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Students studying geographic information science (GIS) in the Graduate School of Geography have multiple opportunities to conduct research and build their knowledge and skills. Students from both paths — the Master’s in GIS program, offered in collaboration with the International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE) Department, and the Accelerated B.A./Master of Science Degree Program in GIS (ADP MS-GIS) — pursue and collaborate on similar research projects.

Research in the Master’s in GIS Program

As a student, you’ll work with faculty on research focused on biodiversity and conservation, land change modeling, forest monitoring and fire dynamics, software design and system development, decision science, health and community planning, international development, climate change adaptation, and food security applications.

Research in the Accelerated B.A./M.S. Program

If you’re a student in the Accelerated B.A./M.S. degree program in GIS, you’ll choose one of two tracks:

  • Internship track: You’ll participate in an internship for in-field experience during both semesters of your graduate year to supplement your coursework.  Learn more about GIS students’ internships…
  • Research track: You’ll dive into your area of study through coursework and thesis writing, resulting in a completed master’s thesis at the end of the program.

Whether you are on the internship track or research track, you will have the opportunity for research in courses like the Wildlife Conservation GIS Research Seminar, where you can assist the Wildlife Conservation Society with biodiversity projects across the globe, honing your remote sensing, GIS, and ecological research skills.

Student Research in the Accelerated Degree Program

Photo of MS-GIS master students
Photo (L-R): (Back) Tyler Anderson, Miles Weule Chandler, Meyru Bhanti. (Front) Gemma Wilkens, Hannah Corney, Carly Robbins
  • Tyler Anderson, B.A., Earth System Science ’18
    Research: landscape ecology, land change, climate change, and remote sensing
  • Meyru Bhanti, B.A., Geography and Environmental Conservation Biology ’18
    Internship: Clark Labs, graduate research assistant
  • Hannah Corney, B.A., Global Environmental Studies ’18
    Internship: Clark Labs, graduate research assistant
  • Carly Robbins, B.A., Geography ’18
    Internship: Clark Labs, graduate research assistant
  • Miles Weule Chandler, B.A., Geography ’18
    Internship: Town of Sudbury, GIS and planning intern
  • Gemma Wilkens, B.A., Economics ’18
    Internship: Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission

2018

  • Will Heikes, “Dónde esta ‘Mi Gente?’ An analysis of Spanish-language music awareness using Tweets in the United States”
  • Anela Layugan, “Change-points in Arctic Sea Ice across Eight Distributed Biological Observatory Sites“
  • Eli Simonson, “An Assessment of Forest Loss and Fragmentation for Priority Conservation Landscapes in Central Africa”
  • Rishi Singh, “Mapping Mangroves: New Integrated Spectral Protocol for Rapid Mangrove Identification Using Machine Learning”

2017

  • Savannah Cooley, “Assessing the Impact of Drought in Guanacaste, Costa Rica and Evaluating Potential Contributions of ECOSTRESS Evapotranspiration to Improve Drought Estimation”
  • Yuka Fuchino, “Mapping habitat connectivity for three African Elephants in the Tarangire-Manyara Ecosystem using GPS telemetry and circuit theory modeling”
  • Kimberly Johnson, “Characterizing the Impacts of Coal Mining on Forest and Protected Areas in Sumatra, Indonesia (200-2014)”
  • Katherine Landesman, “Modeling the Vulnerability of Mangrove Forests to Conversion to Aquaculture in Myanmar”
  • Hannah Rosenblum, “Characterizing Drivers of Wildfire Ignition in Southern California Mediterranean-type”
  • Warren Scott, “Annual Cycles of Sea Ice, Wind and Primary Productivity in the Cape Bathurst and Saint Lawrence Island Polynyas, 1998-2015”
  • Chung Truong, “Improved Calibration of the Near Real-Time Forest Loss Detection System in Vietnam Using Sentinel and Landsat Satellite Imagery”

2016

  • Suzanne Birdsell, “Assessing Public Transit in Central Massachusetts through Home-Based Work Attractions and Productions”
  • Moriah Day, “Modeling Regeneration Density of Subalpine Spruce-Fir Forests Under Current and Future Climate Conditions”
  • Erin Glennie, “Ecosystem Impacts of ENSO: Characterizing the Average El Niño year”
  • Michino Hisabayashi, “Quantifying Shoreline Change in Funafuti Atoll, Tuvalu, Using a Time Series of QuickBird and WorldView Data”
  • Charlotte Mays, “Remote Sensing for Agriculture and Food Security in West Africa”
  • Sarah Philbrick , “Analyzing the Response of Land Change Models to Intractable Land Change Problems”
  • Hannah Rush, “An Evaluation of Skill and the Explanatory Power of Driver Variables in Modeling Land Change in the Conterminous United States”

2015

  • Sean Cunningham, “Mapping transition potential of coastal land-cover to pond aquaculture in Southeast Asia”
  • Anastassios Dardas, “Measuring Potential Accessibility to Health Care Services in Southeastern Massachusetts”
  • Jamie Duncan-Brown, “Reservoir Sedimentation In The Western United States: Evaluating OLS And GWR Models”
  • Lucas Earl “Satellite-Derived Glacier Area Change in North Asia: 1985-2014”
  • Cody Litchfield, “Landslide Vulnerability Analysis of El Salvador”

Recent Grants and Awards

Each year, master’s students in geography apply for grants and receive awards for their research. Recent grants and awards include:

  • Kelsey Hope (Faculty: John Rogan): “Characterizing the 2018 Camp Fire Severity and Dynamics using Satellite Imagery and Field Inventory”; received the Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship.
  • Savannah Cooley (Faculty: Christopher Williams): “Assessing the Impact of Drought and Evaluating Potential Contributions of ECOSTRESS Evapotranspiration Data to Improve Agricultural Water Management”; received the Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship.
  • Erin Glennie (Faculty: J. Ronald Eastman): “Ecosystem Impacts of the El Niño Southern Oscillation”; received the Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship.
  • Carly Robbins: “Warming’s Impact on Bird Distributions in California”; received the 2019 American Association of Geographers Innovative Applications of ESRI GIS Technology Poster Competition Award (Second Place).
female student writing on pad while male student researching plants in field.

Summer Research Fellowships

If you are a research-track M.S. student, you have the opportunity to pursue a prestigious Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship to fund your summer research experience in environmental science. Clark University’s Graduate School of Geography is one of only eight institutions nationwide to offer several fellowships each year, thanks to funding from the Edna Bailey Sussman Fund.