2023 Study Abroad Summer at UCF in Belize! Apps Due Feb 15, 2023

Belize Participatory GIS and Drones Study Abroad Summer A 2023 Applications Now Open!

Join the experience of a lifetime through UCF Study Abroad in the Department of Sociology! Open to all students, both grad and undergrad, all majors, no GIS experience needed.

About the Summer A 2023 Courses: In either SYA 4959 (undergraduate students) or SYA 5941 (graduate students), students work with communities in Belize (an English-speaking country) on real-world research projects. Students will learn an in-demand research method in a high-growth technology career field. We will explore the Belize Barrier Reef and several different landscapes across Belize. We will learn how to use GIS mapping, apps, and drones. Students spend 5 days on land and 4 on islands along the world’s second largest reef system. No previous experience with GIS is needed.

Audience: Open to all graduate and undergraduate students at UCF (and beyond). All majors are welcome. This 3 credit course counts as an elective course in both UCF GIS certificate programs. It is also a research-intensive course.

Apps due February 15, 2023. But apply soon, this course will fill before the application date.

Program Fee: $2400-2500 (all expenses including airfare, lodging, tours, transportation, and some meals). One of the most economical study abroad experiences at UCF. Students are also responsible for normal tuition and university fees for a 3-credit course.

Watch highlights from a previous GIS Study Abroad course below:

Apply through UCF Abroad at: https://tinyurl.com/mrxey5re

Any questions, please contact the program director, Dr. Timothy Hawthorne at timothy.hawthorne@ucf.edu

 

 

Spatial Sociology and GIS Now Available in UCF Sociology BA to PhD Program

New Spatial Sociology and GIS Area of Specialization in UCF Sociology. Shares welcome.

Years in the making, it’s finally here beginning with the launch of our new BA to PhD program in August 2023.

Apply now to join a dynamic department in the heart of Orlando, FL. We are one of the only US universities with a Spatial Sociology areas of specialization.

Apps due January 1. Apply now at: https://sciences.ucf.edu/sociology/graduate/ 

The Spatial Sociology & GIS area of specialization examines the intersections of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and related geospatial technologies and society. The area considers how such technologies: interact with social groups and society; create space and place; and can be applied to examine social and environmental disparities, public health issues, and crime patterns. The area emphasizes theoretical, critical, community-based, and applied foundations of spatial sociology, GIS, and related geospatial technologies.

Our research organization, Citizen Science GIS and GeoBus at UCF, is housed in UCF Sociology and the College of Sciences. We have been leaders in this interdisciplinary work for years. I hope you might consider joining us!

GIS Hero Honor from Esri

GeoBus mobile lab parked at University of Central Florida.
Not all heroes where capes, but sometimes they get to work closely with incredible humans who dream big to support the next generation.
I am so humbled to be named an Esri GIS Hero for our team’s work bringing the nation’s 1st GeoBus to life through our Citizen Science GIS & GeoBus work at University of Central Florida.
Thanks to our friends at Esri for always supporting our work. I first met Esri folks way back in 2002 as a Esri User Conference student volunteer in San Diego. That was a transformational experience for me, and over the last 20 years, I’ve worked with so many amazing folks at Esri to do science that matters. I am grateful. I am honored and appreciative of this recognition and can’t wait to see what’s next down the road for GeoBus at UCF!
Check out the full story in the summer issue of ArcNews.
GeoBus mobile lab parked at University of Central Florida.
GeoBus parked at UCF. Photo credit: Tyler Copeland.

National Geographic Explorer News

Dr. Hawthorne checking a drone prior to flights across eelgrass beds along the coast of San Juan Islands, WA.

I am honored, humbled and excited to be selected as a 2022 National Geographic Explorer. This opportunity is a life-long dream, and will amplify the launch of the nation’s first GeoBus in a big way. Don’t worry friends, I’m still in my associate professor role at UCF.

In the field drone mapping in the San Juan Islands, WA (July 2021) as part of our NSF grant with the Smithsonian. Photo credit: Tyler Copeland

I’ll have so much more to say soon, including a great deal of thanks/gratitude to a ton of folks who helped to make this dream become a reality. But for now, just know that I am thrilled, excited, and full of energy (even more energy than usual, if you can believe it). I can’t wait to share more about this journey
in the coming year.

Look for my Explorer Blog “The Road to GeoBus” to begin in February as our team of students, teachers, youth, and community partners work to drive science’s next generation with the first mobile learning lab of its kind in the United States.

