Highlighting Geospatial Resources in CLAS and Beyond
There are so many dedicated faculty and staff providing invaluable resources to our college - this week I'd like to highlight the folks in CLAS who are working hard to establish us as a premier GIS and Geospatial hub. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a scientific framework for gathering, analyzing and visualizing geographic data. Geospatial technology is crucial to making decisions about infrastructure, natural resources and economic growth. It has also become an important collaborative tool for researchers to share data and work on projects that can reveal larger trends in virtually any sphere, which can be vital to the interdisciplinary nature of our college's work.
We have two labs dedicated to geospatial learning that I'd like to make sure we are all aware of:
TheFacility for Advanced Spatial Technology (FAST) Lab is a teaching and learning hub for geospatial activity across the University of Colorado Denver. Currently helmed by the multi-talented Jennifer Ambrose, for over 25 years this interdisciplinary and collaborative lab has supported a community of industry-leading geospatial faculty, staff, and students committed to pursuing geospatial endeavors. Its resources and services are available to all students within CLAS, so please encourage your students to keep an eye out for events throughout the year that offer opportunities to learn GIS skills they can apply to other coursework and help them train for future employment.
The Geospatial Analysis and Mapping Laboratory (GAMLab) provides resources and services to visualize, explore, analyze, and propose solutions to human-environmental challenges using Geographic Information Science and Technology. While primarily supporting the research activities of GES faculty and students, staff in the GAMLab also facilitate collaborations between GES and other faculty within and beyond the college. Dedicated Director Alicia Cowart and her team can help when questions come up in your classes or your research about mapping, visualization, and analysis services; including map production, informational graphics, digitizing, data compilation, and spatial analysis.
Finally, with world GIS Day is fast approaching University of Colorado partners from across the system have put together a hybrid conference for November 4th that will offer opportunities for attendees to meet and build a community of practice around geospatial study. The keynote will be given by our own Rafael Moreno, Associate Professor in Geography and Environmental Sciences and a renowned expert in open source software for geospatial (FOSS4G). If you've ever wanted to gain a better understanding of GIS and how it's impacting our world I encourage you to register to hear this keynote. Rafael's enthusiasm for his discipline is infectious, and GIS at CU Denver owes a great debt of gratitude to him.
CLAS Staff Council Featured Staff Member
Brynnah Glas – Professional Consultant at the Writing Center and Teaching Assistant in
What Brynnah Glas most enjoys about her positions as a professional consultant at the Writing Center and as a Teaching Assistant for the English Department is using her knowledge and expertise to support students in their learning and skill development. Glas is a graduate student seeking her master’s degree in the English Department, so she has first-hand experience of CLAS from several vantage points.
Glas says she appreciates the awesome communities she is part of at CU Denver, and the support she receives from her colleagues and supervisors. She credits her community with helping her overcome burnout. She deeply values what she has learned by working at CU Denver and is proud to embrace continued education, adding, “Stories, connection, and learning are some of the best parts of humanity and I am privileged to be surrounded by those things.”
Glas’s contributions to the community at CLAS have not gone unnoticed. Drew Bixby, Assistant Director of the Writing Center and Lecturer of English, revealed, “Brynnah has been with the Writing Center before, during, and now after our move to remote teaching and learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Brynnah benefitted from the tight, supportive community at the Writing Center, and students benefitted from Brynnah’s dedication and support during a difficult, confusing time. We are grateful for her and this partnership and know that the students she works with feel the same.”
Similarly, Miranda Egger, who is Glas’ supervisor and mentor — as well as Senior Instructor and Assistant Director of Composition in the English Department, explained, “Brynnah is dedicated to her students’ wellbeing, growth, and sense of belonging in this academic culture. She’s a young teacher, but already has a strong sense of what it takes to balance her high standards with providing students with the kind of support necessary to reach them.”
Brynnah Glas’ varied connections with CLAS and CU Denver – as a professional, teaching assistant, and graduate student – demonstrate how staff contribute to a culture that fosters and sustains learning and growth.
A welcome side benefit of the CLAS Staff Profile series is the chance to remind people about valuable programs and resources within or available to the college. A case in point is the Writing Center, which is a free service that supports students at all levels working on any type of writing and at any phase of the writing process. Professional Writing Consultants meet with students one-one-one or in small groups – online or in-person – to provide collaborative feedback, instruction, and discussion; visit classrooms to support faculty instruction via presentations; and host interactive workshops on a variety of topics for students across the curriculum.
