take on internships, get engaged in research projects, conduct their own field excursions and enjoy study abroad trips. The student organizations are also busy, but representatives of the clubs have taken a moment to write a few words to let you know how they are doing.

President Mike Smallwood, Geoscience Club: “This year the Geoscience Club is planning to take a trip to the local quarry to collect fossils for Geoscience members to keep as well as get extras to sell at our annual rock sale. Similarly, we are planning a trip to Guthrie, Indiana to look for geodes. Beyond rock and fossil collecting, the Geoscience Club is currently working to create a large public display containing photographs, descriptions and locations of all of the rocks in the rock garden. The intention is that any passerby will be able to walk in the door by the rock garden and be able to find out more information about any of the rocks that interest them.”

Acting President Dan Eungard, Sigma Gamma Epsilon (Gamma Chi Chapter): “It has been a very exciting start of the year for us here at EIU. We have a total of 9 new members added to the fraternity which brings us to a total of 12 members! By the time this reaches you, we will have elected a new executive board and will be working hard to improve the Fraternity over the semester. Already, ideas are coming in for new and exciting fundraisers for us to conduct such as a geocaching treasure hunt. We look forward to an increased presence from SGE in the department and on campus as we expand our membership and raise overall interest in the earth sciences.”

Chapter Advisor Vince Gutowski, Gamma Theta Upsilon (Rho Chapter): “GTU has maintained activities to enhance the academic and social life of students in our department. After chartering Rho Chapter at EIU in 1940, 669 students have been initiated

into the local chapter. Vince Gutowski, who has served as advisor since 1985, will be sharing advisory duties with Mike Cornebise in 2009-2010.

One of the goals of GTU is to “strengthen student and professional training through academic experiences in addition to those of the classroom and laboratory”. Over the pastdecade, Rho Chapter has done quite well in offering a number of “casual learning experiences” to our students. Each Spring Break we encourage participation in a field experience to an area where the physical and cultural landscapes are different from the upper Midwest. We have taken several camping trips to the northern and southern Appalachians where students have engaged in whitewater rafting experiences, visited Grand Isle on the Gulf Coast, where students learned about the Mississippi River Delta (and the French Quarter), and this past year we examined the volcanic landscapes of northern New Mexico along the Rio Grande River gorge, the Valles Caldera National Preserve, Chaco Canyon National Historic Park and Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.

Another goal of GTU is “to encourage student research of high quality”. In the time since 2002, Rho Chapter has been able to fund 22 student research projects, with stipends of $300 to $500 each. Most of these students have been able to polish their projects and present them at a variety of professional Geography meetings. Rho Chapter has encouraged student participation at the Annual Meeting of the West Lakes Division of the AAG and will pay the transportation, registration and lodging expenses for the students. This year, 2009, we will travel to St. Paul, MN in late October for the meeting. Another popular venue for student research is the Annual Meeting of the Illinois Geographical Society; Mike Cornebise is very active in the organization and currently serves as Editor of the Bulletin of the IGS.

At the end of each semester, Rho Chapter sponsors the “Last Supper” dinner, where we meet at a local restaurant (Fall semester) or we cook out (Spring semester), and all say “Grace”, in honor of our benefactor, Grace Markwell Meier, who so graciously [pun] created an endowment for the benefit of Geography students, administered by the Advisor of Rho Chapter GTU, and another endowment that promotes faculty research, The Rose Zeller Award for Excellence in Geographic Research. We thank you, Grace, for your generosity, which will benefit many future generations of Geography students and Geography faculty.” ■


The Faculty

Brett Anderson

I have joined the Geology/Geography Department as an ACF to teach Weather and Climate and the Senior Seminar - Spaceship Earth. I began my college career by attaining by undergraduate degree in Environmental Geography from the University of Oklahoma in 1998. I then moved to Kansas State University where I received my Master’s in 2000. From there, it was on to the University of Kansas for my doctoral work. In the realm of geography I consider myself a historical-cultural geographer that focuses on cultural imagery. I am also increasingly interested in environmental history. Outside of school I enjoy exploring the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado every summer for a couple of weeks. In addition, I am a big music fan and Charleston’s proximity to Chicago, Indianapolis, Champaign, Bloomington, and St. Louis insures that my appetite for live music will be well satisfied.

