Geography Faculty Member Makes News for Mapping Storm Damage

Jeffery Nugent, Geography Adjunct, works for the Windham Regional Commission for Windham Country, Vermont as a mapping specialist.  Recently, he was featured in the Keene Sentinel for his work of mapping the damage from Tropical Storm Irene, which wrecked havoc on the state of Vermont in 2011.   These maps, which will provide a historical record of the damage, were released last week and can been viewed at

Nugent Map

Students Receive Award for Community Project

How “livable” is your city or town? Do you feel a sense of community? Are local businesses a positive reflection on your town?

Three students at Keene State College recently developed an assessment tool that measures six characteristics of town life that contribute to a positive or negative sense of livability. The students, Camille Martineau, Christa McGaha, and Brittany Smalanskas, all geography majors, conducted an inventory and survey of Marlborough, New Hampshire to determine just how livable that town is. The three presented their research at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers in Los Angeles and were awarded the Best International Undergraduate Student Paper Award for 2013. Dr. Christopher Cusack, Professor of Geography, served as the project supervisor.

Department receives Keene State ‘Transformation Award’

The Department of Geography received Keene State’s ‘Transformation Award’ for demonstrating recent achievements in establishing three coordinated initiatives:

  • Geography Internship Program;
  • GIS Research Lab
  • Conference Presentation Opportunities

Geography competed against dozens of other departments and programs on campus to earn second place in the competition. The Transformation Award recognizes departments that have transformed their work to align more closely with the college’s three
strategic priorities:

  • Academic Excellence and Student Success
  • Institutional Effectiveness, Sustainability, and Financial Stability
  • Diversity in the Community, Curriculum, and Co-curriculum

The award was based on the department’s poster presentation which highlights how we levereged the success of our Senior Seminar course and community partnerships into this new set of initiatives. The poster, created by Dr. Chris Cusack, can be seen here.

Transformation Award

Geography Honor Society gains 12 new students

On April 25th, twelve students were inducted into Gamma Theta Upsilon, the Geography Honor Society.  The ceremony was held in the Mountain View Room of the Student Center, and was followed by dinner at a downtown restaurant.  Pictured here (l. to r.): Current president Amelia Armstrong, Charles Stoll, David Webb, Steve Vitko, Andrew Lampron, Greg McCormick, Samuel Rand, Emily Francis, Chris Dunn, Bryan Finocchiaro, Mike Harpool (new president), Patrick Brough (current vice president) and Keith Pancake.  Not pictured are new members Luke Mathews and Max Marek and current members Kelley Levine, Ryan Gould and Michelle Lefebvre. GTU Induction 2013

Geography Seniors Present at AAG Conference

View of Los Angeles from conference hotel.
View of Los Angeles from conference hotel.

In early April, fourteen Keene State Geography students made the cross-country journey to Los Angeles to present the results of their seminar research.  The Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers was the venue where many of our graduating seniors had the opportunity to share their work with an international audience of scholars.

Student projects focused on a number of environmental and community issues important to Keene and the wider Monadnock region. Presentation topics included a study of the urban heat island effect in Keene, urban planning issues in Marlborough, NH, and an atlas of the Ashuelot River watershed.

Lauren Sutherland and Patrick Brough present at the AAG Conference in LA.
Lauren Sutherland and Patrick Brough present at the AAG Conference in LA.

While in LA, geography students also had the chance to explore the dynamic urban environment of southern California.  Among some of the sights were Santa Monica, Venice Beach, and Hollywood.  An adventurous group of Keene State geographers even made the two hour journey to Joshua Tree National Park, where they experienced the beautiful natural scenery of the Mojave desert (center image below).  Back in LA, students had fun roaming around the city on the subway system, and enjoyed a night out with their seminar advisor,  Dr. Chris Cusack.

The AAG meeting has become an annual rite of passage for Geography seniors, with recent trips to Washington, DC, Seattle, Washington, and New York City.  Future destinations will include Tampa, Florida and Chicago.