CLAS Staff Council is pleased to feature a staff member each month in the Dean’s Notes. Staff are invited to be profiled by random selection and participation is voluntary. We encourage staff who would like to be profiled to reach out to us directly! If you are interested in sharing your story in a future edition of Dean’s Notes, email firstname.lastname@example.org Anne.Beard@ucdenver.edu.
The largest and most important of the federal programs addressing food insecurity is SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The program helps feed more than 42 million Americans each month. Two-thirds of the people participating in the program are children, over 65 or people with disabilities. “SNAP has become the key safety net program for low-income families,” said Choe East, Assistant Professor of Economics who has studied the program.
“The authors’ primary finding that human-like prenatal growth rates emerged less than one million years ago, in concert with major increases in brain size, is convincing,” says Anna Warrener, Assistant Professor of Anthropology. “Teeth are frequently found in the fossil record and would be a fantastic tool for such evaluations in the future,” she says.
The anti-vaccine movement used to be a place where the left met the right, but increased polarization during the pandemic has made such a combination difficult to sustain, says Sociology Professor Jennifer Reich. “When we start to see such vastly different sources of information about what the risks of infection of Covid are, you start to see people making wildly different decisions in their life,” Reich said. “The vaccine and scientific expertise has become politicized.”
Graduate fieldwork requires leading and managing a team, often in unique circumstances (including long hours, remote regions, etc.), and therefore can be challenging even for those with previous leadership or field experience. Recent research from Graduate Integrative Biology Students Katherine Hayes, Trevor Carter, Erin Twaddell (under the supervision of Associate Research Professor, Brian Buma) published in Ecosphere, found field leadership is a critical skill to develop during graduate education, and contributes to the success, retention, and advancement of researchers in the natural sciences. The piece "Supporting graduate field leadership through community-sourced advice, action, and policy," emphasizes that graduate field leaders can improve via clear communication, risk assessment and procedural planning implemented before, during, and after the field season. Labs, principal investigators, departments, and professional societies can support graduate field leaders by formalizing institutional resources, financial support, and incentivizing skill development.
New research from a team including Integrative Biology Associate Research Professor Brian Buma reports on finding the world's southernmost archaeological site, a hunting camp from between 260–460 years BP, that represents the furthest south extension of humanity prior to the industrial age. Published in the Cambridge journal Antiquity, “The southernmost end point of pre-industrial human expansion found on Isla Hornos (Isla Lököshpi), Chile,” describes how the site is also the furthest out of Africa humans ever made it prior to industrial technology, as the tribes that live in the area arrived thousands of years ago. Featured in Nature, this finding rewrites a bit of the history books in terms of understanding where people extended prior to modern technology.
Gabriel Finkelstein, Associate Professor of History, was recently interviewed about his motives for engaging with science and society by Ilja Bohnet for his blog Spannungsfeld. Bohnet (a particle physicist who works as a Chief Research Manager at the largest scientific organization in Germany, Helmholtz Association) became interested in Finkelstein’s work studying Emil du Bois-Reymond while writing a pair of books on unsolved problems in science. Bohnet says, “Since then, I have been following with great interest the small and large clues that Gabriel Finkelstein posts on Twitter.”
In July, Integrative Biology Professor Diana F. Tomback, representing the Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation (WPEF) and the University of Colorado Denver, held a picnic event to celebrate and thank Joe Ricketts for his on-going support for the Yellowstone Clark's Nutcracker Research Project. This project is a collaboration among Yellowstone National Park, Ricketts Conservation Foundation, and the University of Colorado Denver. Ricketts provided funding to generate an outreach video on the whitebark pine and Clark's nutcracker. Produced by Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Tomback is one of many dedicated people (including Integrative Biology Alum Elizabeth Pansing) featured in the video showcasing efforts across government agencies, tribes, and nonprofit groups hoping to bring the whitebark pine back from the brink of extinction. The article and film highlight the important role the whitebark pine plays in the environment and the equally significant role the Clark’s...
Suite 3207, Learning Commons, 1191 Larimer Street
CLAS faculty and staff are invited to the first in-person meeting of the community of practice called ‘Designing Learning Spaces to Promote Success Among CU Denver First-Generation Low-Income Students of Color,’ Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. To register, visit this link. For more information contact Marty Otañez, Faculty Fellow for the Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning,
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
North Classroom Atrium A (north end, close to elevators)
Photos can be used anywhere you need a professional image (permissions are granted). You do not need appointments in advance; simply show up and sign-in for a slot (in the past the average wait was less than 15 minutes). The whole process is speedy and painless, so if you’ve never taken the opportunity before, now is the time to get a professional photograph taken. Any questions can be directed to Tracy Kohm, CLAS Marketing, Communication and Outreach.