Kathy Bower

I have been at EIU since 1998 and enjoyed every minute of it. I find interacting with my students to be energizing. I have developed and maintain a very successful geologic outreach program, training and sending our majors out to area K-12 schools to give demonstrations in geologic principles. I continue to do research in geoscience education and am actively involved with National Association of Geoscience Teachers to promote geoscience education. I have an active research project in sustainable planning and have involved geology majors as well as interdisciplinary students in different aspects of it. In 2008, I went on an Association for Women Geoscientists field trip to the highlands of Scotland where I enhanced my understanding of metamorphic processes. I also enhanced my understanding of Scotch whiskeys on the field trip through a great guide from the British Geologic Survey. My youngest child is now a senior in high school so I look forward to more travel in the future. With an eye to the Caribbean geology, I have taken up sailboating (in which I am still a rank beginner).

Diane Burns

Hi Folks! My name is Diane Burns, and I am the new sedimentologist/stratigrapher for the department. This is my third year teaching here; prior to this, I taught at St. Lawrence University (upper state NY) for 3 years as an annually contracted instructor. Quite a difference in climate between here and there, but I like the improvement. teach Introduction to Earth Sciences, Sedimentology, Stratigraphy and Oceanography. Research-wise, I am interested in a variety of sedimentological and environmental topics, but currently I am working on the diagenesis of soft body tissue in 70 mya clams with Dr. Mark Erickson (SLU). I have a publication coming out sometime this fall as an SEPM special publication on the use of microfossils as problem solvers, and I hope to have another manuscript off to the editors by Christmas. Next summer, three students and I will be heading out to the southwestern portion of Wyoming to try and unravel the story of the Eocene Bishop Conglomerate as well as investigate an extremely plant-rich sedimentary layer that is slightly older. A fourth student will be working on thin sections from my dissertation field area (Casper Formation, SE WY) to analyze whether or not the source area for the sandstone layers evolved during the 13 million years of formation of the strata. The area was tectonically active, so it should prove to an interesting study. We hope to have results and get the students’ work presented at the national GSA convention that following fall. In addition to these projects, I am actively trying to recruit new majors, putting together an Earth Science Week celebration (in conjunction with Dave Viertel and Cameron Craig) and helping with the mentoring program here that targets minorities and women in the sciences. If you have any suggestions on how to attract more majors or otherwise promote our program, I would be happy to hear them. My best to you!

Bob Cataneo

I am relatively new to the EIU faculty, joining the Geology/Geography Department in January 2004, after receiving an M.S. in Natural Sciences from Eastern in December 2003.

Since the study of the atmosphere has been my passion for the last 200 years (yes, that long), teaching the Weather/Climate course at EIU is a natural for me. I also teach two sections of an Introduction to Weather course at Parkland College in Champaign. I have found the Spaceship Earth-the Present State, Senior Seminar course highly stimulating as well (are we approaching the "Easter Island" point, yet?).

I look forward to the opportunity of teaching many more years at EIU; the faculty, staff, and students are an absolute pleasure to work with.

Craig Chesner

Greetings alumni! I hope you are all doing well. As usual, I have been quite busy teaching my classes, directing the Geology Field Camp (since 1999), and continuing my research. Some of the highlights from the past several years include: acquisition of an X-Ray Diffractometer, offering a new course in X-Ray Diffraction, Spring Break trips with Volcanology students to the Soufrierre Hills Volcano in Montserrat and Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, new research at San Miguel Volcano in El Salvador, continued research at Fuego/Meseta volcanoes in Guatemala, new research at Toba mapping the lake bottom with sonar and studying dissolved gas contents in melt inclusions, a sabbatical at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, and appearances on science programs that featured the Toba Caldera including: NOVA “Mystery of the Megavolcano”, The History Channel – “Volcanic Winter”, and Animal Planet’s “Hell on Earth” and “Fire and Ice”. In addition, I still take the annual field trips to Upper Michigan, the St. Francois Mountains, and the Pb-Zn Mines in southeastern Missouri where many of you confirmed your interest in Geology, field trips, campfires, and annual rituals. I always look forward to hearing about you and your lives, so keep in touch!

Michael Cornebise

I have been at EIU since 2000 and am beginning my tenth year in the department of Geology and Geography (it has gone by way too fast!) I completed my Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and my teaching and research interests include cultural, population and historical geography with regional specialties in North America, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Teaching-wise, I focus on human geography courses that include World Regional Geography, Honors Cultural Geography, the U.S. and Canada regional course as well as several elective offerings in the major and the Spaceship Earth Senior Seminar. I have also offered (along with Dr. John Stimac) a Study Abroad Field Experience in Ireland and Scotland that ran successfully 4 years in a row. Additionally, I participated in an EIU study abroad program in Maastricht, Netherlands in 2007. In 2008, I team-taught a course with Anthropologist Don Holly entitled “Intellectual Landscapes” that was well-received by students and will be proposed as a permanent course offering at EIU.