Image shows the GeoBus and its solar panel installation at local solar facility.
GeoBus solar panel installation at 15lightyears in Longwood, FL (Feb 2020). Photo credit: Tyler Copeland.

I am grateful for National Geographic and their belief in our work. And I am thrilled to be back in the National Geographic community, having previously worked with National Geographic as the
State of Florida Geography Steward from 2018-2020 and as the Georgia Geographic Alliance Coordinator and Director of Research from 2013-2015.

Let’s explore the world together my friends as we support science’s next generation!

Image shows a professional headshot of Dr. Timothy Hawthorne
Dr. Hawthorne professional headshot, January 2022. Photo credit: Kaitlyn Bower

#science #research #learning #K12 #thatsgeography #explorer #explorermindset #NationalGeographic #NationalGeographicEducation #STEM #STEAM #STEMeducation #steameducation #teachers #students #community

New Graduate Director Role Begins Today!

Today I begin a new leadership phase. I begin a 3 year term as Graduate Program Director in UCF Sociology. I am excited to work with our faculty, staff, colleagues and community partners to elevate our work together and to support the next generation in the social sciences as we explore what makes us Uniquely UCF Sociology. There is so much creativity and intellectual thought in our department, and I am excited to work with our colleagues to share this more broadly with all of you. In moving forward, I want to be open and transparent about leadership, what it means to me, and how I will approach decision-making. I thought I’d share the values-based vision and core values that will drive my leadership style as our graduate director. I pledge to bring this vision and these core values to all decisions. And I hope to learn from others and see other leader’s visions/values statements as well so we can discuss these ideas in the academic world. Here’s to a unique, virtual academic year, but one where we will all thrive, excel, and support one another.

Graduate Director’s Values-Based Vision to Become Uniquely UCF Sociology:

We elevate the lived experiences and knowledge bases of our graduate students, faculty/staff, alumni, and community partners through diverse and shared learning experiences.

Graduate Director’s Core Values to Become Uniquely UCF Sociology:

  1. We Are Intentionally Positive. As we explore the grand challenges of sociology, society, and related areas, we are intentionally positive and solutions-oriented in our thinking.
  2. We Are Centered on Students. We place the development and aspirations of our graduate students at the core of our decision making.
  3. We Are Diverse and Inclusive. We value all forms of knowledge, and are actively engaged in making our work and our program more diverse and inclusive.
  4. We Are Always Aspirational. We see our work as ambitious and forward-thinking, while aiming to push the boundaries of conventional disciplinary thinking.

 

Belize Summer A 2020 Study Abroad Course Now Accepting Applications

Join us for a research experience of a lifetime in Belize Summer A 2020.

About the Courses: In either SYA 4959 (undergraduate students) or SYA 5941 (graduate students), students work with communities in Belize (an English speaking country) on real-world research projects. Students will learn an in-demand research method in a high-growth technology career field. We will explore the Belize Barrier Reef and several different landscapes across Belize. We will learn how to use GIS mapping, apps, and drones. Students spend 5 days on land and 4 on islands along the world’s second largest reef system. No previous experience with GIS is needed.

Apply through UCF Abroad athttps://studyabroad.ucf.edu/index.cfm?FuseAction=Programs.ViewProgramAngular&id=10108

Audience: This exciting study abroad course in Belize is open to all graduate and undergraduate students at UCF (and beyond). All majors are welcome. This 3 credit course counts as an elective course in both of the UCF GIS certificate programs. It is a research-based course. No previous GIS and mapping experience is required.

Apps due February 15, 2020. But apply soon, this course will fill before the application date.

Program Fee: $2400-2500 (all expenses including airfare, lodging, tours, transportation, and meals). One of the most economical abroad experiences at UCF. Plus normal tuition and university fees for a 3 credit course.

Watch the hype video here:

Any questions, please contact the program director, Dr. Timothy Hawthorne at timothy.hawthorne@ucf.edu.

 

The Golden Rule to Engage the Masses: Listen to My GeoInspirations Podcast

In the continued spirit of communicating why we do what we do to connect science and society through our Citizen Science GIS at UCF work, I am pleased to be featured in this month’s GeoInspirations podcast series in Directions Magazine with my geo-friend: Dr. Joseph Kerski or Esri.

