Geography and Environmental Studies

Department News

SUNY New Paltz Geography Department News

WELCOME TO DR. HUICHENG CHIEN!  Dr. Chien will join the Geography Department as an additional full-time faculty member beginning in Fall 2013.  Dr. Chien earned his Ph.D. in Geography from SUNY Buffalo and his MLA in Landscape Architecture and City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.  Dr. Chien will be working closely with Dr. McGlinn to further develop our GIS and other Geographic Techniques courses, and has considerable experience with research about water resources and effective mapping of watersheds.  Welcome, Dr. Chien!

DR. SHARP TAKES OVER AS DEPARTMENT CHAIR!  After 12 years as department chair, Dr. Greenow has retired at the end of her fourth term, to return to full-time teaching.  The Department voted to turn over the reins to Dr. Sharp beginning in the Fall 2013 semester.  Dr. McGlinn will serve as summer chair in the interim.  So the departmental reins are in good hands!

GOODBYE and THANKS TO PROFESSOR CHIN!  Professor Erika Chin, who joined us this year as a one-year Lecturer, is leaving us to pursue her Ph.D. in biogeography at the University of South Carolina.  In addition to handling a heavy teaching load for the Physical Geography course, Professor Chin also taught our first-ever Biogeography course, took great photos of the resident heron in the Gunks pond outside our offices, and brought us new ideas and energy.  She has been a top-notch colleague and we will miss her, but we know she will take South Carolina by storm.  Best of luck to you, Professor Chin!  Stay in touch!

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR MAY 2013 GRADUATES!  Justin Beynon (Outstanding Graduate), Meghan Butts, Mary Doyle, Celeste Hofland (Outstanding Graduate), Chris Hutsko, Meagan Keller, Yael Krevsky and Amy Weslowski.  We wish you all the very best in your future endeavors.  Stay in touch!  Send us your news!

ARI KAPUTKIN (Geography, class of 2014) awarded the Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences "Summer Internship Scholarship"!  The scholarship will provide support while Ari works this summer for the DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) Development Corporation, a community planning and economic development non-profit in Brooklyn. Congratulations, Ari!

ALUMNI GIFTS HELP FUND GEOGRAPHY STUDENTS' RESEARCH! Caryn Sobel, a December 2012 Geography graduate, presented her research, "Community Preservation Planning in Warwick, New York" at the Annual Meeting of the Middle States Division of the Association of American Geographers on November 3.   Her research paper won the student paper competition and we are proud of her accomplishments. In addition, Christopher Hughes of University of Massachusetts-Amherst presented his research from a summer project with Dr. McGlinn, "Historical 3D Modeling of Erosion in Stony Clove Creek, NY for Sediment Volume Analysis Using GIS." And two of our majors, Emily Martin and Justin Beynon, were on the student team who won the Annual GeoBowl at the conference. Congratulations to all these students, and many thanks to alumni whose gifts helped defray the expenses of our students who participated in the conference.

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR DECEMBER 2012 GRADUATES!  Laura Cullen, Melanie Glenn and Caryn Sobel (Outstanding Graduate).  We look forward to hearing about the great things you will be doing!  Best wishes to all of you and stay in touch with us!

GEOGRAPHY MAJOR WINS UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT PAPER COMPETITION!!  Caryn Sobel submitted her paper "Community Preservation in Warwick, NY" for the Annual Meeting of the Middle States Division of the Association of American Geographers Undergraduate Student Paper Competition and won first prize.  She had originally completed a term paper on this topic for the Urban Planning course and continued to work with Dr. Mano in developing and refining the paper for the competition.  Update:  In Summer 2013, Caryn is working on historic preservation of the Foothills project with Mohonk Preserve.  Congratulations, Caryn!

GEOGRAPHY ALUMNI RECEIVE NATIONAL AWARD FOR GIS!  Dave Luhan '88 (Geography) and Doug Genzer '93 (Geography) received international recognition and Esri's Special Achievement Award for their DenverGIS team's successful project, "Parcel Fabric Conversion." They coordinated and introduced a new data structure model, state-of-the-art tools, streamlined workflow processes and quality control for maintaining and updating information on lots, parcels, ordinances and surveys used by the Assessment Division and Public Works Survey Department for the city and county of Denver. Dave is currently GeoSpatial Applications Director and Doug is Senior GIS Analyst for the City and County of Denver. More information about their project and an official interview with Dave are available online.

DEPARTMENT welcomes Professor Erika Chin!  Our new full-time Lecturer, Professor Erika Chin, comes to us from SUNY Binghamton where she received her M.A. in Geography with a concentration in Environmental and Resource Management/Biogeography.  Professor Chin also holds a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies.  She will be teaching Physical Geography for our department this year, and we look forward to welcoming her to our group!

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR AUGUST 2012 GRADUATES!  Christian Cruz and Dana Burke.  We wish you a wonderful future and hope you will stay in touch with us.  Send us your news!

GEOGRAPHY DEPARTMENT SEARCHING FOR VISITING LECTURER.  With the retirement of Professor Fall (see below) and Dr. Engel-di Mauro's upcoming sabbatical leave in Fall 2012-Spring 2013, we are looking for a full-time lecturer for the coming year, primarily to teach physical geography.  We look forward to welcoming a new colleague to our department.