In terms of research, I have successfully developed new lines of study and have published articles related to three separate projects. The first article dealt with a study on Belizean migration in the Chicago-land region. Secondly, I published an article on the geography of the “Swedish” neighborhood of Andersonville in Chicago (with Dr. Ola Johansson). Most recently, I was part of a team effort that published a study on the Central Illinois Amish community (along with Dr. Jim Davis and two former undergraduate students, Mallory White and Laura Giboo). I presently have an article under review dealing with the concept of neighborhood “branding” in post-Industrial urban societies (with Dr. Johansson).

I currently serve on the Executive Council of the Illinois Geographical Society (IGS) and the advisory board of the Illinois Geographic Alliance. I am also the editor of the IGS Bulletin, the biannual peer reviewed journal of the Society.

Outside of the office, I am married with two children (Sammy: 6 and Sofia: 4) and am presently building a new house on Charleston’s western fringe.

Cameron Craig

Salutations! I have been at EIU since 2005 and enjoying every moment of it! I am working on my Ph.D. in Physical Geography at Indiana State University with the emphasis on climatology, physical geography, and geographic education. My dissertation focuses on replacing the term paper with a geographic documentary project that encompasses writing, visual arts, speaking, and critical thinking to enhance students' understanding of the world around us. Since arriving at EIU, I have taken the broadcast meteorology minor under my wing and put EIU on the Broadcast Meteorology map. Each fall I take students to the National Weather Association conference to have their weather broadcasts critiqued by professionals across the nation and the Weather Channel. I am excited to say that professionals are taking notice of the talent that is being produced here in the department! I have developed a collaboration between WEIU TV and our department in providing students additional opportunities to practice their future profession in broadcast meteorology. With the acquisition of digital stations here in Charleston and Terre Haute, Indiana and the return of the NWS Cooperative Observation station on campus, we continue to provide the general public, Charleston newspaper, and faculty/students with data and various weather information. Outside of my duties, I along with Kevin Jeanes, undergraduate geography major, established a studio production company, Tempestas et Caelum Productions, to provide students further opportunities in researching and producing documentaries on environmental, historical, and climatological topics. "Expedition Nature's Realm" and "Stinging Dust & Forgotten Lives: The Dust Bowl" have aired on PBS stations throughout the Midwest putting the department in the spotlight of other venues.

Jim Davis

I joined the Geology/Geography department in the fall 2003 semester. My emphasis within geography is in cultural geography, economic geography, and tourism. Prior to my appointment at Eastern, I taught for three years at Southwest Missouri State University.

Since arriving at Eastern, I have taught courses in Cultural Geography, Economic Geography, Geography of Africa, Geography of Europe, Geography of Tourism, and Human Impacts on the Environment. My most recent course proposal is for a Geography of Sports class that will be offered in the spring semester. I have also co-led two study abroad courses to Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, and Austria with Dr Stimac. I am planning on leading this trip again in 2011. My research has focused on rural economic development. Dr Cornebise and I recently published an article with two undergraduate students on the influence of the Amish on local tourism development in the Arthur and Arcola, IL area.

Outside the classroom, my wife Tammy and I have two daughters, Amanda and Emily. I also enjoy playing golf, traveling, and coaching my daughter’s various sports teams.

Steve DiNaso

Presently I'm working on my Ph.D. at Indiana State University and will hopefully make ABD by the end of SP2010. It's been a long road to say the least. My geology/ archaeometry research using ICP-MS and ESEM-EDS on Morrison Formation clays from southwestern Utah and southeastern Colorado keeps me busy outside of the University at Indiana State University and at the Beckman Institute in Champaign. On a more recent note of the many new and ongoing projects: a local Ground Penetrating Radar survey at the Five Mile House here in Charleston to look for former building structures and graves; the Trail of Tears Project - an NSF funded / Cherokee Nation Sponsored geophysical survey of the Campground Cemetery using Electromagnetic Induction, Cesium Vapor Magnetometry, and Ground Penetrating Radar, Hydric Soils Mapping in the Embarras River Watershed, and our 6th comprehensive survey of a 1/4 mile stretch of bendway weirs along the Embarras River....the vast majority utilizing geophysical methods, survey-grade GPS and Geographic Information Science.

On campus, The EIU Geographic Information Sciences Lab has engaged in several large-scale infrastructural mapping projects which has given many students an opportunity to learn hands-on field mapping techniques through application of precision Global Positioning Systems and Geographic Information Systems technology. Our program has grown steadily over the years and our research and expertise in GPS and GIS has been well acknowledged with new projects coming in regularly. We've continued to offer our ESRI Instructor-Led classes in the GISci Lab and have found that it has helped with students' placement in the job industry as GIS is now mainstream in the Geology and Geography disciplines among others. Our GIS classes have grown from single sections with largely Geography majors to multiple sections of GIS I and II with students from a wide variety of disciplines - Sociology, Biology, Information Systems, Geology, Geography, etc. I hope all of you are doing well......

