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Melissa Santiago in lab

Out of all of the U.S. geography programs, Clark University has granted the largest number of doctoral degrees. Clark’s Graduate School of Geography is top-ranked by the National Research Council, and our Ph.D. students graduate with a deep body of knowledge and a slate of research publications that enrich the field.

Research Interests

From agro-forestry to urbanization, and environmental modeling to post-colonial theory, our doctoral students’ research interests are multifaceted and interdisciplinary, touching on the four main areas of geography:

  • Earth System Science
  • Geographic Information Science and Remote Sensing
  • Human-Environment/Nature-Society Geography
  • Urban-Economic Geography

Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications

Professional publications play a large role in our Ph.D. students’ academic careers. By the time they graduate, our Ph.D.  students, on average, have published several peer-reviewed journal articles. Students collaborate with their advisers and sometimes with their committee members, and they also publish as sole authors.

Grants, Fellowships and Awards

Our Ph.D. students are extremely successful in securing grants to support their studies and their research. From 2014 to 2018, Ph.D. students secured more than $1.4 million in grants, often in collaboration with faculty, who provide critical feedback on proposals and write letters of support.  Students’ funding comes from the National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement (NSF-DDRI) program, Society of Women Geographers, NASA and other organizations.

In addition, students earn fellowships and grants — such as the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Switzer Fellowship, Fulbright, Inter-America Foundation Fellowship, and Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship — for field work and other research activities.

The Graduate School of Geography supports Ph.D. students’ conference attendance and presentations through internal travel awards.

Student Grant/Research Title Agency/Award
Amy Dundon Racial Capitalism Builds the City: Debt Financing and Crisis in Urban California Institute of Human Geography
Michael Athay Curbing U.S. Carbon Pollution: Electrifying Automobility through Citizen Science Communication Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Arman Bajracharya Evaluating land cover in relation to urban climate risk and social vulnerability in Massachusetts Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Sarah Lerman Sinkoff Gas Leaks and the Urban Tree Canopy: Connecting Heat Islands to Energy Insecurity Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Shiqi Tao Mapping solar panel installations and exploring the associated environmental impacts in Massachusetts Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Julia Wagner Response and Responsibility: Communicating civic environmental stewardship and climate resiliency knowledge and practice Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Thomas Bilintoh Methods to study long-term response of estuarine ecosystems to climate change Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Ziangyu Wen Validation and Accuracy Assessment of Flood Maps Generated from Multi-Sensor and Multi-Aspect Satellite Observational Systems Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Sitian Xiong Enabling Long-term Climate Impact Analysis Through Cross-sensor Based Remote Sensing Observation Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Aiyin Zhang Methods to characterize changes in salt marshes of estuarine ecosystems in response to sea level rise Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Melissa Bollman Achieving a just low-carbon transition in the United States: examining the impact of policy design Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Clare Gaffey The Effects of Novel Arctic Algae Double Blooms on Benthic Food Supply Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Richard Kruger Planning for Social and Ecological Resilience to Climate change: Green Infrastructure, Land Tenure, and Environmental Governance in San Juan, Puerto Rico Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Jaclyn Guz Climate Change’s Impact on Forest Resilience Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Zhen Liu The Total Operating Characteristics (TOC) for User-orientated Accuracy Assessment for the Flood Risk and Exposure Map Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Nathaniel Strosberg Spatial Analysis Methods to Asses Changing Wetlands in the Watersheds of Plum Island Ecosystem (PIE) in Northeastern Massachusetts Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Li Xi Avoided Deforestation Opportunity for Natural Climate Solution across the Northeastern U.S. Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Melissa Bollman Planning a sustainable future: The environmental impacts of US renewable energy policies Edna Bailey Sussman Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship
Marc Healy Throwing Shade: Urban forests in Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities Edna Bailey Sussman Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship
Surendra Shrestha Assessing Regional Land Surface Biophysical and Biochemical Responses to Wildfire with Remote Sensing and Land Surface Model Integration Edna Bailey Sussman Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship
Mara van den Bold implication of influence: examining the evolving role of U.S. based development institutions in renewable energy development globally Edna Bailey Sussman Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship
Luisa Young Characterizing Arctic Ocean Sea Ice Environments: from melt ponds to phytoplankton phenology Edna Bailey Sussman Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship
Guy Hydrick Successes and challenges of rebuilding community forests: Tree survivorship and institutional form in the Armenian Tree Project Liebmann Fund
Clare Gaffey UAVs as a bridge for monitoring Arctic production United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation

Recent Dissertations

Our Ph.D. students conduct research across the world on issues ranging from the impact of mining on communities in South America to the decline of ice in the Arctic and Antarctica. For dissertation titles before 2012, visit the Burnham Index.

