Graduate Research

Rapid Shoreline Change Along Alaska's North Slope
Michael Brady

As a Human-Environment Geographer, I study how climate change constrains and enables resource use at the local community scale. My research emphasizes collaboration to include stakeholders in the research process for development of geographic information system (GIS)-based decision support systems. I use GIS, remote sensing, and cartographic tools to engage stakeholders in collaborative research. My dissertation research examines local community impacts of rapid shoreline change along Alaska's North Slope coast driven by sea ice loss, permafrost thaw, and sea-level rise. To enhance usability and decision relevancy for local managers, I do this research in collaboration with affected communities.The research is supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (award # 1523191)

Ecological Communities within Protected Areas
Tabby Fenn

The selection, management, and fate of ecological communities within Protected Areas (nature reserves, parks, and preserved lands) are the focus of my research. My dissertation draws upon my interest in the interaction between human social processes and the ecological processes co-occurring within the landscapes where Protected Areas exist. New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the U.S., but land preservation efforts have brought a significant proportion of the forested land under some type of protected status.

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Ben Gerlofs

The MaGrann Field Research Award enabled me to undertake preliminary fieldwork in Mexico City during July of 2013, and has thus made an invaluable contribution to my developing doctoral research. My project concerns the use of ‘rights talk’ by contemporary urban social movements, specifically those involved in the development and promotion of The Mexico City Charter for the Right to the City.

As I intend this project to entail a large ethnographic component, this preliminary field visit was essential for establishing contacts, identifying local resources (such as museum collections and archives), and assessing the feasibility of my long-term research agenda.

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Mónica P. Hernández

La Boquilla is a community of almost six thousand people dedicated mostly to fishery. It is located north from Cartagena on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia, approximately 400 miles from Bogota, the capital city. Besides fishery, tourism represents an important sector for its inhabitants. During weekends and high season (December-January/July-August), people from La Boquilla and surrounding villages provide services for tourists, which constitute an important component of the village’s economy. Almost 70% of the population in the area is Afro-Colombian. They were recognized as an Afro-Colombian community by the government more than five years ago, and in 2011 they were granted a collective land title over 39Ha of territory.

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Long-distance Migratory Bird Conservation
Jenny Isaacs

As a PhD Candidate in the Rutgers Geography Department, I am a critical human---environment geographer researching and teaching about the challenges of long---distance migratory species conservation. I serve as Co---President and Annual Conference Organizer for Natura, an Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Working Group at Rutgers focused on the History of Science and Epistemology. In 2014, I won the Geography Department’s Graduate Teaching Award as well as an Association of American Geographers award for Best Graduate Paper in Animal Geography.

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Marine Systems in India
Divya Karnad

I have worked in marine systems in India for nearly a decade now. I started off as a conservation activist, then as an ecologist, but at present, I am trying to understand fisheries in India as a coupled human-natural system. With the help of Dr Bonnie McCay and Dr Kevin St. Martin, my research will explore the patterns and processes involved in access and control of Indian fisheries, as they are constituted and bound at different scales of governance. Fishing communities in India are poorly understood, and they remain at the fringes of politically active society. Still, fishing communities have come together in the past to create national-level political actions that have repercussions on who gets to fish and where they get to do so. I will compare across communities to look for the drivers and consequences of differing patterns of access and control over fishing grounds.

Greenland Ice Sheet Albedo
Sasha Leidman

My research uses hydrology, geomorphology, and remote sensing to investigate changes in Greenland. Specifically, I look at how changes to the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet caused by increased melting from global warming affects the albedo (reflectiveness) of the ice. I study this through extensive field campaigns at three different field sites in Greenland: high up in the accumulation zone where I drill shallow (20-25m) ice cores to look for signs of refrozen melt water, at the ice edge where I look at supraglacial streams (streams flowing on top of the ice), and on the tundra where our lab group maintains long term monitoring sites of glacial river discharge.

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Khao I Dang Refugee Camp (1979–1993)
Hudson McFann

Using archival research, oral history interviews, and participatory mapping, my dissertation project explores the history and legacies of the Khao I Dang camp for Cambodian refugees. Established near the Thai–Cambodian border by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the wake of the Cambodian genocide, Khao I Dang had a peak population of 140,000 and was, in many ways, the hub of the Cambodian relief operation.

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Coming Face to Face With War
Ariel Otruba

To better understand the impact on everyday life in villages affected by the occupation along the South Ossetian Administrative Boundary Line, Ariel Otruba wanted to experience it. So Otruba spent the summer of 2014 in Georgia’s capital city, Tbilisi, to learn the language and get to know the people. She felt that a personal involvement would help her produce a more effective dissertation. Read the full Feature article in Rutgers Today

The Hydroclimatology of the Northeastern United States
Natalie Teale

My research is centered on hydro-climatology, defined as the inter-action of the climate system with hydrological processes, which strongly influences the land surface on which we live. The northeast United States is affected by a wide range of climatological and meteorological processes from all sides: cold, dry air masses from the north; warm, moist jets from the south; maritime processes from the Atlantic Ocean to the east; & a mixed bag of synoptic & mesoscale systems from the west.

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