Vince Gutowski

Hello and goodbye to all. Hello, because the department has been slackin’ a bit with the newsletter output, and goodbye, because I will be retiring in August of 2010. I hadn’t thought much about retirement until a few years ago, when I decided to set a date, thus allowing time for the reality of the event to set in, prior to it actually happening. In the meantime I have remained active in teaching, research and service…..I had set my mind to continue working at 100% till the day I walk out the door. As I look into the rearview mirror of my career I am satisfied with what I have accomplished with the help of my students and colleagues. I have tried to introduce interested students into the world of research and professional activity; the reward was seeing many of them successfully enter and complete graduate studies. With the group efforts of many colleagues, we revived the Geography program and it now has the 3rd largest number of Geography majors in the state. My activities with GTU have been especially rewarding. Because of the generosity of Grace Markwell Meier, a charter member of Rho Chapter GTU, we have been able to assist the careers of many students in the department, something we would have struggled to do otherwise. I have continued to initiate and complete numerous funded research projects, most dealing with applied geography topics centered around natural resource conservation. This semester I am completing a 10 year study on a stream bank erosion mitigation project on the mighty Embarras River near Greenup, IL, and have initiated a project dealing with the identification of potential wetland restoration sites in the 11 county area comprising the Embarras River watershed. About 5 years ago we had the opportunity to hire one of our graduates, Steve Di Naso, to help us with the techniques concentration in the Geography Major. Steven had been working with me on scores of research projects since his graduation from our department, and the collaboration has continued after his hire. It has allowed the Geography program to expand its offerings in the GISci area, as well as obtain contracts with local municipalities to initiate infrastructure mapping efforts. These contracts have allowed us to hire our students to work as interns, giving them important experience in support of their career aspirations. Steve’s efforts have been invaluable in the promotion and progress of GISci efforts in the Geography program. As part of my planning efforts towards retirement, I took into consideration how students have benefited from the various departmental and university scholarship and research funds available. So….Pam and I began sending some money to the University Foundation in the form of the Vincent and Pamela Gutowski Fund. This fund will provide annual scholarships for generations of students who come through the department. We felt that when our careers/lives were over, we would still be making a difference in student lives. We thank you all for allowing us to be a part of your lives, and we hope we made a positive contribution to the students and departments we served. Thank you all for the good times!!

Katie Johnson

I am new to Eastern this year. Spending the last year in Auckland, New Zealand employed as a post-doctoral researcher, I am a micropaleontologist by training. My duties at Eastern are dominated by my role as the new Science Teacher Certification Coordinator. I am pleased to have a position that meshes my interests in geology and science education. Before I pursued my Ph.D. at The Ohio State University, I taught middle and high school science in Alabama and New Jersey.

While I am keeping plenty busy teaching classes at Eastern, I also like to keep a hand in some research activities. Currently, I am continuing to investigate responses of foraminifera to late Neogene paleoclimate. On the science education side of things, I am collaborating with a group of middle school curriculum developers to create materials for use with middle schoolers through the education and outreach group at the ANDRILL (Antarctic Geological Drilling) Program.

Belayet Khan

I have been fairly busy with my teaching, research, and service commitments in the department. My regular teaching on campus includes courses in climatology, weather and climate, quantitative methods, geography and culture of Asia, and spaceship earth. In addition, I teach several off-campus courses and workshops on climate change, weather forecasting, and severe weather for the Continuing Education program. These courses are mostly offered in Champaign. For the past few semesters, however, I have taught more courses in River Grove, Illinois. The majority of our off-campus students are adults, many of whom have a wealth of life experience to bring to the classroom. It is always a pleasure to interact with them in the class.

My research endeavors primarily concentrate on climate variability and weather anomalies with special emphasis to South Asia. I have presented papers on weather anomalies, El Niño occurrences, and climate change in the annual meetings of the Association of the American Geographers (AAG). I voluntarily offer my services to the department, college, university, and the community and frequently give invited talks to classes both on campus and outside the university. I organize the National Geography Awareness Week and invite speakers from other universities to our department every year in November. Among other services to the university, I also participate regularly in student club activities. I am an active participant in the annual summer camp teaching sciences to minority students through the Minority Teacher Identification and Enrichment Program (MTIEP). In the past, I have taken a group of students to a field trip to the southwestern United States to explore some of the premier National Parks including Death Valley, Bryce Canyon, and Zion. It was a remarkable and thrilling experience for both me and my class to visit the region that demonstrates such spectacular variations of geographic and geologic landforms.