Wenjing Jiang: Transforming China’s Countryside: Politics and Practices in the Transfer of Agricultural Land Use Rights

Surendra Shrestha: Surface Biophysical and Vegetation Changes in Response to Wildfire and Reforestation with Implications for Climate Forcing

Lei Song: Combining Spatially-Explicit Simulation of Animal Movement and Earth Observation to Reconcile Agriculture and Wildlife Conservation

Melissa Bollman-Shih: Power, Knowledge, and Sociotechnical Reconfiguration: Investigating the Impact of Fossil Energy Discourses on Renewable Transition Policy in the Northeastern United States

Benjamin Fash: Izote Flowers: Socioecological Movements to Resist Extractivism and Survive Well

Marc Healy: Trees in the City: Spatiotemporal Dynamics, Benefits, And Management of Urban Tree Canopy Cover in Massachusetts Gateway Cities

Roopa Krithivasan: Collective Action and Animal Agency in Human-Wildlife Conflict Management

Luisa Young: Characterizing Arctic Ocean Sea Ice Environments Across the Distributed Biological Observatory in the Pacific Arctic: From Melt Ponds to Phytoplankton Community Structure

Jacob Chamberlain: On Migration and Justice: Rights, Laws, and Resistance in the Age of Removal

Janae Davis: Race, Integrity and Conservation – Development in the Postcolony

Azadeh Hadizadeh Esfahani: Neighborhood as a Site of Policy and Activism: Exploring Citizenship, Belonging, and Identity building in Tehran’s Neighborhoods

Alireza Farmahini Farahani: Learning in development policy and practice: Inequality reduction and regional development in Iran

Jaclyn Guz: Climate Change Influence on Post-Fire Regeneration Across Spatially Heterogeneous Landscapes

Mario Machado: Sustainable landscapes, sustainable communities: Landscapes, livelihoods and ecology through Cuba’s agrarian transition

Helen Rosko: Delivering Development’s Target: Aiming for Adaptation Subjects in Mali

Michelle Cole Wenderlich: Reconcile Agriculture and Wildlife Conservation

Su Ye: A New Time Series Approach for Characterizing Forest Dynamics: Stochastic Continuous Change

Yu Zhou: Improving Carbon Cycle Modeling with Flux Measurements, Forest Inventories, and Satellite Observations

Elisa Arond: Investing Natural Resource Revenues in Science, Technology
and Innovation for Inclusive Regional Development in Colombia: Politics
of Scale, Politics of Knowledge

Yifan Cai: The Subaltern Innovates: Shanzhai Mobile Phones, South-South
Trade, and Counter-Narratives of Intellectual Property Rights

Leslie Gross Wyrtzen: Bordering Blackness: The Production of Race in the
Morocco-EU Immigration Regime

Dylan Harris: Telling the Story of Climate Change: Geographies of Climate

Son Ca Lam: Shifting Grounds: Embodies Geographies of Displacement
and Home for Vietnamese Women Across Generations

Alex Moulton: Plotting Maroonage: Mapping the Black Socio-Spatial
Struggles of the Jamaican Maroons

Carlos Dobler Morales: Smallholder Dimensions of Rural Change in Modern Mexico

Catherine Jampel: Scales of Inclusion: Disability Employment in the U.S. Federal Government and Fortune 500 Companies

David Lukens: Shifting Roles of the State and the Evolution of Neighborhood Change in Seoul

Patrick Bright Mutegeki: Household Livelihood Strategies: Analyzing Multi-Local Strategies’ Dynamics and Effects in Kabarole District, Uganda

Ali Santacruz-Delgado: Recent and future anthropogenic transformation of the Colombian Llanos