In the podcast I share some advice on how to let the Golden Rule drive everything you do. I hope the message resonates and inspires. Thanks for sharing and listening! #citizensciencegis #scicomm #goldenrule #geospatial #gis #maps #drones

Take a listen…and let me know what you think…

Dr. Hawthorne Wins UCF Reach for the Stars Award

I am honored and humbled to have been selected as a 2019 UCF Reach for the Stars Award Winner.  The award honors high research productivity for junior faculty. To me though, this award is a reflection of the collaborative work of our students, our post-docs, and our community partners in Citizen Science GIS. To me, this award is a reflection of the good that can happen when science and society work together in partnership. I am filled with gratitude. -Tim

Check out the story on UCF Today here: https://today.ucf.edu/reach-for-the-stars-award-recipients-use-technology-to-change-lives/

Story re-posted from UCF Today below:

Reach for the Stars Award Recipients Use Technology to Change Lives

BY ZENAIDA GONZALEZ KOTALA | APRIL 3, 2019

Reach for Stars professors Megan Nickels, Pamela Wisniewski and Tim Hawthorne

Megan Nickels, Pamela Wisniewski and Tim Hawthorne were recognized for their highly successful research and creative activity that has led to a national impact.

Three faculty members who use the power of technology to make the human experience better were recognized today with Reach for the Stars awards during this year’s UCF Founders’ Day Honors Convocation.

The award recognizes early career professionals with highly successful research and creative activity with a national impact.

This year’s recipients have more than $8 million in sponsored research funding combined from a variety of organizations including NASA, the National Science Foundation and private foundations. But the striking part of their success cannot be measured in terms of dollars alone. The reason they were selected is because of the impact of their work.

  • Megan Nickels uses robotics and immersive virtual reality to develop children’s complex mathematical thinking and to deliver education to critically ill children so they don’t fall behind in school during extended hospital stays.
  • Pamela Wisniewski researches how people use technology to make meaningful connections with one another, as well as ways to mitigate the dangers encountered online, such as sexual predators. She is working to determine the best methods to protect online users, especially teenagers, against such threats.
  • Tim Hawthorne involves everyday citizens in data collection and geographic information systems to deliver insightful information that planners and leaders can use to enhance and protect their communities and their natural resources.
Blonde woman wearing black dress and white pearl necklace leans on stair railing

Megan Nickels (Photo by Nick Leyva ’15)

Megan Nickels

College of Community Innovation and Education

College of Medicine

Assistant professor of STEM education

Ph.D. in mathematics education

Nickels developed a passion for helping chronically ill children when she volunteered to work with them at a local hospital while she was earning her doctorate in her home state of Illinois. She realized that despite her years of teaching in elementary schools and her studies in college, there was a big need to help this often-forgotten population.

Her experience fueled her passion and eventually led to the launch of UCF PedsAcademy in Orlando. In partnership with Nemours Children’s Hospital, the academy is the world’s first pediatric-school program designed to provide children in hospitals with extraordinary, research-backed educational opportunities specific to their respective disease or condition. The program reflects the culmination of Nickels’ body of research and serves as a vehicle to further examine the nexus of education and medicine.

“I set out to research ways that I could better children’s immediate situations and their future prospects.” — Megan Nickels

“I set out to research ways that I could better children’s immediate situations and their future prospects,” Nickels says. “Results from my research so far show significant gains in mathematical content knowledge and motivation to persevere in rigorous mathematical tasks.”

Other funded research has her working with UCF’s planetary science group and the Orlando Science Center to create mobile mathematics and science exhibits and associated curriculum for each of the three Orlando area children’s hospitals.

“Put very simply,” Nickels says, “I hope that my legacy is that I made someone’s life better.”

Woman wearing dark business jacket and maroon shirt leans against wall

Pamela Wisniewski (Photo by Nick Leyva ’15)

Pamela Wisniewski

College of Engineering and Computer Science

Assistant professor of computer science

Ph.D. in computing and information systems

Master’s degree in decision and information sciences

As a human-computer interaction researcher, Wisniewski studies the interplay between technology and society. Internet-enabled technologies and social media have so much power, she says.

“I want to find ways to leverage technology to truly make a positive impact on the world.” — Pamela Wisniewski

“I want to find ways to leverage technology to truly make a positive impact on the world — not by removing humans from the equation, but by bolstering our personal strengths, helping us connect with one another, and being more empathetic towards our loved ones and strangers,” Wisniewski says. “Technology has the power to divide, but it also has the power to connect us in ways never before possible.”