I have been fortunate to receive Achievement and Contribution Awards (ACA) for teaching in past years including in 2008, totaling eleven such awards. I have also received the College of Sciences Teaching Excellence Award in the annual ScienceFest, Paul Overton Award for Outstanding Service to Off-Campus Students, Rose Zeller Excellence in Research Award, Teacher/Scholar Award from the department of geology/geography, and others in recent years. The Association of American Geographers too recognized me as an outstanding teacher in its annual meeting. I immensely enjoy working with the students in both classroom and outside the classroom settings, and give my sincere thanks to my colleagues in the department for their collegial support.

Our family enjoys travelling and we have made trips to several countries in recent years including Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, India, Bangladesh, and Australia,. With regard to my children, my two daughters have graduated from college in the past two years. My older daughter decided to gain experience in her business economics/finance field of studies after graduation as a Chancellor Scholar from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and is currently employed as a full-time financial advisor. The younger one worked in research for a year since graduating from the University of Chicago and started medical school this fall. My son is now fifteen years old, and he is a junior at the Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA) in Aurora, Illinois. While each of us is in pursuit of our own work, my wife puts her efforts to take care of all of us, and we would certainly be lost without her.

Chris Laingen

Hi! I’m Chris Laingen – a new Biogeographer – and I’m very glad to be here at EIU. I am originally from Odin, Minnesota. My undergraduate and master’s degrees are from South Dakota State University (’00 & ’03) in the Department of Geography and my PhD is from the Department of Geography at Kansas State University (’09). While at EIU, I will be teaching Weather & Climate, Biogeography, Human Impacts, Natural Resource Conservation, and Agricultural Geography. My research interests include regional-rural geography, land use & land cover change, and coupled human & natural systems. I’m interested in how people use rural environments and how those uses have changed over time. I love making and using maps to show the patterns and trends of how people interact with the landscape.

Before coming to EIU I was a Lecturer in the Department of Geography at The Ohio State University. My wife, Sam, also works at EIU as an Athletic Trainer with the Women’s Volleyball & Basketball teams. We’ve been married since 2007 and have one son, Duke, who is a lab/boxer mix.

Godson Obia

My name is Godson Obia. I am a fifteen-year veteran of the Department, having joined the faculty in 1994 after a seven-year stint at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. In October 2000, I went off the beaten path by accepting to serve as associate dean of the College of Sciences at Eastern Illinois University. I still remain in that position. I have found my job to be as rewarding as it is challenging. After nine years as an academic administrator, I remain committed to the lofty goals of the Department and support new strategic initiatives in GISci to make the department more competitive. I stay in touch with the faculty and faculty leadership and offer advice and encouragement, when needed, to support departmental efforts to recruit and retain talented students and faculty. I have an active research and publication agenda and belong to several professional associations to enrich my scholarly and leadership experiences. Although these activities must play a diminished role in the life of a dean, they are important to me if I must lead by example.

My academic interests continue to focus on environmental and land use issues, African agricultural development, and applied economic geography. I co-teach Global Threats and Problems, an interdisciplinary course that draws from geography, economics, political science, and sociology to explore and explain human impacts on the global environment. I look forward to teaching the Geography of Africa when my administrative duties subside; this expectation is, at this time, wishful thinking! By the way, if you teach the Geography of Africa, give a look at the book to which I contributed: Geography of Sub-Saharan Africa, edited by Samuel Aryeetey Attoh, Third Edition, 2010, Prentice Hall.

Betty Smith

The past year has been fun and productive as I continue to grow professionally and interact with students and colleagues. My research specialization is urban density and my regional focus is Latin America complemented by faculty-led trips to Ecuador. I teach many large sections of Cultural Geography and enjoy the enthusiasm of the lively and diverse students. I enjoy teaching Senior Seminar Spaceship Earth: The State of the Planet in which we are discussing the new book by Thomas Friedman called “Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America.” I also teach Urban Geography, Land Use Planning and Latin America.