Melishia Santiago: Multi-year Variations in Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Matter (CDOM) Distribution in the Pacific Arctic Region Using In-situ and Satellite Remote Sensing Measurements

Laura Sauls: Territorial Claims and Climate Change Governance in Mesoamerica

Kristen Shake: Sociolegal Dynamics of Sea Ice in a Changing Pacific Arctic Marine Environment

Renee Tapp: Taxes, Banks, and Renters: Urban Redevelopment in the United States after the 2008 Crisis

Ashley York: The West Greenlandic Cryosphere in a Changing Climate: Decadal Trends, Seasonal Variability, and Critical Thresholds

Teresa Bornschlegl: Three Snapshots into Complexity: A Political Ecological Analysis of Environmental Law Enforcement in the Oil and Gas Sector: Ecuador 2005–2015

Juan Luis Dammert Bello: Contested Booms: The Politics of Palm Oil Expansion in the Peruvian Amazon

Nathan Gill: Disturbance Interactions in Subalpine Forests: Compound Effects and Adaptive Resilience

Young-Long Kim: The Role of Big Data in Understanding Urban Vitality

Lauren L. Bonilla: Extractive Infrastructures: Social, Environmental, and Institutional Change in Resource-Rich Mongolia

Nicholas Joseph Cuba: Interannual Variability in the Extent and Intensity of Tropical Dry Forest Deciduousness in the Mexican Yucatán (2000-2016): Drivers and Links to Regional Atmospheric Conditions

Arthur Francis Marett Elmes: Assessing the Impact of Asian Longhorned Beetle in Worcester, MA: Thermal Effects, Community Responses, and Future Vulnerability

Miles Richard Kenney-Lazar: Resisting with the State: The Authoritarian Governance of Land in Laos

Dexter Henry Locke: A New Look at Residential Ecosystems Management: Heterogeneous Practices and the Landscape Mullets Hypotheses

Nathan Paul Mietkiewicz: Interactions Between Bark Beetle Outbreak and Wildland Fire in Intermountain Subalpine Forests of the Western United States: Legacies and Future Projections Under a Changing Climate

Padini Nirmal: Disembodiment and Deworlding: Taking Decolonial Feminist Political Ecology to Ground in Attappady, Kwala

Jefferson Alex Sphar: Politics, State Power and Policies: Exploring the Contemporary Nature of Economic Governance Through the Case of Brazil

Kevin Surprise: Preempting the Second Contradiction: The Political Economy of Solar Geoengineering

Mireya Bravo: Trajectories of Empathy and Institution Building: The Micropolitics of Environmental Governance in the Oxapampa-Ashaninka-Yanesha Biosphere Reserve

Alida Anna Cantor: Dust Storms and Dying Lakes: Wastefulness, Reasonable and Beneficial Use, and Water Transfers in California

Katherine E. Foo: Parks and Recreation Departments are Not a Joke: Environmental Governance in an Age of Post-Apocalyptic Climate Change

Emily J. Gallagher: Ghana is Cocoa, Carbon is Ghana: Sustaining Cocoa Landscapes and Governing Forest Livelihoods Through Agri-Environmental Extension

Daniel S. Jarvis: Disturbance History and Fuel Consequences of Mountain Pine Beetle in Western Colorado

Adrienne Johnson: Participatory Governance, Plant Disease, and Post-Neoliberalism: Governing Ecuador’s Palm Oil Industry through the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)

Kelly Kay: Taxes, TIMOs, and Trusts: 21st Century Land Conservation in the United States

Christopher Storr Knudson: Predictable Loss: Climate Risk Insurance in St. Lucia

Kathryn-Louise Meng: Transition through Co-optation: Harnessing Carbon Democracy for Clean Energy

Pheakkdey Nguon: Governing REDD+ in Cambodia: Co-production of Salient, Credible and Legitimate Policy Knowledge

Khury Joseph Petersen-Smith: Pivoting to Asia: Sovereignty, Territory and Militarization

John Taylor Shelton: Geographies of Data: Toward a Relational Socio-spatial Analysis of Geotagged Social Media Data

Yueming Zhang: Capitalizing on Art, Aestheticizing Capital: The Making and Consuming of Arts Districts in Chinese Cities