The Gainesville native has received $2.5 million in external-grant funding to support her research in privacy and online safety, including two prestigious early career awards. Wisniewski is the first computer scientist to become a William T. Grant Scholar and join in the foundation’s mission of reducing inequality in youth outcomes. She is examining the risk and protective factors that contribute to online sexual-risk experiences of at-risk youth, particularly girls ages 12-15 who are of color, socio-economically disadvantaged, and foster youth. The goal is to design socio-technical interventions that can help youth be more resilient to sexual predator risks.

She also recently received an NSF CAREER grant to work closely with teens to co-design online safety interventions that can help them effectively manage online risks.

“The ultimate goal of both of these projects is to leverage resilience-based approaches that protect, teach and empower our youth to use the internet in beneficial ways,” she says.

Man wearing glasses and gray suit with yellow tie stands in front of brick flower bed

Tim Hawthorne (Photo by Austin Warren)

Tim Hawthorne

College of Sciences

Assistant professor of geographic information systems

Ph.D. in geography

Hawthorne combines his academic expertise about geography and geographic information systems (the technology on cell phones that helps you find things when you get lost) to bring information together in a new way. By using GIS and other technologies to collect and assess information, patterns not easily seen become apparent and can be used to make decisions that impact communities.

Including the community is what sets Hawthorne’s work apart. In 2015, Hawthorne established a now internationally recognized and award-winning research organization called Citizen Science GIS.

The group of UCF and international collaborators brings together undergraduate and graduate students, everyday folks and scientists with tech including GIS and drones to collect data for a variety of projects. For example, the group spent 20 days in Belize mapping nearly 150 of its islands, which are home to one of the largest reef systems in the world. The goal was to provide information to Belize that the country could use to protect and conserve one of the world’s most vulnerable island environments. The organization’s success led to NSF funding and this summer Hawthorne’s team is again offering a NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduatesprogram based at UCF and with fieldwork in Belize.

“As scientists, we have a responsibility to make our work more accessible and understandable to society.” — Tim Hawthorne

Hawthorne understands that getting people passionate about science starts early, so he’s also embarked on another project —in support of his role as Florida State Geography Steward with National Geographic. As steward he works with National Geographic staff, government staff, teachers, parents, business leaders and other stakeholders to enhance K-12 geography education and research in Florida and the United States.

Hawthorne will soon be rolling out the nation’s first GeoBus. The 40-foot bus will include a mobile citizen science laboratory focused on maps, apps and drones that will visit K-12 schools in Florida.

“In today’s challenging times, science is more important than ever,” Hawthorne says. “Yet, members of the general public are rightfully skeptical that science is too often disconnected from society. As scientists, we have a responsibility to make our work more accessible and understandable to society. Our work demonstrates the possibilities of what can happen when a large, diverse team of people work together focused on public scholarship that is inclusive of and responsive to community members.”

Esri Oceans Plenary Address “The Power of People in Geospatial Technologies”

I am pleased to share the 40 minute video of my recent Esri Oceans Plenary Address “The Power of People in Geospatial Technologies.” Take a journey to Belize and back as I comment on the role of everyday, extraordinary people in geospatial technology research. The talk examines how maps, apps and drones can be used for the public good. The conversation centers on our community-based research in Belize and Florida funded by several National Science Foundation grants, including our NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates Site. Please share with your pals. I am so grateful to Dr. Dawn Wright (Chief Scientist at Esri) and Drew Stephens of Esri for the kind invitation to share our work.

The future of science is strong if we put science in the hands of everyday, extraordinary citizens!

#citizensciencegis #openreef #nsf #esri #esrioceans

Video credit: Esri Events, 2019.

Belize Summer A 2019 Study Abroad Course Now Accepting Applications

About the Course: Work with communities in Belize (an English speaking country) on real-world research projects. Learn an in-demand research method in a high-growth technology career field. Explore the Belize Barrier Reef and several different landscapes across Belize. Learn how to use GIS mapping, apps, and drones. Spend 5 days on land and 4 on islands along the world’s second largest reef system. No previous experience with GIS is needed. Learn more at http://www.citizensciencegis.org/belize/.

Audience: This exciting study abroad course in Belize is open to all graduate and undergraduate students at UCF (and beyond). This 4 credit course counts as an elective course in both of the UCF GIS certificate programs. It is a research-based course. No previous GIS and mapping experience is required.

Apply through UCF Abroad athttps://studyabroad.ucf.edu/index.cfm?FuseAction=Programs.ViewProgramAngular&id=10108

Apps due February 15, 2019.

Program Fee: $2400-2500 (all expenses including airfare, lodging, tours, transportation, and meals). One of the most economical abroad experiences at UCF.