September 2008 began well with promotion to full professor, a process that takes 10 years or more of honing the skills of teaching, research and service. Since coming to EIU in 1995 I have authored over 20 scholarly articles and presented papers at many national and international conferences. This past year I published research results, presented papers at state, regional, and national conferences, supervised student research and engaged in field work in Ecuador. In October 2008 “Application of Seriation to Relative Urban Housing Quality Classification in Ecuador and Bolivia,” was published in the refereed Papers of the Applied Geography Conferences. “Ancient Trail Mapping in Highland Ecuador” research report was accepted, presented and published in July 2009 in the Digital Proceedings Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) Education User Conference. Also in May 2009 I submitted “Urban Population Density in Three Intermediate Size Cities of South America,” which was published in October 2009. Based upon expertise in population patterns in Latin America, I was invited in March 2009 to contribute a 3000 word paper titled “Population and Urbanization in Latin America,” for publication in Geographische Rundschau, English Edition, Braunschweig, Germany.

I like to involve students in my research. A little over a year ago I was in the highlands of Ecuador doing field work to map ancient mountain trails with geography major Troy Clark from August 12- 21, 2008. Ecuadorian geographer Dr. Mario Andino and local informants helped us to identify and map a small portion of an east-west Andean-Coastal pre-colonial trade route west of the Pan-American Highway in Cotopaxi Province. Eleven points were placed on digital topographic maps using GIS, GPS and a laptop.

Another fun part of my job is leading and teaching the 4-credit course Environment, Society and Culture of Ecuador for 3 weeks each summer. We have great adventures in the Amazon rainforest, the Galapagos Islands and the highlands of Ecuador. The next trip is planned to depart Chicago O’Hare Airport July 27, 2010. You can find more information at . The trip is open to friends and adult family and often attracts participants from across the country and from other universities.

Often students become enthused about pursuing research based upon their experiences in Ecuador. Students also become involved working on my personal projects such as “Ecuador Migration Patterns” and “Settlement Configuration and Density Analysis of Two Ecuadorian Cities” for which I received EIU grant support from the Rose Zeller Excellence in Research Award and EIU Council of Faculty Research Award. I am presently looking for a geography major to help analyze a recent collection of surveys from the Galapagos Islands comparing resident and tourist perceptions of the environment.

I recently returned from an international congress in Quito, Ecuador as a Geography delegate from the USA at the meeting of PAIGH (Pan-American Institute of Geography and History), a specialized organization of OAS (Organization of American States). Interacting with geographers in Latin America broadens my geographic awareness of environmental, social, economic and cultural issues, multicultural ethnicity, population growth, and issues of climate change. This enhances opportunities for future faculty/student research collaboration. The interdisciplinary and international aspects support integrated learning objectives of EIU. Each year brings new opportunities to grow and enjoy my academic community. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be a member of the Department of Geology and Geography at EIU. Thank you.

John Stimac

I came to Eastern Illinois University during the fall of 1999 from the University of Oregon in order to fill the position made available after Dr. Gary Wallace’s retirement.

Having gone to school on the East Coast (University of Virginia, ’85), in the Midwest (Fort Hays State University, ’89), and finally on the West Coast (Oregon, ’96), I can say that I have finally found my home. While teaching structural geology and tectonics in the middle of corn and soybean fields poses a challenge, it can be done. I have to admit that my Thanksgiving Break Structural Geology trips to Death Valley with the students helps them see the real world of deformed rocks! The trip we took to the Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Nevada) for Tectonics was also an eye opening experience for them since I had the pleasure of bring Dr. Matt Brueseke (now at Kansas State University) along. At the time, Matt was filling in for Dr. Chesner who was on sabbatical. Since arriving at Eastern I have been fortunate to make many friends in the department and elsewhere. The study abroad trips to Ireland/Scotland and Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, and Austria are co-lead with Drs. Mike Cornebise and Jim Davis, respectively. Dr. Lisa New Freeland, my new wife and Associate Professor of Sociology here at Eastern, and I plan to offer a study abroad to Greece, Turkey, and Egypt in the summer of 2011. I think the travel bug may be infectious since my new step-daughter will be doing a study abroad to Morocco this coming winter break.

Jim Stratton

After 35 years in the Department I have decided to hang up my rock hammer. With a total of 35 years at EIU and 3 years at Shippensburg State University in Pennsylvania, 38 years in higher education is probably enough. Hopefully not a lot of damage has been done. I was talking with a friend the other night and realized that I have not been out of the university environment since 1961; either teaching or attaining degrees. What a hoot! I would do it all over again and again. I plan to continue doing research in bryozoan systematics and hopefully publishing some new functional morphology studies on the Pennsylvanian bryozoans. I will spend my retirement sailing the seas as a recently designated special lecturer for more than seven luxury cruise lines, in Big Sur, and, of course, in the woods south of Charleston. To all of you….Thanks! It’s been a hell of a roller coaster ride at EIU but worth every minute of it because of YOU!!!