John Lauermann: Event-Led Development: Sporting Mega-Events as Urban Policy Experiments

Oona Morrow: Urban Homesteading: Diverse Economics and Ecologies of Provisioning in Greater Boston

Kangping Si: Multiple-Objective Spatial Optimization with Application to Site Search Problems in a Raster Space

James E. Thatcher: Mobile Navigation Applications: Hidden Ontologies, Epistemic Limits, and Technological Teleology

Luke David Trusel: Quantifying Antarctic Ice Sheet Surface Melt: Recent Dynamics and Future Trajectories

Melanie Vanderhoof: The Impact of Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreaks on Surface Energy and Water Fluxes, South Central Rocky Mountains

Connie Lewis Johnston: The Social, Spatial and Scientific Aspects of Farm Animal Welfare in the US and European Union

William E. Kutz: Financing Demand-Side Urbanism: Lessons from the “Spatial-Fix” in Tangier, Morocco

Elisabeth Anne Stoddard: Livestock Vulnerability to Disasters in North Carolina’s Hog Industry: Neoliberal Governance and Differential Risk in an Industry Too Big to Fail

Qingling Wu: From Phenomena to Objects: Segmentation of Fuzzy Objects and its Application to Oceanic Eddies

Nicholas M. Giner: Validating, Analyzing, and Predicting Lawn Maps: Application of GIScience and Spatial Analysis in the Northern Boston Suburbs

Daniel Haberly: Sovereign Wealth Funds, Dependent Development, and the New Alliance Capitalism

Edmund Harris: Visions, Plans and Maps: Making Space for Food Systems Change in Massachusetts

Rory William Horner: The State, Patents and the Development of India’s Pharmaceutical Industry

Maya Manzi: Agrarian Social Movements and the Making of Agrodiesel Moral Territories in Northeast Brazil

Prajjwal Kumar Panday: Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region at the Forefront of Global Change: An Assessment of Snowmelt, Hydrology, Vegetation, and Climate

Seth D. Schindler: Producing Urban Space and the Transformation of the Retail Sector in Delhi, India

Jill Marie Williams: When Arrest Becomes Rescue: Border Enforcement and the Politics of Humanitarianism on the US-Mexico Border

Safaa Aldwaik: Fundamental Concepts of Intensity Analysis to Understand Changes Among Categories

Susan Aragon-Carrasco: Evaluating Biodiversity in Rural Landscapes for Conservation and Livelihoods: Combined Botanical, Ecological and Land Use Analysis in Two Smallholder Communities in Peru and Mexico

Danielle Fontaine: The Landscape of Potential Harm: Understanding Parents’ Perceptions of the Build Environment and What This Means for Their Decisions about Their Child’s Mode of Travel to School in the City of Worcester, MA

Jayson Funke: Producing Investment Space: The International Finance Corporation, Institution Building and the Financialization of Development

Bardan Ghimire: Biological and Biophysical Consequences of Disturbances in Forests of the Western United States

Guoyi Han: Understanding Regional Dynamics of Vulnerability: A Historical Approach to the Flood Problem in China

Roberta Hawkins: Cause-related Marketing: Ethical Consumption as Development Intervention

Heladius Madoshi Makene: Gold Rush and its Implications for Communities Near Mines in Tanzania

Neeti Neeti: Implications of Space-Time Orientations for Spectral Decomposition of Geographic Image Time Series

Diana Ojeda: Producing Paradise: The Violent Geographies of Tourism in Colombia

Benoit Parmentier: Land Transitions from Multivariate Remotely Sensed Time Series: Using Seasonal Trends to Characterize and Categorize Land Cover Changes in Alaska over the 2001-2009 Period

Rahul Rakshit: Accuracy Assessments of Object-Based Image Analysis Maps

Daniel Runfola: Human-Environment Interactions across Space and Time: Examining Lawns and Land Change in the United States

Dominique Werboff: The Role of Institutions in Shaping Livelihoods and Land Use/Cover in Northern Negros Natural Park, Philippines

Contact Information

Graduate School of Geography

Office Location
  • Jefferson Academic Center, Room 220
    950 Main Street
    Worcester, MA 01610

  • 1-508-793-7336
  • 1-508-793-8881 fax
  • geography[at]clarku[dot]edu