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Department News



CU Denver GES students attended the Joint Meeting of the Southwest and Great Plains-Rocky Mountain Divisions of the Association of American Geographers in Al​buquerque and did an exceptional job showing off their work!
Undergraduate Student Poster Awards: 
1st Place (Issamar Pichardo & Jeannette Rodriguez) Understanding Latino Community Recovery after the September 2013 Colorado Flash Floods, Issamar Pichardo, Jeannette Rodriguez, Deborah Thomas, Andrew Rumbach, Lily Lizarraga, Waverly Klaw, David Lizarraga, Leah Cole, Jeremy Nemeth, and Carrie Makarewicz

3rd Place (Denise Swack, Erica Reynolds, Filiberto Morales, and Dillon Riebel) Body Mass Index (BMI) Mapping and Community Engagement, Denise Swack, Erica Reynolds, Filiberto Morales, Dillon Riebel, Peter Anthamatten, and Deborah Thomas

Other Notable Activities: 

Laura Ferre presented a paper. 

Erin Jaynes and Anna Gibson each presented a poster. 

Anna Gibson earned a spot on the regional Geography Bowl team. 


Associate Professor and Director of the MS Environmental Sciences Program Frederick Chambers and Senior Instructor Amanda Weaver of Geography and Environmental SciencesBriles.jpg
(GES) are now working on STEM initiatives with Prospect Valley Elementary, in Jefferson County. They initiated conversations with the school in early 2014, after a successful year of programs at 5 Fridges Farm (a CU Denver research-site in Wheatridge) involving installation and monitoring of Chambers’ online weather stations in 2013-2014,  and the second year of Weaver’s Sustainable Urban Agricultural Certificate program. The two decided to engage the nearby elementary school, and in Spring of 2014 organized an open-house between GES and Prospect Valley Elementary to discuss possible STEM based-activities to conduct with elementary students. After much guidance and encouragement from the school’s principal, Mike Collins, and other Jefferson County school officials, the first curricular connections between GES and the elementary school began during the fall semester 2014.  Prospect Valley third grade teachers, Christine Hoxie and Sherry Becker, organized a third and fourth grade girls STEM club and connected with Weaver to schedule visits from female science faculty.  This fall both Christy Briles (Assistant Professor of GES) and Weaver are leading activities on palynology and geographic technologies, respectively.  GES hopes to expand the program between Prospect Valley Elementary, 5 Fridges Farm, and faculty and students in GES as interest spreads among the elementary schools’ teachers, students, and parents.



Laura Ferre, previous graduate of the Bachelor in Geography program and current CU Denver Public Health graduate student, entered her paper into the competition at the Association of State Dam Safety Officials Conference. ​Potentials for use of Social Vulnerability Assessments to Aide Decision Making for the Colorado Dam Safety Branch, ​which was written with assistance from our Dr. Deborah Thomas and the Colorado Chief of Dam Safety Bill McCormick, ​was selected as one of the top three papers at the conference. Congratulations, Laura!
 Laura Ferre at the Association of State Dam Safety Officials Conference
Left to right: Vinoth Muthia (ASDSO student outreach committee co-chair), Laura Ferre, Beena Ajmera, 
Peter Nicholson (ASDSO student outreach committee co-chair), Brittany Lewis (ASDSO student outreach coordinator), Daniel VandenBerge​


John G. (Jack) Weihaupt, professor emeritus at the University of Colorado Denver, died Sept. 15, 2014. He was 84. Jack is survived by his wife Audrey.
He came to CU Denver in 1982 as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. After completing his term in that office, he worked in his home department (Geography and Environmental Sciences) as Professor of Geology until his retirement in 2007. Jack, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, was a geophysicist and geologist who lived or traveled in some fifty nations, and conducted geological, geophysical, and geographic explorations in the Arctic, Canada, Chile, and Antarctica.  As a member of the Antarctic Victoria Land Traverse in 1959-1960, Dr. Weihaupt’s eight man team consisting of American, Dutch, French, and New Zealand mountaineer scientists, was commissioned by the United States National Science Foundation to conduct a four month 2,400 kilometer journey into the unexplored hinterland of East Antarctica.  As a result of that exploration, Dr. Weihaupt, with his colleague Dr. Frans G. Van der Hoeven of The Netherlands, is credited with the discovery of the 400 x 1200 kilometer Wilkes Subglacial Basin. ​
He is also the recipient of France’s Expéditions Polaires Françes Medalawarded by Paul-Ä”mile Victor, is recipient of the Antarctic Medal, the Madisonian Medal, and a number of military medals (Korean War), and holds commissions as a First Lieutenant (Combat Engineers, Infantry, U.S. Army) and as a Captain (Naval Intelligence, U.S. Navy). Dr. Weihaupt, the great nephew of Colonel George Rogers Clark and his brother Captain William Clark, was also an Astronaut Candidate in the early years of NASA’S space program, is a Senior Fellow of the Geological Society of America, and is a Fellow of the Explorers Club.