Dave Viertel

I joined the faculty at Eastern in the Fall of 2007 and have greatly enjoyed my first two academic years at EIU. It has been exciting to watch our program grow with new minors (GIScience and Broadcast Meteorology) and an expanding selection of course offerings.

I grew up in Austin, Texas and spent several years in San Antonio prior to my move to Illinois. After attending Southwest Texas State University for Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Geography, I decided to pursue further studies in the field. In 2008, I received a Ph.D. in Environmental Geography from Texas State University.

My research interests include remote sensing, terrain modeling, studies in urban morphology, and the dynamics of remotely-sensed sociodemographic measures. Since arriving at Eastern I have taught Remote Sensing I and II, Imagery Applications, Weather and Climate and Spaceship Earth. One of the highlights of the job has been working with students on applied research projects within the department, from studies in Amish land-use patterns to research on campus expansion through the years at EIU.

Whenever I get spare time I love to travel (being a Geographer is a great excuse for hitting the road). I’m married, and my wife and I welcomed a new little geographer, Ella Viertel, to the world a few days before Thanksgiving.


New Acquisitions

The Department and University have been very fortunate that Mr. Steve DiNaso brought with him the Chester and Jacqueline Bulat Mineral Collection. The collection, donated to Mr. DiNaso and on loan since fall 2004, is on the second floor of the Physical Science Building, and has over 2000 specimens from around the world. Specimens will be rotated through the display cases in order that they are all eventually exhibited.

Upgrades and new equipment over the years sees a new Geographic Information Analysis (GIA) Laboratory in which the Geographic Information Sciences (GISci) courses are taught. Along with Dr. Gutowski, Dr. Viertel, Mr. DiNaso teaches GIS to students from our department as well as from through out the College of Sciences. Mr. DiNaso also offers the students the opportunity of receiving ESRI certification – a major step in getting the laboratory certified as an ESRI Learning Center.

Under the direction of Dr. Chesner, the Microscopy Laboratory has a new X-Ray Diffractometer (XRD) used for teaching and in research. The XRD is being cooperatively used with the Physics Department in the Radiation Physics option for their major. ■


Hiring, Tenure, and Promotions

The Department has been very fortunate in that all faculty members who applied for tenure and promotion were granted it. Tenure-track faculty members who went up for their annual review also passed with flying colors.

  • Dr. Betty Smith was granted tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2000 and promoted to Professor in 2008.
  • Dr. Kathleen (Kathy) Bower was granted tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2004 and promoted to Professor in 2009.
  • Dr. John Stimac was granted tenure and promotion in 2005. As Associate Professor, John is currently the Chair of the Department of Geology/Geography.
  • Dr. Cornebise was granted tenure and promotion in 2006.
  • Dr. Davis was granted tenure and promotion in 2009.
  • Dr. David Viertel has successfully finished his second year in the department and will be applying for tenure in four years.

New to the staff of Geology/Geography are Dr. Diane Burns, Dr. Chris Laingen, and Dr. Katherine (Katie) Johnson. Dr. Burns was an Annually Contracted Faculty member with the department for two years before being hired to a tenure-track position this year. This year is also the first years for Dr. Chris Laingen and Dr. Katie Johnson.

In terms of hiring, the Department was fortunate in the we have hired an excellent Academic Support Professional, Mr. Steve Di Naso, as well as excellent Annually Contracted Faculty – Mr. Brett Anderson, Mr. Robert Cataneo, and Mr. Cameron Craig. ■


Recent Graduates

In recognition of their hard work and achievements, we applaud these recent graduates – congratulations, newest members of the alumni!!

