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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
Bernadette Arakwiye
(Faculty: J. Ronald Eastman)
Student NESSF: Monitoring forest degradation and restoration in a post-conflict landscape: A multiscale assessment in Western Rwanda National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Yifan Cai International Technology Diffusion, South-South Trade, and Adaptive Capacity: Chinese Mobile Phone Companies in Emerging Markets 2019 American Association of Geographers Asian Geography Specialty Group Graduate Student Paper Award
Michael Cecil
(Faculty: Lyndon Estes)
Integrating In Situ Sensor Data with Remote Sensing and Climate Grids to Forecast Crop Growth Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Janae Davis Toward Strategies for Addressing Labor and Social Equity in Integrated Conservation and Development Projects in the Southern Kalahari, South Africa US Fulbright Student Research Award
Dylan Harris
(Faculty: James McCarthy)
DDRI: Telling the Story of Climate Change: Cultural Politics and Climate Consciousness National Science Foundation
Dylan Harris Telling the Story of Climate Change: Cultural Politics and Climate Consciousness Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation Environmental Fellowship
Benjamin Fash
(Faculty: Anthony Bebbington)
Networked Community Economies as Alternatives to Extractivism in Honduras Albert, Norma and Howard Geller ’77 Endowed Research Award (via George Perkins Marsh Institute)
Benjamin Fash Commoning Toward Post-Extractivism in Honduras US Fulbright Student Research Award
Benjamin Fash Local Pathways to Water Security in Honduras National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)
Jaclyn Guz
(Faculty: Dominik Kulakowski)
Feedbacks among climatically-driven disturbance regimes in the Swiss Alps Albert, Norma and Howard Geller ’77 Endowed Research Award (via George Perkins Marsh Institute)
Jaclyn Guz Feedbacks among climatically-driven disturbance regimes Stu Shea United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation Endowed Scholarship from the USGIF Board of Directors
Jaclyn Guz Feedbacks among climatically-driven disturbance regimes South Texas Chapter, Texas American Water Works Association Scholarship
Jaclyn Guz Feedbacks among climatically-driven disturbance regimes Texas American Water Works Association Scholarship
Jaclyn Guz Feedbacks among climatically-driven disturbance regimes United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation Scholarship
Jaclyn Guz and Helen Rosko Water Quality Inequality The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), Graduate Pursuit Program
Catherine Jampel (Faculty: Anthony Bebbington) DDRI: Disability, Inclusion and Sociospatial Transformation in US Workplaces National Science Foundation
Wenjing Jiang Contemporary Agrarian Transformation in China: Empowerment, Valuation and Distributive Justice in the Transfer of Farmland Use Rights (TFUR) Association for Asian Studies (AAS) China and Inner Asia Council (CIAC) Small Grant
Tong Jiao (Faculty: Christopher Williams) Student NESSF: Vegetation decline and recovery from the millennium drought in Australia: Novel quantitative analysis with multi-sensor and higher resolution data National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Sam Khallaghi Baseline & Transect Method Compared to Polygon Overlay Method to Measure Boundary Change 2019 American Association of Geographers GIS and Remote Sensing Specialty Group Illustrated Paper Competition (Second Place)
Roopa Krithivasan Wildlife as drivers of land change? Applying the Social Ecological System framework to analyze agricultural transitions in a human-wildlife conflict landscape 2019 American Association of Geographers Mountain Specialty Group Student Research Award
Son Ca Lam
(Faculty: Deborah Martin)
STUDENT: Shifting grounds: Changes in the meaning of home for Vietnamese refugee women across generations Society of Woman Geographers
Sarah SanGiovanni
(Faculty: Deborah Martin and James Murphy)
Ecodistrict Planning in the Pittsburgh Metro Region: The Sustainability Impacts of Neighborhood-Scale Climate Change Initiatives Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Sarah SanGiovanni
(Faculty: Deborah Martin and James Murphy)
Experimenting with Urban Sustainability Governance: EcoDistrict Planning in the Pittsburgh Metro Region Albert, Norma and Howard Geller ’77 Endowed Research Award (via George Perkins Marsh Institute)
Dan Santos (Faculty: James Murphy) Investigating Environmental Applications of Biotechnology in Community Science Labs Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Laura Sauls Constructing territory: Regional coalitions, natural resource governance, and the quest for grassroots development alternatives in Mesoamerica PEO International Scholar Award
Kristen Shake
(Faculty: Deborah Martin and Karen Frey)
DDRI: The uncertainties of sea ice: Socio-legal dynamics in changing Arctic oceanscape National Science Foundation
Kaner Turker (Faculty: James Murphy) DDRI: Assembling community economies in East and Southeast Turkey National Science Foundation
Mara van den Bold
(Faculty: James McCarthy)
Greening Energy: The Politics of Solar Power in Senegal Albert, Norma and Howard Geller ’77 Endowed Research Award (via George Perkins Marsh Institute)
Mara van den Bold
(Faculty: James McCarthy)
Examining the policy and funding landscape for climate change mitigation among Washington DC based development organizations Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship
Mara van den Bold Greening Energy: The Politics of Solar Power in Senegal American Philosophical Society Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research Award
Mara van den Bold Greening Energy: The Politics of Solar Power in Senegal American Geographical Society Council Fellowship
Michelle Wenderlich
(Faculty: Mark Davidson)
Participatory remunicipalization of energy as commoning within the state? Examining processes of change in Berlin and Minneapolis Doctoral Research Fellowship, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (2018)
Su Ye
(Faculty: John Rogan)
Characterizing Bark Beetle Early Attack using Multi-Sensor Time Series in the Pine-Spruce Forest of Northern Colorado, USA Albert, Norma and Howard Geller ’77 Endowed Research Award (via George Perkins Marsh Institute)
Su Ye Characterizing Bark Beetle Early Attack and Post-infestation Regeneration Using Multi-Sensor Time Series in the Pine-Spruce Forest of Northern Colorado, USA William A. Fischer Memorial Scholarship granted by American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS)
Luisa Young
(Faculty: Karen Frey)
Impacts of a Warming Arctic on Marine Phytoplankton Assemblages Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship

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.

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