Since his retirement in 2007, Dr. Weihaupt had continued his research, publishing a number of papers and books. At the time of his death he and his coauthors were completing three manuscripts, two of which have been accepted for publication. 

To read more about Dr. Weihaupt's accomplishments, Visit this link.


It is with great pleasure to announce the Department of Geography and Environmental Science’s main office space has moved to a new location in North Classroom 3014.   Dr. Brian Page, Chair of GES, is located in NC 3014-Suite B, making for a centralized location for the department.  Please feel free to stop by to say hello and visit the new digs.​


Wee receives fellowship in Sweden

Bryan Wee, assistant professor in geography and environmental sciences and STEM Education, has been awarded a research fellowship from Stockholm University, Sweden. He will spend the next academic year at their Center for Teaching and Learning in the Social Sciences to further his research on cross-cultural comparisons of children’s environmental views. In addition to writing interdisciplinary papers/grants, Bryan will refine his scholarship on the use of photography to understand human-environment interactions. He will also develop a travel study course in Scandinavia focused on cultural views of nature. Bryan is very grateful for this opportunity, as well as the support he has received from CLAS and the School of Education and Human Development. 



The CU Denver chapter of ​Gamma Theta Upsilon Honor Society for geography inducted some new members on April 17, 2014. 

Pictured: Christina Power, Robert Osadetz, Thomas Horner, Katelyn Lobato, and Jeanette Lanier-Hall

Not pictured: Darla Beckley, Samantha Antu, Kara Collier, Jonathan Key, Meg DeLisle, and Denise Swack

2014 Gamma Theta Upsilon Inductees


News' TaRhonda Thomas made a visit to Five Fridges Farm, the GES Dept Research Site, on April 16, 2014. View the story here. Amanda Weaver and TaRhonda Thomas in video screenshot


As a result of a generous fund established by Mrs. Rodgers in honor of her late husband Brigadier General William M. Rodgers, a former instructor in our department, the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences awards scholarships for geography majors for both research efforts and as regular scholarship. Please visit the Brigadier General Rodgers Scholarship page for more information.

     2014 Rodgers Scholarhip Recipients      2014 Rodgers Research Scholarship

        Kelsi Miles                                                      Susanna Diller
        Matt Pierce                                                     Ashley Drummond-Bouck


Sharon Smolinski, a graduate of our Master of Science of Environmental Sciences program, has had an article accepted by the ​Journal of Environmental Management​. 

​The article, titled "Mountain Pine Beetle Infestation of Lodgepole Pine in Areas of Water Diversion," is based on her thesis work while in the Environmental Sciences program. This work is co-authored by Dr. Peter Anthamatten, Dr. Jon Barbour, Dr. Leo Bruederle, and Dr. Frederick Chambers (all CU Denver professors). The abstract: ​

Smolinski_Photo_021714.jpg​"The Rocky Mountains have experienced extensive infestations from the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins), affecting numerous pine tree species including lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl. var. latifolia). Water diversions throughout the Rocky Mountains transport large volumes of water out of the basins of origin, resulting in hydrologic modifications to downstream areas. This study examines the hypothesis that lodgepole pine located below water diversions exhibit an increased incidence of mountain pine beetle infestation and mortality. A ground survey verified diversion structures in a portion of Grand County, Colorado, and sampling plots were established around two types of diversion structures, canals and dams. Field studies assessed mountain pine beetle infestation. Lodgepole pines below diversions show 45.1% higher attack and 38.5% higher mortality than lodgepole pines above diversions. These findings suggest that water diversions are associated with increased infestation and mortality of lodgepole pines in the basins of extraction, with implications for forest and water allocation management."

currently pursuing a Ph.D. at CU Denver School of Public Affairs and working at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. 

Congrats, Sharon, we look forward to following your bright future in the field!


Classes will begin on Tuesday, January 21, 2014! We're excited to have our students back after a refreshing winter break and hope they're ready to get back to learning. 

Here are a few more important dates for the beginning of the semester: 

  • January 26 - Last day to Add and Waitlist classes using UCDAccess
  • January 27 - Last day to Drop a class without a charge
  • February 5 - Last day to Add or Drop classes (financial adjustments may apply)
                       Last day to apply for Spring 2014 Graduation
  • March 10 - First day to register for Maymester and Summer classes
For a full Academic Calendar, please visit this link. 
Also, don't miss the Grenada Maymester Info Sessions on January 28 at 11 am and January 29 at 4 pm in NC 3012!


A group of both undergraduate and graduate students presented at the Great Plains-RockyFrom left to right: Tyler Kilgore, Tera Keller, Alejandra Uribe-Albornoz, Kara Collier and Isaac Rivera
Mountain Regional Association of American Geographers meeting. Special congratulations go to Isaac Rivera who won first place in the Undergraduate Student Paper Competition with his paper, written with other GES students, “Community Environmental Monitoring via Grassroots Remote Sensing Applications and its Empowerment Potential on Marginalized Communities."