Ackerman, Jessica ’06 Anselment, Mark ‘08 Bailey, Scott ‘06 Bennett, Victor ‘06 Biedron, Gregory ‘06 Bierman, Joseph ‘08 Bomer, Patricia ‘07 Boron, Kathy ‘07 Browning, Michael ‘07 Bullifin, Kyle ‘07 Callicoat, Jeffrey ‘08 Ciuffini, Phillip ‘07 Clark, Tamara ‘06 Coalson, Eric ‘07 Cribbet, Sherry ‘07 Crisman, Brian ‘06 Elliott, Kevin ‘06 Ens, Rachel ‘07 Friedman, Sarah ‘08 Galateanu, Emanuela ‘08 Garner, Kelsey ‘06 Giuliani, Lisa ‘06 Grudzinski, Bartosz ‘08 Gulling, Evan ‘07 Gurley, Brandon ‘08 Hahn, William ‘07 Hamer, Rayburn (Chase) ‘08 Handzus, Aaron ‘08 Harris, Jamie ‘08 Hayes, James ‘06 Hendon, Andrew ‘08 Hopper, Timothy ‘08 Horwitz, Jessica ‘06 Huigens, Derek ‘08 Koonce, Jason ‘07 Kreitz, Matt ‘06 Leszko, Andrew ‘08 McDermott, Gary ‘08 McNamer, Scott ‘07 Meredith, Meghan ‘08 Milburg, Ashtyn ‘08 Miller, Jeffrey ‘06 Mull, Kelly ‘07 Nichols, Marcus ‘06 Osburg, Tim ‘06 Pantoja, Elda ‘08 Partlow, Wayland ‘06 Pezza, Michael ‘07 Pine, Cory ‘07 Pleasant, Anthony ‘06 Pleskunas, Neal ‘07 Poling, Brett ‘07 Queer, Robert ‘07 Reddick, Jared ‘08 Rhoads, Travis ‘07 Roberts, Gregory ‘07 Rubsam, Jared ‘08 Ruckman, Brian ‘07 Sager, Brittney ‘08 Scarlett, Aaron ‘06 Schuette, Mark ‘08 Shabrou, Patricia ‘08 Sims, Tyler ‘07 Small, Jason ‘07 Smith, Ryan ‘06 Snyder, Joseph ‘08 Stark, Mallory ‘06 Stawarski, Andrew ‘08 Tissiere, Taryn ‘07 Tonnesen, Drew ‘08 Toth, Natalie ‘08 Wagner, Sarah ‘06 Watts, Matthew ‘07 Zinck, Laura ‘06

Have a success story to share or want to update your contact information for the website? Phone: 217-581-2626 Email:


Help Support the Department

Would you like to help the Department in its mission of helping students learn about, and prepare for, a career in geology, geography, and the earth sciences?

A variety of opportunities exist. These range from simple donations to providing advice, datasets, or job opportunities for students. We are particularly seeking to increase the funds available for student support. Gifts to the Geology/Geography Gift Account allow us to:

  • Purchase equipment for faculty/student research;
  • Develop an undergraduate research fund;
  • Support undergraduates presenting research at scientific conferences;
  • Support innovative, inquiry-based laboratory exercises for class.

If you would like to make a contribution, several options are available. The simplest way is to send a check to the Department of Geology / Geography (see printable form at the end of the newsletter). Online donations with a credit card can be done via the University web pages at Please remember to direct the gift to the Department of Geology / Geography. Other options for contributions are listed at the Office of Development's "Ways to Give" page, These gifts are usually tax deductible.

If you wish to support a particular scholarship or area in our department, that is also possible. In general, unless specified otherwise, we allocate most of our gifts towards student support and we have several pre-existing funds.

Existing scholarships and funds:

  • General gift account – unrestricted use towards student support or equipment purchases
  • Geography Alumni Award – sophomore or junior in Geography
  • Geography of Ecuador and Latin America Enhancement Fund -geography majors.
  • Geology Alumni Award – sophomore or junior in Geology
  • Dewey H. Amos Scholarship – outstanding junior in Geology or Earth Science
  • Jon and Diana Giffin Geologist Scholarship – at least sophomore Geology major with plans to continue in geology
  • Ruby M. Harris Award – senior in Geology, Geography, or Earth Science
  • Walter H. and Dorothea V. McDonald Scholarship – junior in Geography or Earth Science
  • Grace Markwell Meier Award – outstanding member of Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU)
  • Errett and Mazie Warner Presidential Award – juniors or seniors in Geology, Geography, or Earth Sciences
  • John George Wozencraft, Jr. Memorial Award – either mathematics (even years) or Geography (odd years)
  • Vincent P. & Pamela R. Gutowski Scholarship – our newest endowed scholarship is to be given for the first time this year to students majoring in Geography who show outstanding scholarship and dedication to the field of Geography.
  • Geology in the Schools Outreach Program - funds for this program go towards supplies and models used in the classroom demonstrations as well as support for the students who are doing the presentations.
  • Other – such as establishment of your own scholarship or memorial fund.
If you are interested in this lifetime memorial, please contact Karla Evans in the Office of Development ( or (217) 581-3315)

We would especially like to encourage alumni to check for the possibility of matching funds from their employer, as any donation will be multiplied. For example, some large petroleum companies offer a 3:1 match. That means in order to meet the minimum amount needed to establish a scholarship, $10,000, you might only need to contribute $3,333 if there is a 3:1 match.

Gifts-in-kind of equipment or specimens are also appreciated but must be prearranged with the department beforehand to ensure optimal use (and for conformance to University regulations). If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to email or call me.

Dr. John Stimac

(217) 581-2626 Chair, Department of Geology / Geography