PROFESSOR FALL retires from teaching geography! After a number of lecture gigs on cruises in the Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean, Professor Fall decided to weigh anchor at New Paltz and set sail for the high seas on a more frequent timetable. He has sent photos and notes from all parts of the Americas as he pursues a geographer's dream career. We hope to see him on occasion when he reaches terra firma, and we wish him all the best in his nautical adventures. May the wind always be at your back, and may your GPS never malfunction!

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR MAY 2012 GRADUATES, our biggest class ever!: Christine Caulfield, Adiron Corichi, Angela DeVivo, Jordan Garrison, Drew Hoski, Lauren Luball, Ryan Reutershan (Outstanding Graduate), Christine Rieth, Kathryn Schmand, Amber Williams (Outstanding Graduate), and Havarah Zawoluk.   Best of luck to all of you!  Stay in touch with your professors--we want to hear what you are doing!

ALEX COLUCCI and ALEX PEIMER, both geography alumni (2010) and both studying for Master's degrees in geography at Kent State University, participated in the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers. Colucci served as panel organizer and Peimer served as introducer in the session "Neoliberalism as an Everyday Hazard."  Dr. Engel-di Mauro served as discussant in the panel.

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR DECEMBER 2011 GRADUATES: Hilary Gillen, Jared Pazienza, Tim Shuipis (Outstanding Graduate) and Agnieszka Zarnowska (Outstanding Graduate). We're proud of all of you and look forward to hearing from you!

THE GEOGRAPHY DEPARTMENT IS IN A NEW PLACE! In September 2011, the department moved to the South Faculty Office Building (just behind the South Classroom Building). Our old office, Hanmer House, is scheduled to be demolished to make way for a brand new science building, where we will be housed eventually. Mohonk Avenue, running by the front of Hanmer House, is currently closed for conversion to a pedestrian walkway. The campus master plan for construction is available online. Come visit us in our new home, which we have dubbed the Garden House because we have the big Gunk pond and lots of trees right outside our door.

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR MAY 2011 GRADUATES: Matthew Demerest, Scott Krenkel, Tracy Weider and Gabriella Wilkens (August 2011). We hope your future is a bright one and that you stay in touch with us!

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR DECEMBER 2010 GRADUATES: Moselle Dipane, Jodie Esposito, Eben Hurley and Cory Kindelmann. May the wind be at your backs and carry you to new achievements!

PERI (BROOKS) SCHWABROW (B.S. elementary education-geography, 1999) recently earned an advanced certificate of study in school building leadership from the College of Saint Rose in Albany. This is a post-Master's degree award requiring additional coursework, successful completion of an assessment examination, an internship and several years of teaching and administrative experience. Peri currently teaches second grade in Sharon Springs, N.Y.

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR MAY 2010 GRADUATES, OUR BIGGEST CLASS SO FAR: David Bayer, Alex Colucci, Amy Daggett, Ken Deegan, Stephanie Frost, Kelsey Hansen, Kevin Jenkins, Sean Kroenke, Dan Liberto, and Alex Peimer. We look forward to hearing from each and every one of you! Good luck in your future endeavors!

CONGRATULATIONS TO SUSAN HERETH (geography, class of 2003), who was selected to receive the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2010 Environmental Quality Award, the highest recognition presented to the public by the EPA. This award is given to those who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to "protecting and enhancing environmental quality and public health." Susan is Scenic Hudson's Education Coordinator and works with teachers in area schools to develop and provide hands-on lessons about the environment for young students, creating future environmental stewards. More information about Scenic Hudson is available at

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR DECEMBER 2009 GRADUATES, Meghan (David) Bishop, Amber Mazza and Mike Pianka. We hope you have fond memories of geography at New Paltz and great success in the years ahead!

SIX NEW PALTZ GEOGRAPHY MAJORS won first place in the Annual Geography Bowl of the Middle States Division of the Association of American Geographers on Nov. 6, 2009. The team's members were Alex Colucci, Ken Deegan, Kelsey Hansen, Dan Liberto, Alex Peimer (all class of '10) and Mike Pianka (class of '09). Colucci and Peimer (henceforth known as the Two Smart Alexes) were also among the top six individual high scorers in the tournament and represented the Middle States Division at the national championship in Washington, D.C. in April 2010.

CONGRATULATIONS to our August 2009 graduate, Dana Burke. We're proud of you and look forward to hearing your news!

TIA SHEPARD (geography 2009) attended the Federation of New York Solid Waste Association's "Solid Waste and Recycling Conference" where work from her spring internship was presented in "Impact of Historic Fill on Recycling of Processed C&D Debris in the Lower Hudson Valley of New York State," by Steven Parisio (New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation) and Colin Mills (geography '08).

CONGRATULATIONS to our May 2009 Graduates: Sara Haugli (Outstanding Graduate), April Rose, and Tia Shepard (Outstanding Graduate). We look forward to hearing news about your post-graduation activities!

Dr. Sharp is "TEACHER OF THE YEAR!" Dr. John Sharp, assistant professor in geography, was awarded the Spring 2009 Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences' "Excellence in Teaching" award for his dedication to students and the learning experience. To be awarded this honor, Dr. Sharp submitted samples of his course syllabi and assignments, student evaluations, and analyses of assessment of student learning. In the past, Dr. Sharp worked with a geography major (Ryo Kiyan) in the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience and has served in various capacities with student athletes. Anyone who has taken a class with him knows how carefully he prepares for class, and how he encourages student success with geographic challenges! Congratulations to Dr. Sharp! Long live geography!